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What is a fashion strategy? How to shop smart for your unique personal style

Big style wins are in store for you when you understand the advantages of a fashion strategy. Style is about the whole package, inside and out.

September 15, 2022

Shopping without a fashion strategy feels a lot like driving in a neighborhood with no street signs: confusing and frustrating at best.

“I was really disappointed in myself because I realized the harsh reality of how much I shopped emotionally last year—lots of emotional purchases. I used to shop for a quick fix and, as a result, now have quite a few pieces that I don’t really wear that often, I don’t have an attachment to, and I don’t really love enough!”

Sound familiar?

Believe it or not, that’s a quote from mega-influencer (to the tune of over 430k followers) Brittany Bathgate. (Celebs: they’re just like us!) I was watching her Wardrobe Wishlist video from January 2022 and—surprise surprise—what do I hear? Words coming out of her mouth are the exact struggles I hear from you all the time.

Yes, Brittany’s got a great sense of style and a really curated aesthetic. But simply knowing your style aesthetic isn’t enough.

What is a fashion strategy? 

A fashion strategy helps you shop smart and hone in on your personal style through your purchases. 

If you had curated a style like Brittany Bathgate, you might not expect to need a fashion strategy. You might think your purchases come naturally (and never haphazardly). It’s common to think that once you define your style, everything else will just work

Shopping will magically become easy! You’ll never make a bad purchase again! 

Um, sorry, but no. 

I’m not trying to call out Brittany here—quite the opposite. She’s shopping and thinking about her style the same way a lot of you are: without a fashion strategy.

It’s not just “find a style icon, make a Pinterest board, and you’re done!” 

Nobody—not even mega-influencers—is born knowing how to navigate the complicated world of consumerism, personal expression, body image, confidence, and uncertainty in decision-making. 

Because it’s not really about style. It’s about all the other strategies and skills that go into it. “Effortless” isn’t “free of effort!” Even when you know your style, you can still be an impulse shopper with 50 open tabs.

Having style clarity is only one piece of the puzzle. There are two others, and I talk about them in-depth in my training: Getting Stylish on Your Own Terms. 

This 90-minute training will teach you my Strategic Style Framework, help you identify where you’re getting stuck with your style, and show you my real client Allie’s style journey—including how she started shopping strategically. (Scroll down to get a sneak peek into her story!) 

You’ll see what goes into shopping strategically, and why it’s a skill that will change how you shop forever. I give complimentary access to this training to applicants who are considering joining The Unfolding, so they can “try on” how I teach and see if the full program would be a good fit! Apply now at so I can send you access to this exclusive training.

Related: What is personal style and why is it so important?

What happens when you shop without a fashion strategy? 

Shopping ventures without a fashion strategy are hardly enjoyable. You likely enter the store or open up a clothing website hoping they’ll tell you what you need (or that you’ll just trip over the clothes that suit you).

When you’re shopping without a fashion strategy, you’re:

  • Using willpower and memory to figure out what you like
  • Making high-pressure decisions in the shopping cart
  • Buying things you like a lot, but end up not loving or not feeling confident enough to actually wear
  • Trying to talk yourself into or out of purchases
  • Getting overwhelmed and giving up
  • Juggling 50 open tabs but never buying anything
  • Frustrated with tools like apps, planners, and capsules for not solving the problem

The bottom line: you need a fashion strategy (and style clarity) in order to move forward with confidence and discernment as you build your wardrobe. But the answers don’t come from fashion blogs pushing their own agenda. Instead, start with 12 Life-Changing Personal Style Habits for free.

How this worked for Allie

When Allie started working with me, she had just moved into a new role at work with a lot more responsibility. Her day-to-day now included meeting regularly with investors and external bigwigs…who were a bunch of old white dudes. 

We talked a lot about how she could dress in a way that felt like her while taking her position as a young woman in these important decision-making meetings into account. 

Needless to say, this didn’t happen overnight—or “effortlessly”—but her ultimate style transformation is noteworthy for the rest of us!

Ready for wardrobe ease, not just cute outfits?

Great personal style is so much more than the clothes you wear. Get the guide and discover twelve life-changing style habits you can start practicing now, so you can experience having great style, not just great outfits.

Her big style win

Allie recently wrote me an email describing a huge style victory: for the first time, she had a fashion strategy to help her find professional attire that fit her body and her style, and she shopped for it without overwhelm or panic.

She wrote:

I found out on Thursday that I needed to wear a suit on Monday for a big presentation with investors. I ended up having to run to the mall because time was tight, but this was the first time I've run to the mall in a panic for business clothes and was actually happy with the results. I ended up with a suit I really like that makes me feel like I'm commanding the room. This is the first time I've ever felt like myself while wearing business attire—maybe my biggest style win to date!

This was the same person who said, in our first session together, “I buy the same black pants every time I have a work presentation, and I wear them once and hate them. I then get rid of them and repeat!” 

Shopping without a fashion strategy, style words, or any direction as to what compliments your sense of self, feeds into a cyclical disaster. We can all relate to being on the hamster wheel: you buy something “appropriate” because you have to, but discard it because you don’t like it—over and over again.

Allie broke free from the cycle! 

Related: 3 signs you're stuck in a style rut and 5 ways to break out of it

Why Allie’s fashion strategy helped her get this win

You might think that everyone else just knows how to shop—but for most people, like Allie, it’s actually quite stressful. Fortunately, she is living proof that you can flip the script on your style confidence by outlining your fashion strategy long before you find yourself in a time crunch.

Allie’s shopping story is a big win for a few reasons. She took the style clarity she built up over many sessions and turned it into action, and behaved differently in a situation that would have been stressful for her in the past. Allie showed up at the mall with a fashion strategy and left feeling more confident than ever!

This is what I’m talking about when I bring up strategic, identity-based style. Allie was able to take her style definition and use it strategically, even in a less-than-ideal situation. She balanced her desires and identity with her immediate needs. Allie even took time to reflect, seeing her emotional growth and celebrating after her purchase!

Big style wins are in store for you when you understand the advantages of a fashion strategy. Remember, style is about the whole package: what’s inside and outside. When you’re ready to develop your own style strategy, apply for The Unfolding to define your own personal style and learn to shop strategically.

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Big style wins are in store for you when you understand the advantages of a fashion strategy. Style is about the whole package, inside and out.