It all hits us at some point—that feeling when you look into your wardrobe and think you have absolutely nothing to wear. It’s easy to hit a wardrobe rut when you’re constantly wearing the same things on rotation but the solution isn’t necessarily hitting the shops with credit card in hand, it’s actually finding new reasons to fall in love with things you already own. Here’s how…
Challenge yourself to rework an old favourite
If there’s a blouse you absolutely adore but it has become a little lacklustre of late because of the sheer frequency in which you wear it why not challenge yourself to style it in a new way? If you would usually wear it with a skinny jeans why not try pairing it with a high-waisted skirt or a pair of wide leg pants instead? Don’t just rely on your usual outfit combinations, learn to experiment by trying on unlikely pairings and push yourself out of your fashion comfort zone. You never know what great look you may unearth in the process.
Just add accessories
It’s true, the right accessories can really transform a tired wardrobe. Pair a scarf with a dress or top a shirt with a statement necklace to give each look a new spin. Alternatively if you wear the same bag everyday why not mix things up and try pairing your outfit with a different bag each day. A simple bag change can really alter the overall effect of an outfit. The same goes for shoes. If you usually wear a particular look with heels try pairing it with flats. If you usually wear it with dressy shoes try teaming it with sneakers instead.
Change up your bag to refresh favourite outfits
Turn to some visual inspiration
I am guilty of falling into a wardrobe rut where I’ll just repeat the same outfits over and over again. To help shake myself out of this I’ll do a quick scroll through Instagram, flip through a fashion magazine or visit some of my favourite style websites just to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes all it takes is one image to spark a new idea for an outfit I can pull together using what I already own.
Get something altered
Survey your wardrobe and see if there’s anything that can be repurposed into something new with a few alterations. Sometimes all it takes to completely transform something could be a new hemline or having something taken in in order to change the silhouette. You could find yourself with a brand new wardrobe favourite for just the cost of visiting a tailor.
Take my outfit challenge
If you’re bored of your wardrobe after an easy to follow plan on how to tackle it, try my 7-day outfit challenge. I’ve outlined a different thing to try each day and it will force you to have to look at what you already own and steer you into new territory.
What are some of your favourite ways to refresh your wardrobe?
How well do you know your personal style? Over the years and with a lot of trial and error I think I’ve finally got mine defined. Whenever I’m asked about my style now I can clearly define it in a few words: simple, understated and polished. That however, took several experimental years until I finally found my groove and discovered a certain way of dressing that meant I immediately knew if something was me or not.
So what’s the benefit of confidently knowing what your style is? Well it certainly makes pulling an outfit together that much easier. I think having that knowledge of what encompasses your look will mean that it’s easier to know what’s not you. Which sounds simple but is actually one of the key things that can lead to you ending up with less random buys that gather dust in your closet and more items that will get worn time and time again. Once you know something doesn’t fit into the your style category then you’re less tempted to buy it.
One of the best things about it is also the freedom that it gives you when you look into your closet and try to pull an outfit together. There’s less of the paralysis that comes with seeing an endless array of clothes that don’t all scream you and trying to make them work for an ensemble that you may or may not be happy with. Also, if you see a wardrobe that’s only filled with pieces that genuinely reflect you, you’re more likely to get much more wear out of everything you own and that’s a great big tick in the cost per wear department.
So how do you define your personal style? I think it’s all about looking at everything you own and seeing what you wear often and what brings a smile to your face. If you take note of those pieces you’ll often find that they have an overarching theme linking them and that will help you on your way to finding a look that works for you. I find it’s helpful if you can think of three words to describe everything so you can call on those adjectives every time you’re trying to refocus yourself and remember what your style is all about. Once you’ve done this, I promise everything else becomes so much easier.
Have you found your personal style? How did you go about discovering it?
Nailing your personal style makes getting dressed infinitely easier. It helps you hone in what will and won’t work in your wardrobe with laser precision and you’ll end up with a more cohesive, wearable look. It’s also the kind of thing that comes with a little experimentation and a few little a-ha moments along the way.
I’ve gone through my own periods of trial and error, dabbling with looks that I thought were “me” but ultimately I tended to gravitate back towards the same aesthetic. I like looks that are classic, polished yet still incorporate a trend or two. And knowing this has meant that everything from shopping to deciding what I’m going to pull out of my closet in the morning is a seamless process.
