The Best Garment Steamer for Under $100

The Best Home Clothes Steamer

When I was in college, I worked at a bridal store for two semesters.

I could write a blog entirely about the antics that took place there, from the staff to the brides. It was pure, hilarious insanity.

One of our rotating tasks was steaming the gowns and veils. The steaming center was tucked away in the very back of the store, separated from the break room by a half wall.

No one ever wanted to do it because it meant losing a chunk of your time on the floor selling. I, however, would happily volunteer to help. Hiding away from the brides, their mothers, their 45 bridesmaids, and the rest of humanity appealed to me even then.

So off I would go for hours, left alone with my thoughts, or chat with whomever else working in the back. Steaming days were the best days.

It turns out; I find the chore somewhat therapeutic. I zoned out as I watched the wrinkles disappear. And I felt oddly satisfied as I hung each finished dress on the completed rack.

To this day, I still enjoy the process.

I get asked almost every day to recommend a good steamer. Over the years, I’ve tried several, from travel-sized to professional. But there is one that I recommend time and again.

The Best Garment Steamer 

The Best Garment Steamer

Steamer, $70 

Our Full Review: PurSteam Elite Garment Steamer

My favorite steamer is the PurSteam Elite Garment Steamer, available on Amazon for $70. It’s high quality, well priced, and its features are useable.

Don’t you hate it when you buy something, and you don’t need all its bells and whistles? 

Me too. 

Here are the other reasons why I love this steamer and use it all the time.

Long Steam Time 

This steamer heats up in under 60 seconds and provides a steady, strong steam stream for one hour. Most only go for 20 – 30 minutes. That makes a huge difference in getting through a family of four’s clothes for the week. My kids wear uniforms to school, and using a steamer instead of an iron to smooth out and freshen up all of their pieces saves me hours. 

Bonus: the adjustable hanger is helpful. Sometimes I use it if I only have one or two items to steam. Other times I line up garments on my rolling rack and work down the line. Either way, the machine is easy to use. 

Save on Dry Cleaning

I used to have a terrible habit of dry cleaning anything I didn’t want to deal with or just because I didn’t want to iron it.

know, don’t judge; we’re all works in progress.

So a quality steamer helps because it lets you freshen up your garments in between professional cleanings and, in some cases, eliminates the need. In either case, you save a fair bit of money on your dry cleaning bill. 

You Can “Unshrink” Things

Awhile back, I read that a steamer can help you unshrink specific garments depending on the fabric. I didn’t believe it until I tried it myself. 

Run the steamer over the garment and gently pull the fabric as you move across it. You’ll start to see the fabric relax.

This trick works on cotton, some poly blends, and different knits. Because the steam in this particular steamer is so strong, it makes it quick and easy to bring shrunk garments back to their original size and shape.  

Great for Other Household Tasks

Since our remodel and now going through decorating all our new rooms, I’ve used our steamer to fresh up fabrics, steam out curtains, and bedding fresh out of its packaging. 

You can easily roll this from room to room. The cord is long enough to go where you need to within a space, and the arm extends to reach high up. 

Pursteam has almost 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, including praise for their warranty and customer service. I don’t have any personal experience with them, and as usual, this is not a sponsored post, but it’s nice to know if you have an issue; they will take care of it. 

Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

 

Get on The INSIDER Waitlist for Spring/Summer 2021

Become a Well Dressed Life Insider with Photo of Megan Kristel

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What to Buy at Ann Taylor

What to Buy at Ann Taylor

Many of us grew up with Ann Taylor as a cornerstone in our wardrobes. The brand makes getting dressed easy, coordinating pieces, colors, and prints to help busy women pull a look together quickly.

But when you dress head to toe from a brand or a single store, you start to lose your personality and authenticity. While I’m all for a system that helps you create a uniform of sorts, you run the risk of missing out on the opportunity to develop your unique style.

Today, as part of our “What to Buy at” series, I rounded up my top picks from their new arrivals. These are the best, most practical, and polished pieces that, when paired with your other wardrobe staples, create a modern outfit that doesn’t look so “Ann Taylor-y.”

