If you’ve ever found yourself wearing the same, uninspired thing day in and day out, then you’re most likely in a style rut. I don’t have to tell you you’re in one because you know you are. You can feel it. 

A style rut is different from a style uniform. When you have a style uniform you may be wearing the same outfit formula every day, but the individual pieces that you’re putting together create a purposeful, thoughtful look that is true reflection of who you are and where you are in life. Knowing your personal style allows you to wear the same type of look over and over again, feeling great each time. When you can do this, you know you’re not in a style rut.

If, however, you are wearing the same clothes over and over again as purely a means to an end, a way to get through the day, solely for function, then you are likely in a style rut. The key difference? With a style uniform or formula you feel like the best version of yourself. In a style rut, you feel bored and frustrated by your wardrobe choices.

The key to figuring out if you’re in a full-on rut is to ask yourself why you’re reaching for those particular items. 

A style rut is usually not rooted in personal style. It is:

  • Comfort based. You find something comfy (think: the perfect, softest t-shirt!) and you buy 20 of the same thing. We want your clothing to be comfortable, but we don’t want it to be the only factor. We want to marry comfort with style.
  • Fit based. You’ve struggled to find the thing that fits and flatters (jeans anyone?), so you buy five pairs of the same thing once you find it. Since the silhouette, style, etc. is the same day after day, it can make you feel stuck. 
  • Washable. It’s so easy to take care of. You just throw it in the washing machine without a second thought then toss it in the dryer. So what if it’s a little faded? You can just turn around and buy 10 more of that thing.
  • Low cost. It was cheap, so even if it does wear out quickly, you can just go out and buy the same thing again.

Sensing a trend here?

The three most common style ruts we see with our clients are:

  • Spanx leggings. Once you purchase a pair, it’s a slippery slope. All of a sudden you have 20 pairs and trousers and jeans are a distant memory. Solution: draw a line for yourself that leggings are leggings and pants are pants. Leggings belong in the gym. Denim and pants belong in daily life. This will force you to up your game and elevate your casual style.
  • Rothy’s. I know this is going to get a LOT of flack, and I know they’re darn comfortable. And yes, I know they come in a pointy toe. Where it becomes a style rut is when you look in your closet and you see six pairs and no other shoes. They are good flats with a flattering silhouette and fun prints. They can even pass in extremely casual work environments, but I think of Rothy’s as a kissing cousin to sneakers. That woven, stretchy, washable material? It’s not polished enough for a business casual look. Yes, they’re cute at the farmer’s market or running errands, but they are not elevated enough to wear with a blazer for an office look.
  • LOFT. When we don’t know what to wear, we go to LOFT. It’s not expensive so if it ends up being a mistake, no big deal. But before you know it, your entire closet is filled with peach, navy and white LOFT prints and you look like a walking ad. This doesn’t just go for LOFT clothing. It can happen with any brand. Second runner up? J.Crew. It’s time to mix it up!

The next time you’re getting dressed, ask yourself WHY you’re putting on what you’re putting on: does your outfit reflect YOU and make you feel great or are you simply using clothes to get through the day? 

If you find the perfect shoes, jeans, etc. by all means buy them. And by all means, buy two, but after that second pair, focus on wearing what you own. When that beloved item wears out and the brand has stopped making that style, that is OK. It’s not a loss. It is simply a cue for you to move on, update, and try something new.