2015 Style Lessons I’m taking into 2016 (+ my year’s best clothing buys)

 

Happy (fashionably late) New Year, love!

2015 was a special year for me.

Prior to 2015, my love and eye for style was only reflected in my own wardrobe. Over this past year, I started to use my style skills (that's a thing...) to help more women than just me find their style, and more joy + confidence in the process.

Through this, I learnt some things about style. About the mindsets and approaches that affect how we feel about our style, and thus how we we feel about ourselves.

Today, I wanted to share these lessons with you. Each lesson has helped me find more joy and confidence in the clothes I wear—and I want that for you!

I also thought it would be fun + worthwhile to include some of my best clothing purchases from 2015. Read on for those as well!

Here are 3 lessons I learnt in 2015 that I’m carrying with me into 2016 >>>

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Style Lesson 1: Style Evenness

You guys, this was a big one for me personally. I’m a reformed style-chaser. I was always trying to be more stylish, more fashionable—trying to find my next “wow” piece to add to my closet.

I thought that to be stylish I needed to keep buying great finds that were more stylish than what everyone else had.

In 2015 I learnt better.

I’ve coined the term style chasing to refer to a destructive mindset so many of us are stuck in (but hey we can totally blame the fashion industry for it!)

Style chasing has us constantly living out a circle of feeling like our clothes aren’t good enough, chasing after the clothes that we think will make a difference, and then finding ourselves back to feeling like nothing we own is good enough (or with our eyes already set on something new.)

Does this sound familiar? (Hey, if so, you’re not alone—far from it!)

The problem isn’t wanting to improve our style. It’s how we’re going about it—by chasing higher highs; by chasing our next high. And this chasing can leave us with a closet full of one-off’s; things we wear once, things that match with only one thing, things that don’t last beyond one season. Worse than it’s affect on our wallet, is it’s affect on how we feel about ourselves when we get dressed every day.

Instead, we need to focus on getting to style evenness.
And all that means is shifting our approach to our wardrobe from one of comparison, to one of abundance.
Our own unique tastes are what make us stylish—and there’s enough room for all of us to be wearing different things in different ways and still all be our most stylish and best dressed.
Style evenness is creating a baseline for what you wear, so that you always feel confident + comfortable however that looks like for you personally. And that goal of “dressing better than”—it's long gone.

Style isn’t in the “dressed better than”. It’s in all the unique tastes that already make up who you are. {Click to tweet}

If you want to read more on this style mindset, I wrote a blogpost a bit ago here.

 
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Style Lesson 2: If it’s not right, wait

Since 2014, I’ve shifted my closet under the influence of a “less is more” approach. I can’t tell you how many garbage bags of clothes have gone up on etsy or to the donation bin (a lot more than my remaining wardrobe would fill.) And since carefully curating + minimizing my wardrobe, my style (and life!) has changed dramatically.

I’ve seen my style reflected in absolute clarity.
I’ve felt consistently confident + comfortable in every outfit I’ve left my house in.
I’ve been comfortable in all the actions that make up my lifestyle.

I was experiencing all that, until my system started to break.

All the benefits of a carefully curated, small closet were collapsing when I introduced the wrong piece back into my ecosystem.

The wrong piece: like a shirt that didn’t fit quite right, a coat that was too good a bargain to pass up, the perfect sweater in the not-perfect colour, the dress that looked amazing...on somebody else’s Instagram.

So I added a second mantra to my “less is more” approach: “If it’s not right, wait.” Another version of this I love: “Buy less; choose better.”

Clothes are never a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
No sale is too good, no style is too perfect, no colour is too flattering not to be passed up.

So now, if it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly, unquestionably like a right buying decision, I wait for the piece that is. If it’s not the right fit, the right colour, the right material, the right price, I wait. (Or at least that’s what I’m working towards.)

Clothes are never a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If it’s not right, wait. {Click to tweet}

If you want to read more on this less is more approach, it's been the subject of numerous blog posts. Like this style post, this de-cluttering post, and these buying less guides: Part 1 & Part 2

 
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Style Lesson 3: Embrace a little colour

If you’ve been reading this blog, you may be a little shocked.
I just checked, and every single outfit on this blog with only two TWO exceptions is made up entirely of neutrals.
You guys, I’ve been missing out.

