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Style Advice

Six style resolutions for the new year

Six style resolutions for the new year

After a year like 2020, putting more limitations on your life in the form of New Year's resolutions might not seem so appealing. That’s why this year, we’re taking a different approach. Rather than forcing ourselves to run four times a week, or eat less chocolate, or quit bad habits we’ve been trying to kick for years, 2021 marks the start of more positive goals. And for our stylists, that starts with their wardrobes. 

This year, rather than tackling the near-impossible task of buying and spending less, we’ll be shopping in a more considered way, discovering new approaches to style, and considering alternatives to trends and fast fashion. We hear you – it’s cold, it’s dark, and we’re spending more time inside than ever – but that doesn’t mean 2021’s resolutions can’t mark the start of your style revolution.

1. Say goodbye to trends

“I’m done with trends,” says stylist Toby Standing. “I’m over it. In 2021, I’m doing my own thing.” Beyond loungewear – which we have been here for in a big way – no discernible trends have emerged from 2020 so if you’ve been looking for an excuse to change the way you shop, this is it. 

“This year has given me time to step away from impulse purchases and really think about whether I love what I’m buying, or I’ve just seen it somewhere and decided I want it,” Toby says. Inevitably, when life returns to a semblance of normality, we will want to embrace what we knew and never let it go. But if you’re hoping to emerge post-pandemic as someone who has learned something from the experience, let a more sustainable and holistic approach to life – and shopping – be part of that.

“The only things I’ve bought this year are pieces I really like, regardless of whether they’re en vogue,” Toby says. “One of my favourite purchases has been a pair of vintage fatigue pants from the Vietnam War – definitely not a trend, but I love them.” It takes some will-power not to be influenced by an industry that changes so quickly that there’s a whole subsection defined as ‘fast fashion’, but slowing down and considering your purchases will mean that, if you do end up investing in trends, it will be because you truly love that piece and haven’t acted on impulse. “I enjoy trying to find something similar that fits my style rather than buying the first thing I see,” Toby says.

2. Discover new brands 

“I think the pandemic has shown how important the smaller-scale is to our lives, both in terms of survival and community,” says stylist Artemis Crowley. It’s easy to ignore the weak links or the murky backgrounds – like labour conditions or production processes – when things seem to be functioning ‘normally’. But when they’re exposed, the habits we fall back on out of convenience no longer seem so convenient. 

“Researching and tracking down small independent brands is a great way to support a more resilient fashion industry – and boost your style along the way,” Artemis says. Smaller brands are likely to use a smaller end-to-end supply chain, which in turn is more likely to support fair labour conditions and be generally less exploitative of people and the planet. Plus, you’ll earn fair bragging rights to all the new brands you uncover.

3. Shop second-hand 

“As well as wanting to be more conscious of my shopping, buying second-hand has an environmental element to it,” says stylist Freddie Kemp. “There are so many clothes being produced at the moment that there’s rarely any need to buy them new.” 

Buying pre-owned clothing doesn’t have to mean moth-eaten, musty-smelling pieces from wardrobes you’d rather not know about. Often, second-hand clothing from thrift stores, vintage shops, and online retailers is in pristine condition, and a fraction of the price of brand new pieces. Plus if it’s lasted through the decades with minimal signs of wear, you know it’s going to be in your wardrobe for the long run.

If vintage isn’t your thing, you can even look to resale markets like eBay and Depop to find new styles that are being sold on. It will come with the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that you’ve not contributed to the mass-manufacturing of products – and you’ve probably made someone’s day with your purchase. “If you’re looking for something that you think looks cool, it probably already exists,” Freddie says. “In fact it will probably look much cooler and more interesting than a brand new version.”

4. Shop more sustainably

“When it comes to changing your shopping habits, two things are true,” says stylist Millie Rich. “It’s easy to turn a blind eye, and it takes effort to research what you’re buying and where it’s from.” And that’s exactly what makes sustainable shopping an ideal resolution.

If you set yourself a challenge to make a start, whether that’s on your research into brands and their production lines, or just being more conscious about your purchases, you’ll only get better at it. “If everyone took on even a small part of the work it takes to commit to sustainable shopping, then the impact would be huge,” Millie says. 

It’s not about an overhaul of what you already own, but an overhaul of the way you approach your wardrobe going forward. Once you’re in the mindset of considering how people and the planet have been affected by your purchasing practises, there’s no going back. Plus, there are so many great sustainable brands out there to be discovered. Need some help? Check out our sustainability filter.

5. Consider your cost-per-wear

“It’s no new concept that investing in quality will ultimately mean your clothes will last longer,” says stylist Izzy Harvey. “But putting your money where your mouth is can be harder in practise.” A piece that seems expensive at first glance may actually be far more accessible if you consider the cost-per-wear, rather than thinking of it as one chunk of money being spent. 

There are the obvious pieces, like formalwear, that you’re likely to invest more money in without a thought despite the fact that it could be the least-worn piece in your wardrobe. But if you apply the cost-per-wear idea to a pair of jeans or a knit, they’re likely to come out on top in terms of value. Further longevity is added when you consider how much longer a well-made t-shirt will last you over a cheaper, poorly made one. You might find that it’s actually cheaper in the long run to spend a little more on pieces that will last longer, and that you’ll want to keep wearing.

The best way to understand cost-per-wear is by doing a little research into the fabrics, washing methods, and production of the item, and how that lines up with the price and value of other, similar items. 

6. Don’t forget the details

“It’s easy to find yourself drawn to the same few items in your wardrobe,” says stylist Brooke Philips. “Especially after last year when it often felt like there was no reason to get dressed at all.” But if you’re looking for ways to take more pleasure in your wardrobe without investing in an entirely new one, there are a few tricks to help you rethink your old favourites. “Have you tried wearing older pieces with new accessories? Have you styled them differently, or tweaked them slightly so they fit the way you want to look now?” Brooke says. 

A well-timed beanie in a bold and punchy colour can breathe new life into an outfit of older winter pieces that don’t feel so interesting anymore. A pair of socks can bring a contemporary and directional feel to loafers that you’ve usually reserved for summer. Wearing a gilet over your overshirt can help keep it on rotation all year round. “Small details here and there can really add a new dimension that makes you feel like you’re wearing an entirely new outfit,” Brooke says.

Words: Ella White
Illustration: Elliot Kruszynski
Styling: Artemis Crowley, Brooke Philips, Izzy Harvey, Millie Rich, Toby Standing, Freddie Kemp