If you’re still in the midst of rediscovering or honing your style you’re not alone. It’s often a process that adapts and changes over time but ultimately knowing what makes you you fashion-wise is at the core of what makes great style. Here are a few questions that will have you on the right track.
What do I feel good in?
It’s simple enough but wearing what makes you feel good is often the key to great style. This is because it generally means that you feel confident in your outfit and that’s often the thing that underpins any look that works. So if you find that you always feel amazing in feminine pieces then go ahead and make them a staple of your everyday look. If colour puts a smile on your face, then you’ll know that a muted colour palette might not be your thing.
What do I always gravitate towards when I’m shopping?
We all tend to have things that will immediately catch our eye when we’re shopping. Whether it be sleek, tailored pieces such as blazers or skirts or comfy, relaxed looks like jeans and t-shirts, there’s always something that will speak to you when you’re browsing and that’s a clear clue to your particular style. Start paying attention to what catches your eye to enable you pinpoint your signature look.
What words describe my style?
Think of a few words to describe your look. Often that’s a good indicator of what your overall style is all about.
What pieces do I wear all the time?
Take stock of what items in your closet are always doing overtime. Often what we instinctively reach for when trying to decide what to wear is what speaks to our style the most. So start noting down the things that you immediately pull out the next time you’re getting dressed in the morning. You’ll soon discover a very obvious pattern…
What do I want my style to say about me?
What we wear on a day to day basis often sends a message to the world about who we are. So think about what you want your wardrobe to say about you? Often this is a key area which can steer you in the right direction towards ultimately defining your personal style.
Tell me—what things have helped you start to define your personal style?
When I’m off duty I’m all about comfort. I have to spend a lot of my working life getting dressed up so when it’s time to unwind, I like to ensure that whatever I’m wearing is easy and relaxed. Leisure wear is all about an unfussy silhouette which I love, but my style still maintains a polished feel no matter whether it’s for work or play so I always keep that in mind for any off duty looks. I like to know I can easily go from a day spent lounging at home to a quick trip to the shops without too much fuss. Want to know how to style lounge wear in a no-fuss way? When it comes to dressing for comfort here are the rules I stick to….
Go for quality fabrics
I make sure I buy basics in good quality fabrics. For example I love to wear beautiful cashmere knits or a great linen shirt just to make sure everything looks polished. If you are planning to wear these pieces regularly, investing in quality fabrics will make sure that they last longer. My favourite brands for leisure wear include Bassike and C&M as I find they make great relaxed pieces that are quite fashion forward at the same time.
Stick to a specific colour palette
I refine my colours down to neutrals such as black, white and grey when it comes to leisure wear. It’s easy to mix and match pieces with that colour scheme and straightforward is what you want when it comes to off duty style. That said, I’ll often add a pop of colour with a scarf or another accessory just to give the outfit a little injection of personality.
Sneakers are a key part of leisurewear (it also makes running after kids easier!)
Opt for dressier shoes
Your choice of footwear can often help dress up an otherwise casual look. For example I love slouchy, baggy pants with a drop crotch and when teamed with a pair of slides or loafers or a dressy pair of runners it looks considered and put together—but still super comfy.
Mix with quality accessories
If I’m wearing a really simple outfit such as slouchy pants with a tee, often the addition of certain accessories can help pull it together and dress it up a bit. A leather jacket or a handbag are easy additions that give it a touch more polish. By doing this I’m still comfortable but maintain a stylish vibe at the same time.
It goes without saying that what we wear plays a huge role in how we feel when we walk out the door. Feeling confident in your clothes is all about choosing the right pieces. If you’re wearing a look that makes you look amazing, you’ll be armed with confidence when you go about your day. Wearing something that flatters is of course key, but I’ve found that there are certain pieces which are just natural confidence boosters. And they’re probably all sitting in your wardrobe already…
A great dress
Not everyone is a dress person, but if you fall into the camp of loving them, then a gorgeous dress, whether it’s a flowy maxi, a polished midi or a fun, playful mini is something that can make you feel polished and put together. The key is finding a style that flatters. So if you don’t yet have that one dress in your closet that makes you feel amazing, then definitely set aside the time to find on this spring/summer that does just that.
A statement piece
I love working statement pieces into a look if I’m feeling a bit blah and need a confidence boost. I’ve found bold pieces help you look and feel better, and are the ultimate pick-me-up.
