ways to accessorize

What To Do When You Are in a Style Rut? These 15 Tips Will Get You Out in No Time

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Is everything feeling stale lately? Whether it’s in your wardrobe or fresh bread that’s gone bad because you forgot to cover it up at night (whoops – personal example), stale anything is the worst. But luckily, if you are feeling stale, bored, or in a style rut with your wardrobe, you don’t have to continue feeling that way. With a few creative ideas, you can break out of your fashion slump! So, if you’re wondering, “What to do when you are in a style rut?”, these 15 tips are the answer.

1. Shop for Vintage or Thrifted Clothing To Mix Into Your Wardrobe

If you’re feeling uninspired by the same old clothes in your closet, try shopping for vintage or thrifted clothing. Not only is it a sustainable and eco-friendly way to refresh your wardrobe, but it’s also a great way to add unique pieces that you won’t find anywhere else!

To really try something new, look beyond your usual size. Sizing can vary greatly between brands and time periods, so don’t be afraid to try on items that are a size or two outside of your usual range. You might be surprised at what fits and looks great on you.

And while you’re at it, look beyond your usual style. The goal is to break out of your rut, after all. Of course, don’t buy anything you don’t love, but it’s worth a shot trying on something that from the hanger, may be something you would have never tried on in the past.


2. Swap Clothes With Someone for a Week

Whether it’s a friend, roommate, cousin, or sister that lives nearby, why not take advantage of their proximity and exchange a few clothes? This allows you to try out different styles that you might not have considered before and can inspire you to mix and match items in new ways.

When choosing a friend to swap clothes with, look for someone whose style is different from your own. This will give you the chance to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things.

During the swap, challenge yourself to create outfits using your friend’s clothing that you wouldn’t normally wear. Try pairing a flowy blouse with a leather skirt or layering a chunky sweater over a summer dress. You might find that you really enjoy some of the new combinations and want to incorporate them into your regular wardrobe!

3. Create a Mood Board on Pinterest or Instagram To Inspire New Outfit Ideas

Sometimes, all it takes to break out of a style rut is new inspiration. Creating a mood board on Pinterest or bookmarking pictures on Instagram is a great way to curate a collection of images that inspire you and can serve as a starting point for new outfit ideas.

Once you have a collection of images, take a step back and analyze what you’ve gathered. Are there any colors or prints that you’ve been gravitating towards? Are there any specific silhouettes or styles that you’d like to try? Use your mood board as a jumping-off point to start experimenting with new outfits.

Another fun way to use your mood board is to try to recreate some of the looks you’ve saved using pieces from your own wardrobe. See if you can put your own spin on the outfits by incorporating accessories or layering pieces in a unique way.

Creating a mood board is also a great way to help you identify any gaps in your wardrobe. If you notice that you keep pinning images of statement jackets, for example, it might be a sign that it’s time to invest in one for your own wardrobe.

4. Try a Capsule Wardrobe Challenge and Limit Yourself to a Set Number of Clothing Items

The concept behind a capsule wardrobe challenge is to limit yourself to a certain number of clothing items and accessories for a set period of time. This forces you to be creative and come up with new outfits using a limited set of items.

To start a capsule wardrobe challenge, choose a number of items that work for you – it could be as few as 10 or as many as 30. Select versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched, such as a few basic tops, a pair of jeans, a dress, and a jacket. Try to choose items that fit well and make you feel confident.

For the duration of the challenge, commit to only wearing the items in your capsule wardrobe. You can mix and match them to create new outfits every day. This will help you get more use out of your clothes and become more creative with your styling!

Before you start a capsule wardrobe challenge, you’re going to want to make sure you have the right wardrobe basics. Otherwise, the challenge won’t work. I created a resource for you that will help you build a wardrobe from scratch – start to finish, including a checklist of all the wardrobe staples you need!

5. Incorporate Statement Accessories

As you may already have discovered, accessories can completely transform an outfit and add a touch of personality to your style. So if you’re in a style rut, try incorporating statement accessories into your outfits.