These posts are inspired by my years as a personal stylist. Before a client arrived at our shopping appointment, I would spend hours going through stores, selecting only the best pieces, and filling up her dressing room. It was such fun for me and immensely helpful for our clients, who worked with us because they didn’t have the time or patience to shop independently.

Think of this series as just that; these are the pieces I would put in your dressing room, based on everything I know about our readers who are looking for help creating a timeless, classic, modern wardrobe on a realistic budget.

What to Buy at Ann Taylor

What to Buy at Ann Taylor

Sale Information: As of 2/22 Ann Taylor is offering a variety of discounts, which I noted in each individual item. 

Ponte Puff Sleeve Top

Ann Taylor Puff Sleeve Top

Ponte Puff Sleeve Top, $54.50 Take an ADDITIONAL 40% off at Checkout

This sweet puff sleeve top is made from comfortable Ponte knit, so it feels like loungewear but is full of style. If you have narrow shoulders or want to minimize wider hips, a puff sleeve is a beautiful option to create a balanced shape. This looks fresh with white bottoms, but go ahead and wear it now with your black pants or dark jeans.

Available online only in regular and petite in XXS – XXL.

Mixed Stripe Sweater

Ann Taylor Mixed Stripe Sweater-2

Mixed Stripe Sweater, $89.50 Take an ADDITIONAL 40% off at Checkout

The idea of simple, one-step dressing is more challenging than it sounds because you have to get the pieces right. Pairing this bold sweater with your favorite black pants (I’ll wear it with these joggers) and a pair of flats is an easy way to dress for work, home, or office.

Available in XXS – XXL.

Houndstooth Blazer

Ann Taylor Houndstooth Blazer

Houndstooth Blazer, $169 Take $75 Off at Checkout 

Freshen up your blazers with this gorgeous subtle houndstooth option. You can pair it with denim, tan, navy, or grey. 

Available in regular, petite and tall in 00 – 18. 

Tortoiseshell Hoop Earrings

Ann Taylor Tortoiseshell Hoops

Tortoiseshell Hoops, $49.50 

These tortoiseshell hoop earrings are so fun! I love the addition of pink with the more traditional gold and tortoise combination. I tend to keep things simple and wear them with a crisp white button-down and jeans to let them stand out.

Striped Puff Sleeve Top 

Ann Taylor Striped Top

 

Striped Puff Sleeve Top, $59.50 Take an ADDITIONAL 40% off at Checkout

Another easy-peasy top to pair with dark bottoms at a fantastic price. I like this for Zoom, home office life, or for a casual night with friends. Layer some necklaces on top to cut the line and create more depth. 

Available in regular and petite XXS – XXL.

Striped Mock Neck Sweater

Ann Taylor Striped Mock Neck Sweater

Striped Mock Neck Sweater, $98 Take an ADDITIONAL 40% off at Checkout

The perfect sweater to transition between seasons, since it looks like this winter never wants to end. Keep in mind that this sweater is meant to be boxy, so you want to pair it with a slimmer bottom to balance it out, otherwise your look will seem oversized. 

Available in XXS – XXL

Ann Taylor Leopard Chain Belt

Leopard Chain Belt, $59.50 

I don’t feature many belts here, but this one reminds me of a DVF print, and I love how it would look over this popular Old Navy Grey Sheath

If you have some sweater dresses or other sheaths, try layering a belt around your waist. It will add value to your outfit by making it look more pulled together. 

Available in XS – L

Shop What to Buy at Ann Taylor 

Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

 

Get on The INSIDER Waitlist for Spring/Summer 2021

Become a Well Dressed Life Insider with Photo of Megan Kristel

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6 Comfortable Flats to Wear When You Can’t Wear Heels

6 Flats to Wear When You Can't Wear Heels

I love the look of heels. They give us height, elongate our legs and elevate even the simplest of outfits. But, like many of you, heels aren’t practical for my everyday life – especially these days. What I need is a chic and comfortable flat.

Technically speaking, heels can help us look better in our clothes. They “lift” our bodies up, allowing clothes to drape well and hems to hit appropriately. So when you’re swapping a heel for a flat, you want to follow a few guidelines.

