Today, I’m taking a different approach to style, because I’m not telling you what to wear. I’m telling you what to feel. Let me explain.
Most of us base outfits on the occasion. I am going ___________________ so I need to wear ______________________. And that is often the most logical place to start. I even did a video recently on what to wear to all the events you might be attending this fall. But this is certainly not the only way to plan your outfits.
Today, I’m hoping to inspire you to plan your outfits based on a desired mood or attitude.
Often, how we want to feel and what we are doing are closely related. For example, as I write this, it’s a relatively relaxing Monday, where the only appointments are picking up and dropping off kids. So the mood for my day is comfortable and relaxed. Polished is a given because I never want to look sloppy, but when my mood is casual, I want to choose an outfit that reflects that.
Sometimes, we need clothes to help change our moods as well. If you’re feeling uncertain or hesitant, the right outfit can make you feel confident. If you’re feeling frumpy, the perfect look can make you feel pretty. And if you’re stressed, try an outfit that helps you feel relaxed.
In today’s video, I share 7 outfits that help me capture 7 different moods, and set me on the track to have a successful and productive day. And while these outfits are specific to me (and taken directly from my Instagram), there are elements of each of these looks that can help you achieve the same effect.
Elegant & Timeless
Wardrobe staples in neutrals or darker, rich colors always give me a sense of elegance and refinement. For easy elegance, try a silky blouse in a solid neutral color with a classic pair of trousers. Add a blazer for an instant upgrade. Rich fabrics like wool, cashmere, and leather can also lend an air of elegance.
The key to turning any of these items into elegant outfits is the polish of classic accessories that add a sense of luxury to wardrobe staples. For example, a pair of black pants and a white button-down are elevated by a pair of gold hoops and a chic pair of loafers, for example.
What says elegant and timeless to you? And can you create an outfit from your own wardrobe that gives you this feeling? What does it include, and how can you improve on it or elevate it even more?
Confident & Powerful
Can an outfit give you the confidence to ask for a raise or to make that presentation? Absolutely. As I say often, style is a tool that you can control to give you the effect you want in your life, mood, and energy level. I feel confident and powerful when I wear colorful, flattering clothes in strong shapes.
There’s a lot of science behind choosing a “power” color, a color that makes you feel energized and strong and like the best version of you. That color for me is definitely red. I love every shade and hue of red, from pink to brick, but my favorite and most “power”ful version is true bright lipstick red.
This Trina Turk top combines my power color with a strong shape for an instant confidence boost? For a presentation or work event, I pair it with black pants, but for a night out, I’ll often choose a pair of polished crepe shorts. My favorite red pumps add to the confidence boost this outfit gives.
What’s your power color? and how can you incorporate it into an outfit that makes you feel confident?
Feminine & Flirty
This is the look to call on when you just want to feel pretty. Whether the day calls for it or not, there is never a bad time to, in Shania Twain’s timeless words, feel like a woman. My style is always feminine, but even if yours is not, consider having a feminine look in your repertoire for times when you want to bring that side of you out into the open. Maybe you’re attending a brunch or a bridal shower, or planning a romantic getaway with your husband… the right outfit can set the tone for
A floral pattern is a shortcut to feminine and flirty for me, but I like my florals bold and colorful. If you’re not a floral person, feminine shapes, colors, and details (lace, broderie anglaise) can all have the same effect.
What do you reach for when you want to feel feminine and flirty?
Comfortable & Relaxed
You know how I once did a whole video on why comfortable is not a style. Well, it’s not. For most of us, it’s a must, a daily necessity so that we can have full, productive lives unencumbered by awkward and uncomfortable clothes.
But there are days when my mood is relaxed and I want my clothes to echo that, without reaching for sweats. Comfort without style is easy enough to achieve, as the legions of loungewear options currently available will show, but comfort that is also chic takes a bit more intentionality. For me, a casual dress or jumpsuit is a shortcut to comfortable style, but so is an easy two-piece outfit that functions as either a dress or a jumpsuit. A comfortable pair of jeans or pants and a pretty easy top is another shortcut.
I like relaxed silhouettes that don’t bind at the waist when I want to feel comfortable, and fortunately it’s easy to check these boxes while still looking chic.