One of the aspects I encourage my style students to explore (in my free Find Your Style workbook) is what you’re communicating through your clothes. You communicate to others through the clothes you wear, but you also communicate to yourself. You reinforce your own (and sometimes untrue) ideas about the kind of person you are, your strengths, and weaknesses.

At some point in late 2015, I realised that by avoiding even the colours I was drawn to, I was telling myself that I wasn't someone who could wear colour—and I was letting fear have a say in how I dress.

Fear of being too bold, fear of looking too naïve, too young, fear of having picked what is so obviously the “wrong” colour on my pale skin.

So now, I embrace a little colour. Because it’s not so scary after all. Because sometimes, when the weather is grey, we could all use a little more colour in our day.

Fear doesn’t decide what you wear. Dress with love + cheer and the world will appreciate your joy! {Click to tweet}


I hope those lessons can impact some of you as much as they have impacted me in 2015. I look forward to carrying them with me in 2016. (I already hear a voice in my head "if it's not right, wait") {wink}

Okay and now for some fun; some of my year's best clothing purchases…

 

The 3 best additions to my wardrobe in 2015

You might have guessed from style lesson #2 that I didn’t buy a whole lot in 2015 (at least comparably to my old thrifting-by-the-mass habits.)

I did accrue some vintage gems, as well as some classic summer pieces I know I will be loving for years, and I was super happy flares made their way back into my life in both white and black. But those are just what they are; pieces I love, but I could have found other pieces I loved to take their place. The 3 items I want to share with you now are ones that really impacted my experience getting dressed and how I felt about myself. Okay, let's go!

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Piece #1: Classic beige trousers...yup

You guys, I might have just named the most boring piece of clothing in existence—but these classic trousers have changed my life (I actually mean it!) I got this pair from Zara while in England, and I instantly felt like my wardrobe lost all it’s leftover college-kid awkwardness, and blossomed in to something chic + effortless.

Not only have I discovered my love of the classic front-pleat trouser, they also marked an important checkpoint in my transition from a wardrobe that was free and youthful, to one that is more chic and well-thought out. That thing I said up there about my residual college wardrobe, it's a real thing.

Unless you've got endless resources to money and custom-made clothes, it takes a long time to transition a wardrobe. So if you find yourself in your mid-twenties, feeling like your wardrobe isn't entirely caught up to where you are—that's totally okay. You'll get there. (I'll get there too!)

PS: I find this classic trouser so much more wearable than the jogger-style trousers I've had for many years. They gel pretty perfectly effortlessly with all my footwear, sweaters, and coats.

Trousers: similar over at J Crew (on sale!)

 
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Piece #2: The D’orsay Flat

Most of us who live in cities, we walk. We walk a lot. And when it comes to style, the last thing I want it to do is limit your life—or mine.

I don’t want to be saying no to stopping for ice cream, impromptu meet-ups, or anything else because my feet hurt. BUT, how great heels look with most of my wardrobe is pretty undeniable.

This flat is the compromise.

The pointed toe and the cut-out vamp work to elongate your ankle and leg—just like heels do. And in some instances, namely when my hemline is above the knee, I think they look even better than heels.

I wore this white pair til it was barely-white and I look forward to picking up a replacement pair come spring.
A big recommend for all my heel-loving, city-living ladies!

D'orsay flats: Similar cut in dreamy black suede here.

 
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Piece #3: The stylish carry-all

Up until this Fossil bag made its way to my possession, I found myself compromising when it comes to what I can bring for the day. I could either bring my camera or my umbrella or my book. Or if I wanted to bring more than just my camera I would have to use my tote bag, which was kind of cumbersome, and I would knock things over because I’m a little clumsy…

This bag is my preferred carrying style (long strap) and fits all my rain, photography, and entertainment equipment.

I’m excited to include this one, because you can still grab it here. And the smaller version now comes in these amazing mint and hot pink colours!


And there you have it: some style lessons + style wins.
All of which I intend to carry with me into 2016.

PS: If you enjoyed some of the style insights in this post, I think you’ll love joining my inner circle on the style side. You can download my free Find Your Style workbook, check the Style box, and you’ll keep getting more insights + guides that I only share in email.

And as always, I invite you to join my regular party over on Instagram! {@rebecca.jacobs}

In love + style,

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