The perfect pair of jeans really can be the ultimate confidence booster. The key is taking the time to try on several different pairs until you find one in just the right style, wash and fit. Also, denim can be worn back with virtually anything meaning you can wear them on high rotation.
A polished blazer
Whenever I need to elevate my look I always rely on a great blazer. I’ve found just popping a sleek blazer over what I’m wearing instantly makes me look and feel polished, which in turn helps me feel confident.
Feeling confident in clothes also extends to shoes and accessories. Whether you’re a heels girl and love nothing better than a pair of sky high stilettos or you’re more into flats and are all about a gorgeous pair of slides or sandals, I’ve always found wearing great shoes to be one of the best ways to make me feel ultra confident in what I’m wearing.
A matching set
This is honestly the best shortcut to putting together an outfit and looking and feeling polished at the same time. A matching set just looks sleek, plus it’s a no-brainer look for those days when you really can’t be bothered having to mix and match pieces so it’s a win-win option.
The key to elevating your style doesn’t involve an astronomical amount of money or a constant stream of designer purchases. In fact, a lot of it comes not from what you own but what you do. Whenever I look at the people who always present themselves impeccably, I always notice that they have a few things in common. Here’s where you can start if you want to elevate your look.
Know your style
People who have amazing style are always confident in their look. They know what works and what doesn’t and essentially what makes their look their own. If you’re still a little unsure of your style, pay attention to things that you always gravitate towards. Pinpoint the pieces that make you feel and look amazing. You’ll soon be able to distill what it is that defines your aesthetic.
Make sure you have the basics
It’s important to make sure you’ve got the basics covered before you can evolve your style to the next-level. This means everything from having a go-to dress to having the right underwear for various silhouettes and casual staples like t-shirts and jeans. Having reliable pieces already sitting in your closet will allow you to concentrate on how you can give those things your own unique spin.
Have a tailor that you trust
There’s something quite special about having a wardrobe filled with pieces that are perfectly fitted to your body— clothes just sit better when they’re tailored. This is why it’s important to find a tailor that you trust. Try asking around in your social circle to see if anyone has someone good they can recommend or look up online reviews of various tailors in town. Another option is doing your own research by getting something altered and seeing what the result is.
Invest in quality items
There are workhorses in every wardrobe and they need to be the best quality that you can afford. Don’t scrimp on things that you’re likely to use all the time like a work bag, or shoes that you’ll wear constantly on the weekend. Identify these key items and splurge on them. Quality items generally withstand wear and tear a little better. You can then be a little more economical with other things in your wardrobe that won’t get used quite as often.
Make an effort to look after your clothes
To ensure that your clothes always look pristine follow instructions on how to launder them, hang and fold garments rather than just dumping them on the nearest available space, and it seems obvious but always iron or steam garments before you walk out the door. Also store items like shoes and bags properly by keeping them in their dust bags and not piling them on top of each other so they lose their shape.
Avoid jumping on board every single trend
To elevate your style involves looking like you’re confident in what you’re wearing. That means being able to pinpoint knowingly what works and what doesn’t for you and that involves being selective in the trends that you adopt. Experimenting with looks is great, but so is knowing what your style is and not feeling like you have to jump on every single trend to look good.
Ahhh weekends. There’s nothing better than enjoying a little down time at the end of a hectic week and for me that also applies to my wardrobe. I’m all about comfort plus when it comes to what I wear an Saturday and Sunday but it doesn’t mean that I compromise on the style front.
A white t-shirt can be paired with so many things — wear it under a slip dress, pop it on with a skirt or tuck it into wide legged pants so it pays to have a few in your closet. It’s honestly the easiest thing to mix and match and will save you many wardrobe hassles over the weekend. I’ve also found teaming a white tee with dressier piece also tones them down a bit and makes it appropriate for casual day wear, expanding the use of your wardrobe even more.
Try a printed skirt
A beautiful printed skirt is a seriously comfortable option as far as weekend wear goes, but it looks so chic at the same time. Try a pleated skirt or a wrap style with a striking print for an of-the-moment outfit. Pair it with a lightweight sweater or a tee or singlet and a pair of sneakers and you’re ready for whatever the day throws at you.
Invest in great sneakers
I live in sneakers most of the time so I’ve found that having a go-to pair is ideal. Classic white sneakers will go with virtually everything you own whether that be your favourite jeans or a summer dress. They’re a definite workhorse so you can stock up on a few different styles and get plenty of use out of them.
