This is the thing about style that can sometimes make it frustrating. Everything changes. Your lifestyle and climate and body and preferences and budget and trends. Everything changes. If we don’t try the new stuff, or the old stuff in new ways, we get stuck and our style becomes boring and stale, not to mention dated.
My job as your fashion friend and personal stylist is to try all the things, and to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Fortunately, all of this experimenting leads to a-ha moments and stylish discoveries, and I’m excited to share a few of them with you in today’s video.
Here, some aha moments that I had in 2023 that will help you have the most stylish year in 2024.
Taking Risks Pays Off
Or, why sometimes the one thing you think is not for you ends up being a gamechanger. I talk about being focused but flexible a lot when it comes to shopping, but it’s also an important concept for personal style. While it’s important to know who we are, style-wise, it’s also important to try new things. And some of those things may even be things you thought you would never wear.
For me, this is the year I finally tried dresses with sneakers.
I know it doesn’t seem like a big risk to some, but for a woman with predominantly feminine style and not a sporty bone in her body, it felt pretty out there. But, surprise surprise, I discovered I loved it.
Now I had to take the idea of sneakers with outfit and make them my own. I’m not a dad sneaker and oversized loungewear kind of girl. I’m more a silk slip skirt with fashion sneaker kind of girl. So here is a new way to reframe trying new things. Your personal style comes through in how you wear that new thing.
What new item, style, or outfit have you been wanting to try, but hesitated, for whatever reason. Try putting it this way to yourself:
The Better You Know Yourself, The Better Your Style Becomes
One thing that I discovered this year is that, despite repeated attempts at wearing athleisure in a traditional way, I’m more Posh Spice than Sporty Spice. When I tried to wear the athleisure outfits I saw around me, I felt like I was wearing a costume. It wasn’t until I made it my own (i.e. a lululemon dress instead of leggings and a sports top) that I felt like myself again.
Again, it’s not about asking yourself whether you will wear something or not, but instead asking yourself how you would make that thing your own.
Comfort is Important
Comfort and style are equally important. Neither is optional. I know this is a shocker, but this year I started learning to prioritize comfort. I have never considered comfort optional, but I’ve prioritized it differently this year. And comfort looks different to all of us. I can wear shoes that may be considered uncomfortable to many, but I do not ever want to wear pants that are too tight around the waist. I discovered how to work comfortable pieces, like leggings and wireless bras, into my outfits more often.
Quality = Confidence
One of the things I learned this year is that beautiful quality clothes fit and feel better, and make a big difference in how I feel every day. As a former fashion victim with shiny object syndrome who always used to put quantity over quality, that was a big revelation. Cheaply made clothes (this has less to do with the price of the clothes than it does with the quality) do nothing to flatter your body, add to your elegance, or elevate your style. They look and feel badly made, and this colors your whole day. Cheap clothes need to be fussed with all the time to make them look and feel better, and fussing kills confidence.
High quality clothes that fit and flatter change how you look and feel every day.
Little Things Matter
If you want to elevate your style, you need to pay attention to the details: your underwear, pajamas, robe, towels, grooming. All of these things contribute to how much we feel like we “have it together,” and this feeling enhances confidence.
This year, I focused on upgrading my pajamas and sleepwear, and this coming year, I’m focusing on prebooking all of my appointments so my grooming is always on point.
You can wear anything you want if it fits
While understanding your body type is important, it’s also important to recognize the role that fit and proportion have in making an item flattering or unflattering. Without exception, an item that fits properly will always be more flattering, and so if your goal is to try something that you’ve always considered hard to wear in terms of flattery, try the best-case-scenario for your body in that item, i.e. the one with the best fit and proportions for your body.
I discovered that I can wear high-waisted trousers, mididresses and skirts, and boxy blazers if they fit me well and are scaled to my body.
Shoes & Jackets are wardrobe heroes
Nothing will do more to update and upgrade everything in your wardrobe than the addition of a new pair of shoes. This is one of my greatest style hacks in my own wardrobe. I have fallen in love with last year’s favorite dresses all over again when I pair them with new shoes. The same is true, although to a slightly lesser extent, with jackets. Switching out the jacket can completely change a look.
If you’re looking for a real shortcut, start with essentials, and switch up the jackets and shoes season after season.
Classic Coats = Instant Elegance
Nothing makes you look or feel more elegant than a classic wool or cashmere coat in a neutral color. In my opinion, a medium neutral like medium blue, gray or camel is the most versatile and practical. It works seamlessly in outfits with all of your other neutrals as well as your colors, and it elevates everything you wear. If it’s just slightly oversized, it will have that ease and elegance while fitting over your bulky winter clothes.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
One of the realizations I had this year is that if I want to look my best all the time, I have to plan ahead for weather, hectic days, and other obstacles. The way this showed up in my life the most is that I started wearing my hair up on rainy days, rather than just hoping for the best. By planning ahead and finding a hairstyle that worked for Florida thunderstorms, I was able to prevent frizzy bad hair days before they began.
Style Is In The Details
Sometimes we are in such a hurry to check a specific box in our wardrobes that we buy any old thing that fills that spot. Rather than picking a beautiful quality pair of shoes or a fabulous bag that truly speaks to your personal style, you buy the first one you find and wonder why you’re not reaching your style goals.
If there’s only one thing you take away from my European style videos, it’s that details like accessories, shoes, beauty, and quality all matter, and mean the difference between an outfit that is chic and one that falls flat.
What did you think of these style aha moments? Which one of these will you use to improve your style and look your best more consistently in 2024? Let me know in the comments!