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How to Change Your Style & Still Feel Like Yourself

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How to change your style and still feel like yourself

Have you ever felt like you were in a style rut, just bored with your wardrobe? Made a big change where a wardrobe transition seemed necessary, but you didn’t know how or where to start? Or, just spent time admiring other people’s outfits and wanted to give yourself a makeover? This article will show you how to do just that!

If you’re dying for a new look but afraid of losing yourself in the process, these tips will help you make a successful transformation!

  • Study different looks. If you know you need a change but are unsure of where to begin, fashion books, magazines, and websites are great start. Print out or rip out looks that inspire you – this will help you get a picture of the type of style you like most!
  • Find a fashion muse. Whether you want to emulate a certain celebrity or a stylish friend, studying different looks for inspiration can be a huge help. If you aim to dress more like your best friend, raid her closet! If you’re into Rachel Zoe, read her book or watch her TV show. No matter whose looks you like, try to get a complete sense of their fashion persona and find ways to make it your own. The goal is to create a look that is influenced by your muse, but is also distinctly your own. Take what you learn, but stay true to yourself! Not sure who you want to emulate? Check out How to Find Your Celebrity Fashion Muse for some ideas!
  • Make a list of defining pieces to purchase. There are always a few key articles that totally embody the look you’re going for, so take note! Whether it’s cowboy boots, scarves, or skinny jeans, write them down, pick your favorites and get shopping! This is also helpful if you’re thinking in terms of color. Does your new style include a pastel pink or a vampy red? If it epitomizes your style, write it down! You’ve got yourself a list of must-haves.

Example Essentials for Different Styles

Edgy

Edgy

Product Information: Gold Studded Bangle Set, Dorothy Perkins. Leather Mix Biker Jacket, TopShop. Siwy Shredded Ankle Skinny Jeans, shopbop.com. FLoral Fishnet Tights, American Eagle.

Boho

Boho

Product Information: Tiered Chiffon Maxi Dress, Arden B. Minnetonka Moccasin Calf Hi 3-in-1 Boot, Piperlime. Bohemian Scarf, alloy.com. Coin Chandelier Earrings, Charlotte Russe. Turquoise Cluster Bracelet, fantasyjewelrybox.com.

Preppy

Preppy

Product Information: City-Fit Surplus Chino, J.Crew. Kelly Street Cable Sweater, Vineyard Vines. Poplin Oxford Shirt, ae.com. Lauren by Ralph Lauren 8mm Pearl Earrings, Piperlime. Camila Thick Tortoise Headband, hairboutique.com. Prep School Stripe Ribbon Belt, fourpreppypaws.com.

Glamazon

Glamazon

Product Information: Diana Sequin Shift Dress, johnlewis.com. Miss KK Peacock Feather Necklace, moxsie.com. BCBG Girls Rimy Booty, Zappos. Boyfriend Blazer, fredflare.com.

Even More Style-Changing Tips:

  • Shop some new stores! Whether they’re vintage boutiques, thrift stores, or mall shops, try to branch out and shop at some new stores! Online shopping is a great way to do this because you can preview the merchandise of a certain store and see what you like before you go in and try things on. Try browsing online stores you’ve never been to, or discounted stores you usually pass by. You may be surprised with what you find!
  • Start small! Try adding one or two new pieces in with the things you already wear. For example, if you’ve been a pretty conservative or traditional dresser and you’re going for a rocker vibe, try swapping your flared jeans for black skinnies, or topping your outfit with a leather jacket for some edge. This way, you’ll get a dose of edgy style, but still look and feel like yourself.
  • Proceed with caution. There’s nothing wrong with slowly creating a new look! In fact, easing into a style change is one of the best ways to make your transformation genuine. The best style changes don’t happen overnight! Incorporate new pieces little by little, until they become second nature is a key part of developing your new personal style.
  • Never stop expanding your collection! If you buy clothes that fit into a bunch of different categories, you’re always going to have something cool to wear on the days you feel sporty or the days you feel like a trend-setter. Go ahead and mix and match! Who says you have to have a fashion uniform 24/7? Try anything and everything out!

