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Curating your dream wardrobe

By Nazeefa Ahmed, April 18 2023

Internet trends decide our personal style more than we do at times. I, for one, am guilty of banishing clothes to the back of my closet just because they reminded me of the Despacito era. We all desire to be accepted and our clothing choices often adhere to the norm. But it appears that the trend cycle is moving too fast for the average consumer to keep up. By the time we purchase Kendall’s dress dupe or Shein’s floral corset, the world has moved on to something new. Here are some tools you can use the next time you shop to take control of your personal style and not fall prey to the manipulative tactics of fast fashion. 

Customizing common aesthetics

Your clothing choices reflect your values and beliefs. Edgy looks stress individuality, rejection of the norm, and adherence to counterculture values. Business casual, on the other hand, appears friendly, collaborative and professional. These “aesthetics” create a lasting impression, so it’s important to align your clothes with the values you want to be remembered by.

Once you have adopted an aesthetic, add nuanced details to make it your own. Dark academia on its own has a very muted colour palette, consisting of brown, gray, black, white and beige. Maintain the same colors and play around with the texture by adding a crisp leather jacket. Trade the plaid scarf out for one that has delicately embroidered owls. Choose a loafer with a colour other than black. Making small tweaks to a preexisting aesthetic does most of the work for you, making it easy to customize on a budget.      


If you don’t want to stick to a specific aesthetic, layering is a great way to bring interest to your look. Layering is also practical given Calgary’s bipolar seasons. Throw a fitted coat over your sweat set and then you can easily take it off when the weather warms up in the afternoon.  Layering can also be minimal, such as incorporating bright socks or a muted scarf. It is important to create cohesion in the outfit by pairing similar colours together. 

Stop buying basics

Most likely, you don’t need another long-sleeved black shirt. Step outside of your comfort zone and try different silhouettes, colours and textures. The key, however, is to only let one part of your outfit dominate. An all-black outfit with a patterned scarf, a sweat set with unique shoes, and even a loud dress with minimal jewelry are all ways to create unity in your look while bringing something new to the table. 

Thrifting is a great way to find unique pieces on a budget. My rule is to think of at least three different ways to wear something before purchasing. This way, you are less likely to throw it to the back of your closet. 

Tone and shade of colours

TikTok and other short-form content popularized the colours seasons to determine what colours one should gravitate towards. While this is a great tool, analyzing tone can broaden your options so you don’t feel constrained to particular colours. To begin, determine if your skin has a warm, cool or neutral undertone. The key, then, is to find the right tone of the colour that you want to wear. For example, someone with a warm undertone is complemented by a yellowish-green, while a cool undertone looks better in a bluish-green. 

After choosing a colour, consider how vibrant it is. People with softer faces look nice with pastels that blend in with their features, while people with more dramatic features should opt for more vibrant colors so they don’t look washed out. As an example, someone with a cool undertone and soft features would be complemented by a baby blue.

Developing your personal style can be daunting. It means stepping outside of the mainstream and critically thinking about how you want to present yourself. Paying attention to the colour, texture and silhouette of clothes can help you make smart shopping decisions without feeling pressured to follow a trend. 

At the end of the day, wear whatever makes you happy. But putting a little bit of effort into your outfit every day may put a spring in your step and boost your confidence. 

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