How to claw your way out of a style rut

If everything in your wardrobe is feeling tired and dull, you could be in a fashion rut. Here’s how to revamp your style.

At one end of the wardrobe are pencil skirts that were the favourites 10 years ago; at the other end is an assortment of bell-sleeved tops in three different shades of black.

In the middle are clothes that are just there when rushing out to run chores.

It’s a common style rut that seems to take too much time to rectify, let alone even think about it.

But these tips for a good style cleanse from experts may help update your wardrobe.

How to recognise a style rut

Australian Style Institute founder Lauren Di Bartolo says most don’t even realise they’re in a rut until they have to attend an event.

“This may just be lunch with friends you rarely see or a job interview or a wedding and you look in your wardrobe and there’s nothing to be excited about,” Lauren says.

“Clothes are meant to help us feel confident and comfortable.”

Another sign of a style rut is a wardrobe full of the same clothing such as too many dresses or tops but few pants or skirts.

They can also be of a limited colour palette.

“There are also plenty of wardrobes with a group of clothes that no longer fit so they’re the hopefuls that maybe we’ll fit into them again one day or even that they’ll come back in fashion,’’ Lauren says.

“That’s a style rut.”

How a style rut can impact how you feel

My Virtual Stylist founder Rosie McKay says many women realise they need a style makeover when their life circumstances change.

Divorce, career change or moving into a different age group can be the catalyst.

“Women sometimes can’t quite put their finger on it but their clothes just don’t feel good any more so they gravitate to things that ‘just do’, like trackie dacks,” Rosie says.

“Clothes like that generate such a low-vibe energy though because you’re not putting any energy into making a choice.

“You’re just saying that will do and you carry that vibe with you through the day.”

How to get out of a style rut

The main way to get the style shifting is to declutter your wardrobe not to make room for more clothes but for more clothes that fit your life, according to Rosie.

“I recommend doing a donate pile, a pile that needs tailoring and a pile of things you love but don’t know how to wear,” she says.

“When we hang on to things because we want to lose weight to fit back into them, there’s an expectation we need to change – but it’s better to let go.”

This can often mean shopping for clothes that actually fit but also adapt to different parts of your life.

“We should wear clothes that suit our lifestyle and activity, make our shape balanced and feel good,” she says.

“We often hold on to things because we’re scared about losing a certain part of our identity instead of focusing on what is this new iteration? Who am I now and what do I need?”

How to make your wardrobe makeover last

It may be tempting for a classically styled person to embrace new trends but Lauren warns to approach with caution.

“The problem I see in people updating their style is that they go so far from their comfort zone that they make purchases they won’t end up wearing, so it’s safer to start with a new silhouette than overhaul your style,’’ she says.

“You can adapt to new trends that still feel comfortable.

“The last thing you want is to have imposter syndrome because your clothes don’t feel like you.”

Written by Catherine Lambert.