Reclaiming Your Closet by Exploring
Your Personal Style
By Samantha Erickson

I’m not big into resolutions, but I am very ritualistic. A new routine never starts mid-week in this household. To that end, New Year’s Day is the ultimate reset and a chance to kick off positive self-reflection.

We live in a world that often tells us enough is never enough, that YOU are never enough. Social media perpetuates this notion, leaving us empty-pocketed and still feeling inadequate. It’s time to peel away the veneer of Instagram extravagance and forgo extreme advice that only sets you up for disappointment. Let 2021 be the year that you embrace a more personal, balanced approach to style and how it fits into your life. 


Honing in on your personal style has many advantages, including:

• Reduced “closet clutter.” Cheers to less laundry!

• Less time and stress dressing each day.

• Savings from not buying clothes that you don’t need or will never actually wear.

• The confidence boost of feeling like your best self.

And this process doesn’t end at your closet. Becoming more attuned to your personal style is a great starting point for exploring what makes you happiest in other areas of your life, such as home decor, career decisions, relationships and more. Embracing your authentic self is liberating and empowering. Grab a pen and read on to get started with my secret acronym for personal styling success.


Lifestyle: Do you hold onto pieces for sentimental value or because they truly serve you? By doing this, our closet eventually becomes merely a display of impulse purchases, old jobs and fond memories, rather than a functional tool in our daily routine.

Think about the different “uniforms” you wear day to day. What do you consider practical and appropriate right now? This may look very different from person to person based on factors such as job environment, family life and hobbies. Stocking up on pieces that you both love and can wear on a regular basis will make your life so much easier and happier!

Inspiration: Who inspires you and why? Think of those you admire for style, personality and overall energy. What is it about them that you want to embody in your own unique way? 

Take 30 minutes to look through Pinterest or magazines for visual representation. Create a virtual or actual board and pin/paste anything that appeals to you style-wise. Search the people you listed above, as well as outfits by season, work environment, favorite colors or pieces of clothing (like a “denim jacket outfit”). 

Feelings: How would you describe your current style? What are the first words that come to mind? How do you feel about this description? How do you WANT to feel? What do you want your style to say about you? What features do you love and want to accentuate? 

If you’re having trouble coming up with the right words, see how some of these common descriptors feel: edgy, preppy, glamorous, bohemian, eclectic, bold, trendy, professional, cozy, unique, casual, natural, androgynous, comfortable, simple, approachable, timeless, refined, polished, sophisticated, spirited, unconventional, whimsical, striking, powerful, confident, bright, modern, vintage.

Examples: It’s time to start putting your inspiration to work! Go back to your Pinterest or vision board, saving only pins that you love and truly resonate with your newly forming personal style. You’ll likely notice commonalities; for instance, my board is full of looks using three key pieces—layering pieces in classic shapes and unique textures, pants that can move yet give a professional vibe and fun accessories such as snake-print boots. 

You may resonate with a variety of looks and styles. We are multifaceted beings and as such, will connect with more than one aesthetic. This is especially true for different areas of your life—office attire versus weekend casual. Go through your own closet. Pull pieces and/or outfits that embody this inspiration—you know, the ones you reach for every day because they just feel good. Take pictures of these and add to your Pinterest board too. You can (and should) be an inspiration to yourself. 


These are tools that you will return to again and again as you build outfits and shop. Rather than simply setting a budget or banning yourself from the boutique all together, think about how each potential purchase works into your current closet and represents your personal style statement. This process is not about the clothing you wear; it’s about how you wear the clothing. If it doesn’t fit your criteria AND make you feel absolutely amazing, let it go from your closet or skip it in the store.

Defining your personal style truly is a game changer for your time, wallet and confidence and is part of the bigger picture of self-care. However, remember that you are so much more than what you choose to wear. If you begin to question your motives for wanting to change or self-destructive thoughts begin to emerge, step away to reconnect with yourself. Reflect with an empowering book or podcast, prepare yourself a DIY spa night or seek the guidance of a trusted friend or professional to help get you back on a self-loving track!  


I am a _____(lifestyle and inspiration)____. My personal style reflects the ___(feelings)___ nature of my authentic self.

As an example, mine is “I am a bohemian spirit with a type-A personality. My personal style reflects the uniquely eclectic yet polished nature of my authentic self.”