As you continue to make these subtle changes with your style, you’ll eventually evolve your style into something totally unique and YOU! Remember, a confident girl can get away with wearing almost anything, so if you’re ever feeling unsure about your outfit, tell yourself you look amazing and fake it until you feel it!

Sound off!

Have you ever totally changed your style? How has the way you dress changed from high school to college? Do you have tips of your own? I’m excited to hear your thoughts and read your comments!

Posted on on November 17, 2009 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , ,

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41 Responses to “How to Change Your Style & Still Feel Like Yourself”

  1. 1
    November 17th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I think changing style just come with growing up. A few years ago I almost just wore black and white and never wore dresses or skirts. I was afraid of colors.
    Now I love colors, I kinda feel bad if I’m just wearing black, and I like dresses and skirts a lot.
    But I don’t think I have gone from for example edgy style to boho. I’m just a mix. Wear what I like.

  2. 2
    November 17th, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I agree with the above person. When I was 18-19 I was heavy on the Boho and now I dont go near it, you just grow into different styles as your life changes.

  3. 3
    November 17th, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    i never felt stuck in a certain style because i just buy things that i like and are not style-specific. i like to think i have an eclectic style! :D

  4. 4
    November 17th, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    oops, i deleted the most important part of my comment:

    these are some great tips that are so universal for everyone! greatttt job.

  5. 5
    November 17th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I used to be a fairly boring dresser. I liked fashion, but I usually stuck to a uniform of jeans/tank/cardigan/uggs – almost every day of the year! It was boring and I was in a complete rut.

    When I started watching Gossip Girl, I was totally inspired by Blair’s look. I started incorporating pieces that reminded me of her style into my own wardrobe. I would spend twenty minutes getting dressed every morning, thinking, “What would Blair wear?” Now, dressing like Blair is second nature.

    On the weekends, I sometimes like to experiment with a style that’s a little bit edgier. Nothing too out there (gotta love my bows and lace!), but I wear edgy heels, smudged eyeliner, and dark skinny jeans. It’s fun to change up my style on the weekends, but I always look forward to ruffled tops and school-girl skirts on Monday mornings. :)

  6. 6
    November 17th, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    From last year to this year, I definitely changed my style. I went from skinny jeans and cute top everyday to wearing different print skirts and exploring other trends. It’s was definitely worth it to expand my “fashion horizons” because now, I’m very happy with my own style. It was hard at first because everyone already knew what I usually wear so I vowed to myself to really change from that first day of school.

    If you are thinking about changing your style, I would definitely go for it. I’m definitely much happier now. :)

  7. 7
    November 17th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I’ve recently started trying to change my style, but I can’t afford to buy a whole new wardrobe in one go. There were two things that I did that really helped me – firstly, I picked a style that I wanted to dress like, wrote down all the things that were ‘essentials’ in that style and then figured out which of these things I already owned. The other thing I did was to use Evernote to collect pictures of general outfits and clothes that I liked and wrote next to them what I liked about them. This gave me a chance to look at other styles and mix them in with each other – I don’t want to conform to one style aaaaaaaaall the time! I usually get the different outfits from here :)

  8. 8
    November 17th, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I defenitely went from wearing ALL the latest trends and trying to fit in with everyone else (8th Grade) to now wearing whatever I like in 9th grade! I get a lot more funny looks, but I love my clothes, so whatever!

  9. 9
    November 17th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    one’s style is always evolving, I like this post because my style is always changing a litte bit but I do always want to feel like myself.

    I’d have to say my style is a little bit edgy, a little bit boho, but a little bit classic, I don’t stick all in one place.

  10. 10
    November 17th, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    I definitely see myself as a combination of various styles, depending on the day and my mood.

    When shopping I find myself drawn to good fabrics, and certain colors (right now, purple is my obession … even randoms @ school know me as the girl that loves purple lol) … some of the purple stuff I buy is preppy, while other stuff is super edgy … I’m fairly versatile when it comes to my look, which I love.

