Unlock your style in 14 days | Try on something you normally wouldn't | www.stylingyou.com.au

Unlock your style in 14 days: Try on something you normally wouldn’t. Just because

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 55 Comments

I remember visiting – not long after it opened – what was to become one of my favourite boutiques.

It’s a boutique that is small in size but big in ideas and just perfectly suited to women needing a day-to-day wardrobe to match a relaxed lifestyle.

What I loved on that first visit was the advice they gave to anyone who came in store browsing for pieces to buy.

They said, “let’s play”.

This was some time before I started taking women shopping but it was something that stuck with me and helped me guide those subsequent 150-plus women on their style journey.

You see, buying new clothes SHOULD be about playing.

It should be about having fun and trying on things that you normally wouldn’t grab from the racks.

Try on something you normally wouldn't. Just because

Just because.

Just because you’re already stripped down and in the change room.

Just because it’s really impossible to tell how a garment will look on you without trying it on first.

Just because if you keep buying exactly the same things then it’s a one-way ticket to Rutsville.

And since we’re trying to get out of Rutsville, then we need to play, don’t we?

Yesterday when I talked about making a shopping appointment with yourself, a big part of that time allocation needed to be devoted to change room play.

The more quality time you spend in the change room, the better you get at sensing when a garment is right for you.

It’s more than understanding your body shape and what fits and flatters you (see below for pointers on that).

You need to get skilled at recognising that spark in your eyes when you try on something that feels and looks great.

Because … if you don’t love that garment in the change room, then there is no way that you’re going to love it when you get home.

And you have to LOVE it. You do.

No, umming and ahhing.

Remember, we only allow clothes that make us feel fabulous into our wardrobes – and our lives.

Don’t settle for anything less.

Unlock your style in 14 days | Try on something you normally wouldn't | www.stylingyou.com.au

Body shape

Ever since Trinny & Susannah burst onto our small screens all those years ago, we’ve become a little obsessed with analysing and understanding our body shape.

This is a good thing – to a certain extent – but it can also be limiting.

The reason I find it limiting is that even if, like Trinny and Susannah, 12 possible body shapes are offered, it is rare that you will fall into one shape category.

(For a simple body shape calculator, punch in your measurements to Westfield’s)

Most people – myself included – are a hybrid of two or more.

When we get fixated on pigeonholing our bodies into one particular shape, you can find yourself becoming more and more confused about what clothes you should be wearing, which can lead to frustration and “settling” on purchases.

In my opinion, you are better off learning to recognise and accept the bits of you like to flaunt and playing with clothes that do just that.

That’s where confidence in clothes buying comes from.

And that’s where your confidence in how you wear those clothes can grow.

Online shopping

Obviously, applying the above to online shopping is not as easy but a certain degree of playing is still possible.

Don’t be afraid to contact sites direct for help in choosing a garment you otherwise wouldn’t normally do so. Good online retailers will be happy to talk to you about this and guide you via email or phone.

Check on return policies – and buy in the knowledge that you’re happy to return if that spark is not there when you try on at home.


Style work

If you think you’re about to “settle” for a clothes purchase, talk yourself through this little visualisation process and mantra:

(cue woowoo-Oprah background music here)

I’m in one change room.

I’m in one store.

I’m in one shopping centre.

I’m in one town/city.

Think just how much choice is out there – beyond where I am now.

The right garment is out there waiting for me.

I just need to keep looking.

How are you in the change room? Are you good at recognising what works for you? Do you experiment and try on things you normally wouldn’t?

PS. Don’t forget if you want to share any of your progress along the way via photos, you can upload them in the comments or share via Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #unlockyourstyle and make sure you tag me so I can find it (@stylingyou). Facebook uploads to my page are welcome  too.




** The Styling You Holiday Style Camp {Unlock Your Style in 14 Days} is based on the Styling You Manifesto. If you don’t have your own, you can download it here. I’ll also be giving away a proper printed Styling You Manifesto from The Smile Collective every day to the reader who catches my eye with their comments and participation.

Unlock Your Style in 14 Days (Day 4 manifesto winner): Stephanie Green. Stephanie, could you please email me your postal address: [email protected]

Comments 55

  1. Hi again Nikki – love the top – from mr rose ? Thinking of ordering one online – do you mind telling what size you have on? Thanks so much!!

