The Dreaded Style Rut: 3 Warning Signs


Do the words “NO!” or “Meh” or an infinite, deadened silence fill your thoughts when thinking about your current wardrobe? If so, it is very possible you are experiencing what some refer to as a “Style Rut.” Other symptoms may include but are not limited to:

  • The inability to turn the corners of the mouth upward and expose the front teeth when looking in the mirror at an outfit (something experts refer to as “smiling”)
  • The inability to prevent the eyes from rolling back into one’s head while rummaging through the closet

style rut

These symptoms happen to the best of us when our clothing has more than lost its sparkle. As a busy mom-on-the-go, perhaps you have lost faith in the possibility of putting the “fun” back into your functional wardrobe. Bologna, I say! However, the first step to resuscitating your wardrobe is making a proper diagnosis of “rut” or “no rut.” Here are three simple tests to determine whether your wardrobe needs emergency CPR.

Style Rut Test #1: Multiples of the Same Item

Let’s face it: we are creatures of habit. When I find an amazing pair of jeans that holds me in and gives me the backside of a lifted Swedish meatball, I am tempted to purchase a pair in every gradient of blue I can get my stubby fingers on. When you come across a good thing, be it shoes, jeans, or a well-made blazer, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a second, back-up pair.

The problem arises when you open your closet and you find that your favorite black V-neck has given birth to generations of other black V-necks. You didn’t stop with a back-up pair; your closet is laden with multiples of the same exact item with slight to no variations between them. Too much of one item lessens the value and appreciation of that item, and it makes it look like you always wear the same thing. This path only leads to boredom and ultimately the dreaded style rut.

Style Rut Test #2: You Shudder at the Thought of Receiving Clothing as a Gift

How do you really feel about your wardrobe? Well, there’s nothing that will unveil the truth to you like this fun little exercise. Pull three outfits you wear the most in a week and lay them out in front of you. Rank them on a scale of 1-3, from your favorite (1) to least favorite (3).

Now, follow me on a hypothetical journey and imagine your partner comes home and has an incredible gift for you. “As a very small token of my appreciation for all that you do, dear partner, I want to give you this gift!” your partner says. You open it to find your top ranked outfit. What is your response? “Hurray! What a treat – thank you, soul mate!” or “You cruel, heartless creature…” If your responses for your top 3 items are a mixture of anger, boredom, and disappointment, take note.

Style Rut Test #3: You’ve Become Known as the {Insert Clothing Item Here} Lady.

Ten years ago, if I had ever gone missing, I am certain the description for me would have been: Asian female, medium-build, and always in black pants. You could find me in a crowd of hundreds, as all you had to do was follow the black pants.

Perhaps during kinder drop-off or parent-teacher meetings you are referred to under the breath as “yoga pants-ponytail mom” or “long sweater lady” by your little ones’ friends. Would someone be able to describe you by an article of clothing you wear day-in and day-out? If so, it’s possible you have developed a case of the style rut.

Get Rid Of the Style Rut

The first step to getting your style mojo back is seeing reality for what it is. Coming to terms with your style rut is half of the battle and is often the hardest part of the process of getting back to “Mama’s got it goin’ on!”

Stay tuned for next month’s post when I’m going to talk about how to start climbing out of the rut!


  1. Oh excited to see next week’s post! I have found myself in a style rut after major changes in my life. I think clothes reflect these times. 🙂

  2. OoO can’t wait to see the tips for getting out of a style rut. I can recommend one from personal experience. HIRE KAT FOR A STYLING SESSION! It def got me out of my rut. I actually make an effort to get dressed up now

  3. Aw I knew this post would make me smile 😉 I was getting my style back as I was losing some post pregnancy pounds and started buying clothes. Then, somehow, it seems I have managed to gain it all back in a very short amount of time. So my new, stylish wardrobe awaits another weight loss attempt 😉

  4. I am guilty of having multiples of the same item. But different colors or prints. For me it’s mainly because they were cheap. I have bougie taste on a Wal-Mart budget. I cannot wait for the post on how to get out of the rut.

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