Today I’m sharing style inspiration from everyone’s favorite home improvement channel, HGTV!
Sure, Joanna Gaines is a great source of style inspo, but there’s a lot to be learned from the Scott brothers, and shows like Flip or Flop, and House Hunters.
Here are the 6 lessons you can learn from HGTV to help you maximize your own style:
- You have to have realistic expectations.
- Value is completely subjective.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of Demo Day.
- A solid foundation is critical
- Bold choices and small details make all the difference.
- Basic doesn’t have to be boring.
Your homework this week is to pick one lesson to focus on.
Links & Resources From the Episode
The Ultimate Closet Makeover Masterclass
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Read the Full Transcript below.
Welcome back! Last summer, I did an episode about what your closet and kitchen have in common. It was one of our most popular episodes, so today I thought I’d share another place you can draw inspiration–everyone’s favorite home improvement channel- HGTV. https://youreverydaystyle.com/episode61/
I’m not just talking about Joanna Gaines’ perfect hair and wardrobe either–even though she is flawless. Nope, I’m talking about the principles that guide decisions on every home improvement show…and how you can use them to maximize your style.
Before we get to that though, let’s talk about hearing my voice when you’re out shopping. This time, quite literally.
For the last couple of weeks, we’ve had people asking if I’m the voice at Old Navy. First, someone in our community said she thought she heard my voice when she was shopping. I didn’t really think much of it because over the years, clients have said to me “I hear your voice in my head when I’m shopping, or getting dressed”, but someone else chimed in and said “me too!” but I had no idea what they were talking about.
Then last week, we started getting messages and emails asking if I was the voice at Old Navy, and I still had no idea what anyone was talking about, as I haven’t been in an Old Navy in months. I sent out in my email last week that it wasn’t me, but no clue what anyone was referring to.
Until last Friday, when I took my girls shopping, and we were at Old Navy, picking up a spring hoodie for my older one. It had completely slipped my mind to listen for it while we were in the store, but we were heading for the checkout, and I caught the last part of an announcement about wearing masks, and I said “girls, it’s me! That’s what they’ve been talking about!” And yeah, I will agree, there are some vocal similarities there.
So the mystery of what everyone’s been asking about is solved. I am not the voice at old navy telling you to wear your mask. But I could be. Call me Old Navy!!
Anyway, let’s talk about finding style inspiration on HGTV.
My younger daughter isn’t much of a tv or movie watcher. Movie nights are frankly painful in our house and last about 27 minutes before people get bored, walk away, pull out a phone…we don’t do many of them at all. BUT my little one really loves home shows so that’s what we end up watching for movie or pizza night–they’re the perfect length and no one argues, which is my definition of success.
Since I’ve watched a fair number of these shows over the last couple of years, and I believe you can find inspiration anywhere, today I’m going to share 6 style lessons you can learn from HGTV. Ready?
First, you need to have realistic expectations.
One of my favorite HGTV moments is on Property Brothers. The Buyers give their wishlist, and then the Scott brothers take them to a home that meets ALL of their needs-the right neighborhood, layout, size, finishes–the works. The buyers ooh and ahh and talk about how absolutely perfect it is…and then the brothers burst their dream bubbles by telling them that the house is 3 or 4 times what their budget is. It’s an unfortunate, but necessary dose of reality that sets the stage for what’s really out there, and how much it costs.
I find this happens a lot with clothes. Women want high-quality, stylish clothing that fits well, is easy to care for, and doesn’t have to be altered in any way. Sometimes, when I was shopping with clients, we’d find items that were perfect, or pretty darn close, but they wouldn’t want to spend what it cost. But they didn’t want to give up any of those other things either. And over and over I’d hear “this shouldn’t be that expensive” or “we should be able to find this somewhere else”. Just because you want all those things to be perfect, and you also want it to be inexpensive, doesn’t mean you can have it all. You can either accept that your dream wardrobe is going to cost you, or you can manage your expectations, and be willing to tailor, or understand that the quality might not be where you want it to be, or maybe it isn’t as easy-care as you’d like…often something’s got to give. You can pick what’s important to you, but sometimes you just can’t have it all—at the price you want.
Lesson number 2 is that value is completely subjective
I don’t know about you, but watching some of these shows makes me want to call moving companies and head to a place where I can get twice as much house for the same amount of money. Waco Texas has looked pretty good on more than one occasion. And then there are times when I’m watching an episode of House Hunters, set in a much higher cost of living area, and I’m like, seven hundred thousand? For that? That’s ridiculous. As these shows demonstrate, what your money can buy you is wildly different depending on where you are. So what does that mean? Is 500 thousand a lot for a house? Yes, it is. In some places. In other areas, you wouldn’t be able to find anything that cheap. The cost is relative, and dependent on a lot of factors. One day we were watching an episode of House Hunters set in a very high cost of living area, and my daughter asked, why would anyone want to live there?. And I said, well, maybe that’s where their jobs are, or their family lives, or maybe they like being close to the city. The things they value are there, so that’s where they are. In every episode of House Hunters, my family demonstrates how subjective value is. My husband always chooses the one with the most space. To him, the bigger the better. I always choose the nicest or most charming one. My daughters always pick the cheapest one. What we value in a home is different.