What’s your go-to outfit formula when you want to be both chic and comfortable?
Hip & Trendy
I wish I could be like the cool kids. 🙂 But I’m no longer a kid and I was probably never truly cool. I’m fine with that, but sometimes I want to channel my inner hipster, whether that’s because it makes me more relatable to the girls in my high school Bible study group or to my daughter’s friends, or just to remind myself that I can still be cool if I need to be.
The easiest way to pull this off without looking like you are trying too hard (which, let’s face it, is anything but cool) is to keep it casual and simple, with timeless, ageless basics like jeans and tees. The more relaxed, the better. Another option is to pick a single trendy piece (in the case of this outfit, my controversial ripped jeans) and level up the rest of the outfit to make it more sophisticated.
What do you reach for when you want to appear youthful, fun, and trendy?
Glamorous & Special
I used to consider myself pretty high maintenance. I know this might not shocking to you, but I spent an insane amount of time on beauty treatments and outfit planning and all the things. After all, as a fashion editor in my late 20s, it was part of the job description.
Then motherhood hit, and I found my style hampered by practical considerations, and for years, I felt like what worked for my lifestyle eclipsed my natural sense of femininity and glamour. Fortunately, as my girls have grown, I’ve been able to channel that inner, high-maintenance energy again. It’s a part of who I am that I don’t want to neglect or ignore.
Glamorous to me is the opposite of effortless, but in a good way. It shows an intentionality and an attention to detail that sends a signal to the world that you value yourself and are willing to take the time to feel special.
Nothing makes me feel more glamorous than a knockout dress, and these two both checked the box for me for different reasons.
Feeling glamorous means stepping outside of your everyday look and comfort zone, and allowing yourself to put a little more thought into a fabulous look. What does a glamorous outfit mean to you?
Festive & Fun
With the holidays ahead, I am ready for all things festive! Let’s face it. We need it now more than ever. My festive clothes need to spread the joy not only to me but to my family and friends, but I prefer to get in the holiday spirit without a pumpkin tee or a Christmas sweater.
Color is a quick shortcut to a seasonally festive look, as are accessories, but you have to choose colors that channel the season and also feel like you. I’m pretty much cheating since red is a go-to color for me anyway, and I pretty much have a wardrobe of red dresses. All I need to do is add jewelry for an instant festive look.
If you have a whimsical or creative style personality, a small nod to the holiday with an accessory is a fun and still chic option. Kate Spade makes the cutest novelty bags ever, and I always seem to find fun holiday earrings at H&M. One fun touch is more than enough when you’re going for a look that is festive without looking like a Christmas tree. 🙂
For all-out holiday glamour, however, there’s nothing like a sparkly, beaded, or embellished dress.
Are you a Christmas sweater and pumpkin spice kind of girl, or do you prefer my (slightly) more subtle approach to festive style?
I hope that these ideas help you create intentional outfits in your own wardrobe that make you feel all the ways you want to feel in life. What feeling/mood am I missing? Let me know in the comments!
Question of the Week
Pamela K, a member of my Ageless Style Program, asked for my recommendations for the best comfortable pumps. Here, my top picks for every budget. You can find all of these shoes in one place, my Shoe Catalog.
I was so excited when Prime Causemetics reached out to me and sent me some of their popular PrimeLash mascara to try. I LOVE that this line is aimed exclusively at women over 50, because I know that getting older presents its own set of challenges when it comes to beauty products. I’ve been using PrimeLash for a few weeks and I have to say I LOVE it! Here are the features:
- Promotes lash growth by strengthening lashes
- Special brush designed to reach even tiny lashes
- Clump-free and smudge proof
- Super-lengthening formula creates dramatic fluttery lashes
- Vegan and cruelty free
I’m giving away a PrimeLash to one lucky viewer, so comment below for a chance to win!
I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Ageless Style Show? What was your favorite part? And what would like to see in a future episode? Let me know in the comments!
Nada Manley says
Thank you so much Debbie! That means so much to me! I am glad you enjoy them!
Debbie Slocum says
Great suggestions, I always enjoy reading your blogs!
Thank you for all the time and effort you put in. 😊