When we’re in our teens, a lot happens in terms of growing up and rearranging your style. By 15, you think you’ve finally started to figure out what your look is — that is, until you hit 20 and everything you thought you knew about fashion is a total wash, and it’s time to start over again with a complete wardrobe change. In this article, I’ll go over some basic tips about how to adjust your wardrobe, based on your changing spirit.
Step 1: Throw your junk out.
It’s always best to start this process with a clean slate. Go through your closet and give away anything that doesn’t fit; on your second pass, get rid of anything that doesn’t feel like you anymore, even if you still like it. The bandage comes off cleaner than you think.
You just have to remind yourself that you are changing for the better, and so should your style. If you love it but it doesn’t fit, give it a new home, so someone else can love it just the way you did, and it won’t just lay buried under your old sneakers anymore. If you’re not sure if you like it, but it fits well, it’s not a true fit. Give it away. Just know there is a perfect owner for every item of clothing, and if it isn’t you, it would be cruel to keep it.
Step 2: Decide what colors look best on you.
This step is pretty subjective, but it’s also where you can take time and figure out which colors are your favorite to wear. If you’re pale enough, an easy way to tell if you are warm-toned or cool-toned is to check the veins on the inside of your wrist. If the veins appear to have a greener hue, that means your skin has a warmer, yellow tone, and you’ll look best in reds, oranges and gold. If your veins look blue, it means you’re more suited for cooler colors, like blues, purples, cool greens and yellows.
Another way to check your tone is to look at your eyes in the mirror; if you see some gold or yellow flecks, you are probably more of a warm-toned person.
Step 3: Keep your shopping under control.
As you get older, you’ll need to purchase pieces that will last longer, and that means shirts that won’t rip at the neck when you’re trying to put your head through the hole. That’s the kind of fashion a 15-year-old could pull off by covering it with a chunky necklace or just letting it ride, but it shouldn’t be the kind of thing a 20-something like you should do. It’s time to skip the mass-produced, fast-fashion stores like H&M or Zara, for quality and environmental reasons, and start shopping for pieces that really speak to you.
Thrift stores are still okay, and so are hand-me-downs from siblings and friends, but the new rule is this: Only buy or take what you love, no matter how inexpensive or unique it is; if it’s cool, but it doesn’t quite fit, it’s not worth entering your wardrobe. Think of your closet as an elite club that only lets in pieces that speak to you. This brings us to step four of your wardrobe change.
Step 4: Figure out your brand.
When you’re younger, it’s totally normal to want to buy what everyone else wears or deems cool, but now, it’s time to figure out your own brand. Make sure that your wardrobe changes to reflect your own personal style.
Are you a minimalist with a simple sense of style, who prefers mostly black and white, with maybe a splash of color on the lips or in a pair of shoes? Are you cluttered and chaotic, but fashionable? Do you like a lot of chunky jewelry? Or do you prefer to wear wild colors and patterns, mashed together in an eccentric but chic way? Decide what you feel most comfortable in.
You’re going to be meeting a lot of new people in this stage of your life, and you have to remember that your first impression is influenced by your physical appearance; before you even open your mouth, people will have gathered information about you based on how you present yourself, and if you’re still wearing what you wore in middle school, people aren’t going to take you seriously. So whatever you like, just remember: You can convince anyone that you look amazing if you believe it yourself.
Step 5: Try to keep up with trends.
Fashion is constantly changing with the times, and it can be difficult to have your wardrobe change to reflect what’s in style. Sweat bands and perms were hip in the 1980s, but now they’re just a major eyesore. But trends come back all the time; in 2019, we are starting to see the comeback of early 2000s fashion, with lipgloss, hair barrettes and tube tops becoming more and more acceptable.
Of course, you never have to listen to what is trendy. In fact, this sounds like it contradicts step four, in the sense of keeping your originality; however, it never hurts to play with trends in your own way. Dig through your parents’ closet and find some pieces that were special to them when they were younger and make it your own.
Don’t feel discouraged about being “in style” according to the eyes of the general public. Whatever your style is, if you make it your own and convince people you look kick—s, you’ll rock it. The key to an awesome wardrobe change is self-confidence.
While it may be hard to say goodbye to your past, it’s 10 times more exciting to get ready for your future. You are at an age where your body and your style will most likely stay the same for a good amount of time, so you want to make sure you have the wardrobe to hold you up in your next stages in life. Dress to be yourself, but also, dress for who you’ve always wanted to be. You are a new and more mature you, so why hide that behind what you used to be?