Your Style: Fresh or Stale?

By Abby and Elle

Does your style reflect the real you or is your style merely a habit — one that you’ve had for years? Your style should evolve with you, as you grow — physically, mentally or otherwise. Easier said than done, but not impossible.

For most people getting dressed doesn’t qualify as risky, which is what it needs to be if you want to refresh your style.

Scott Bea, PsyD

Cleveland Clinic psychologist Dr. Scott Bea

Scott Bea, PsyD, a Cleveland Clinic psychologist, says that people tend to look for ways to reduce tension in their daily lives, not create tension. For example, the reason you wear the same things time and again is because they’re comfortable, physically and mentally.  In order to change your style, “you have to be willing to be uncomfortable,” he says. At least for a while.

“It takes 63 days to change a habit,” Dr. Bea says, which is about twice as long as we’d thought.

Habits and routines are difficult to disrupt. Think about your morning ritual: what you do from the time you wake up until the time you, say, leave for work. Bet it’s almost 100% the same every day.

Dressing is part of that ritual, says Dr. Bea, and to disrupt it would be to create tension.

So how can you change your style without having a nervous breakdown? Try these tips:

  • Start small. The next time you go for an old standby, say, your Burberry trousers and butterscotch silk blouse, consider what else in your closet might match those trousers. Surely you must have something else.
  • Play with accessories. Rather than buying a whole new wardrobe, take a risk with accessories. Surprise yourself with a new piece of jewelry, something you wouldn’t ordinarily wear.
  • Find a role model. Do you know someone whose style you admire? If so, emulate them. Try this: The next time you’re shopping, pretend you’re shopping for them. You might be surprised at what you come home with!
  • Be willing to be uncomfortable. Of course, if people look at you with one eyebrow raised, you may need to rethink your new style. On the other hand, if you receive more compliments than you can count, you’re on to something!

Most of us lack the objectivity to know when we need to make a change. Dr. Bea suggests asking someone you know and trust (really trust) if your style reflects the real you. But be prepared to feel uncomfortable. You may not get the answer you want — and you may have to consider a style reboot!