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Refine your style on and off-line

Learn how a closet audit could help you refine your digital presence with a little more style.

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Our style is the manifestation of our values. It gives other people an instant-read to who we are and how we want to be treated.

Andrea Napierkowski

I met a saleswoman this past winter, and she referenced her appearance as being “clearly different.” Behind the counter, with a mask covering her face and a loose sweater covering her body, she looked so alarmingly normal to me. It felt odd to me that she would reference herself as being someone that “stuck out.”

Behind the lightly patterned face mask, the long dark brown hair, and the heavy knit green sweater was someone who longed to be understood by her presentation. Underneath was a woman whose arms were covered in beautiful tattoos, who smoked a long tobacco pipe, who crafted beautiful leather goods with her hands, who had an artfully decorated home filled with two mischievous cats, and who had a loving partner who made up her world. Her personal style was a manifestation of her values. They were grand proclamations of who she was. Forged in rejection, they were each a declaration. Except I couldn’t see them.

I have thought about this interaction since then. How our wardrobes are the methods with which we forge our identity each day. They are the symbols that represent our values, and it’s in those details that we hope others will understand us with more clarity.

What does your style say about you?

What is your current style?

What about your style makes this impression?

Have you ever tried on a sweater that looked amazing on the model only to find that it looked off on you? Tried clothes that fit your personality while at work but didn’t feel right after transitioning to a different environment? Tried colors that looked amazing on other people but awful on you? Tried fits that work on different body types but just made you feel self-conscious all day? Maybe, you can’t quite place it, but some of your clothes simply don’t suit you anymore, and it’s essential to get them out of your daily decision-making so you can dress with more ease.

All of those things you keep in your closet but don’t end up wearing take up mental space as you try to suit up each day. Each day you have to navigate the colors, patterns, fit, weight, texture, and look that doesn’t feel right just to guide how you want your first impression to come across.

How we present ourselves to the world is such a big part of how we feel about ourselves, and it’s fundamental to consider your closet as the first step in defining what you like and dislike. As we become more digital, that same consideration you place on your personal style could help you learn about what you might like and dislike with your digital style and find a way to resonate with your users that feels authentic.

What is your ideal style, and what precisely could you do to enhance your wardrobe to make that impression? Think about how you want your clothes to make you feel. It’s not about trends or being fashionable per se. It’s about how capable we are of expressing ourselves.

Our clothing says a lot about us...

Each of us is living our own private journey. The more we know about each other, the more accessible our communication with each other can be. What we wear allows people, at a quick glance, to understand a few things about us.

Style is not fashion. Fashion is not trendy after a season. I couldn't give a sh** about fashion. Style is dressing the way that you feel confident and what is appropriate for you, your age, body type.

Tan France

Last year I had a closet full of black. Black coats, black pants, black skirts, black shirts, black shoes, and a whole host of accessories that went best with black. But I didn’t particularly like black – I actually disliked it a great deal save for the fact that it hides all of my mistakes in getting food from my fork to my mouth. So I defaulted to black because it was the easiest color to “match” things with. But I genuinely love earth tones better – brown, gold, burnt orange, pink, and brick red.

Transitioning my closet from cool tones to warm tones was more difficult than I first thought because the tones of all of my colors clashed with each other.

Warm Tones vs. Cool Tones

There are three properties to color. The color red can be warm or cool, clear or soft, light or dark, and a combination of those. Sometimes finding the right shade makes all the difference!
If I started integrating the warmer tones that resonated, I needed to change my whole foundation from cool tones to warm tones – from blacks to browns. So I started building my new pallet one by one – finding a shirt that resonated here with a scarf that resonated there. As I made my new wardrobe, I saw patterns and combinations I never would have considered had I not found the right palette for the prints to fit into.

Audit Your Style

Before going out to integrate new items into your closet, try limiting yourself to just the clothing you love out of your closet and see how that makes you feel. What if your whole wardrobe made you feel like that? Use these steps to curate your own Capsule Wardrobe out of your own closet.

1.

Observe

The first step is to observe the colors that you already gravitate towards. Regardless of what tones look good on you, what you like is the most important. What colors and styles are you drawn to?

2.

Base Colors + Accent Colors

The base colors will be the basics that will make up the core pieces of your wardrobe (cool or warm), the things you wear the most. The accent colors will be for adding pops of color and interest.

3.

Prints + Textures

Mixing prints and textures can make your wardrobe more interesting – think about the different patterns and textures you would want in your closet.

4.

Seasonality

In the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter, you may naturally transition from lighter tones to darker ones. However, you’ll still resonate with either cool or warm tones.

Tune In To Your Undertone

Should you be wearing cool tones or warm tones? Here are some steps to help you determine your undertone and find the right kinds of colors that will make you shine.

1.

The Vein Test

This is one of the most straightforward tests to conduct yourself, though it’s not always easy to interpret. You just look at the veins on your wrists or under your eyes to see if they appear to be more purple/blue (cool) or green (warm).

2.

Natural Hair Tone

To determine whether your hair is cooler or warmer, ask yourself: “Does my hair have any “golden” tones? Or would I describe it as “ashy”?” If it has warmth, your undertones are likely to warm, but if it’s ashier, then you’re probably cool.

3.