    It just sucks for my budget because I almost ALWAYS go over it!

  11. 11
    November 17th, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    My style changes daily, but I guess if I had to describe my look in one word, “funky” would be it. I am very inspired by Doe Deere, the creator of Lime Crime makeup. The unique color combinations and “anything goes” attitude in her clothing choices are a lot of fun to wear, and I’ve definitely made them my own. It took a long time to get here, and I went through MANY style transitions before now. I think it took me about 2 years to make this current style transition.

    The advice I would give to anyone making a style change is to add one or two colors at a time. This way, you can really mix and match everything that you own. Plus, you won’t end up with one great skirt that you can’t wear with anything else in your wardrobe. And before you know it, you’ll have so many colors to work with! When I started out, I bought red, white, cream, and black. From there, I went to bright blue, then yellow, then purples and greys, then more blue (and crazy accessories), then bright, summery greens, white and cream again, and most recently, teal, and forest green. Of course, I don’t exclusively buy one color – if I love something enough, I’ll get it anyway. ;) This technique has really helped me, and now, I truly do have every color of the rainbow in my closet (except orange, but I’m sure that will change soon enough!).

  12. 12
    November 17th, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I like this article! i think a lot of people find it difficult to have fun with fashion yet not feel like they’re playing dress up :)

  13. 13
    November 18th, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Good tips, I always try to consciously shop at new stores to find pieces I usually wouldn’t find at mall stores. Its also nice to know that you have something in your closet that no one else does.

  14. 14
    November 18th, 2009 at 1:46 am

    Love this! My style has definitely changed over the years. When I first came to college I was alllll about the Abercrombie thing. Eveythinggg I owned. It took me a while, but I finally got over my obsession and moved on to bigger and better things. I don’t feel like I dress like a high school student anymore, and am loving the fact I can spend $15 on a cute top from Marshalls!

  15. 15
    November 18th, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I am loving this post :) It describes my college career in a nutshell. I’m a senior now, but my freshman and sophomore year I was doing wearing A&F hoodies with flair jeans all day everyday. I even got upset when they started making more skinny jeans and not enough flaired pairs.

    But then I started looking around my campus and noticed that all the people who dressed like me looked exactly the same! It started off with different scarves and tons of flats.

    I bought my first pair of skinny jeans and I was hooked. I still wear my A&F hoodies when I want to feel comfy but now I can say that I think I look unique when I go to classes. I’ve embraced the skinnies, tights, leggings, chunky necklaces, scrunchy boots, shirt dresses, and high waisted skirts that I used to be afraid of.

    This website helped me make that transition too! Love it :)

  16. 16
    November 18th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    This is a great post. You know why? Because recently I changed my style too. I don’t know if I succeeded, it’s a work in progress. I really like Jenny Humphrey’s new edgy look on Gossip Girl. Granted, it’s not for everyone, a lot of people have bashed it. So I got a few, “You look like you got punched in both eyes.” “You look like an emo.” “You look like a raccoon,” type comments.

    Suffice to say, my family was less than supportive of a heavier makeupped me, since I’d always never committed to one “label” of fashion, and my mother was big into “less is more.” I was, if you wanted to be a name on it, somewhat preppy before. “Preppy” to “rocker”? Uh, yeah. That’s a big leap.

    I started with my hair and make up. Entering high school (I am now a junior) I went back to my old hair… from when I was seven! Super long and straight, blunt bangs across my forehead. Then I cut it short and choppy when “Jenny” cut hers short and choppy. Call me a poser, I was emulating and copying a celeb…but what’s wrong with that?! I did it because I liked the LOOK, not because I wanted to BE the character. I took up sewing like her too, but because I’d always wanted to try it. The show inspired me. So what?! Who cares? I was still my own person, I just had a muse.

