How to Define Your Ideal Style

January 04, 2017 6 Comments

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

Have you ever stared into your overflowing closet and felt like you had nothing to wear?

If so, this post is for you. 

Having an overstuffed, under worn closet full of things is a North American epidemic. 

I'm not judging you. Trust me.

I, the founder of Encircled, an ethical and minimalism-driven fashion line spent most of my high school years and college medicating with shopping.

I was a shopaholic (you can read a little more about that in this post).

For now, I just want you to take comfort in the fact that you're not alone. Many of us experience the burden of having just too much stuff.

And quite often, it's not the right stuff.

Fact is most women wear about 20% of their closet 80% of the time. Yes, that means there's a whole 80% of that closet you have that is likely rarely or never seeing the light of day.

But don't think about the lost investment in that unworn 80% clothing.

Because, that is what many people get stuck on -- how much money they've spent acquiring clothing they don't wear -- and why I believe that we hold onto things for way too long. What other culture in the world rents storage units to store old stuff? 

Think of it the opposite way -- think of the opportunity to make more space.
About 80% more.

When we rebranded earlier in 2016 to our goals became laser focused on helping you to become a more conscious consumer, to align your values with your wardrobe and find adventure in the everyday.

We want you to be more with less.

I knew with the rebrand that we wanted to update our email subscriber bonus (a free carry-on only packing list) to something that felt more synchronous with our mission.

So, we created it.

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to walk you through our 3-step minimalist wardrobe design process. In today's post, I'm going to start with a quick intro and full walk through of step one of the process using my wardrobe as an example.

 

The Minimalist Wardrobe Workbook Part One 

No matter where you are today with your wardrobe, having a refined, minimalist closet IS possible.

Do you live in a climate like ours (hot in summer, cold as heck in the winter)? Yes, even YOU can embrace a seasonally relevant minimalist closet.

We believe that there are two keys to having a minimalist closet that works for you:

1. Set yourself some clear guidelines that rule your wardrobe.

Yes, boundaries. What are the guiding principles of your wardrobe? We want you to better align your wardrobe with your life.

Clothing, we believe, should be as carefully considered as your food and beauty products are. What you buy affects your health, your wallet and your overall well-being. It impacts your community. It impacts potentially global communities (negatively or positively). 

You get the opportunity to vote with your dollars.

Something to consider. Your clothing is against your skin ALL day. Choose fabrics that are safe - that use low impact, azo-free dyes. Low or no pesticide fabrics (i.e. NOT 100% non-organic cotton). Every time you wear a t-shirt, it's on your skin - whatever was used in the creation of that product. Every time you wash a t-shirt, it's in our waterways, which ultimately ends up in ground water, our lakes, oceans and rivers, and drinking water.

Consider the cost of each clothing purchase is not just comprised of the cost you pay at the store.

There is a human cost (for those who haven't watched it, check out the Netflix documentary, "The True Cost"). Supporting fast fashion companies who engage in suspect labour practices to get you that $8 t-shirt is turning a blind eye to what's really going on. 

Many of these companies operate at a high gross margin (essentially profit), so you can only imagine what that worker is being paid to sewn your tee.

In the minimalist workbook, we've setup three suggested guideposts for designing the minimalist closet of your dreams.

  • Quality over quantity
  • Owning your style
  • Your closet reflects your life

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

I won't spend time going into detail on each one here, but when you grab a copy of the workbook, you can read all about what that means. You're welcome to create your own, or edit it as you see fit. It's your wardrobe, your life.

 

2. Define your Ideal Style

Knowing your style is key to embracing minimalism. Refine your style, and claim it as your own.

We tend to accumulate clothing that we won't wear during major pivot points in our lives. Changing careers, transitioning from school to work, or work to home (or vice versa), having a baby, losing or gaining weight, or moving climates etc. 

When I started my transition to becoming an entrepreneur, I moved from a career in strategy consulting where the dress code was business casual to business formal depending on the day. Over the years, corporate jobs had left my closet over stuffed with blazers, collared dress shirts, dress pants and conservative kitten heels.

Before Encircled had an office, I was working from home (which meant pajamas all day). Now, I actually have to get dressed for work but consider myself lucky that our office dress code is wear-what-you-want.

The transition from corporate to entrepreneur left my closet exploding with unworn work clothing. Moreover, I'd downsized apartments so I had zero space. Some of the dress clothing had tags on it (yes, I said it). 

I said to myself - out loud - I'm never going back to corporate, these clothes will make a positive difference in someone else's life.

With that, I donated about two garbage bags full of almost new, in some cases very expensive business clothing.

Instantly, my closet felt lighter.

Also, I was lighter, and stronger in my purpose.

It's crazy how a change in closet, can impact your life. That's how closely interwoven (pun intended) we are with fashion in our culture. 