Focus on one statement accessory per outfit. Too many statement pieces can be overwhelming and take away from the overall look – and the point of what a “statement” is.

But don’t be afraid to think out of the box. You can use several minimalist pieces to create a statement effect. For example, layering necklaces and stacking rings can also add dimension to your look.

Related: 14 Creative Ways to Accessorize Your Outfit

6. Try Out a New Hair or Makeup Style

Our hair and makeup are an extension of our personal style, and a fresh change can really make a difference in how we feel about ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world!

If you’re someone who usually keeps your hair and makeup routine simple, experiment with a bolder look. Try out a bright lipstick, a dramatic smoky eye, or a bold eyeliner wing. If you typically wear your hair in a ponytail or bun – then let your hair down, girl.

If you’re feeling daring, consider dyeing your hair a new color or trying out a new cut. A new hairstyle can instantly transform your look and give you a confidence boost. Of course, it’s important to do your research before making any drastic changes.

Consult with a hairstylist or makeup artist for advice and tips on what will work best for your face shape, skin tone, and hair type. You want your new look to be a flattering transformation that you want to keep for years, not an impulsive Britney Spears 2007 moment.

7. Mix Masculine and Feminine Pieces Together

Another way to switch things up is to experiment with combining traditionally masculine and feminine pieces in one outfit. This can add a unique and unexpected twist to your wardrobe and give major fashion-forward vibes.

First, start with a feminine piece to build your outfit around. Begin with something like a floral blouse, flowy skirt, or delicate jewelry. This sets the tone for a more feminine look. Then, add a masculine piece such as a tailored blazer, a structured pair of pants, or chunky boots. This creates balance in the outfit.

Layering can definitely help when mixing styles. Try layering a feminine camisole under a leather jacket or pairing a men’s sweater with a slip dress. Last but not least, “masculine” and “feminine” prints can work well together, such as pairing a floral blouse with a plaid blazer.

8. Modify Your Clothes With Small DIY Alterations

One of the best ways to break out of a style rut is to modify the clothes you already have. You don’t have to be an expert tailor or seamstress to make small DIY alterations that can breathe new life into your wardrobe!

An easy thing to try is to simply cut off hems. For example, you could cut off the hem of a t-shirt to create a cropped, boxy silhouette or cut the hem of your jeans for a frayed, distressed look.

Or why not embellish with studs or rhinestones? You can buy these embellishments at most craft stores and attach them with fabric glue or a hot glue gun. Patches are also an easy and affordable way to personalize your clothes.

A few things to keep in mind: Start small. Don’t go bedazzling and wearing all your DIY clothes at once, otherwise, it may look like a summer camp project gone wrong. Also, don’t start cutting up your favorite clothes, of course! Pick clothes that you feel lukewarm about to experiment with. But with a little creativity and effort, you can transform your old clothes into unique and personalized pieces that reflect your style!

9. Take Inspiration From a Different Culture’s Traditional Attire

Take some time to research different traditional attires from various cultures around the world. You can find inspiration from colorful saris, embroidered huipils, or intricate kimonos. Look for unique patterns, textures, and accessories that you can incorporate into your own style.

When integrating these elements into your wardrobe, remember to be respectful and avoid cultural appropriation. Instead of copying a traditional outfit exactly, look for ways to incorporate key elements into your own personal style. For example, you can incorporate bold patterns or colorful fabrics into your outfits, or accessorize with traditional jewelry or scarves.

By drawing inspiration from different cultures, you’ll not only create a unique style but also expand your knowledge and appreciation of diverse traditions and practices.

10. Try a New Color Palette That You Typically Wouldn’t Wear

It’s easy to fall into a routine of wearing the same hues over and over again, but introducing new colors into your wardrobe can add an instant dose of freshness to your look! If you typically gravitate towards neutrals, try incorporating a bold color like red or kelly green. If you tend to wear a lot of darker shades, consider trying white or beige.

