I’ve been in the fashion industry my entire career, working directly with clients for about 15 years, and some things never change. Most women, no matter their age, size, or budget, share similar struggles when it comes to style. And while I can’t claim that these secrets hold the answers to all of your style conundrums, they will definitely help you take a step in the right direction.
Some of these will be brand new to you, while others you may have heard, in some version or another, before. I’ve found that I can hear things a few times, and then one day, they land different and I realize how powerful they are. We have to be ready.
So here, 10 secrets that can make style more enjoyable and less frustrating.
There is no worse way to start your day than staring into the abyss of an overcrowded closet, wondering what to wear. Scientific studies show that we make an average of 3.5 bajillion decisions before lunch. (This number might be a guesstimate, but it definitely feels that way.)
Deciding what to wear should not be one of them. Here’s what I suggest. Start by making sure that your closet only contains clothes you can wear right now. They fit you, they work with your lifestyle, and they are seasonally appropriate. Stash the rest of your wardrobe under the bed, in suitcases, in the pantry (food storage is SOO overrated), wherever you have some extra space, but get it out of the main section of your closet. Next, put your clothes out the night before, complete with shoes and accessories. Try the outfit on if you have to, but make sure it is all ready to go.
Your morning self with thank you.
In a perfect world, we would all have the budget to buy all fancy things, all the time. I mean, who doesn’t want socks from Hermes? 🙂 But in reality, the most stylish women in the world are the best mixmasters, combining high and low to create a combination that is uniquely their own. I often pair inexpensive summer dresses from Target and Walmart with fancier shoes and jewelry.
Style is where you find it, and if your vision is strong, you can find stylish pieces anywhere from Walmart and secondhand stores all the way up to high-end department stores and boutiques.
The truth is true, though. You can nail an outfit and add stodgy orthopedic shoes or dated shoes or just plain boring shoes and suddenly, it’s no longer cute. Save on the dress, but spend enough on your shoes to make sure they are stylish and comfortable. You can find my favorite shoe brands right here.
If you’ve ever struggled all day with a bra that slipped, a skirt that twisted, or a dress that constantly needed adjusting, you know this to be true. Nothing makes you feel more self-conscious than an outfit you have to mess with all day. Leave it at home, or better yet, leave it at the store if you haven’t bought it yet.
Who needs an outfit that is that much work?
A shirt and a pair of pants is not an outfit. It is simply a socially acceptable way of covering your nudity. When we understand the difference between wearing clothes and getting dressed, we recognize that the polished outfits we admire on others almost always have at least 4 elements. So the top, pants, a jacket, and great shoes. Or the dress, fabulous shoes, a fun pair of earrings, and a hat.
How can you use the rule of 4 or More to improve your outfits?
There is no longer a reason to compromise just because you’re on a budget. Almost EVERYONE is on a budget, of some kind or another, especially these days. But if you shop strategically, and use both online resources and local stores, you can find the quality you deserve at a price that fits your budget. Between online discount and secondhand sources (Nordstrom Rack, Ebay, Poshmark, Thredup) and local consignment stores and end-of-season sales, the designer or department store brand of your dreams can easily be within your reach.
I will say this every chance I get. It’s kind of my mantra. Nothing will change your style more, and more quickly, than taking a daily picture. Photograph your outfits every single day. Take a picture of every little thing you try on. Even socks. LOL. Just make it a habit. Taking daily outfit pics lets you easily see what works and what doesn’t so that you understand your own body and style better. And dressing room pics let you remember what you left behind and decide whether it’s worth going back for. You can also try on new styles and determine whether or not they work for you.
Keep your outfit pics filed away in an album on your phone for future reference, and you have your own lookbook!
You’ll never know if midi dresses or high-waisted pants or flowy-sleeved tops are your thing if you don’t try them on. There is literally no other way to rule out some trends and embrace others. Whether trying them on means ordering some items to try on at home, or going to an actual store for a good old-fashioned try-on session, seeing new styles on your body is the only way to determine what works and what doesn’t. Don’t rule anything out at first sight (unless you hate it!).
Size is irrelevant, and fit technology is taking us away from assigning numbers to specific sizes, because the system is so broken. There is no continuity across brands or borders. Instead of attaching any feelings at all to a size label, instead, learn to understand your measurements so that you can effectively shop online for clothes that fit you. Make sure you have an accurate and up-to-date set of both horizontal (shoulders, waist, etc.) and vertical measurements on your phone at all times. Also, take measurements of your favorite clothing items (inseam, rise, waist of pants, for example) so you can duplicate the fit.
Nothing is more aging than clothes that are out of date. These days I feel deja vu every time I look at the selections for juniors in stores. Mesh, 60s inspired patterns, crochet, bike shorts, and even the old Steve Madden platform slides are back in a big way, but this doesn’t mean I’m going to raid my clothes storage for original 90s pieces, because clothes have time stamps. The 2022 version of the 1992 trend is not the same. At all. Fabrics, colors, and details will change, and nothing makes us look like we are stuck in a time warp more than clothes that are no longer in style.
The same is true of classics. A “classic” blazer now and one from 1995 look very different. Expected to keep your clothes for 5-10 years. Most items will not hold up, style-wise, much longer than that.
There are exceptions, of course, but not many.
Which of these tips did you find the most helpful? Let me know in the comments!