This post has been a long time coming.
I’ve written before about how my sense of style has blurred the lines of definable tastes. I liked plaid school-girl skirts, black Converse high tops, flowy pink tutus, and huge gothic cross necklaces. And let me tell you, it drove me crazy. Meanwhile, each of my friends had their own looks. Some were very bohemian, some were more artsy, one was even very grandma (you know who you are). I hated the fact that I was kind of just an uncomfortable amalgamation of fashion senses and didn’t have my own definable signature style.
And so began my first step towards fixing that. I took to Pinterest and created a board called Aesthetic 2016 (and I now have Aesthetic 2017 and Aesthetic 2018), which became home to all the fashion styles that I thought best fit my style. I repinned looks from other users, and also added my own pins from Tumblr and Instagram and from online stores like Forever21 and Target.
Before I knew it, I had a board that encapsulated the look I wanted to achieve, which is exactly what I had been in search of. I noticed that a lot of things, like velvet, layered necklaces and ripped jeans, repeated several times throughout my 2016 board. Those things became staples for my look that year.
Once I started the Pinterest journey, the steps towards real-life change weren’t far behind.
The first thing I did was get rid of all the clothes I had been hoarding for years that no longer fit my sense of style. I separated them into piles: one for donation/passing on to cousins and one for throwing out (some things are just too ripped to donate). I got rid of most of my florals because I just didn’t wear them. In 2017, I also tried to limit myself to a specific color palette, which included black, white, maroon, light pink and light blue. There were still some outliers, but I tried to only keep the things I knew I would wear.
I still repeat this process in January of every year because it helps me move from one year’s aesthetic to the next and lets me make room for more clothes.
After I purged my wardrobe of all the clothes I wasn’t wearing anymore, I, of course, went shopping. My friends made fun of my desire to go “aesthetic shopping,” but it was something that was important to me (and something that has since made its way into some of their lives).
When I went shopping, I tried to keep my eye focused on pieces that would fit into my newly defined aesthetic. If they didn’t fit, they weren’t worth spending my money on because that meant they wouldn’t get much wear.
I also try to follow the 5-way rule when I shop. This means that if I can’t think of five ways I can style a piece with things I already own, I won’t buy it, unless I need it for a special occasion. This has helped curb my habit of impulse buying cute yet impractical clothes and has also helped me maintain my aesthetic.
Once I have the clothes, it only makes sense to start styling them. Sometimes ideas just come to me and I go with the flow, but other times, I refer back to my ever-growing Pinterest boards for some inspiration. The outfits I make based on those pictures may not be exact replicas, but they still at least gave me some ideas on how else I can wear what I own.
Back in 2017, for instance, I found the following photo on Tumblr and posted it to my board.
A few months later, I was scrolling through my Aesthetic 2017 board and realized that I had some clothes of my own that I could use to make my own version of that look. I paired an olive green tank top with jeans (as opposed to denim shorts) and a black choker. It may not have been my best outfit, but it was still an idea that I may not have had otherwise.
Now, you may be wondering why I make a new Pinterest board every year. Can’t I just make an overarching board for everything relating to my new look?
Well, I could, but I’ve noticed that my aesthetic changes just a bit every single year. Admittedly, it was all over the place in 2016. There were bright colors, muted colors, patterns, solids, you name it. While my sense of style was more defined than ever before, it still needed to be filtered a bit more.
And that’s what happened in 2017. I’m not sure why, but the things I put on that board looked a lot more similar to each other. The color palette was pretty consistent (neutrals with hints of red, maroon, light blue and light pink) and there was a definite 90s-style motif that repeated throughout. My style was also pretty edgy, a term that a lot of people have used to describe my style in the last few years. My staples last year were ripped jeans, leather jackets and lots and lots of black.
Now that we’re in 2018, I’ve noticed that my style has changed a little bit again. I still love that edginess and could live in ripped jeans forever, but I’m also transitioning my look into being more refined and mature. I think that now that I’m 21 and getting ready to enter the real world and workforce, it’s all about transitioning my style into more mature and classy pieces. I’m liking a lot more simple, slim silhouettes and adding more bohemian and classic pieces into my wardrobe.
A lot of my staples have stayed the same since I started keeping track of my aesthetic two years ago, but they’ve also changed. Here are some of the must-haves I always have handy in my closet:
- Ripped Jeans: These have been my go-to for the longest time. They’re comfy, they’re edgy and they’re versatile. My favorites are from American Eagle and I can wear them causally or dress them up for a night out. Nothing will ever come between me and my ripped jeans.
- Denim Jacket: This is another wardrobe item that has been a staple for quite a while. I even wore one in my very first outfit of the day post eons ago. I love them because they’re comfortable and casual. They’re even better when they have little details on them that make them special. My last denim jacket had rips and crochet which created a balance that just looked effortless. My new one is oversized and has these great embroidered flowers on the top. I really love how easy and comfy it is.
- Shirts with Cheesy Sayings: My friends make fun of me for these all the time, but whether I love them so much. I think they’re so cute and motivating, whether I’m wearing them to work out or just with a pair of jeans. It’s gotten to the point that my friends send me pictures of T-shirts with motivational quotes on them saying that they reminded them of me.
- Hoop Earrings: I’ve gotten really into hoop earrings in the past year. I think they can do a lot to elevate a boring outfit by adding a little bit of a glam factor. My go-to pairs aren’t too big and aren’t to small. These days, I switch between a gold pair and a silver pair.
- Black Booties: I own like four pairs of black booties, all for different occasions. Most of them are heeled and can be taken from casual to fancy. My favorite pair has about a two-inch heel and is velvet with flower imprints on it. I got them for about $25 at Marshall’s and they have been one of the best fashion investments I’ve made. I’ve worn them to class, to church, to a happy-hour, to parties and more. I seroiusly love them.
- Stripes: Stripes and I have had a very long love-hate relationship. We were practically inseparable in high school. I even did my whole AP Art concentration in senior year on stripes. After that, stripes and I needed some space. It’s been a while since stripes and I have been in each other’s lives, but now, our love story is getting a second chance. I’m especially liking black and white stripes or light blue and white stripes. I think they’re really classy, but can also pack a punch.
Over all, I’ve become so comfortable and happy with my decision to give my wardrobe some more definition. It has given me a little bit more sense of self and has made me a lot more confident in what I wear. For those of you who want to try to narrow down your own sense of style is first and foremost to wear what you like. After all, that’s what it’s all about!
Keep me updated if you spend time trying to figure out your own aesthetic, or if you have any questions about how I decided on or defined mine! Also, let me know if there’s anything you want to see me do or try. There’s going to be a whole post coming up about face mask reviews in the next few weeks thanks to a request I got on Instagram, but make sure to check out my Instagram and Snapchat for updates on my progress!
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