Natural Reinvention: How to Revamp Your Street Style in Three Easy Tricks

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Personal style is all about the evolution. That’s why those cringy moments from years, months, weeks and even days ago, while grimace-inducing, are forgivable. Take my eighth grade class photo for example: deep side part with thick blunt cut hair well below my shoulders, a baby blue mohair top and jelly bracelets, cuffs and hair ties layered on both arms from wrist to elbow. Top this off with full-on braces, as well as a pleated mini skirt—the year was 1999 if those style highlights do not ring a bell—and, as no surprise to me now, my parents refrained from purchasing any portraits that fateful year. Still, the tiny headshot appears in my gel pen riddled yearbook, and, across each page, fashion missteps and individual style, purchased from Limited Too, of course, pops from my classmates’ photos, too. I cannot help but wonder where in the world all those bracelets and cuffs went.

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While I may have ditched the baby blue for black and jelly bracelets for a more streamlined jewelry aesthetic, there is a hint of my eighth grade self in how I dress today. Call personal style what you will—whether a signature look, street style or uniform, how we dress and what we wear is a constant reimagining of who we have been, who we are and who we want to be. Inspiration may be in the eye of the beholder, and when reinventing a look sometimes going back to basics is the most natural. For me, attention to detail and an inventory of the little things has been one easy way to refresh a look that may feel tired and worn. New jewelry, an oversized watch and even something as simple as a silk scarf have the power to invigorate existing pieces. So if the summer uniform—sandals and sundresses for some, mini-shorts and crop tops for others—has your wardrobe in need of a little restoration, take it from a former eighth grade bracelet junkie, accessories are quick fixes when going for a new look.

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Though muted color palettes, monochromatic dressing and clean pared down styling has become the look du jour for some catwalks and style blogs—check into Mind for an awesome insider peek at how to achieve a stress free minimal wardrobe—the minimal style can feel a tad stale after months upon months of donning the same heather grey and blush tone tops. To rev up this basic uniform, long chain necklaces and stackable rings are an easy to way to give a little more oompf to a monochromatic ensemble. The jeweled pieces, either layered together since more is certainly more at the moment, or one strong accent cuff against this sparse canvas, creates a dynamic conversation between the accessories and your day to day basic looks. Nothing changes how you appear more than a touch of sparkle or gold against the same old, same old.

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A photo posted by by Danielle (@weworewhat) on

If monochromatic dressing isn't your style, but the daily sundress and sandal combo has you feeling the midsummer malaise, a fun way to spice up a season classic is with the unexpected. Pair a flowy dress with a menswear style watch to give the look a little more structure, strength and confidence. Even if you skip the dress and wear the watch with a chambray button down or blazer and cropped pants, the larger time face and weight is sure to reinvent a usually demure style. One watch in particular, the Brathwait automatic minimalist watch has generous detailing, an eye-catching design and, while handsome, is made with an adjustable handmade Italian calf leather strap to fit all-sized wrists. This watch, along with many menswear styled options, has a timeless appeal. As with postmodern architecture, the hope is to invest in a piece or design that will stand the test of time and always look current. For me, this has been the trickiest aspect of reinventing one's style. Trends are fun and, well, trendy, but they come and go as quick as a snap of your fingers. Sometimes the best way to rework a closet is with an investment in the classic.

For those in need of a quick, budget-friendly way to rework a style, look no further than the scarf bin at your neighborhood thrift shop. Silk scarves, bandannas, slinky skinny options or just square patterned Hermes wannabes, scarves are a way to add a touch of color and flow to your look. A Style Album put together an awesome how-to on scarves and the best way to achieve a little extra panache. Whether wrapped around a purse's shoulder strap or tied around your neck, neckerchief style, silk scarves are one of the best inexpensive ways to reuse and restyle existing outfits and accessories. Definitely mix patterns and color schemes, play with different knots and ties and, if all else fails, a little Brigitte Bardot inspired headband goes a long way.

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No matter what, reinventing your style happens naturally—i.e. when your favorite dress sees one too many nights on the town and disintegrates before your eyes, or forced like when you finally take a look at your closet and sigh deeply for something new. Either way, the key to reinvention is observation and attention to detail. Though I had no idea I would still be rocking bracelets and costume jewelry—albeit pared down from my former eighth grade wonder years—the simple purchase of a new bangle or cuff can be all it takes to elevate a black dress or last season’s patterned skirt. Outfits feel changed and look new when paired with a silk scarf tied around your ponytail or a flashy gold ring. And that really is what the art of reinvention is all about: a new take on you, your oldest accessory.

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