6 Comfortable Flats to Wear When You Can’t Wear Heels

6 Comfortable Flats to Wear When You Can't Wear Heels

updated 2/18/2021

Embrace tailoring

If flats are your go-to, you need to have your clothes tailored.  Have pants and skirts hemmed; you may also have to have some fullness taken out of the leg of your pants so they don’t seem oversized and overwhelm your frame.  

Full-length pants should have a break, which means the bottom of the hem slightly puddles (like a curtain on the floor) on top of your shoe. Bring the shoes you plan to wear to the tailor when you have things fitted to ensure your best length. 

This leads me to my next point.

You will need two pairs of pants.

If you swap between high heels and flats with regularity (say it with me now), YOU NEED TWO PAIRS OF PANTS.

There are no magic pants that you can wear with both heels and flats. You’ll need a few pairs you can wear with flats, and a few you can wear with heels. Tip: Some clients would buy two pairs of their favorite pants and alter accordingly. 

Proportions Matter

When you exclusively wear flats, you have to learn to notice the subtle difference in how clothes lay on the body in a flat vs. a heel. Often, a heel helps garments drape well, and a flat can feel frumpy and off-balance.

For example, full, wide-leg pants are a no-go with flats because they require height to work (for the most part). Conversely, an ankle-length pant that hits right at the ankle looks fantastic with a flat.  

You Need a Point

Look for flats with a pointed or almond shape to to help elongate the line of your body. By doing so, you’re creating the effect you get from heels, and it will help bring balance to an outfit.

And before you say it, no, your big toe should not be shoved into the point of the shoe. If that’s happening, the shoe does not fit you properly. Instead, think of the point as a decoration that helps extend the leg. 

Flats are Super Chic

So play with proportions, have your clothes tailored to fit your specific needs, and keep the line of your leg length with a point, and you’ll be in good shape to swap out your heels for some flats. 

Scroll below for my top picks. There is something for everyone from an investment pair to under a $100 option that is both stylish and comfortable. 

Our Favorite Comfortable Flats 

Our Favorite Comfortable Flats 
Rothy’s, $145

Personal Favorite 

Rothy’s, $145

I bought these specifically for running in airports but they’ve quickly become my overall favorite flat for daily, at home wear. Sustainably made from recycled plastic bottles, Rothy’s mix being eco-friendly with sophisticated style.

They are available in an array of colors and patterns to work in any and every wardrobe.

You need to give them a day or two to break in, but once they do, you’ll love the look and comfort they provide. Bonus points for being machine washable!

Worth the Money

AGL Notch Ballet Flat

Ballet Flat, $350 

These are expensive, I know. In my personal shopping days, AGLs were incredibly popular with my clients who commuted to work and didn’t want to lug a change of shoes with them. I use to wear them on shopping days with clients when I would be on my feet for sometimes 10 hours straight, and they were terrific.

So while the upfront cost of these might seem steep, they may be worth it if you get frequent wear out of them. (Think cost per wear.) I had a pair (similar here) for five years and wore them into the ground before I had to part with them.

I appreciate the feminine shape of these and LOVE the neutral snake print for spring that adds some subtle texture to your outfit.

Chic and Customized

6 Comfortable Flats to Wear When You Can't Wear Heels

The Pointe, $258

Available in nine gorgeous shades and prints (including the above Zebra Haircalf that I am dying over), Margaux is an incredible shoe brand that mixes chic styling with comfort. 

Here’s the BEST part, their entire focus as a company is fit, so they offer extended sizes, multiple widths including narrow, medium and wide and made to measure options.

Easiest to Dress Up

J.Crew Gemma ballet flats in leather

Ballet Flat, $75

Spend any time on Pinterest searching for inspiration outfits and you’ll quickly find yourself frustrated. The outfits are cute, but the heels are sky high. What to do? Go with a pointed ballet flat, in a simple style. 

These will help mimic that long line of the leg a heel creates. 