And it’s the same in your wardrobe. I know you’re saying I know Jen, we’ve heard it before. And I know. I talked about this in my episode on Unanswerable style Questions. But I’m going to keep talking about it because since that episode aired, I’ve gotten a whole bunch of emails and questions asking “is this worth it” “should I spend the money on this-it’s kind of expensive” and all I can say is, I don’t know. Is it worth it to you? But the other reason I keep talking about this is that most women have yet to lean into what they find valuable. We still think of dress clothes as “worth more” and our “everyday” clothes as being worthless. Why? If you spend the majority of your time in dress clothes, that makes sense, or if you want to have a few things that are truly special, great. But why aren’t more women embracing how they live 90% of the time and buying great clothes for that? Last week, I sent my email with my picks of the week, and I shared 4 pants from my wardrobe that I absolutely love. 3 out of 4 were around a hundred dollars, and one was around 40. The cheap ones were the dress pants. The others were everyday pants. Pants I could wear with sneakers and tees or sweatshirts. If I had more expensive dress pants and cheap everyday pants, I would struggle to get dressed. A valuable wardrobe is made up of things you love and can wear often. And no one can decide those things but you.
So maybe, it’s that person spending a million dollars on a tiny house in Hawaii because they want a view of the ocean or you going to Athleta instead of Walmart because you want nicer athleisure clothes. Whatever it is figure out what you value, and then invest in it.
The third lesson you should take away from HGTV is the importance of Demo Day.
My daughter loves the shows where people do a little house hunting, pick one, and then renovate it. And the very first thing they do when they get their new house is, what? Demo Day. They take out ALL the stuff that isn’t working. They don’t just paint over old wallpaper and put new furniture over old carpets. Nope, they strip it down to just the things they’re going to keep and get all the old stuff out of there. Why do they do this? Because it’s impossible to create a vision you want on top of the one you don’t. What I love about demo days is when they find things they didn’t expect–like a wall of perfect shiplap, or hardwood floors under those old ugly carpets. These hidden gems save money on the renovation costs and allow the budget to be spent elsewhere. They would never have found them unless they were ruthlessly taking everything else down.
I know I’ve talked a lot about this one too, in my episode on editing your wardrobe like a pro, and in the Ultimate Closet Makeover Class, I’ll link to both in the show notes, but I cannot stress this one enough. Your closet, if it hasn’t had one in a while, needs a demo day.
The biggest thing keeping women from having the easy style they want is their overstuffed, outdated, nothing in here works for my closet. But because going through it is such a daunting task, they don’t do the demo day…they just go shopping and add more on top of what’s already there. It’s like painting over wallpaper. It might look good today, but it’s going to cause a lot more work in the long run. Trust me. And besides, if you never strip your closet down to the absolute basics of what’s working and what’s not, you’ll never find the hidden gems. Over the years, I’ve heard “I forgot I had that” more times than I can count…followed closely by “I’ve been looking for that”. I always say a great wardrobe is as much about what you take out, as what you put in, so don’t skip demo day
The fourth lesson you can learn from home improvement shows is the value of a good foundation.
It feels like every show that involves renovating a home includes an unexpected foundation issue, and with it, an unexpected expense. Sometimes the homeowners divert funds from another project, sometimes they just raise their budget, but what they DON’T do is leave the foundation problems unsolved and hope to make up for it with better finishes. Like, “Oh, I get the house is sinking, but no one will notice with these gorgeous cabinets”. Nope, they understand that the foundation is non-negotiable, and they spend whatever it takes to do the job right!
And so, my friends, it goes with your wardrobe. Your foundations are critical. What are wardrobe foundations, you might be asking? Bras and underwear. When your foundations are worn out, or ill-fitting, nothing you put on top of them will look as good. You’ve got to take the time and spend the money to make sure your foundations get the girls where they should be, which can change the way your tops fit, and to make sure that your bottoms have the right amount of coverage, and don’t look saggy or bumpy. I know this is an area lots of women don’t want to spend money on, but good bras and underwear will do wonders for your clothes, and how you look in your clothes.
Now, if you’re a newer listener, you might be wondering where or how to find good foundations. I’ve got 2 episodes on bras, which I will link to in the show notes. When it comes to underwear, I don’t have an episode on that, and I don’t have one planned, because there really isn’t as much concrete advice, like there is with bras. So much of it comes down to personal preference. What I recommend, if you feel like you don’t know what undies are best for you, is going to a place that carries a lot of different styles, like Victoria’s Secret or Soma, and buying a variety of fits and fabrics and then–and this is the important part–pay attention to how they feel and look and when you’re wearing them. Do they ride up or roll down? Do they give you lines you don’t want to see or sag in the rear? From there, pick the best one.
