Fashion Fundamentals: A Beginners Guide For Women Who Want To Improve Their Personal Style
Has your closet kept you feeling stuck in a style rut?
Yet, you still long to feel put-together and more confident in outfits that reflect your own unique sense of style?
Chic dressing is much, much simpler than it is made out to be.
After eight years personal shopping for hundreds of people (maybe thousands, I’ve lost track) I’ve seen how easily a woman can advance her shopping, image, and fashion skills.
With that in mind, I’m sharing my best styling tips to getting your style un-stuck so can you feel even more like the confident, gorgeous, powerhouse woman you already are.
1. Find Your Style Vibe
The next time you admire a person’s personal image (or feel jealous she looks so good) ask yourself “why do I like her?” "What's in her vibe that I wish I felt like?"
Is it the streetwear sportiness of it?
How glam she looks?
Is it her overall cool-girl factor?
Is it how comfortable-yet-perfectly-pulled-together she looks?
Does her powerful presence catch your eye?
Replicate the personal style you love by being an anthropologist. Examine rather than judge to borrow vibes from another person's image.
This builds on the complexity of putting entire looks together because rather than simply appreciating one thing or detail, you're capturing the feeling of an overall aesthetic.
Let's imagine you'd love to feel more (insert adjective) and (other feeling). You often see women who reflect that in the way they dress and you admire it.
These women catch your eye because they do it in the most authentic way. For them, it is an internal feeling they exude through their clothing choices. They dress to express that part of themselves.
For example: in these images there are examples of sexy and feminine interpreted in different ways.
The sexiness of Kim Kardashian's (bottom right) cleavage is one woman's take on sexy, while Meghan Markle's (middle left) jeans and sharp black stiletto heels are another. Another take is the combat boot or Margot Robbie's leopard print dress. What elements make up each version?
Apply it: Check out the pictures. There are various examples of personal style to steal ideas from.
What kind of sexy / feminine vibe do you connect with most? How can you create more of that in your style?
2. Know Why You Like Something, To Wear What You Want
People that have incredible style are attuned to their tastes and effortlessly build a wardrobe out of them.
They build a wardrobe out what feels right.
By refining your understanding of why you like an item you'll have more success choosing the pieces that make you feel pulled together.
Ever hear yourself saying:
“Ohh, that is a pretty shirt.”
“Those pants are cool.”
“That shirt is weird.”
“I want that shoe.”
The next time you like or don’t like an item of clothing (your own, a colleagues, in a store, etc) take note of why.
When we are attracted to or repelled by an item, there are details that make you go yay or nay. Regardless if it is the color, the pleats, the fabric, or the way it moves, it's your job to understand why you kinda love it or hate it.
As you start paying attention to why you like something you'll notice patterns in your style preferences. These patterns are valuable information to dressing yourself smarter. Our awareness of why we are attracted to something is a tool in creating more of that in our lives.
Apply it: With your preference(s) noted, go to a store and scan it until you find pieces that reflect your favorite detail(s). Try them on.
3. Wear Your Entire Wardrobe At Least Once
Let's be honest: you have so much shit you never wear yet refuse to get rid of.
Forget Marie Kondo (at least for your closet). Follow my Wear It Once process to clearing the closet clutter, without spending more money or extra time on your wardrobe.
Wearing every piece of clothing gives you one of two things: a new vigor for it or a clear feeling that the item needs to go.
If you are torn about whether to toss something, then wear it again. You'll have clarity by the day's end whether or not you want to keep it.
Commit to that final choice.
Apply it: Every day wear something you've yet to wear in that day's outfit. Do this, in constant rotation, until you have worn everything at least once.
4. Arm Yourself With A Core Competency
Like when learning to cook, personal style develops best when creativity meets competency. One has to learn knife yielding before they can advance into culinary arts. Sometimes this can come naturally, but most often it's a culmination of effort and self expression over the years. Refine your rough edges and you'll find more freedom to play.
Follow masters that share their expertise.
Educate yourself on the science of fashion and apply the teachings.
I promise, you'll feel confident you're making sophisticated choices once you develop a stronger sense of skill.
Eventually you'll feel more at ease to explore your creativity and expand your horizons.
Apply it: Hire an expert. Take a class. Take action on what you know.
5. Embrace And Figure Out Your Body’s Shape
Your body is fashion's ultimate accessory and you are your canvas. When we struggle to understand how to dress our shapes, it can hinder creativity and/or highlight our insecurities, making us feel frustrated and with limited options.
Understanding your body shape is not:
About making it wrong.
Finding fault in order to look better.
Working yourself to look like someone else's ideal.
Understanding your body shape is:
Learning your proportions correctly
Understanding how your figure translates to clothing design.