The J. Crew Gemma Flat is one of their Top Rated, Five Star Reviewed shoes and they are currently on sale for $75 in black and chestnut

Best Loafers 

Madewell The Frances Loafer

Loafer, $130

I read hundreds of online reviews every month, thousands every year, and I have never shared one in a post before today. 
This made me laugh out load: 

They are the shoe equivalent of Paul Rudd- handsome, wholesome, practical and somehow, works with everything.

What a compliment!

I for one am delighted to see loafers rise in popularity and equally thrilled that they are starting to take inspiration from menswear while providing a slimmer shape for a woman’s foot. Pair these with straight-leg pants, and have the hem puddle just slightly on the top of the shoe.

These Madewell France Loafers come in black and mahogany, available in half sizes and rave reviews for comfort after you break them in. 

 

Under $100

Born Brin Ballet Flat

Ballet Flat, $80

The challenge with most under $100 flats is that they either look great or they are comfortable but look like orthotics. But we want both comfort and style in one, and these BORN ballet flats are so sweet.

You can wear them with everything, including straight-leg trousers, ankle pants, jeans, and skirts. I’m featuring basic black above, but they are available in several spring ready colors, like soft grey, yellow and a light beige. 

 

Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Buy at Banana Republic

What to Buy at Banana Republic

Our What to Buy at series continues with a roundup of some incredibly wearable, size-inclusive pieces from one of our favorite retailers, Banana Republic.

Hopefully, you are enjoying a long weekend, so pour yourself another cup of coffee and let’s shop Banana Republic’s New Arrivals, where you can take 40% your purchase at check out. 

What to Buy at Banana Republic 

What to Buy at Banana Republic 

Banana Republic has long been a Well Dressed Life Community favorite. With their mix of easy to wear pieces, for work and weekend, along with their full-size range (including petite, plus, and tall), it’s hard not to love. In many ways, they are a rare retailer that figured out a way to grow with their target market, always evolving but never steering too far away from what makes them work.

So let’s talk about what to focus on. There’s no category I would tell you to avoid. Right now, there are some fantastic options for the season ahead. Whether you’ll be home-based for the foreseeable future, are going back to the office, or simply need to refresh some basics, there is something here for everyone.

Wide Leg Pant

Banana Republic wide Leg Pant

Wide-Leg Pants, $110 

These wide-leg pants are a work-from-home dream. They are high-waisted, with a subtle side elastic, and oh so comfortable. Skip the cream option (totally see-through) and go instead with basic black.

Remember, when wearing anything wide-legged, keep your top fitted to your body to create a balanced shape.

Available in short, regular, and long from sizes 0 – 20.

 

Trench Coat

Banana Republic Trench Coat

Trench Coat, $229 

Need a trench? With 40% off this classic trench coat is under $140. That is a tremendous deal considering how often you’ll pull this out of your closet. If tan isn’t your best color, opt for the black, or go with the non-traditional but still neutral sage

Available in XXS – XXL. 

Terry Joggers

Banana Republic Terry Joggers

Terry Jogger, $70 

These Reader Favorite joggers are worth the hype. If you want a casual pant somewhere between a sweatpant and a legging, these are for you. Available in black, green, and light grey in XXS – XXL and petite (here).

Pick up the coordinating top to create a sophisticated matching “set.”

High-Low Shirt

Banana Republic High-Low Shirt

High-Low shirt, $80

This slightly oversized high-low shirt will pair perfectly with any bottom, from a pair of black joggers, to faux leather leggings, to your go-to black work pants. Half tuck in the front and let the back drape to create a casual but polished look for work or weekends. 

Available in regular and tall sizes from XXS – XXL. 

Flannel Shirt

Banana Republic Flannel Shirt

Flannel Shirt, $80 

I love this pink flannel Dillon Classic Fit Shirt. It has a slimmer, more feminine cut and would look lovely with dark or grey jeans.
Available in several patterns, in regular, tall, and petite sizes.

Peplum Top

Banana Republic Peplum Top

Peplum Top, $80

Peplum tops can be incredibly flattering, especially if you are trying to minimize your midsection. Just be sure to pair it with a bottom that has a flat and smooth waistline. This top would be great for work, zoom, or a night out for drinks and dinner.