    Since then, however, I have toned it down with the makeup, because the last thing I want to look like is a wannabe. I was never into Hot Topic, major chains or spikes, I found them tacky and still do. I just wear a little more black now, nothing wrong with that. Black is so versatile, it doesn’t have to be somber or punk, it can be beautiful! I like lace, MINOR zipper details, skinny jeans (Mostly because they’re the only jeans that fit me. I’m tiny!)…

    But I wear what I want. I don’t subscribe to a certain family of color or texture. I found the outfits in this post very cliche. Not to say I didn’t like them, they were fine, but I did like that the poster said that mix and match is important. Most days, I don’t know who I am, I just know what I’m FEELING. And that, I think, is more important. I’m in high school. I can “find myself,” later!

  17. 17
    November 18th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I have majorly changed my style but I think everybody has through life because as we age our personlity changes and as our personality changes our style also changes. When I was in high school I dressed trendy I guess but I wasn’t really a risk taker. I liked what everyone else liked and I only bought something if it wasn’t already established as cool. Now that I’m in college however, I’m a huge risk taker. I don’t know what sparked the dramatic change but now I’ll wear whatever I like as long as I like it and I create some really cool and unique and sometimes offbeat outfits. I’ll wear a plaid dress, a cocktail ring, bright pink tights, and ankle boots. I’m definately not the Hollister-wearing girl I used to be.

  18. 18
    November 18th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I stumbled upon this site and I’ve always been the “wear what I want” kind of girl (which consisted of sweats and a tee for classes… oops). But when I would dress up, that meant putting on jeans. Now that I’m a student teacher, I have to dress professionally, but when i go back to classes int he spring, I’ll probably be mixing casual jeans with the sweaters I wore for “work”! :)

  19. 19
    November 18th, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    For me the big change came with moving to a bigger city. I used to wear jeans, chucks and tanks for school, mostly dark colors. But when I went to college I became more “daring” and started wearing colors and even heels. A few weeks ago I went shopping ONLY for skirts. I still don’t feel like I have one look or a special style, except maybe that I always try to look put together. I wear what I want, depending on my daily mood. One day I feel preppy (think Blair Waldorf), one day I feel edgy (think Chloe Sevigny). :)

  20. 20
    November 20th, 2009 at 5:07 am

    I love these tips. I have been feeling in a fashion rut lately and now I’m inspired to buy new pieces for my wardrobe and start getting inspirations from my fashion muses

  21. 21
    November 20th, 2009 at 5:42 am

    This is a nice blog as it tells other how to change the style. I have changed my style since my 12 grade but it seems the same even if I try with different type of dress. Can anyone tell me something different? Now I am working in a company and its time to wear professional dress instead of fancy dress but still than I will try following the ideas to change style in this blog

  22. 22
    December 25th, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I’m plus-sized, and for years I wore almost all black and very boring stuff, because I assumed I only looked good in stuff that was known to be slimming. I didn’t wear accessories, because with each one, I thought – “bracelets will draw attention to my fat arms, necklaces/neck, rings/fingers, shoes/cankles”, etc. – but because I looked boring and didn’t spice it up at all, I looked like I didn’t take pride in my appearance (because I didn’t!) or care, and like I had low self-confidence – which I did, because I didn’t think I looked good. A vicious cycle! Now I’m getting more into fun and funky looks, experimenting with makeup looks and shoes, and I’m loving it! Because of my budget, it’ll take a looong time to build the wardrobe I’d like, but I’ve got time! and it’s fun and easy with the CF tips! I would love some articles on plus-size fashion, by the way, and I’m sure other readers would too!

    Love the site, thanks! :)

  23. 23
    December 29th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I want to say a very big thank you for this write up. I found you whilst browsing for ideas on how to change my style.
    I am a 38+ plus-size mother of 4 running my own brand building business and I need a makeover!
    I like what you said about doing it gradually.
    Though I am kind of overweight , I can not wait till I lose all the weight. I need to start my style change now!
    Can you help me get a fashion muse? I am an african. I found out from your post on ‘how to find your perfect colour’ that I am deep autumn. i also know that I like to look ‘put together’ chic, sophisticated and elegant’.
    I do not have any style now but I want to have one. I need to know what the basics would be and then I’ll build it from there.
    I need your help please.

