8 Ways to Be More Stylish & Build Your Personal Style from Scratch

blogger how to be more stylish

The leaves are falling, the first cold front has swept through, and it’s November—we’re officially in the throes of the holiday season. The weeks ahead hold many of the priceless joys we anticipate all year, but with the holidays also comes a wave of temptation to make less than sensible shopping decisions—especially when it comes to our wardrobes.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with buying new clothes. When the deals are amazing, I can online shop with the best of them.

But before we dive into the season, it’s a good time to evaluate our approach. And to remember that when we shop, we’re ultimately after a feeling (confidence, comfort, ease, etc.). I’m not saying that an amazing piece of new clothing can’t give you that.

But I want to talk to you about how to fall in love with your closet right now. Because while it’s possible that a new dress, sweater, or pair of boots could be your answer to feeling more stylish, maybe a simple mindset shift or the slightest tweak in how you get dressed could do the same.

Below, I’m breaking down 8 ways to be more stylish and start loving the way you dress right now.

8 Ways to Be More Stylish

1. Become An Expert at Gathering Inspiration

This is my top tip. Gather inspiration! Become an expert observer of outfits you like—on Pinterest, on Instagram, in fashion magazines, on brand websites, on fashion blogs, on stylish women you admire. What makes them stand out? Why does it work? Be precise, train your eye. Then imitate outfits you like, which is a helpful creative technique as you build your styling muscles. It forces you to pay attention to the details, and eventually you’ll be able to put looks together on your own.

2. Use a Full-Length Mirror Daily

I never had a full-length mirror growing up, so I was conditioned to using a bathroom mirror to get dressed. We bought our first floor mirror for $60 at TJ Maxx and it changed everything. A large mirror is sort of like your sketchbook—it’s how play with different proportions, colors, and textures, accessorize, and be your own personal stylist until the outfit feels complete. This is an affordable option, and this is the one I have in my office.

3. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Developing a signature style can take years of practice. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and keep it fun by trying new things! The only way you can ever confidently say, “yes, this is my style,” is to expose yourself to a ton of different styles and aesthetics—those you like and don’t like. A good challenge is to go into a store you think you’d never buy anything from and try to create an outfit with their pieces. Play with colors, patterns, textures, accessories, and silhouettes as a starting point.

4. Pay Attention to Proportions

Proportions are key to creating aesthetic harmony. Wearing clothes that are fitted to your body shape is a good start. When you want to play with a statement piece, oversized piece of clothing (this is very in right now), or an unusual shape (think a cape, flare jeans, etc.), keep the rest of the look fitted.

how to be more stylish and fashionable
woman wearing cardigan with faux leather pants and heeled mules

Outfit Details: Intermix Cardigan (similar, less expensive here), Paige Pants, BP. Mules, Amazon Pouch (sold out, similar, smaller version here)

5. Know Your Wardrobe Inside Out

Spend a rainy Saturday taking inventory of what you have. This will make the allure of sales and trendy pieces much less appealing. Know your wardrobe’s gaps so that when you get a sale alert for something you love, you’ll know whether or not it’s practical to pull the trigger on it.

6. Budget for Classic Pieces

Once you’ve done the inventory in tip #5, make a shortlist of evergreen and seasonal basics you think your wardrobe could be missing. My capsule wardrobes and seasonal essentials can give you some ideas. If you’re overwhelmed by the list, consider setting aside some of the pieces from your closet inventory that no longer fit or that you simply don’t wear to sell on Poshmark or donate (for a tax write off), then use the earnings to start working on building out your collection of basics.

7. Get Cozy with Consignment

I can’t even tell you how many designer items in my closet I found preloved! I have a whole blog post on how to find designer clothes for less here. I have a private Pinterest board where I pin the wish list pieces I’m saving for (I love the visual organization). I also favorite those items in my ShopStyle account so that I’ll automatically receive an email alert as soon as it goes on sale. The Real Real and Fashionphile are also great destinations for high-quality, pre-loved clothing and accessories.

8. Be Kind to Yourself

Styling is one of the only “arts” where our bodies are the canvas. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of the phrase, “you’re perfect.” I’d rather choose to believe I’m an imperfect human with an imperfect body, then be my own best friend as I’m creating new outfits and working on my fashion sense. Learn to wear clothes that flatter your body type rather than hide it, and stay curious and gentle as you play with the proportions, colors, and pieces of clothing you feel good in.

What’s one way you can start loving the way you dress right now or cultivating your unique style? I’d love to hear your takeaway in the comments!

For more style tips and outfit ideas, come hang out with me on Instagram. If you’re building your wardrobe from scratch, see my spring, summer, fall, and winter wardrobe essentials.

woman wearing intermix cardigan with white faux leather pants
wrap cardigan outfit with faux leather pants and pouch clutch
wrap cardigan outfit with white pants
woman wearing faux leather pants fall outfit with sweater and heeled mules