  2. I walked into a shop just before Christmas where I did just this – I tried on clothes I wouldn’t normally wear just because they were a bit different. While I didn’t actually buy anything (too much hmm and umm), I will go back again because while they clothes weren’t right that time, it doesn’t mean that won’t be the next time! This post is a good reminder to us to take the time to be daring – thank you for the reminder!

  3. Finally read this post! I do try to do this but SOOO often I’ll decide I love something in the shop and then get home and after one or two wears decide I hate it. WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN TO ME? AM I THE ONLY ONE???

  4. I have a little rule … when I use a change room if there is something already in there in my size – no matter what – I try it on – one as you say you are already nude and two – who knows it might be a cosmic hint to venture out! 🙂

  5. Hi Nikki, I’m definitely going to do this. I started today, in a small way, with shoes. Instead of heading to the black/navy shoes, today I looked at nude/tan shoes and got a great pair of heels for work in Country Road and some sandals in Nine West. Very happy! I also saw these ones, which are fabulous and I think you really should buy, called the Nikki wedge http://www.countryroad.com.au/shop/woman/footwear/wedges/60150112/Nikki-Wedge.html

    Feels like a whole new world of shoes has appeared before my eyes. Hurrah!

    I’ve made plans to go to Paddington this Saturday. I will definitely be trying on a kaftan! 🙂

  6. Hmmm one-way ticket to Rutsville – I love it! Great advice Nikki. I shop fairly often and always try before I buy, but I’m not good at trying on different things – I need to be armed with a stylish friend for that! Hence the girls’ shopping weekends away 😉 My everyday wardrobe is pretty casual and classic, so the interesting pieces tend to be my special occassion stuff – I need to work on making sure the day to day stuff is a little bit different too, I think, so I don’t get bored/stuck in a rut! xx

  7. I know when I like something. I know I that it doesn’t matter how much someone is trying to convince me that it’s perfect and I look awesome, if I’m not feeling it then stay strong and walk away. If you don’t love it then, it will hide in the back of your wardrobe. But I agree, have fun, try all sorts of fun things on, you never know. Rachel xx

  8. Nikki i Have to say you take the best selfies! Great pic! A few people speaking about accessories here… I grab a necklace on my way to the fitting room to try with an outfit if I think it needs it…

  9. This is a great post! I just recently kind of broke out of my own little style rut, where I kept buying the same kind of items and avoiding others. I decided on a whim to try on high-waisted a-line skirts, which I loved on other girls but always thought would look terrible on me, and turns out I was wrong! You’re advice is going to stick with me next time I go shopping 🙂

  10. I was a little behind in boot camp but now I have caught up. In fact since getting a ‘stylist’ session for my birthday last year I have been going through this wardrobe overhaul process. With two small kids though my progress isn’t quite where I would like it to be. I have done some editing, made some lists, done some shopping and in fact today I had a professional bra fitting. The two key things I think I have learnt and stuck to so far are – don’t buy it if it isn’t fabulous and step out of my comfort zone with styles and colours.
    Thanks for all the great information!

  11. I’m loving your posts Nikki! I’ve scheduled in some time on Friday to go out and buy some basics for my wardrobe. I’ve always been cautious about how much I spend on clothes (thanks to my husband who reminds me all the time!). Consequently I have a wardrobe full of show ponies! I’ve always taken the attitude that if it’s not a bit fancy then it’s not worth spending my money on – now I realize the error of my ways:) Would love for you to do a segment on professional style. I’m returning to work after maternity leave and need to build my wardrobe back up, but have no idea where to start.

  12. I completely agree with this idea. I did it myself, for the second time ever, just before Christmas and almost every “out there” garment looked great on. The first time I ever did it though was at the end of a full day of dress shopping and i was about to head home deflated and sad. My husband ended up handing me a dress but I immediately said that I didn’t think it would suit my shape. I tried it anyway and what happened? It looked great and I bought it then and there. It was my wedding dress by the way, and yes my husband came shopping for it with me. 🙂

  13. Loving these posts Nikki. I really need to schedule the time to play next time I visit civilsation! Out here its 2 changerooms in one shop in town (but even then doesn’t stock all their range as its the ‘country’ outlet) and trips to the city are usually so rushed and involve toddler/husband/mother hanger oners who either get in the way, don’t really have an opinion, or I listen to the opinion then get home and try it on again and regret it. Must make a point of playing to find a few show ponies next time I’m in the real world!

