I have always been someone that loved fashion. Two of my favorite past time growing up was flipping through magazines and playing dress up with friends. My friend and I would wake up super early before school just to meet at one of our houses to try on outfits. The sartorial fun kept going when I went to college. Then graduation came, and I realized that I still had no idea what my personal style was. That didn’t change for two years. Little did I know that all it took to find my personal style was one shopping trip.
Two years ago, my online shopping carts were full and my bank account was not. I had no idea who I was style-wise. Every single morning I asked myself a question — who do I want to be today? I actually used to joke that I chose a different Spice Girl to dress like every day. I was lost, and thought that clothes were how I would be found. Like if I wore the right outfit some sort of code would be broken and my life would be figured out.
I had a ever-so-diverse collection of blazers, workout leggings, and graphic tees in my closet. None of which truly represented who I was. My closet was busting at the seams, but I still had nothing to wear.
I knew that there had to be a different way to figure out my personal style. One that did not consist of stalking celebrities on Instagram and shopping at Forever 21.
So I did what I could afford to do — stepped into a thrift store.
It was a place that I knew well, but the goal was different. I decided to search the store for items that stuck out to me. Instead of looking for specific items, I was looking for a feeling. My best friend always asks me if the item brings me joy when I ask her if she likes it. I decided to take her advice and start thinking of that when I shopped. Instead of asking myself if the clothing item was in style, I focussed on whether or not it brought me joy.
I wasn’t held back by the price. Unlike shopping at a department store, I knew that everything that I chose would e in my price range. I could pick through the racks freely and then head straight to the dressing room to see what I liked and what I didn’t.
Price tags can tend to sway our persuasion of style. I’m not saying that it’s a good or bad thing, but there’s a reason that people almost always gravitate to the most expensive option.
I ended up spending about an hour and a half in the thrift store. It sound crazy, but I was having so much fun that the time completely flew by. I went through racks like I never had before. When something caught my eye, I just threw it into my cart. I felt like a kid in the candy shop.
After the cart was filled to the brim with everything from denim button-ups to maxi dresses, I hit the fitting rooms. I tried to focus on how I felt in the clothes rather than how I looked. Although, let’s be honest, if the mirror is there, I’m going to look.
There’s always going to be that want to look great, but too many people suppress how they feel in the outfit and let how they look take over. It should be a balance of both.
The experience was exactly what I needed. In just and hour, I found out who I was style wise — a minimalist.
To be fair, I had a feeling that’s what my personal style was. I’ve always been the less-is-more type of person. But there comes a point in everyone’s life where you just don’t know. Personally, my time was right after college. I had an idea of who I was, but not who I wanted to be. Which led me on my own Eat Pray Love-esque journey with Spice Girls-inspired outfits instead of meditation.
That one trip to the thrift store changed me. It gave me a starting point. While that might not seem like much, it’s something that needed to be done. Because at the end of the day, what you already have in your closet is great, but it’s not your starting point. The beginning is where you decide what your personal style really is. I hope that helps you as much as it helped me.