Style goals serve as a helpful frame of reference as you edit and review your closet, shop for new items, shop your closet, create outfits, and evolve your look. Anything that relates to your style can go on the list. Style goals can be general or specific, seasonal or annual, abstract or quantified, and simple or complicated. Remember that they can be changed at any time, so don’t overthink the process. You can set as few as one goal, and try to stick to it.

For some, setting style goals is an intuitive and incremental process of fine-tuning the sartorial fabness that they accomplished the previous year, which means that they are in a good place with their style. For others, it requires time, patience, some soul searching, and an in-depth analysis of the internal and external factors that affect their style because they are in a style rut, re-thinking their priories, or they’ve experienced dramatic changes in their life.

I make a point of revisiting my style goals every January. It crystalizes my thoughts and keeps me accountable to attaining the goals. It’s handy when I want to check in on my goals and assess progress throughout the year, make the necessary changes, and share them with others.

Despite the upheaval, 2020 was a satisfying year for my style. I managed to achieve all of my general goals, and a few of the specific ones too. I had planned to have even more fun with fashion because I was turning 50, and to be more adventurous and fearless with my style in some way. Those goals hit the wrong note during the pandemic, and we are still in the thick of things in the US. But I look forward to prioritizing them in the future when life returns to a new normal.

I’m keeping “Urban Polish” as my style moniker. Although I live in a grungy, outdoorsy, hipster and very casual city, it’s important to me to create daily outfits that are refined, pretty, bold, structured, polished, comfortable, somewhat dressy, and more colourful than the norm, because that feels authentic to my style. And when your style feels authentic to you, it’s easy to manage, maintain and enjoy.

My approach is working for me right now, so there’s no need to fix anything specific. I LOVE my wardrobe and I’m grateful for daily outfits that spark joy, energize, and keep me optimistic. So this year is about continuation, fine-tuning my style strategies, and focussing on some specific purchases.

General Goals

Be true to my style aspirations. I want to wear outfits that are Modern, Crisp, Retro, Playful and Dressy. Four of these adjectives have been the same for five years. I’ve changed one from Soft to Playful because it seems more accurate. These words describe my ideal style and serve as a benchmark for assessing outfits and purchases on this leg of my style journey. There is no need to achieve all five adjectives for every outfit. Three or four are close enough.

  • Modern, because I enjoy injecting a few carefully chosen hot-off-the-press trends into my seasonal look. That’s part of why fashion is fun, keeps things fresh, and it works well with my line of work.
  • Crisp, because I love wearing shades of white and clear brights, and have a strong need to create a polished, fresh, professional and tidy appearance.
  • Retro, because of my fondness for fashion from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, but remixing retro sensibilities with a good dose of current.
  • Playful, because it’s become important to me to wear outfits that are or have light-hearted, soft, amusing and fun elements. It also reminds me to not take the fashion and style world too seriously, and to do my own thing.
  • Dressy, because super casual does not make me happy.

Prioritize quality. My commitment to wearing beautifully constructed and finished items made of gorgeous fabrics that launder well is higher than ever. I am old school in this regard, and do not want to rent my wardrobe. I believe in buying fewer well-made things, wearing them frequently, and looking after them. That’s why I have thirteen-year-old wool coats and jackets that look new. I did a good job of achieving this last year and want to maintain the momentum.

Make manageable sustainable and ethical wardrobe decisions. I am committed to making the most sustainable and ethical wardrobe decisions that I can manage. There are compromises, but wardrobe items have to be right to work over time, which is a sustainability goal in itself. As far as possible, I will continue to refresh my style from designers and retailers that are committed to sustainable and ethical practices, and my intention is to keep wardrobe items for as long as I can.

Express my style through colour and my favourite patterns. My style was more colourful and pattern-rich than ever in 2020. I could barely wear a head-to-toe neutral outfit without adding back in the colour to boost my mood. I want to continue wearing my signature sour brights, blush pink, my shades of blue, and some earth tones. I also want to continue remixing the colours in my wardrobe in bold, new and tonal combinations. For patterns I’m sticking to the classics like stripes, dots, plaids, checks, and some florals because I don’t tire of them. I have said goodbye to animal print for now.

Continue exploring the world of fun and practical dressy pants. Dressier pants, and especially those in checks and plaids, have become signature to my style. I reach for them more than jeans and I’m enjoying the change.

Continue adding elegant-to-me touches to my style. My custom-made pearl jewellery makes me feel more elegant and polished, as does wearing midi dresses, midi skirts, dressy pants, structured handbags, structured silhouettes with ease and movement, refined footwear (even when they’re fashion sneakers!), pointy-toe ballet flats, well-groomed hands and feet, maintaining healthy skin, and doing my hair and make-up each day. Surprisingly, my current super short wavy COVID pixie makes me feel more elegant than its longer version. Being able to practice yoga after recovering from a back injury a year ago also makes me feel more elegant because it improves my posture, flexibility and agility. Sometimes, elegance is as much a state of mind as it is a visual appearance.

Sport my signature style, despite the trends. That means edgy short blonde hair, equal parts classic and trendy, an emphasis on the “soft and pretty”, tailored fluidity, statement eyewear and handbag, natural make-up, white pearls, white footwear, white jeans, lots of colour, classic patterns, hectic colour combinations, pattern mixing, light neutrals, dark blue, flat footwear, fashion sneakers, and no nail polish.

Specific Goals

  • Refresh my yoga capsule (already in progress)
  • Refresh my capsule of white tops for Spring and Summer
  • Refresh my white jeans capsule with wider silhouettes
  • Add more citron to my wardrobe, starting with a new dressy satchel
  • Add more flowing and fun skirts to my skirt capsule
  • Try a pair of G-Star jeans
  • Add a blush pink wool coat to my coat collection

Over to you. Have you thought about your style goals for 2021? Many of the YLF forum members have thought about theirs, and their posts have been a pleasure to read over the last few weeks. Please share your style goals in the comments section, even if you’ve already shared them on the forum. Begin with just two goals if that’s easier, and take it from there. Or simply jot down some rough thoughts about your current and aspirational style direction.