my iden­tity cri­sis

Look’s Max­ine Eggen­berger re­counts how she found, lost, and re­found her style iden­tity…

Look (UK) - - OPINION - by max­ine eggen­berger @max­fashed­i­tor

I can’t re­call a spe­cific turn­ing point

but, some­time dur­ing 2015, I be­gan to lose my sar­to­rial way. For a long while, I was all about state­ment pieces; think jacquard, faux fur, vel­vet and studs. I was happy. Un­til I wasn’t. Much like any in­dus­try, so­cial me­dia rides the trend wave, and as I be­came in­creas­ingly caught up in it, I was con­stantly com­par­ing my­self (and my out­fits) to that of others. I’d shop solely on the rec­om­men­da­tion of peo­ple I didn’t know, even though my job of five years was to ad­vise you on what to buy. But life doesn’t al­ways im­i­tate art and per­son­ally, I was lost. To com­pen­sate, I was shop­ping at an ex­po­nen­tial rate and soon, I had more clothes than I knew what to do with and a dwin­dled bank bal­ance to match. This made wip­ing the slate clean all the more dif­fi­cult. Bit­ing the bul­let, I tore out my draw­ers and cleared my closet in a se­ries of cleanses. Six­teen char­ity shop­bound bin lin­ers later and I fi­nally feel like I’m wear­ing out­fits I gen­uinely love again: pieces that ac­tu­ally have syn­ergy with one another. Look­ing back, I now re­alise that much of my anx­i­ety stemmed from my chang­ing taste (I now grav­i­tate to tai­lored sil­hou­ettes and sleek sep­a­rates which ac­tu­ally suit my shape) as well as the out­fit over­sat­u­ra­tion I was ex­pos­ing my­self to. How­ever, there are many rea­sons you might feel fash­ion dis­il­lu­sion: weight loss, weight gain, a change in cir­cum­stances, hav­ing a baby, heck, even a change of sea­son can throw you. Granted, there are sig­nif­i­cantly more se­ri­ous is­sues at hand but if, like me, you want to em­bark on a jour­ney of self (re)dis­cov­ery, these are the tips that helped me re­gain my fash­ion con­fi­dence…

1. save

Be it on Pin­ter­est or In­sta­gram, start sav­ing im­agery of what you in­stinc­tively like, then be­gin look­ing for com­mon de­nom­i­na­tors. Are most of them trousers? Is a colour palette start­ing to emerge? Look­ing for pat­terns will help you iden­tify the cloth­ing you’re in­nately drawn to.

2. hang

Once you’ve pin­pointed the pieces you like, get a free­stand­ing rail (Habi­tat has a great one for £18) and start trans­fer­ring items from your wardrobe that fit in with your con­cise, self-made edit. Keep any­thing else out of sight for the time be­ing.

3. re­build

Now – be it tops, bot­toms or ac­ces­sories – you need to de­ter­mine the pieces that are miss­ing from your edit. The aim here is to re­dis­cover what truly fits your per­sonal style, so you can shop smarter in the long run.

4. Let go

Af­ter a cou­ple of months, once you have a cap­sule you’re happy with, re­visit the items left hang­ing in your wardrobe. You will likely have taken a few pieces out, but be ruth­less with what­ever is left. Haven’t worn it in ages? Give it to char­ity. Does it have sen­ti­men­tal value? Store it in a gar­ment bag so as not to dis­tract you. This is a fresh start – the less clut­ter, the bet­ter.

‘i fi­nally feel like i’m wear­ing out­fits i love again’

Set up a rail and trans­fer items from your wardrobe to make a con­cise edit

max­ine’s re­claimed her style con­fi­dence

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