Sometimes, only no-fuss minimal will do - but when it's not the case, make way for major quirk attack. I'm usually immune to the January blues but this year I've had too much time on my hands to almost drown in it. So much that, even replacing a bunch of lost papers - never a picnic - seemed to break the bad spells by giving me errands and opportunities for some very down-to-earth research and planning.
This state of mind - swimming the blues paired with a fear of a style rut - translates into minimal but conscious looks for when you're out and about, but also into a feast of quirky options to play around with. The result may be less looks but a few extra style points to make you smile 'till the turn of the tide.
THE WARDROBE TIPS, THEN?
It's not as bleak as it may seem, and it'll pass, so don't give in. Easy to say, but here's how:
1. Do some clearout and curate that closet for next season
As I said in this post about building a new capsule wardrobe from your existing clothes, now is the time to go through your closet, not to shop. A major clearout is best but you'll do some nice work towards goals if you wander in there every day and spend an hour going through a different section each time. You'll find lots of practical de-cluttering advice anywhere - like keeping items that fit you and serve you well, piling up all the rest according to destination, selling/charity/garbage - you've seen that before. A hoarder's goal is to identify the good basics (1st pile), the currently on-trend items (including recent, retro and vintage stuff you'll want to wear next season, 2nd pile), the things you will not throw out no matter what (3rd pile, to pack away) and the things that just don't work no matter how you've tried (4th pile, for selling/charity/garbage).
2. Kick-start your research to create your mental moodboard
With the end of season, everything winds down, including your finger-on-the-pulse, style queen mojo. It's time to de-hybernate, fashion week season is almost upon us. With the wardrobe clearout, you have made some new discoveries and your closet is organised with basics and cool items you'll want to give a try. I suggest you pop in on Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Lookbook, your fave fashion-forward mags and research outfits with labels or hashtags describing those items. Select images that gets your mind working - if you want to keep it real but virtual, use a Pinterest board - and create your own versions of the outfits.
3. Fight the style rut one tiny step at a time
You feel like grabbing the same style of jeans, top and cover-up day after day - not because it makes you happy but because you're not sure why you should bother. That's January blues for you. The solution is similar to what you do when you start working out each day - don't push hard. Go on, reach for the same jeans and top but wear boots in a different style or colour (for me it was the burgundy boots). Next, make sure to include in your outfit a relevant seasonal piece from your wardrobe rediscoveries (the wave patterned turtleneck from my sister's clearout). Or, add a tiny detail, impractical as it may be (like the sleeveless blazer I didn't need to wear, or the big tassel necklace), it can be a lifesaver, stylistically speaking.
4. No work, no school? Make a splash.
The easy way is to build (all right, copy) an outfit that's cute and generic enough but one you've never ever done before (the check-and-gilet sweet Americana). Do some of those, and you're ready for your real crazy splash (like the Margot Tenenbaum look), et voilá, you're up to speed with your prep season wardrobe workout.