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The Top 5 Style Challenges and How to Overcome Them

07/24/2014 12:59 EDT | Updated 09/22/2014 05:59 EDT
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I've been styling a lot of clients online lately and the more women I work with globally, the more evident it is that when it comes to shopping and getting dressed, no matter where my clients live, whether it's in Canada, the UK, Australia or Austria, the majority of them struggle with the same issues.

Here are the Top 5 Style Challenges I see, and how to overcome them...

1. Don't Know What Suits Them

This first challenge is at the root of all the other challenges on this list. If you don't know what suits you or what looks good on you, how can you effectively know what to buy, what to wear, how to put an outfit together or know which new things to try?

Before you do anything else, you need to figure what works for you. How? By learning. Learn about your body shape and how to dress for it -- which cuts and styles to wear and how to wear them. Learn about which colours suit you and learn about your own personal style -- what you like and dislike, what feels like "you" and what doesn't.

Read books, scour the internet or hire a Personal Stylist to give you one-on-one, personalized assistance and advice.

2. Don't Know How to Put Outfits Together

Many women struggle with putting outfits together. They're often overwhelmed by the process, don't know where to start or are unsure of which items to pair together.

One reason they struggle is that they don't know what to wear (see Challenge 1). Another is that they're trying to create the outfit all at once, instead of breaking it down. A third is that they don't have the right pieces in their closet to pull from. Finally, many don't know how to accessorize, so they skip this final and crucial step altogether.

If you struggle with putting outfits together, first make sure that you've got Challenge 1 figured out. Then read the piece I wrote about the 5 Steps to the Perfect Outfit Every Time. It helps break the process down into easy to follow steps.

3. Have a Closet Full of Clothes But Nothing to Wear

In the many years that I've been styling, never have I ever had a client with nothing to wear. (One came close, but even she had a few good outfits.)

The most common reason for feeling like you have nothing to wear is that you (like most people) probably wear 20 per cent of your clothes, 80 per cent of the time.

If you don't believe me, or even if you do, start stacking clothes that you wear regularly onto one side of your closet or group them together. You'll soon start to see which clothes you wear most and which ones get left behind.

Try to figure out why you don't wear the ones in the "left behind" section. Are they the wrong size, colour or style? Do they need altering, cleaning or repairs, or are you waiting to buy other pieces to go with them?

You'll soon see that not only do you have something to wear; you probably have more than enough or at the very least, a good place to start.

4. Don't Know What to Buy

By this point, you can probably deduce where the challenge of not knowing what to buy comes from. If you haven't figured it out, read Challenges 1 through 3 again.

If you don't know what suits you, if you don't know how to put outfits together, if you have no idea what you actually have in your closet and why you do or don't wear certain pieces, how will you ever know what to buy? Add that to the fact that you go into a store filled with limitless possibilities, it's no wonder you either leave empty-handed or buy the first half-decent thing you stumble upon.

Once you know what suits you; once you know how to put yourself together; and once you've determined what's in your closet and what might be missing, you'll know exactly what you to look for and buy. You'll be able to zero in on pieces that are right for you and avoid the ones that aren't.

5. Are Afraid to Try Something New

Many women are afraid to try something new -- whether it's a new colour, pattern, cut or style. Part of this stems from knowing whether or not it suits them (there's Challenge 1 again). The other part comes from fear and/or lack of confidence.

Trying something new is risky and scary, but how will you ever know how fabulous you could look if you never try? Trying new things allows you to grow and evolve and get better and better.

The only way to overcome this is to just do it. If you know what works for you and what doesn't, there's a good chance you'll try something new and it'll look great. If, on the other hand it doesn't, well, then, no biggie -- at least you tried. Just make sure no one took photos.

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