How to find your signature style and end the misery of indecisive shopping

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Is your shopping style all over the place? Is getting dressed really hard in the morning? Do you have trouble deciding what to wear because you can’t figure out what exactly your “signature style” is?

It happens.

Everyone should have a signature style. We’re not saying you have to streamline your closet and only wear jeans and T-shirts for the rest of your life. We’re not saying you can’t wear a big tulle dress when you feel like it because it’s not your “style.” But once you identify the kinds of clothes that make you feel like you, getting dressed (and going shopping) is a whole lot more fun and easy.

Here’s how to get started.

Do some research.
Go hang out at Barnes & Noble and look through the fashion magazines, or spend a little time surfing through Instagram and style blogs. Write down what inspires you. Maybe you really respond to floral prints and color. Maybe minimalism is your thing. Make a list of what you’re drawn to, and then look at it a day later and try to identify any obvious patterns you see. Are you constantly double-tapping on menswear-inspired pieces? Is there a celebrity whose style you’re constantly mimicking? Maybe you have a favorite photo of yourself, one where you look exactly how you want to look. These are all clues!

Now take your list -- or your inspiration board, if you’re fancy -- and define it with a handful of adjectives. For example, mine would be “feminine, form-fitting, ‘50s.” I feel best in slim, cropped sweaters and skirts paired with a leather moto jacket or simple slip or sheath dresses and pumps.

Take a good look at your closet.
What do you actually reach for every day? Maybe you buy black dresses in bulk. Maybe you love a good, deep V-neck. Maybe you can’t stop buying leather jackets or red shoes. Once again, these things are clues. The clothes you actually wear time and time again and feel good in should give you an idea of what your actual style is. Is there something you put on that always boosts your mood?

Survey your friends.
If you want an outside opinion, ask your BFFs how they would describe your style. The people who know you best might have insight you wouldn’t expect.

Honestly, get rid of the stuff you never wear. Maybe your closets are full of things your mom bought you that don’t feel like you, or a friend’s hand-me-downs, or that one hot pink bubble dress you bought when you thought you were going to get into wearing color. Get rid of ‘em. They’re just a distraction from your mission.

Once you’ve got your signature style mostly figured out, go shopping.
Head to stores you wouldn’t normally go to just to see what they offer. You might find a new favorite. For example, if you’ve decided your style is “boho,” and you love shopping at Free People, why don’t you check out the Sundance store right next to it at the Galleria? Make friends with the employees at your favorite store so they can alert you when new pieces that look like you come in. It definitely pays off.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and tweak your style.
Identifying a signature style doesn’t mean you have to follow the rules 24/7. You can and should try new things. You can be a minimalist and still wear a floral print or a ruffle sometimes.

Enjoy it!
Now that you’ve figured out what you love to wear and why you love to wear it, have fun! Getting dressed should be fun, after all.