It’s easier than you may think to look stylish every day. It doesn’t matter your budget, lifestyle, or body type. All it takes is some upfront time and a little discipline to look your best whether you are running around in yoga pants or headed to the office in a suit.
For over a decade I was a personal stylist. I didn’t work with celebrities or high profile women. I didn’t have clients with limitless budgets or closets full of couture. Instead, I worked with women like you. Hard-working, budget-conscious, busy – oh, so busy.
My clients were in in all seasons of life: from stay at home moms to seasoned executives and single professionals to recently retired. While they were diverse, they all shared one big commonality: they wanted to look stylish within their lives without having to fuss and fret about it.
What I quickly learned was that traditional media for women doesn’t help them tactically get dressed. At best, it provides inspiration, maybe a fresh perspective, and the occasional helpful tip. But so much of the advice was either impractical, not relevant, or required an extravagant budget.
So today I thought I would share what I learned from working and speaking with thousands of women. I didn’t pull these tips out of thin air. Rather, these are the strategies and advice that worked for my clients time and again.
They are practical, easy to implement and will help set you up for success.
7 Secrets to Look Stylish Every Day
Get Rid of “Just Okay”
One of my biggest “Aha’s” was when I realized how many clothes women buy that are “just okay”. Think about how many things you have bought just because (1) it fit, (2) it was on sale, (3) you needed something or (4) all of the above.
Almost every woman I know has an article of clothing or an entire outfit that they make due with, but they don’t love it, or even like it. Sometimes it doesn’t reflex their style at all.
If this sounds like you (and it probably does because this is all of us) get rid of it. I do this for a living and I can immediately think of three to four things I wear that I am, at best, lukewarm about.
Let Go of Dated Clothes
In a similar spirit, please stop trying to get a lifetime worth of wear out of your clothes.
Clothes. Wear. Out.
Of all the advice I give, surprisingly, this is the one I get the most push back over. I promise you on all that is holy, if you are wearing clothes that are 20 years old, they are dating you.
You are not supposed to keep clothes for decades. There are, of course, exceptions, but they are the exception. Even the most basic garment will become dated with time. This is simply because lines, cuts, and silhouettes change and slowly but inevitably will date you.
More so, patterns, prints and color combinations will go out of style.
How long should your clothes last? That’s a difficult question to answer because it depends on what it is and the frequency of use. While there is no specific expiration date, if you are hitting the 20 year mark it’s safe to say goodbye.
Staying aware of trends, and the normal shifts in fashion will help train your eye to notice when a pieces isn’t up to date anymore. Also, ask your best friend, sister or daughter, they’ll tell you the truth 🙂
Choose a Neutral Color Palate
This tip is not for everyone, however, if you lean more classic and traditional, with a twist, stick to neutral, tonal colors. Not only do neutrals mix and match easily, but you can also quickly create a monochromatic look – which is pretty much the epitome of chic.
Love big bold color and pattern? Go for it! They key for you to stay current is to evolve with the ever changing cut and construction of clothes. And as I mentioned above, patterns and prints will date you eventually too, so let them evolve within your wardrobe as times goes on.
When In Doubt Wear Black
When did people start hating on wearing all black? I find the resistance to wearing black baffling. All-black outfits translate across so many styles. It can be artsy, euro, classic, city chic, anything! You can wear it unadorned or use it for canvas to showcase statement jewelry.
Some of the chicest women in history made head to toe black a classic. So if you like black, wear it, it’s always in style, it’s simple, and it helps you look stylish on days you don’t want to think about what to wear.
Invest in Simple Upgrades
Three items you could spend on, in the fall, that will instantly elevate your look: a great coat in camel or dark grey, a better quality handbag in a similar neutral tone, and your every day shoe. If you are always grabbing your boots, invest in the best quality you can afford. Spend your day in sneakers? Buy one that you can wear with outfits for a sporty yet pulled together look.
When you combine a higher quality item in your everyday outfit, you add an element of sophistication that creates an elegant style.
One of my favorite things to wear in the cool weather is a turtleneck and jeans. It’s an easy go to for me when balancing working from home and life with my kids. But if I have to run out to an appointment or meeting, I can immediately up my style factor by throwing on a camel coat, grabbing a classic bag, and wearing a better shoe.
Play around with the elements in your daily look that you can upgrade to add a touch more style.
Consider a Uniform
Often, when I reference a uniform, readers think I’m suggesting you wear the same thing every day. That’s not necessarily the case. Of course, if you want to take the Steve Jobs approach to dress, go for it.
However, a more realistic way to translate a uniform would be to create different versions of what you like to wear every day. For example, one of my “uniforms” for work is jeans and blazers. But I don’t wear the same jeans and blazer every day.
Instead, I use similar elements to build out different looks. Some days it’s light washed jeans and a casual blazer, other days it skinny jeans and a moto jacket. For a meeting, it might be slim-lined black pants and a sleek blazer. By duplicating looks I’m able to keep my style to be harmonious, to “feel” like me, without being overly repetitive.
Have Enough of What You Need
Yes, this sounds like Captian Obvious, I know. Think, though, about how often you stand in your closet wanting to wear something, or could build an outfit, except your favorite pants are at the dry cleaner, or you JUST wore that perfect white tank.
These are the items you need more of, not similar, but more of the exact same.
I own three pairs of black Theory ankle pants because I wear them so much. I also own multiple pairs of Paige skinny jeans in dark wash blue, several of the same pure white shell, and at least three of the same black crew neck cashmere sweater.
Why? Because these are building blocks to my wardrobe and if I don’t have a black sweater on hand one day, I can’t create 3-4 outfits. That’s limiting and makes it difficult to look like your most stylish self every day.
Consider your building blocks. What are the items you wear all the time, what’s always being washed – create a list, and pick up a few more of the same.