The key to creating a streamlined closet is to own your style, your shape, and your lifestyle as it is TODAY. Right now.

(Not tomorrow, not when you lose 20lbs. As it is. Now.)

Let's dig into the work.

 

YOUR LIFE

 

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

How you spend your time reveals your true priorities. It also reveals the ideal weighting of your wardrobe. 

Why have 20 going out tops if you only go out once a year?

In the workbook, we provide a pie graph in which you can map out the top three ways you spend your time in an average week (excluding sleeping, of course).

Then, take those three activities you spend the most time on and write out what style of dress is appropriate.

In my example, you can see that I spend a lot of time working (New year's intention is to do that less!), but right now that's probably 80% of my week. My work dress code as mentioned is casual which I think is a generous statement!

Next up, I spend the remainder of time with friends, or my boyfriend either at their homes, or going out for food or drinks. I'll call that style required out as Dressy Casual.

Lastly, the remaining chunk of time is spent working out. Athletic gear required!  

 

YOUR STYLE

 

Next up, we ask you to list out your favourite outfit for each of the activities where you spend the most time doing on a weekly basis.

Your go-to outfits.

Think about it this way. If you had 5 minutes to get dressed for that occasion, what would you wear? What outfit do you feel most comfortable or confident in?

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

For work, it definitely includes leggings (I love our high-rise Minimalist legging). A Nomadic V-Neck, long sweater coat, my moto boots and definitely any techie device I can get my hands on (current fav: apple watch).

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

For spending time with friends and my boyfriend, my go-to outfit includes my fav black ripped jeans, nude heels, a silky top, and my leather jacket. Add on rose gold jewelry and I'm good to go.

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

For working out, I have a standard uniform of black crops, a sport bra, my nikes, athletic top, our Travelista headband and headphones.

Don't be afraid to get too specific in this section. The more detail, the better.

Last step, whether you're feeling ultra-inspired or like you have no idea what your style is, I recommend making a pinterest board of your dream style.

Find some outfits that you love and pin them to a board (don't forget to follow us for some inspo!). Make sure they are outfits you would actually wear!

 

COLOURS YOU LOVE

 

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

The last step in part one is to map out the colours you love.

Take a quick look at your wardrobe. We humans are creatures of habit.

Are there a few consistent neutral colours in your wardrobe? A neutral would be something easily styled with another colour. Examples include black, grey, white, beige etc.

Next, write down 1-2 accent colours that make you shine.

I'm an addict to black-white-grey but when I put on a royal blue top, my eyes really pop. Same with a bright purple.

Thought I tend not to wear a ton of colour, it's important to acknowledge that variety can be a good thing. 

Unsure what colours look good on you? There's lots of resources online to help you figure out your best colour match. Alternatively, have a friend over and hold up different colours next to your face. See what lights you up!

Yay, you did it. Congrats! You've made it to the end of step one, defining your ideal style.

I'll be back next week to share a walk through of step two of the 3-step process to creating a minimalist wardrobe which is "Perform a closet Audit". Oh yes. This one will be good.

If you don't want to miss the next post, sign-up for our newsletter. We'll be sharing it there first.

Enjoy the process of refining your ideal style. 

If you haven't already grabbed your copy, get it now when you sign up.

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

Questions? Comments? I'd love to connect.Leave them in the comments below. I'd love to see how you're progressing with step one of the minimalist wardrobe workbook.

Want to check out our minimalist essentials? Shop our collection.

With gratitude,

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

Kristi

Founder + CEO, Encircled

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

Define Your Style. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is ethically made, out of sustainable and eco friendly materials.

Love travel? Join our League of Travelistas -- a community for women who love to travel. Click her to request access to our private facebook group.

All photos are copyright Encircled. Contact us for permissions/rights to re-use or repost images. 


6 Responses

Megan M.
Megan M.

September 17, 2018

Tried to sign up repeatedly over several days but every time I got what I suspect is the same error message many other commenters have gotten. Helloooo? Is anybody out there? Can this be fixed, please?

Jessica
Jessica

September 06, 2018

Also getting the error message

Sue Nielsen
Sue Nielsen

August 30, 2018

I have tried to sign up but it always says, sorry, error.

Stine
Stine

August 27, 2018

This is so helpful, can´t wait to get started!

Isabelle
Isabelle

August 26, 2018

Cannot sign up. Have tried many times over last 3 days – always error ?

Dee
Dee

August 19, 2018

I’ve spent hours over the weekend reading and digesting blogs re capsule wardrobes , style etc ended up feeling totally overwhelmed .
Read your article over coffee this morning and had a lightbulb moment !!
Absolutely brilliant .
Cant wait to read the next .
As a charity shop fiend with a lift bulging at the seams with no real sense of style I feel stressed at the thought of the task in hand but your article has made me feel inspired and that yes , I can actually do this.
Many thanks

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