New year’s resolutions are often set up to fail, but undertaking that much needed fashion overhaul should be one promise to yourself that you intend to keep.
Ah, new year’s resolutions. Or, as I like to call them, lies. Each year, I get a few solid weeks of giggles from my friends’ (and my) valiant attempts to become better people, as if repeating “I will go to the gym more” will magically result in a ridiculous body come summer. But change takes a lot more than a mantra. It requires a thousand tiny shifts every day—definitely less glamorous than swearing to change your life at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1…which is why we continue to do that every year instead.
Even style has become resolution-worthy—witness Slice.ca’s Septembre Anderson polling her Twitter followers for their fashion resolutions (and Toronto Life’s Kevin Naulls’ hilarious take-down of the concept). We dress the way we want to dress, and cataloguing what we should wear could make fashion feel like a checklist, a chore, right? Apparently, though, the gym doesn’t have the self-improvement market completely cornered. I polled a wide swath of my own acquaintances to see if anyone bothered making style resolutions. Many did, and they weren’t the usual boilerplate promises of January—they felt inspired.
Take Jess Parker-Kitney, for example. The 26-year-old manager of Yorkville salon Oskar on Scollard wears a mix of thin tanks, leggings, maxi dresses and harem pants. She’s had a tough year, and between dealing with several deaths in the family and planning a wedding, she hasn’t had the time or money for fashion. She sees a new 2012 wardrobe as a great way to face an eventful year ahead—including her return to school in the fall. “I want my clothes to match the new me I want to put out into the world,” she says. “I’d really like to start incorporating more colour, along with different fabrics and textures, and blouses and menswear pieces for work. I want unique, individual pieces that can be worked into my existing wardrobe, instead of trying to make too many drastic changes at once.” Small shifts.
Esten Gerriets, a 33-year-old server, rejects the dandyism that has shaped men’s fashion of late. He plans to remove—rather than add—items from his wardrobe, resulting in a pared-down uniform. “Ostentation is out,” he says. I see this clean aesthetic as a streamlined new start for Gerriets after a rather heavy year of his own. In the wake of a rough 2011, his “careful selection of a few simple pieces” works, perhaps, as ritual. His resolution? “Crew-neck sweatshirts and simple trousers—the key to happy living. I call it The Anthony Perkins, circa Psycho. I want to stop shopping and start wearing some of the things I have bought in the past two years.”
Twenty-eight-year-old writer Louisa Cohen also dresses in simple menswear, with a rotation of denim on denim, chunky jewellery, pants and tailored shirts. She used to regard style as a way to hide. “The past year has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me personally, and I defaulted to utilitarian fashion, which is easy. But now I want to refocus on myself this year, and feel a tad more special,” she says. “The new year is like the grown-up first day of school—always a nice time to freshen up and try out something new.” Cohen plans to experiment with vintage high-waisted skirts, more jewellery and great lipstick.
These three show how great style is ever-evolving and reflects who we are and what’s happening in our lives. A thousand small sartorial shifts tend to happen naturally—no Jan. 1 necessary. So if you’re thinking about spending money on a pair of runners you’ll never use this month, consider picking up a beautiful piece that will accompany you on an adventure far off the treadmill instead.