Available in regular and tall sizes, XXS – XXL in a neutral floral, olive green or berry (above). 

Jumpsuits

Banana Republic Terry Jumpsuit

Terry Jumpsuit, $120 

The first of two jumpsuit options on the list is this long-sleeve option.

Would I spend $120 on what is essentially a terry cloth onesie? No.

But with 40% off, you can make a case for it being the simplest form of one step dressing.

Pair either of these with a fresh pair of sneakers and a denim jacket for a cute and sporty, leggings-alternative outfit.

With FIVE STAR reviews, it comes  in black, light grey, and oatmeal, in regular and tall sizes from an XXS – XXL.

I’m going with the black.

 

Banana Republic Knit Jumpsuit

Knit Jumpsuit, $120

Your second option is this short sleeve version, in a slightly lighter-weight fabric. I like it here in the green, and I love how they style it with a leather moto jacket and sneakers. So cool.

Available in regular and tall sizes, XXS – XXL.

12-Hour Pump

Banana Republic 12 Hour Pump

12-Hour Pump, $97 

A few years ago, we asked our readers to tell us their favorite comfortable heel to wear to work, and the Banana Republic Madison 12-Hour Pump was at the top of the list.

This simple yet timeless and gorgeous heel is available in a ton of colors, textures, and patterns.

Right now, with the additional 40% off, they are around $50 (depending on the style). Take advantage of the savings if you need to replace a black pump or add a fun and poppy color for springtime.

Inclusive Cami

Banana Republic camisole

Camisole, $22 

Size inclusive underpinnings for all skin tones at affordable prices. What a novel idea!

When I worked with private clients, the market lacked simple layering camis. On the rare occasion, I found something decent, it was often too dark for me and way too light for my darker-skinned clients. So my delight over these $22 (plus an additional 40% off) cannot be overstated.

Available in 11 nude-to-you colors, in regular and petite, up to a size XXL. Go stock up for the spring, when tops become see-through whether we like it or not.

What to Buy at Banana Republic 

Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist

 

How to Purge Clothes and Create a Closet You Love

How to Finally Let Go of Clothes You Don't Need
How to Finally Let Go of Clothes You Don't Need - The Well Dressed Life

Let’s talk about how to purge clothes so you can finally have a wardrobe you love. 

Is it hard for you to let go of all those clothes hanging in your closet that you know don’t serve you well? 

The ones that are old and dated. 

The ones that don’t make you feel your best.

The ones that are “just ok,” so you make do with them.

Yes?

Then you are far from alone. 

How to Purge Clothes and Create a Closet You Love

I spent over ten years as a personal stylist, working with clients, helping them shop and create a wardrobe. Our first step together was always cleaning out and editing down their wardrobes.

It was my least favorite part of my job, but the most necessary. Almost every time I came home from that first appointment, I was exhausted.  

Why was I so tired?

I eventually realized; it wasn’t the physical task that drained me so much but the constant negotiations back and forth between the client and me.

At least in our first meeting, most clients wanted to tell me the life story of every item they ever purchased and debate every single piece we were purging.

The challenge became the longer I was in business, the faster I worked. I instantly knew what should stay and what should go.

Because I wasn’t emotionally attached to the clothes, I could edit a decent sized wardrobe in under an hour. 

Purging Your Clothes is Emotional

But it turns out I wasn’t the only one drained; clients would let me know they too were surprised how wiped out they felt after our time together.

Because our clothes are an extension of who we are, a link to our past and future, and almost entirely tied to our self-esteem, parting with even the most unwearable piece can be stressful.

To make the experience easier for both of us, I had to figure out a way to streamline the process and lessen the rush of anxiety many clients felt.

Since I’ve stopped working with clients, we’ve published countless posts on editing and organizing your wardrobe (here and here). We even created our seasonal 4 Week Wardrobe Challenge over in our private Facebook group.

But we’ve never dived into the mindset you need to move through the process.

If you have a grasp of the steps but struggle with actually letting go, there are a few things you can do to lessen the strain and stress.

