Every woman has been confronted with fashion frustrations — whether standing in front of a closet full of clothes and feeling like she has nothing to wear or faced with a faux-pas in public (ugh!). Learning to dress chic and stylish every day is a skill that requires knowledge of what’s trending and confidence in your own unique style and appearance! Though the world of fashion is amazing and can allow us to express ourselves in creative ways, it can feel overwhelming when there are so many choices available. In this helpful style guide, we’ve picked out the top 15 tips that can help any woman feel more comfortable forming her own style. Read on, fashionistas.
#1 Organize your closet
When it comes to dressing stylishly, it really can’t be emphasized enough how important it is to have an organized closet. With a clean closet, you will be able to find what you’re looking for in a rush and still be able to sprint out the door looking top-notch. After all, how can you put together stunning outfits if you don’t even know all that you have? First thing to do is sort through all your clothes and decide on what’s too old and outdated and can be donated (or just plain thrown out!). Once you’ve decluttered your space a bit, organize the remaining items into categories: fancy blouses, casual tops, sweaters, etc. Hang the items that should be hung and fold the rest neatly, making sure you have enough space and compartments for all of your categories. Lastly, invest in a shoe rack: there is nothing more annoying than coming across the perfect shoe for your outfit, but being unable to find its mate! After a refreshing spring cleaning, you’ll feel re-inspired by the wonderful wardrobe you didn’t even know you already have.
#2 Style your shape
Having a wardrobe filled with items that look amazing on you requires some strategic shopping. A wardrobe with items that accentuate the best part of your shape takes a while to establish, but investing in designs and styles that work for your body is essential. If you’re uncertain which style works for you, go through your closet and find items that are flattering to your shape. For instance, say you really like the look and feel of high-waisted pants because it accentuates your long legs. Or, say you love spaghetti straps because it allows your arms more freedom. When shopping, keep that style in mind and search for items that will create the same silhouette. Once you’ve found more flattering items, experiment with different fabrics, patterns, colors, and embellishments to find your own unique style!
#3 Pre-select outfits for busy mornings
This is another basic tip, the importance of which can’t be overstated: don’t let your hectic schedule get in the way of your creative styling. If your mornings are reserved for caffeine intake and mental preparation for the day to come, take a few minutes before you go to sleep the night before to pick out a winning combination of clothes. Don’t sacrifice style because your days are jam-packed! When you have a closet full of clothes that works for your style and shape, all you need is a few seconds of free time to craft an ensemble that will no doubt make you shine. Despite the hustle and bustle of the workday, you will feel your best in an outfit that works for you and you will be glad you took the time the night before.
#4 Combine basic items & the latest trends
There are certain basic items that every woman should own: simple tops in solid colors, basic tank-tops, jeans for everyday wear and color-blocked skirts (shown above). Simple cuts and solid colors never go out of style and can be paired easily with items of more unique styles. When shopping for new items, consider making basic items 70% of your wardrobe, while trendy items should comprise about 30% of your wardrobe. That way, you can add new trends each season, reselling or donating the older trends, and your wardrobe will look stylish and modern all year round! With 2-3 new trendy additions each season, you will look and feel on top of your game without spending a fortune.
#5 Curate colors to suit your skin tone
It is important to keep in mind that some colors look great on, while others definitely do not — but why is that? Your skin tone plays a huge role in deciding for you what colors you tend to pick out in stores and what colors you often run away from. To ensure that you have a closet filled with outstanding outfits, make sure that you’re filling out your wardrobe with items that flatter your skin tone. For those with cool complexions, garments in white, black, grey, silver and blue look great. On the other hand, for those with warm undertones, brown, yellow, gold, olive and red are perfect choices. Also, for those with very pale or very dark complexions, bright pops of color look great against the skin.
#6 Combine fitted & loose
The eternal debate of fitted vs loose clothing: which is more flattering?! It turns out that both are when paired together! Though tight clothes and loose clothes have both come in and out of fashion, it is apparent that the two styles are best when cleverly combined. Consider the above image: tight, black skinny jeans and a loose-fitting grey sweater. The loose top adds volume so that it is proportional to the lower half of the body. The mix and match style of this outfit gives great balance and accentuates the shape of the body.
#7 Layer, layer, layer
Layering can take an outfit from plain, dull and blah to inspirational and truly magical. Though it can be difficult to do successfully, it is a skill that requires a variety of basic and trendy items that suit your shape, skin tone and style. The key to layering well is to experiment with different tops, blouses and jackets you have. Consider wearing a plain tee under a colorful dress, a trench coat with a mini skirt, or fishnet stockings underpants! Or, simply layer a fashionable coat over a plain top. Get creative with the different pieces you have and the results can be seriously inspired.
#8 Mix & match your prints & patterns (but don’t overdo it)
This is one of those tips that should be done with a bit of caution: to mix and match your patterns and prints well, make sure that the various styles complement each other rather than clash. In general, patterns are an excellent way to add some flair to your life: using multiple patterns can take your wardrobe a step further into stylish brilliance. Having basic color-blocked items in your wardrobe is great, but consider sprucing up your style with stripes, checkered prints, plaid, florals, animal print or polka dots! To keep your patterns and prints from clashing, try choosing one focal pattern with a secondary pattern accenting the outfit. Or, you could also opt for two patterns with color palettes that match or complement the other. (The outfit above does both!)