An integral step in making smarter purchases and ending frustrating shopping experiences.
Your body is the way that it is and will continue to change as you age. Learning to work with and love what you’ve got is one of your greatest resources. Women who know what works for their body understand how to flatter it.
Apply it: I have a free guide to figuring out your shape, which will help you jumpstart this process!
6. Girl, Do Your Hair More
When grooming becomes an afterthought, it diminishes the self-image we seek.
Think of when a well-dressed man doesn't groom his facial hair or brush his teeth before a date or imagine a celebrity with post-workout hair on the red carpet. They are still their fabulous self, but an off-centered, false represenation of that version.
This isn't to say you need to be a coiffed model every day, but as the British royals can attest, a ponytail can either be “I just woke up mess” or “sleek and chic”.
The only difference is the extra effort we make in creating one or the other.
Unrealistic beauty standards are not welcome here at Let's Get You, but it's your choice which direction you consistently want your look to lean.
Apply it: Figure out a few lifestyle changes that regularly supports having a polished head of hair and do it more often than not. Below is one example of the various hair tutorials available. You are sure to find another go-to that says "I pulled it together" and less "I ran out of time"
7. Add A New Neutral
For most, neutrals mean black or white, gray or navy, and only wear colors that only look like this:
Instead if color intimidates you and/or you're bored with your style, consider incorporating alternative neutrals. There are are browns, burgundy, greens, creams, blushes and camels that can be worn as neutrals too.
Also, there’s agreement amongst fashion people that leopard prints are most definitely, always a neutral.
Apply it: The next time you consider buying something in your regular go-to neutral, try one you normally aren't drawn too.
8. Wear Things That Feel “Too Much”
When personal shopping for new clients (even the most stylish ones) I often hear:
"I don't know how to get away with wearing that."
"I can't pull that off."
"I love this, but people are going to think I look (insert extreme adjective)."
It's frightening to go outside our comfort zone, but I want you to know it is okay to be noticed. Instead of desperately trying to blend into the wall, remember people are going to judge anyway. You may as well feel good about yourself.
Try anything new that you would never usually. Expand outside your typical type:
A new color lipstick! An odd looking shoe! A new man! Oh my!
The harem shape of these pants, along with their glitter gold embellishment, was very eye-catching. The black pairings calm down the bohemian style and make them more easy to wear everyday.
The more you go outside your style box those risky I-can't-wear-that feelings will shrink and your style will expand into a fulfilling expression of your tests.
Apply it: Wear things you're a little overwhelmed by over and over and over again. Before you know it you'll be rocking tutus in Times Square.
9. Ménage à trois Your Look
One of my favorite styling tips is to add a 3rd piece. This piece is an additional item that incorporates a new element into your outfit.
It supports tip #3 because it helps you rotate your wardrobe in a way that keeps you wearing only what you love, while trying all the things you rarely wear.
Let me explain:
Imagine your look is full of clothes (fav shirt, fav jeans, or fav shoes, etc.) that you're confident in, but you’re on the fence about that one item (those other shoes, a headband, new bra, whatever), invite it into your outfit and try it for the night/day.
A simple black one on the left, a large floral one on the right. The two are good choices, but the right is a '3rd piece' that adds depth and visual character to the outfit. It's less simple, and more interesting for her outfit.
This is one of safest places to experiment because the rest of the outfit is a confident choice for you.
Apply it: Wear any piece of clothing you're not sure about in an otherwise safe outfit. You’ll either learn you love it or you’ll be eager to get rid of it. Win-win.
10. Wear Bright Colors In Your Accessories
Incorporating color is often a challenge for anyone who has stuck to wearing neutrals.
(Which, by the way, is the majority of NYC.)
Experimenting with brights in your accessories is a simple way to wear more color and find what you love. You can do this with just about anything: a bright bag, shoe, or earrings. It could be a scarf or a hair clip. It works because almost all bright colors pair back to a neutral effortlessly, removing any skepticism of how to match.
Apply it now: All neutral outfits + bold bright accessories = colorful style.
11. Take Action. Do Something.
Do better by doing until it no longer feels like trying.
I wasn't born sophisticated. I always had an appreciation for aesthetics and design, but I didn't know how to dress myself or enhance my own beauty. I learned, I tried and over time I was able to transform my appearance into what I dreamed it could be. Me, only better.
The most successful people in this world take action until they have their desired results. Or, they delegate it out to an expert so they can focus their time doing what they do best.
It's the same with creating a new personal image.
You have try in order to have different results.
Then try again.
Eventually you're no longer learning or trying.
You're just out there, living your most stylish, sexy, comfortable, well-dressed life.