Finding (and refining) your personal style can be a struggle; I’m the first to admit it. We’ve all been there at least once, if not multiple times, as we gaze into a wardrobe full of clothes and need something for that business meeting, that lunch date, landing the big promotion we’ve worked so hard for, or dressing after having a baby. Regardless of what life throws at us, it’s important to be able to adapt while still maintaining a style that is our own and more importantly that you feel comfortable in.

And why exactly is this important? The impact of personal style goes far beyond making a good first impression; great style is also about starting each day with confidence, and the ability to feel attractive in what we are wearing. Believe it or not, the right wardrobe can make a difference in that department.

In terms of your wardrobe, you really need to know what you like, understand what looks good on you, and how and where to shop. So when you find the right piece to add to your wardrobe you can say, “This is so me!“

So, I have listed below some easy to follow advice that is also budget-friendly.

  1. SEEK INSPIRATION

Jot down the names of your favorite style icons and do a bit of research via Pinterest, Google, or Instagram to gather inspiration from their looks. Maybe you gravitate towards Jennifer Aniston’s minimal/clean look, but with a dose of Salma Hayek’s sex appeal, and a side of Alexa Chung’s hipster-chic. Pulling different types of inspiration from several sources is a great way to figure out what you like and dislike.

Create a list of your five celebs, do a quick search on each of them, and pin the images and outfits that most resonate with you. Finished? Now, write down all the elements they have in common. Chances are, the characteristics you write down most frequently are the ones you most relate to, and the vibe that makes you the most comfortable. Why is this important? When you feel comfortable, you look and feel your best!

  1. CLEAN UP & CLEAN OUT

Take a good, hard look at your wardrobe and the pieces you already own. Throw out what you haven’t worn in the 1 – 2 year’s so you can start fresh. Then you can begin to rebuild and refine your wardrobe with a style that truly reflects where you are in your life and career. And if you waver between the keep pile and donate? Err on the side of placing it in the donate pile. The more you trust your gut, the faster the process will go.

A good wardrobe detox will allow you to feel ready to become the true you, in terms of personal style. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to get dressed when you have only a few spot-on items, instead of unnecessary clothing clutter! Plus, you can invest in quality new pieces with the money you make selling your old clothes.

  1. SHOP SMARTER

If you only buy to fill the holes in your wardrobe, you’ll build a great selection of clothes much faster. This list of items can be created whilst your detoxing your wardrobe, try and put outfits together, maybe you find some items you love and they suit you but you don’t have anything to wear them with – put what would go with them on your list! Whether it’s a particular style or colour of jeans or a particular shirt it all helps to create the perfect wardrobe.

  1. TAKE YOUR LIFESTYLE & GOALS INTO CONSIDERATION

The perfect wardrobe should not only represent your style & personality, but also reflect your lifestyle. Consider the image you want to present to the world. You want your style to reflect your personality, but it also has to make sense in your field of work, your overall lifestyle, the city you live in and aligned with your long-term goals. Do you want a better job? Are you trying to make it in a particular industry? Think about adding a few sharp and appropriate professional pieces for interviews in that line of work. Or if you want to work in fashion, add more on-trend pieces (but don’t spend too much, as they’ll go out of style quickly!). If your work environment is casual, you may want to purchase more quality knits and jeans.

  1. YOUR DRESS SIZE DOESN’T MATTER…BUT CONFIDENCE DOES!

Get out of the mindset that says I must change my bodyshape or weight, because chances are that might not happen and that number doesn’t make you confident.

No one can see what the size tag reads on the inside of your dress (and truthfully, no one cares!). The focus should not be about fitting into the smallest size possible. And admittedly, who hasn’t taken two different sizes into the dressing room, secretly praying it’s the smallest one that fits? It happens to the best of us. When you feel your best, you stand taller, smile wider, and people will notice. Or as Diane von Furstenberg put it, “Confidence. If you have it, can make anything look good.”  So wear what makes you feel confident!

  1. ASK FOR HELP

When you’re serious about your skin, you see a dermatologist. When you want the perfect photos on your wedding day, you enlist the help of a professional photographer. The same goes for style! Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional. I think women in particular feel guilty about spending money on services such as these, but are they not as important? You wear clothes and get dressed everyday – this is not a frivilous habit your’e funding!

Tip: you may need help customizing the fit of your clothes from a proper alterations company. Why does Kate Middleton look so chic in just jeans and a blazer? Because they fit her impeccably. Seeking the help of a professional tailor ensures that each item you own shows off all your best assets! I do it all the time, fall in love with a dress but it’s too long (happens a lot to me) or it’s too big under the arms – get it tailored. It also means that you will end up getting more wear out of the item.

  1. STOCK UP ON ACCESSORIES

Accessories are, without a doubt, the easiest way to pull any look together regardless of the image you want to achieve. You can update jeans and a white t-shirt with a bold necklace or pair layered, delicate jewelry with a dress for a more feminine feel. A cool ear cuff or stacked rings can give you an instant edge, and pearls can make you look polished and lady-like in an instant. Accessories can also add colour, in particular the right colours that suit your dominant colouring. Make sure the colours are sitting just under your chin as that’s where they will have the maximum impact!

  1. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS AND BE AUTHENTIC

Something that makes you feel confident and beautiful is never out of style

The single most important thing when developing your style is to be true to yourself. Don’t focus on the size or the designer label (this will only hinder your creativity!). Continue to experiment with different patterns, textures, accessories, and shoes. It all boils down to feeling good in your own skin—your style should reflect and celebrate your life, your individuality, and personality. Own your style, be proud of it, and embrace fashion as a way to express who you are and who you want to be.

I remember being told  “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have” and I always remember that moment. I stayed true to my taste and what I felt best in, and people noticed. Trust your gut, because something that makes you feel confident and beautiful never goes out of style.