My 6 Style-Conscious Tips
One of my favourite parts of the day is getting dressed. For me dressing is a form of self-expression. It reveals hints of who we are without having to speak. Retail therapy is a thing! Never underestimate the power of a good outfit on a bad day. Look at Cinderella, a pair of shoes changed her life! While I don’t consider myself artistic, I do believe choosing and coordinating outfits is an art form and it is a way for me to express some creative flair.
At the outset I must declare that if you are wanting tips from a girl who flawlessly pulls off a #Iwokeuplikethis look then I am not your girl. I am the girl who spends time and energy researching and planning my outfits, and actually enjoys it, who scours magazines, Pinterest and blogs for the latest looks, who coordinates the pieces I own and tries on my inspirations easily till the early hours of the morning! I genuinely get excited about clothes.
Identifying your style and creating stylish looks is easier than you may think.
Each day is a new page in your fashion story
Here are my 6 Style-Conscious Tips
1. Plan ahead.
I wasn’t joking when I said I research and preplan my outfits. I prepare the season in advance by researching what will be in style. The advantage of being in the southern hemisphere is that we are a season behind the international trend setters and fashion hubs. So, in Summer 2018 in South Africa I was already looking at Autumn 2019 in Europe or USA. I start identifying common themes and in my mind, I create a map of what COLOURS, STYLES, CUTS & FABRICS will be in fashion. I enjoy taking a walk through fashion stores to acquaint myself with their range and compare it to what I have at home to see what pieces I may be missing.
2. I buy ahead
Because of #1, I am able to keep an eye out for the new styles, colours and fabrics and I start buying in advance. This also helps to spread out my spending. One of my favourite and most complimented pair of embroidered block heels was purchased in Winter in time for our summer later in the year.
3. Don’t splurge on trendy items
I am style conscious, but I am NOT name brand conscious. I never have been. Warranted I do believe that there are some items that are worth the splurge like a beautiful versatile winter coat (which I bought on sale anyway.) But trendy items are exactly that – a trend. Particularly for women we have the advantage of variety, so trends change almost every season. I do not splurge on trendy items. Personally, I prefer to have more items to choose from in my cupboard that were cheaper, than fewer expensive items. That is purely a matter of preference! Most of my trendy items are from Mr Price in South Africa and Primark in the UK. I am also a Cotton On and Woolworths fan. And Forever 21 is my absolute favourite for something a little more special. The thing about these mass-produced stores is that you need to spend time shifting through the racks, and be on the look out for their sales. Having an idea of what you are looking for, or what looks good on you makes this process easier and prevents overbuying or choosing poorly. Before I purchase an item I will have already considered a number of possible outfits in my mind. If I cant think of something to wear with it, or to add some creative flair to the piece, I don’t buy it. And then I have a select few classic pieces from stores like Zara and boutique local stores that I like to support. These are my go-to pieces that transcend trends, these are the pieces that I rely on to always finish off an outfit tastefully. This is the difference between FASHION & STYLE. I only wear trends that will reflect my style. Fashions change, so work at identifying your personal style.
Style is a way to say who you are without saying a word
4. Your 5 top looks
If you are struggling to identify your style, its time to go back to the drawing board. Every shape, every height, every feature is beautiful and can be accentuated. I am 5”1, and I have come to accept that there are just some lengths and styles that I cannot rock. And that’s okay. Learn to embrace all that is beautiful about you.
Write down 5 outfits you have worn in your lifetime that you remember feeling good/ confident (not just comfortable). If you are struggling, then ask a loved one to recall a couple of outfits they loved you in. See if there is anything in common with regard to the colour, cut or style. Often, we become stuck in a rut and revert to wearing the same pieces, the same colours over and over again. Being courageous and experimenting with a new fabric, colour, length or style can feel like you are embarking on a whole new fashion adventure. Unless you are a fashion designer it is okay not to automatically know what would suit you best. This is where research comes in, google what colours/ styles typically suit your body shape, your complexion, your eye colour and correspond these with the colours for the season. Next time you are at a store put these colours against you, touch different fabrics, learn what feels and looks good on you. I encourage you to empower YOU, embrace YOU, affirm YOU!
Asking yourself the following questions might be helpful:
What is an outfit I have seen that I LOVE?
What pieces or outfits do I get the most compliments?
What do I wear the most?
What do I never wear?
What are some inspiration pieces I want to give a try?
What adjectives do I feel describe my style and really resonate with me?
5. Acquaint yourself with fashion terminology.
Fashion is a language in itself. Just off the top of my head, a skirt alone can be flared, mini, midi, maxi, skater. Familiarising yourself with the difference will help you recognise the style you are looking for, and the style that would suit you best. You will often find the name of that item beneath the picture on Pinterest or google if you are unsure.
6. It all starts with 1 item
When planning an outfit, I usually identify 1 ITEM that the rest of the outfit will be constructed around. Do not reinvent the wheel, Pinterest is there for inspiration, use this to your advantage.
Let me show you how I do this:
a. Identify the one piece of clothing/ one style you know you want to wear.
For our most recent public holiday I decided I wanted to wear something casual but still trendy. So I chose a grey sweater as the piece I would construct the whole outfit around.
b. I Pinterested the words: grey sweater outfit. If you want to Pinterest outfit ideas, type in the style/ item you are wanting to wear, and always end it with the word ‘outfit’… beret outfits, casual winter outfits, work winter outfits, grey sweater outfits etc.
c. When you find something that tickles your fancy, use this picture to refine the search even more once. From the looks under ‘sweater outfit’ I particularly liked the pictures with the women wearing a shirt underneath the sweater. So I refined my search to "sweater and shirt outfits"
d. Ta da! I found the look I wanted to recreate, and I had all I needed in my cupboard to recreate this look:
coffee (to be found!)
e. And finally my version...
Life is too short to wear boring clothes
I am in no way a fashion expert, I have just spent hours and hours perusing the aisles of fashion stores and the world of fashion magazines. My hope is that these tips help you put the Fun back into Fashion! I would love to hear your experiences with dressing up and if you give any of these tips a try, I would love to hear if they worked for you too!