A lot of women ask me about shapewear too, and I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of everyday shapewear. Under special occasion stuff, sure, but I prefer for women to find flattering, comfortable everyday clothes they feel good in. However, if you want more advice on shapewear, I’ve got an episode for that, which we’ll link to in the show notes.
The fifth thing you can learn from home improvement shows is that it’s the bold, scary choices, and the little details that really make the space come to life.
Sometimes, when watching shows like Fixer Upper, the designer will pick something that I’m like, yeah, I don’t know about that one. Often the homeowners are unsure about it as well, but when it comes time for the big reveal, it’s those things that really bring the space to life, and make it look personal and unique. All of a sudden, you can’t imagine the space without that quirky chandelier or bold paint color. And I know I’ve thought many times, Oh, I wish I had the courage to do something like that in my house.
On the flip side of the bold choices are the little details. I love when the homeowners see their houses and they’re going from room to room pointing out little things you might not notice at first. Those touches make the houses feel finished, upscale and personal–and while you might not realize what a difference laying tile in a pattern makes, if it wasn’t there you would definitely notice.
It’s the same thing for your wardrobe. Bold choices and little details are what make your wardrobe interesting, stylish, and upscale. But here’s the thing. They have to be personal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with clients who are more reserved and conservative, and in their closets, they have all these crazy prints and wild colors, that unsurprisingly, they never wear. The story is always the same–I felt like I needed something more exciting. And I say, do these things excite you? Well, not really, but I felt like I should have them. Don’t go for what you think other people think is “bold”. Do bold for YOU. If you’re a person who lives in nothing but black and gray, try emerald green, or even burgundy. That is bold–to you. Don’t head right for the neon green patterned top. You’re never going to wear it.
When it comes to little details, these are things like finishing your outfit with an accessory, adding a belt, or rolling your sleeves, tucking your top or cuffing your jeans. These kinds of things are the little touches that make your wardrobe look finished and upscale.
But bold isn’t for a lot of women, and that’s ok. Some women’s style IS just more basic. This brings me to my last HGTV lesson.
Number six, basic doesn’t have to be boring.
If you watch a lot of HGTV, you’ll notice there’s a difference in how designers design homes for specific buyers, like Fixer Upper or Property Brothers, and how they design houses with no specific buyer in mind, like all the house flipping shows. When designers are creating spaces for a specific buyer, they tend to put in more bold choices, but when they need to have mass appeal, they tend to go more neutral and leave out the things that would only appeal to a select few.
However, if you’ve ever watched an episode of Flip or Flop, you know those houses are never boring. Yep, they might be twenty shades of gray, but they don’t look boring. Those houses are still put together intentionally, with a design plan, a cohesive color scheme, and interesting materials. The result is more basic and more understated, but it isn’t boring at all.
Le’s apply that to your wardrobe. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve worked with who don’t like bold colors or patterns, or accessories. They describe their style as basic, simple, or plain. And that’s fine. Not every wardrobe has to be over the top. Like I said in lesson 6, if that’s not you, don’t force it. But, a lot of these women have come to me because they feel boring and drab, and unstylish. They think they have to choose between bold but not their style, and boring. The truth is, you don’t have to choose. You can have an understated, basic wardrobe that is anything but drab and dull. And you only have to look at Flip or Flop to do it.
First, the women in this group are usually big advocates of the “buy the same shirt in every color” strategy. So they wear the same style of jeans, with the same shirt in 7 different colors, and feel like they look the same all the time. I wonder why. Ditch that approach and discover a color palette you love. It can be based on your best colors, or just colors you like to wear. And you might think that having limited colors will make your wardrobe MORE boring, but it won’t. It will make it more cohesive.
Second, every piece has to be in great shape and fit you well. When you have no smoke and mirrors like accessories or patterns to detract from the fit and condition of your clothes, every piece matters more. Get in the habit of tailoring, and replacing/repairing clothes that have seen better days.
Finally, look for slightly more stylish versions of the things you already wear. I worked with a woman who was struggling with feeling drab and boring and she lived in jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers. Specifically, boot-cut jeans, basic v-neck tees, and running shoes. I put her in bootcut crops, we swapped the running shoes for a fashion sneaker, and we added a couple of graphic tees and striped tees to her wardrobe. It was still her, in jeans, tees and sneaks, but it wasn’t basic or boring.
You absolutely don’t have to choose. You can be basic and understated without being boring.
There you have it— Six things you can learn about style by watching HGTV. As always, I hope this episode makes you look at your wardrobe in a new way and helps you find inspiration everywhere.
Your homework is to pick one of the six lessons and see how you can apply it to your wardrobe. Maybe you want to make a bolder choice this week, or maybe you want to get started on Demo Day–that’s always a good choice.
I’ll see you next week when we’re back with an episode on getting strong at any stage of life. Bye for now!