One way to introduce new colors into your wardrobe is to start small with accessories. Swap out your black purse for a bold red one or add a brightly colored scarf to your outfit. Another option is to invest in a statement piece like a colorful coat or pair of shoes that can serve as the focal point of your outfit.

11. Incorporate Different Styles of Shoes Into Your Outfits

Shoes are often overlooked when it comes to styling outfits, but they can actually make a big impact on the overall look! If you’re in a style rut, it may be time to mix up your shoe game.

If you are a sneaker girl through and through, swap your sneakers for mule slides. Mules are a great alternative to sneakers because they can be just as comfortable, but they add a more polished look to your outfit.

Or why not try a pair of statement shoes? Bold and colorful shoes can add some personality to an otherwise simple outfit. You can also experiment with different heel heights. Whether you usually wear flats or heels, try switching it up and see how it changes the way you feel about the outfit.

For an edgy meets girly look, wear boots with dresses. The shoes you wear can completely change the vibe of an outfit, so try a pair of loafers or oxfords. These classic shoe styles add a polished touch to your outfit – even if you’re wearing biker shorts.

12. Mix and Match Prints and Patterns in Unexpected Ways

Playing around with different prints and patterns can add some fun and excitement to your outfits. But it can be daunting to know where to start or how to mix and match them in a way that looks intentional and stylish.

Start with a neutral-colored item as your base before you add a few pieces with different prints and patterns. This will anchor your outfit and prevent it from looking too busy.

Mix prints and patterns of different sizes and scales to add interest to your outfit. For example, try pairing a small polka-dot top with a larger floral skirt. And while you’re at it, look for prints and patterns that share common colors to tie your outfit together. This will create a cohesive look that is visually pleasing. For example, black and brown leopard print pairs well with black and white stripes since they share a common color: black.

13. Take Inspiration From a Specific Decade

Looking back at the fashion trends of previous decades can be a great source of inspiration for breaking out of a style rut. Consider the unique styles of the 1920s flappers, the bohemian looks of the 1960s and ’70s, or the bold prints and colors of the 1980s.

To incorporate these elements into your wardrobe, try finding vintage or vintage-inspired pieces at thrift stores or online shops. Look for statement pieces that reflect the styles of your chosen decade, such as wide-leg pants from the bohemian years.

When incorporating elements from a specific decade, be careful not to go overboard – otherwise, you’ll end up looking like you’re wearing a costume. To combat this, pair these pieces with more modern pieces to create a look that feels fresh and updated. For example, try wearing a vintage-inspired maxi dress with a denim jacket and ankle boots for a casual and contemporary look.

14. Wear a Piece of Clothing in an Unconventional Way

To bust that rut, try wearing a piece of clothing in a completely different way than you usually do. For example, you could take a regular button-down shirt and pull it down over the shoulders to wear it as an off-the-shoulder top. This simple “alteration” can completely transform the way an outfit looks, giving it a more fun and flirty vibe.

You could also wear a skirt as a dress or try wearing a blazer as a top by buttoning it up all the way. The possibilities are endless!

Related: Step Up Your Style Game: 11 Ways to Wear Your Clothes Unconventionally

15. Experiment With Different Silhouettes

If you’ve been stuck in a style rut for a while, chances are you’ve developed a uniform of sorts. Maybe you always wear skinny jeans or dresses, or you gravitate towards leggings and oversized t-shirts. While there’s nothing wrong with having a signature style, it can be limiting if you’re feeling uninspired. That’s where experimenting with different proportions comes in.

Instead of always wearing tight-fitting clothes, try adding some looser pieces to your wardrobe. Flowy tops, oversized jackets, and wide-leg pants can all add some variety to your outfits. Not only will this mix things up, but it can also be more comfortable and even practical for certain occasions.

Breaking out of your style rut may seem daunting, but with these ideas, it can actually be an exciting and creative process. Want even more ideas to break out of your style rut? Keep reading: In a Style Rut? Here Are 20 New Places To Get Fresh Outfit Inspiration


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making mychicobsession.com a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.