Whether you opt for a chic backpack, a roomy tote or a crossbody style it’s always a good idea to swap to a more casual, take-anywhere bag on the weekend. I’ve found that a reliable and study carryall made from leather is something that will last you many seasons. Also switching from my work bag to an off duty bag also helps me get into the right mindset for relaxation.
Dress it up
Dresses are without a doubt one of the easiest things you can ever put on simply because there’s no need to worry about mixing and matching tops and bottoms. I’ve found slip dresses are a simple shortcut to looking on trend and chic, plus you can mix up the look of them by wearing a t-shirt underneath.
Turn to chic co-ord sets
I love co-ordinating sets. Whether it be a shell top with shorts or a jumper with jogger pants there’s something quite effortless about matching separates that makes you look instantly pulled together. They’re a major trend at the moment so you’ll no doubt find a set that works within your style and budget this season.
What are some ways you’ve elevated your weekend look?
Wearing white is one of the best ways to freshen up a winter look. While it’s expected we gravitate towards dark tones during the cooler months, there’s something fresh about incorporating crisp white into a look—it’s unexpected and one way to brighten up an outfit.
Also, one of the great things about wearing white denim is that it plays well with virtually every kind of print and pattern you can think of. You can wear it with a neutral palette like I have above, or work it against a classic print like spots or stripes, or pop it on with a tee and a coat. The options are pretty much endless. It’s also a great trans-seasonal option, being able to go from winter knits during the cooler months to slips and tees once summer is upon us. You can also layer it really well given the ease in which in can work back with different colour palettes, also it works beautifully with different textural elements.
If you’ve yet to introduce white denim into your wardrobe you’ll be pleased to hear that there are plenty of shapes and styles to work with this season. From straight leg jeans to old favourite skinny denim and cropped styles, there’s definitely an option to size every size, shape and budget.
While it can sometimes feel like a daring feat to wear white during the day (particularly when you’re a mum encountering sticky/an or dirty hands almost constantly!) there’s something so polished about incorporating white denim into your casual wardrobe. It’s easily becoming a fave in my own wardrobe and I’m sure it will be the same with yours. Go ahead and add a little lightness to your winter look, I promise you won’t regret it.
Shop my edit of great pieces to wear back with white denim below.
Stylist Lana Wilkinson has styled the likes of Megan Gale, Rebecca Judd, Anna Heinrich and Zoe Foster Blake, and in 2019 she launched her eponymous shoe brand—so, if anyone knows the key to great style it’s Lana. With the launch of her second shoe range this month focusing on versatility and multipurpose styles, I thought it was a great time to catch up with Lana herself to share her tips on how to achieve the one thing most women want: a truly versatile and functional wardrobe.
What’s the key to ensuring versatility with one’s wardrobe?
“My number one tip for ensuring your wardrobe has versatility, is to buy pieces that you can integrate and pair with three items already in your wardrobe. It makes the styling process far less overwhelming.”
What should women keep in mind when shopping if they do want a wardrobe that has longevity and versatility?
“If you want your wardrobe to stand the test of time, I recommend buying classic investment pieces that don’t go out of style. Staple items like a blazer, classic black pant or LBD and denim are always great go-to pieces, no matter what the trends are for the season. My wardrobe formula is quality over quantity, 80% classic / 20% trend-based.“
What are the most versatile style staples every woman should have in her wardrobe and why?
A Pump Heel. They create the ultimate leg-lengthening effect, making you look feminine and elongated all at the same time. Total boss vibe too!
Blazer. A Blazer is the ultimate wardrobe staple and has the power to make any outfit look more styled and put together. Blazers designed in a classic colour way (black, grey, camel or white) will always be a great investment that you will wear time and time again.
Denim. Jeans that make you look and feel amazing will be one of the most essential pieces in your wardrobe. They can be worn casually with trainers or styled up with a signature pair of heels.
Basic T-shirt. A good T-shirt is often overlooked as a key wardrobe staple. They can be worn in so many different ways and can be dialed up for day or evening. Again, in signature colour ways like black, white and grey – you can’t go wrong.
What are the 3 most versatile pieces in your wardrobe and why?
“I’m a sucker for a cool midi-dress. Pair it back in winter with a chunky knit, trainers, pump or boots or in summer with a pair of sandals or flats.