  24. 24
    January 11th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    @Desiree:

    I think the layered style is going to be your friend. Start out with some basic, fitted dressy t-shirts. Tuck them into your favorite type of pants or skirt. Try to keep your neutrals on bottom for now and your colors on top. Add some sort of layering top — shrugs, vests, cardigans, button-downs, etc. These are good because you can buy them a little tight and wear them unbuttoned while you lose weight, then button them once it becomes comfortable to do so, and they’re stylish either way. Finish with accessories. This is where you can experiment, because they’re not that expensive. Belts, scarves, jewelry, College Fashion can definitely help you out in the selection here. Good luck!

  25. 25
    June 25th, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I can totally sympathise with Jordan. Now, I’m not usually one to comment on fashion because I feel that a person’s true style comes from within and is only reflected sometimes by what they wear (sounds cliche I know). But when I saw Jenny Humphry’s new style I was also inspired by her (not her character, purely her dress style) and also Hayley William’s style of dress. Again I also suffered some back-handed comments e.g. “You’re hair is so blonde it’s white – it’s probably dead by now” and “you should wear your hair naturally” and ” I ‘like’ your eye-make up” accompanied by a very fake smile. Also, my friendship group is really conservative and “preppy” I suppose e.g. they only where very little or no make-up, conventional colours and designs, plain clothes and “natural” hair. Well, I don’t know about anyone else but when I go natural I look extremely daggy, like I’ve just rolled out of bed. But I think it’s just as bad to criticise someone for wearing make-up as it is to criticise someone for NOT wearing it. I mean, I’m not 10 years old anymore why must I still dress like I am? Natural beauty only really looks good when someone is actually naturally beautiful. I think people should be able to modify their look however they want, whether that involves wearing heavy eye-make up or no make-up or having a mo-hawk or Taylor Swift like curls. Everyone should be able to express themselves as who they are without judgement or criticism.

  26. 26
    July 14th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I could really use this for myself as I really need new clothes and a new look this summer to go with my new style!

  27. 27
    August 21st, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I feel like my style has changed over the past 4 years of my uni life. In high school i was afraid of skirts, tights, anything close fitting or anything that showed my legs mainly coz i wasnt happy with the way i looked and because i wore mainly a uniform, and i was ok with the jeans and t-shirt look. Then when i started working out, my body started changing and so i started to wear skirts, dresses, pants above the knee, tank tops too but a year ago i hit a style rut, mainly because at that time i’d rather shop for fitness wear rather than going out clothes.
    Now, since i’m in my final two semesters of university, and realised that i needed to go for basics that i can wear both day and night and look a bit more feminine. Nowadays, i wear bright colors (i always encourage myself to wear those colors since it suits my skin type) on top and i seem to wear skinny jeans, bandage skirts (high waist), mini skirts, corporate looking skirts and pants. I’d also wear dressier shoes now. Clothes that are close fitting look better on me as opposed to the over-sized style :)

  28. 28
    August 21st, 2010 at 9:07 am

    and furthermore, i am very happy with what my wardrobe represents!

  29. 29
    November 10th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    My style has totally changed this past year since now I wear more white often and some color too but im more of a wild child now. Before I would be really girly and I am not anymore.

  30. 30
    August 23rd, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I think I definitely changed my style freshman year of high school. I had low self-esteem, not to mention glasses AND braces. I felt sooo ugly! so I when outside of the box, my typical t-shirt and jeans routine. I started wearing dresses, skirts, and even shorts to school. Normally I would never wear clothing that showed my legs to school (I was really insecure about my legs) but I did and I got a lot of compliments. And it felt good to be complimented. I felt prettier and much more confident. I even started wearing makeup and fixing my hair in the morning. Basically when you feel beautiful, you are beautiful!!!!