Gold or Silver

Hold up gold and silver jewelry next to your face. Which one makes you look brighter and healthier, which makes your skin more yellow, red, uneven, or gray? If gold jewelry gives you a lift, you’re warm. If silver is better, you’re cool.

4.

Best Neutrals

Compare warm and cool neutrals to your skin, wearing no makeup. Test white versus cream, gray versus camel, and black versus brown. If you looked best in white, gray, and black, you’re cool. If you looked best in cream, camel, and brown, then you’re warm.

5.

Eyes

What you want to look for is the quality of the color and the features of the eyes. If you have brown or golden flecks or starbursts, that’s an indicator that you have some warm undertones. If your eyes appear smoky, icy, or like shattered glass, that indicates cool coloring. If the tone of the eyes could be described as “golden,” “turquoise,” or “honey,” that often means warm. If the tone could be described as “icy,” “chocolate,” or “grayish,” that usually means cool.

Make Your Digital Presence An Extension of Yourself

I liked playing dress-up as a kid, and I still love having a reason to dress up. But, like the saleswoman trying hard to present herself authentically, it’s fundamental to know what you want people to take away from your style.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. - Aristotle

I wore black for years because I thought it looked professional, and I wanted to be perceived as professional. Like putting on a character for a play, dressing up in my Lululemon inspired black professional outfit felt like a character that would be respected. Yet, it never really felt authentic to me.

Once I started navigating what I liked on my body, I found myself unable to resonate with the branding that I had. Based on those same cool colors that no longer resonated, I needed to shift my digital style to match. I needed a color palette rich with earth tones and organic shapes to play with so that whatever I shared felt more authentic – more fun – more like me. Thus, my physical transformation led to my digital one. Check out the transformation below. ↓↓↓

Since I navigated my new color palette, I love dressing just for me. When I’m at a thrift store, it’s so fun to find just the right shade outfit because I know my palette. I feel like I’m not getting ready for some kind of performance that’s separate from myself. I’m just me performing me now, and that feels good.

Since we updated our website, I love sharing things digitally because it feels like an authentic extension of who we are. It’s not us trying to copy what other digital companies are doing. I’m just trying to accurately describe us and the culture with how we work.

Audit Your Digital Style

What you discover about your likes and dislikes concerning how to present yourself in person can significantly impact how you might what to introduce yourself digitally.

Suppose you want a digital presence that feels cohesive. In that case, you first need to understand what you like and what you dislike currently about how you are representing yourself now. What resonates with your audience online? What websites do you enjoy being on? Do you feel connected to certain brands based on the colors, fonts, imagery, or messaging? How might you try on different styles to see what might resonate?

What is your digital style?

1.

Define Your Style

How do you present currently? You might start with a survey and ask people to tell you what they think about your brand and what it stands for.

2.

Create a palette

With a website, you have colors, fonts, images, patterns, type treatments, illustrations, animations, and more to use at your disposal. Learn about the tools you have to represent yourself.

3.

Build a fit guide

In the same way that you may want to save your yoga pants for the gym or your tailored suit jacket for the board room, understand your audience and what style might be appropriate for your audience.

4.

Align your closet to your lifestyle

Do you like to write thoughtful blog posts or share more stream-of-consciousness thoughts on Instagram? When thinking about a digital style, think about a rhythm that you could keep relatively consistent.

5.

Design your ideal capsule wardrobe

Sometimes we need a vision of where we’re going to build the proper foundation. Understand what a fully-realized digital style could look like for you.

6.

Clean out your closet

Sometimes we hold onto things for sentimental value. Still, if that paragraph or general concept doesn’t resonate anymore, it needs to go. Less but better.

7.

Organize your closet

Create a system for organizing your content that makes sense with what you plan to create. Make sure you create a system that you can easily fit range into, like an events calendar or eCommerce store, when needed.

8.

Create a wish list

It takes time to build great content. What are some things you could work towards? Anything worth sharing takes time to curate. So start working on ideas that could turn into great content pieces.

9.

Shop thoughtfully

Ensure that each new thing you add to your overall marketing strategy fits into the rhythms and patterns you set up on your website.

The daily act of dressing well fine-tunes your taste. It increases your confidence in trusting your ability to choose what works for you.​

Andrea Napierkowski

Transformation is amazing. I love watching makeover shows regardless of the message because I love the before and after. The format for Queer Eye is scripted. There’s Bobby’s home transformation, Jonathan’s hair and self-care tips, Karamo’s deep dive into what’s holding them back emotionally, Antoni showing them around what they are putting into their body, and, of course, Tan’s big outfit makeover. I love the rawness of the hero’s journey as you slowly uncover how they came into their style and why it no longer suits them anymore.

I cry in every episode. But, those real authentic moments don’t just happen in 10 minutes. “Going through the footage and making sure that you’re representing the hero in their truest, most authentic self—that’s really the most important thing.” With up to 80 hours of footage and a month to cut together, the Fab Five’s transformation takes a deep dive into all aspects of their life. Then, it is edited down to small bite-sized areas of change.

Sometimes transformation starts in the closet, and it bleeds out into every other aspect of your life.

2 hour Master Class – Learn how to build a capsule wardrobe; select colors, shapes, and patterns that work for your body and your unique personality; and discover the confidence to look and feel your best, every day.

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