All you have to do is look at my Instagram page and you’ll know that something’s amiss. 

Prior to Christmas day, my feed looked like this…

After Christmas day, it was more like this…

I’ve been wearing colour. And loving it.

So what happened? Well, I’d been spending quite a bit of time in hot and sunny Palm Beach (very different to the cold, dreary winter back home in Toronto). While there, bored with the limited wardrobe I packed, I took myself shopping, and found myself inexplicably drawn to colour and pattern. 

Was it the influence of my time in Palm Beach? Absolutely. Could it also be my wanting something new and different to wear? Definitely. And while it might seem that my style and look changed, or that I’d blown money on clothes I’ll never wear again, that’s not the case at all. Because everything I purchased fell under my 3 carefully chosen Style Words.

If you’ve read my book “Style Your Way to Success” then you’ll know all about Style Words and how important they are – especially when you shop. If you haven’t, let me explain.

A Style Word is a word you choose to describe what an item of clothing, accessory or shoe (etc.), has to be, in order for it to even be considered worthy of your attention. It’s a word that describes you, your style, or your style aspiration, to a T.

Choosing and sticking to your Style Words keeps you from purchasing items on a whim, that you probably won’t ever wear. Or you might only wear them once or twice, because they’re not really you. (What I call a Bad Buy.)

Following your Style Words ensures that you won’t have any more Bad Buys. Even if you do purchase something that is different than what you normally purchase, it’ll still be true to your personal style.

For example, my Style Words are Sexy, Stylish and Edgy. If I’m considering purchasing an item, it has to either be sexy (but not slutty), have some sort of stylish quality about it (cut, detail, etc.), or it has to have an edge to it (i.e. leather, buckles, studs, black). If it doesn’t fall into one of these 3 categories, it doesn’t get purchased.

The colourful pieces I recently purchased all fell under my Style Words, so I knew I was safe in purchasing them, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve already wore them repeatedly. Does that mean I didn’t go back to my black and white? Not at all. Some days I feel like wearing a garden, others black leather and studs. Different day, different mood. As long as what I’m wearing is Sexy, Stylish or Edgy, I’m good. They’re all me.

So why 3 words? For the reason I mentioned above. Over the years, I’ve found that we’re never really just one style, but a blend of many different styles expressed in different ways at different times. One word just isn’t enough.

Could you use 4 words? Absolutely. 5 words? Still ok. 6? If that’s what expresses who you are and it’s what you need, then do it. However, I caution you from choosing too many words. You might end up with a closet full of clothes that leaves you feeling a bit scattered or having a hard time mixing and matching when getting dressed. For myself and my clients, I find that 3 seems to be the perfect number – enough to include your many moods, but not enough to overwhelm or cause chaos. 

There is however an exception to the rule – basics. Sometimes you just need to purchase basics like T’s or tanks to round out your wardrobe. These don’t necessarily have to follow the 3 word rule, however they still need to look really great on. (No point in deviating from what works or looks good.)

So what are your Style Words? If you don’t have any, or have never considered it, why not use the start of this new year to give it a shot? You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.