  31. 31
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks for this article! I am having an identity crisis. My closet contains a lot of pink clothes… short clothes…I used to love to reveal my stomach, legs. I don’t like that anymore. You would say: “You’d better. You are 26, for God’s sake!” I feel more ladylike now but I have no idea what to buy. Lately, I am admiring Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge.

  32. 32
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    @Kat:

    Check yout this old post: http://www.collegefashion.net/inspiration/fresh-fashion-icon-kate-middleton/ for some inspiration. Speaking from experience, I would say that the hardest things to find in a “ladylike” style in stores are actually dresses — most are very short, very revealing on top, or both! But if you can find one, go for it, although it might be a lot to start out all at once.

    I recommend picking up some layering tops — inexpensive plain t-shirts (not necessarily crew-neck; for a real Kate Middleton vibe, try a boat neck, maybe) and camis, and a couple of warm layers like button-down shirts, cardigans, or blazers. You don’t need a lot here, probably one basic shirt per day of the week and one of each of the top layers to start. Pick some tights to coordinate with your too-short bottoms for now, a pair of everyday flat shoes that fit your new style, ditto necklace or other signature jewelry piece (we’re talking like Claire’s here), and if you’re not all shopped out then, a nice car-length or longer coat. The length makes it look more sophisticated. These purchases will help you stretch what you have while you ease into your new look.

    The CF article I linked you emphasizes that Kate wears a simple shirt and trousers or skirt for everyday, chooses clothes that are form-fitting but not tight, and strategically placed jewelry pieces to draw attention to her best features. She tends to wear a singlle color in an outfit, either repeated in different shades or with neutrals, so you might try that — with pink, if that’s a color you like to wear a lot of, just maybe a more subdued hue than hot pink… I also really like the suggestion to substitute interesting hair accessories (or a new haircut) for hats if you’re not accustomed to wearing one.

  33. 33
    September 7th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    @Erin

    Thanks Erin! You cannot imagine how helpful your comments are! I loved the idea of boat neck, fitted but not tight shirts, and leggings.
    I already donated some of my old clothes so this weekend I’m going shopping!

  34. 34
    October 3rd, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    nice one

  35. 35
    June 25th, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I love this article but I’m still hesitant as to how to change. I’m going to be a junior in high school and I feel like I’m still dressing like a freshmen x[ my wardrobe is borderline edgy but consists of mostly graphic tee’s and jeans. Lately I’m in love with pastels {lavender in particular}, glitter, lace, black and white stripes, spikes, and leather. I guess you can call it a pastel goth style that is soft and hard at the same time. For example Charlavail + grav3yardgirl {she’s a youtuber} I would really appreciate it if you could make a few suggestions as to how I can achieve this look while I’m losing a few extra pounds. I loved the post and look forward to any suggestions :D

  36. 36
    August 6th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    my style tends to change everyday. one day i will wear a crop top with jean shorts or a boho dress with cowboy boots. the next day i might dress casual or go totally country. whatever i feel like when i wake up i wear. but going into high school im not sure if switching it up so often is good. should i be myself and wear anything or stick to one theme? thnx

  37. 37
    August 17th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I always used to wear just plain tshirts and jeans. But then i did a complete flip and now i wear everything! I dont pick a certain style, i just wear what i want! Even if its something crazy!

  38. 38
    September 18th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    My style has changed completely. I used to just buy whatever I felt comfortable in, and I feel like I’m trending into a more girly style. In high school, I didn’t stand out much, and I went through an edgy style for a while, then into just comfortable. I would love to just get into a few things and work it well. I know thats going to take time, but I’d love it. I always see girls who are dressed really well and I always wonder if I can dress that well. I’m probably gonna be picking out a few different notes from people, and then working it for me so Im not completely out of myself..

  39. 39
    April 15th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I’m kinda on the thick side, I’m not plus sized, but I’m not skinny either, It’s kind of difficult for me to find clothes true to my size, I am a graduate out of school, and I want a whole new look going into college, I love neon colors though, but I really wanna go from boring same ole sweag pants and tees to a stylish, elegant, college girl-look, I really need your help

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