#9 Accessorize appropriately
Adding accessories should be the last step before completing any outfit. Ideally, you should plan the clothing items to wear and then pick out the accessories that complement the colors and style of the outfit. Whether you opt for simple accessorizing or you tend to put on every item of jewelry you own, there is a balance needed to accessorize appropriately. Sometimes, something as simple as a brown leather belt with a unique buckle is all you need. Other times, decadent necklaces and colorful bracelets are required to complete the look. Accessories have the power to completely transform your outfit from the status quo to stunning, so it’s important to invest in high-quality accessories that have meaning to the wearer. Stylish shoes, bags, hats, sunglasses, and jewelry are all key to creating that perfect wardrobe.
#10 Cease the sagging
While there is a time and a place for oversized clothing items (e.g. oversized, loose-fitting sweaters or boyfriend jeans), the items in your wardrobe should fit you, above all else. Though it’s great to be able to experiment with styles, patterns, colors, accessories, layers or different fits, what matters is that the items are intended for your body type. There is nothing worse than a pair of shorts or pants that are intended for a much larger or smaller individual than the individual wearing them. Keep in mind your body type and proportions when shopping for pieces and you’ll have that fancy wardrobe in no time.
#11 Don’t buy shoes you can’t walk in
They may be cute, but if you can’t walk in ‘em, don’t buy ‘em! Sure, some shoes need some breaking in and after a while, your blisters will heal. However, other shoes you should probably just never consider: if you can’t walk in a super high heel, then you will not enjoy wearing them and shouldn’t spend your money on them in the first place. Though towering stilettos possess the power to elongate your legs and frame, they’re really not worth it if they cause you to topple and sprain an ankle. Consider wedges or block-heeled shoes instead: these alternatives are just as classy than the stiletto (and 20 times more comfortable!)
#12 Wear it multiple ways
When you’re out shopping for new items, consider what items you already have at home that could pair easily. If you can come up with a couple of different outfits incorporating the new item, then chances are it’s a good buy. The golden rule for a great wardrobe is that you should have 3 – 4 top options for each pair of bottoms you have. The top item (e.g. shirts, blouses, vests) make an item look new, whereas the bottom item is less noticed by others. So, if you pair the same top with multiple different pairs of bottoms, chances are people will notice and think you’ve worn the same thing for 3 days in a row. If, however, you pair the same bottoms with different tops, you get a whole new outfit every time you change your top! This way, you can save a lot of money: you don’t have to buy a new skirt or pair of pants each time you buy a new top!
#13 Embrace brighter shades
Don’t shy away from bold colors — a well-placed pop of pink, green or yellow can bring the whole outfit together. Of course, black is a must due to its magical slimming abilities, but don’t allow this to keep you from embracing the rest of the spectrum! The more colors you have, the more possibilities for unique and trendy outfits there are! You don’t have to discard all of your black, grey and white items — pops of color here and there can suffice. To get started, consider purchasing smaller items with bright color, like belts, bags, and shoes. If you’re feeling bolder, splurge for that bright yellow dress (or even some blue hair dye!).
#14 Get friendly with a seamstress
It’s no secret that clothes tailored to fit your shape and proportions exactly look far better than the items that aren’t. Though it can be costly to have each and every item of clothing tailored specifically to you, you can’t deny how the work of a good tailor can transform your wardrobe from bargain drab to designer riches. Consider taking only certain items to your tailor: your work pants, a few casual dresses, a coat or maybe even a few pairs of high-quality jeans. Honestly, nothing beats a garment that is perfectly tailored to your shape. A seamstress or tailor can easily add darts to your dresses and skirts to highlight your waist or take a few inches off those pants that otherwise fit you perfectly. Also, consider asking your tailor to change out the cheap buttons on your coats and jackets for fancier styles. The end result will be a luxurious wardrobe of pieces designed just for you.
#15 Pay attention to washing instructions
Making sure you pay attention to the washing and drying instructions for each item of clothing is a crucial step in ensuring the longevity of your clothing items and wardrobe as a whole. Though it seems like a no-duh kind of a statement, it is surprisingly easy to destroy your beautiful clothes due to carelessness when cleaning them. A quick look at the label will keep you from spoiling your delicate new silk top or knit sweater.
(BONUS TIP!) Find your own style — and stick to it!
It goes without saying that you are the only fashion guide you need. Listen to your inner stylist, follow your instincts and wear what makes you feel good about you! Find what speaks to you and continue to hone your style with individual pieces you just love. Eventually, you’ll have the perfect, top-notch wardrobe you’ve always wanted.
This post was written by Kara Roberts, blogger and content writer for Sincerely Silver. We specialize in creating custom made jewelry in sterling silver, gold and rose gold and have been featured in a number of publications, including Glamour. For gift ideas and personalized jewelry creations, check out our blog!