At first glance, this appears to be one of the most straightforward and easiest steps in Imogen's 7 Steps to Style system . We need to consider our lifestyle when buying clothes and only buy those clothes that are appropriate for this lifestyle. Well we all do that already, don't we? I'm sure you've never been tempted by the sales to buy unsuitable clothes that hang unworn in your wardrobe, have you? I'm fairly good in that respect as I always wear the clothes that I buy, however in some cases I admit that I don't wear them very often. Sadly, I do have some shoes that I hardly wear but that's due to my over-sensitive feet - and yes, I do walk around in the shoe shop in shoes before I purchase them, but it still doesn't guarantee they'll be comfortable for walking any great distance. At least I have some lovely shoes for when I'm at home and decide to look a bit dressier!
In my case I no longer work - unless you count blogging? - so my wardrobe should contain mainly casual, leisure time clothing, which it does. Having said that, my current winter wardrobe is hanging up in my half of the wardrobe in our bedroom and it fits my lifestyle perfectly. I can't be too smug though as I also have some other clothes hanging up in the wardrobe in the guest bedroom. The reason they are there isn't just lack of space, it's because they are mainly dresses and smarter clothes that I don't wear on a regular basis. Yes, I have to put my hand up and admit they don't really fit my everyday lifestyle, however they do get worn occasionally so I still need them.
Take the dress in the photo above, for example, which I wore on holiday in June last year. On reflection the bright pink wrap is probably a bit too bright and not my best pink. however if I choose a new one using my Enigmatic swatch, the dress can be worn on holiday this year too or for going out in the evening during the summer months. Once it is past its best I will then find a replacement that is in one of my most flattering colours and that suits my body shape, but I will shop more knowledgeably having taken part in the 7 Steps to Style.
Before we moved to Spain I made certain assumptions about our lifestyle, and culled my wardrobe accordingly. I assumed that nearly 100% of my wardrobe should consist of casual clothes and left most of my smarter clothes behind as well as many winter clothes. I didn't know that there would be so many events here in Jumilla that require dressier outfits and I also didn't realise how cold it can get in Spain during the winter months. The lesson here is never to make assumptions!
Imogen encourages us in this step to evaluate our lifestyle and work out how much of our week is spent at work, relaxing at home, going out with friends, shopping etc. After that it becomes interesting as we go through our wardrobe identifying which category our clothes come under and compare that with our lifestyle percentages. The crucial question is: do the two match each other?
While doing this, it is also useful to consider our style personality. Going through my own clothes, it is obvious that the majority of the clothes hanging up in the wardrobe in our bedroom are casual styles, which is to be expected, and most of the ones in the wardrobe in the guest room are smart casual or special occasion styles. When I went through Imogen's wardrobe/lifestyle categories my percentages were 50% smart casual, 45% casual, 5% special occasions and miscellaneous. No real surprises there, though I think my smart casual clothes are more dominant than they used to be before I become so interested in style. Looking at my style personality, which at the moment is "Parisian Casual Chic with a Dash of Colour and Femininity", I can see that much of my wardrobe reflects this as well as being appropriate for my current lifestyle. It is also obvious how much I love colour when you look at the many different colours hanging up there, so perhaps that should read "with a large Dash of Colour"?
One of the many interesting exercises in this step is to pick out four or five of your favourite items that you regularly wear and think about why that is. What is it about them that you love? How do you feel when wearing them and how do you look in them? These can give you extra clues to your style personality and I also think that this knowledge will help you when shopping in future. I have a pair of black shoes that I love wearing because they are comfortable, but also because I feel they are a bit quirky, so maybe I need to add quirky to my style recipe?
I'm just over half-way through the 7 Steps to Style system now and I'm beginning to see how it is all coming together. I'm hoping that by the end of this year I'll be so stylish that friends whom I haven't seen for a while will hardly recognise me!