A must-have for me is a black blazer. It sure gets a big workout in my wardrobe! It is so versatile and perfect for layering, I can wear it with jeans and a t-shirt, or pair it with black trousers for a power suit look at work.
A good fitting pair of jeans are another versatile piece that serve me through the week and also on weekends. You can pair them with a knit for an off duty look or with heels and a structured top to go out at night.”
When it comes to shoes, it seems there is always an endless array of designs to choose from. What should women look for when it comes to picking shoes that will go the distance?
“I’ve found that shoes are such a personal fashion item, so I have a hard time advising women on what they should and shouldn’t wear. My main advice is usually to have fun with them and make sure you are comfortable. The aim of my shoe collection is to give women multiple options and fashion forward staples that they can wear again and again.”
What was the inspiration behind your new range? Why are they the kind of shoes that can be worn time and time again?
“My aim in designing my footwear line is to create versatile, fun pieces that you will feel great wearing. I have been inspired by utility and want to make sure that my customer can wear the pieces time and time again, not just for one season. The new collection features classic styles in versatile colours to make sure that my customer can get the most out of each piece.”
If you had to pick, which style in your new collection would be your go-to shoe?
“It’s always so hard to choose! At the moment I’ve been wearing the “Megan” (pictured above) to death as they go with everything and the heel height allows me to wear them all day.”
What should people scrimp on if they do want to ensure that their wardrobe is functional and wearable season after season?
“I always advise people to scrimp on basics like t-shirts and shirts, as these are the building blocks of an outfit but won’t add any wow factor to them. Uniqlo and Zara always have excellent layering pieces at an affordable price.”
Where do you think women tend to go wrong if when they look at their wardrobe they constantly think “I have nothing to wear”?
“I think we need to aim to reinvent our wardrobes more than we currently do. Instead of thinking that you need a completely new collection of clothes, try taking out your essential pieces and play around with them to find new and interesting ways to build an outfit. Styling my garments and accessories in different ways gives me extra wear out of pieces. I try to make my wardrobe habits more sustainable which results in less stress when I get dressed in the morning!”
What’s the key to classic, timeless style?
“Everyone has their own version of classic style as fashion is so subjective, however wearing tailored silhouettes and timeless pieces will ensure that your look has longevity. Try not to follow trends too closely as these tend to go out of style more quickly.”
What’s one thing you wish more women would do when it comes to their wardrobe?
“I wish that women would feel more confident wearing pieces more than once. This is something that we were told was a big ‘no-no’, however why shouldn’t we wear items that we feel great in all the time? If you invest in a piece that you absolutely love and look after it, it can last for decades, instead of just one season.”
If you’re currently looking to bump up your loungewear options you’re not alone. With more time spent at home right now it’s a great to have some comfortable pieces that are simple yet have an element of polish. I’ve always been a big fan of loungewear and lived in it when I had both the girls as we would spend a lot of time at home. In the process I’ve worked out the key pieces that are great to mix and match and have in your wardrobe. Here are a few to add to your collection…
These are as comfy as tracksuit pants but are just that little more polished. With the tapered leg and cropped length they’re the ideal pants to live in when you’re working from home or simply up to your umpteenth Netflix session…
A white tee
It’s worth building up a collection of white tees as you can pretty much live in them 7 days a week. They’re the ideal companion to a jogger pant, jeans, shorts… the list is endless so the cost per wear is great. Also, you can easily work them into your work/going out wardrobe when things are back to normal.
A matching set
A two-piece set is always a shortcut to looking polished. And there are so many sets that are comfortable and stylish at the same time. Look for fabrics such as super soft cotton or linen, they’re made for days spent staying in.
Drop crotch pants
I had a few Bassike drop crotch pants in my post-baby wardrobe and found them so great for wearing around the house but were fine to wear out in case I needed to get some fresh air. The Bassike pants can be a little pricey so definitely look out for options from chain stores like Country Road or Glassons or hit up ASOS which has some really affordable versions.
Wide leg pants
I’ve always been a fan of wide leg pants and they’re even better when you’re staying in. They’re great when made from a soft jersey or linen, and can often be found as a set with a matching jumper which makes for a no-brainer outfit.
A cosy sweater
Now that the weather is cooling down it’s definitely good to have a few cosy knits on hand. Pop them on with a cosy jogger pant or with jeans and prepare to snuggle up in style.