  14. I used to, as a rule, never try on clothes in a shop but I changed my ways only in the last year. Courtesy of my friend who I call my stylist (studies fashion & works fashion retail) who frequently goes shopping with me. I have to say that I still find it No Fun to shop by myself but I do try things on now. One of the things I learned from her is not to necessarily stick to my size. I have learned to pick clothes up and look at the shape and fit not just the size on the label. I love it when I go into a shop and the sales person says ‘I think you should try this’, and I always say yes now. I think buying clothes with confidence is something that changes all the time. I am more confident buying outside my comfort zone when I have my friend with me. A friendly, warm, knowledgeable sales assistant is such a plus when shopping too.

  15. When I go to ‘play’, I always take my mum. That way, I get another opinion (and she doesn’t hold back if it looks terrible) and someone to get different sizes or options. She also suggests things that I wouldn’t normally even look at and sometimes, these have been some of my favourite pieces. One store we went to recently was also serving champagne in the change rooms which was a bonus although I think we probably bought twice as much as we usually would – the champagne helped to loosen the purse strings!

  16. I really need to do get into the habit of trying things on. It comes back to your other post on shopping child free and making time. I’m either in a rush to get the kids or have them with me which is not conducive to trying on clothes. Hoping to have some free time in Adelaide to shop solo with no time restrictions! Now just to get into the change room….

  17. Just dropping in to say that I absolutely LOVE these posts! I am trying to even wear things (combinations) I wouldnt normally wear from my own wardrobe! I also tried on a maxi skirt a few weeks ago (never tried one before), I am absolutely in LOVE with it, it is definitely a show pony too!

  18. Loving these posts, my wardrobe sure needs an overhaul.
    Earlier in the year I needed a nice frock to wear to my sons valedictory evening. I went to a large department store and picked a number of dresses off the rails. At the last minute I added another dress to my pile which I wouldn’t normally have tried on. It was quite close fitting and I fully expected to look very fat in it but thought well I’ll be undressed anyway so may as well have a laugh at the end. Guess which dress I ended up buying! It was perfect on me and very flattering. I felt fabulous on the night and even my teenager told me how lovely I looked. So I totally agree with todays post – take a risk and try something different on because it might just be perfect. (I just need to remember to do it)

  19. I love this series but unfortunately, being the bigger end of a plus size in the UK means one changing room in one shop for all high street clothes, two if you are really lucky. I definitely take this advice for accessories though, I just wish there was more high street choice.

  20. Yes i do try on things I normally would just because a lot of the time something hanging on the rack can look horrible or very nice and on you or the other way around,take a little red maxi I Bought recently,it looked pretty bad on the hanger but on looked fab it was a different style than I’m used to ,very strappy and an A line shape but beacause I have nice shoulders and arms still I thougt buy it, cause it will be cool and comfy and it is a beautiful colour and it looks very nice on,I would not want to wear this style everyday as it needs a strapless bra,but for today I have to go grocery shopping and It’s supposed to be 47 degrees I am wearing it with a bright yellow and red and orange necklace and I love it.This style guide you are doing is great I love it, Thank-you Nikki:)

  21. I did this just the other day. I was in a large store and people had left a dozen items in the change room. So, while in there, I tried 3 items that were left in my size and walked out with one. I have had complements each time I have worn this dress and I love it but would never have picked it up off the rack.

    1. Oh that’s gold Kel … what a great idea … if you see something in the change room, you’re already undressed so why not! And perfect of example of how doing so could uncover something that really works for you!

  22. I really must do this, especially with jewellery. I find that I shy away from trying anything bigger than a silver chain with a pendant on the end.

  23. Ohhh, I love the idea of “let’s play”! Again, I think you get this type of help much more in a smaller boutique where the service is so much better. Though I know this is not always the case. I know that sometimes I am guilty of not spending as much time in the change room as I should and end up buying things that don’t flatter as much as they should. It is something I am trying to work on.

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