Simple Steps to Purge Clothes Once and For All

How to Purge Clothes and Create a Closet You Love

Know Your Style

You cannot curate your wardrobe if you don’t know your style. This is an absolute MUST. If you don’t know your style, you will not create a framework for what to put in and take out of your closet

Before you attempt to edit your wardrobe, take some time to figure out what you like.

When we worked with clients, before we even entered their closets, we asked them to pull pictures from magazines and catalogs or create a Pinterest board of looks they loved.  

Giving yourself a visual will help you see a common theme. Do you like pants more than skirts? Solid colors or bold prints? 

Going through these steps before starting your edit made a massive difference for our clients. It gave them “permission” to let go and provided some much-needed clarity and focus. 

When you are struggling to retire an item, hold it up to your inspiration pictures and ask yourself, “Does this get me to my desired personal style?”

If the answer is yes, you keep it. No, let it go. 

You Already Spent the Money

“How can I get rid of something I spent money on and barely wore?”

We all know how frustrating it feels to look at your donation pile and see nothing but wasted money. We’ve all been there. 

But once you can grasp the idea of a “sunk cost,” that you already spent the money, whether it’s hanging in your closet or someones else’s, at this point, it doesn’t matter. It will be so much easier to look at it as clutter and remove it. 

Hanging on to it and not wearing it doesn’t give your purchase any value. Often, it does the opposite and becomes a negative or a pain point in your closet. You look at it and become frustrated and annoyed. 

Is it in excellent condition but doesn’t work for you? Sell it on Thredup or Poshmark (see our tips here). If it’s in decent shape but not sellable, donate to someone who can benefit from it and move on.

It’s Not Coming Back in Style.

I often say I care less about making you look stylish and more about making you look current and modern. Looking dated, especially as we age, is what we’re trying to avoid.

While trends come and go, each new iteration has nuanced details that make it modern. Unless we’re talking about a Chanel tweed jacket or YSL suit, I promise you, 90% of what you own isn’t coming back.

So how do you know when something is dated?

Well, the inspiration picture exercise above helps. Do you see what you have hanging in your closet in your pictures? Don’t look so much at the style; instead, look at details like buttons, pocket placements, length and widths of pants, shoulder sits, and color saturation. 

Think of it like this: the classic pair of black pants you bought in 2000 is now TWENTY years old. The styling, the line, the construction, and fit – are all outdated. 

Consider asking your closest friends or even your kids for guidance. As a mother with teenagers, my girls are frighteningly good at giving – ahem, brutal, fashion advice.

The point is, you might need a fresh set of eyes to see what you’re wearing objectively.

* And I know that everyone has that one piece that works with everything and lasts forever, but that is a unicorn. The blazer you bought at Kohl’s on the clearance rack is not that piece. 

Don’t “Save” Your Stuff for Someone Else. 

One of the most surprisingly consistent things clients would say when we were cleaning out their closets, and I held up a piece to remove was, “oh, not that, I’ll see if my daughter wants it.”

I eventually realized they were using that as an excuse not to have to make a decision.

“No, she doesn’t! She’s 12!” 

Let me say this with love, with few exceptions, your friends and neighbors don’t want what you are giving away. Don’t pass your old stuff on to other people; you’re just giving them more clutter.

The exception is, of course, heirloom-quality, a timeless designer or sentimental pieces. I have several pieces put aside for my daughters.  

If you are no longer wearing them, have them cleaned and stored correctly to stay in good condition. I have a few vintage bags put aside for my girls, the white suit I wore at my rehearsal dinner, and some designer pieces I splurged on that don’t fit anymore.

Other than that, don’t use “passing” down a piece as an excuse to not have to decide it. 

How to Finally Let Go of Clothes You Don't Need

Take It Out of Your Main Closet

If you have items you are on the fence about, don’t stress. Move them to a separate closet or store them in a box. After a few weeks, or even at the end of the season, if you haven’t reached for them, you know you can finally let them go.

Same for clothes you’re hoping to fit into again. If you’re on a weight loss journey, don’t keep those pieces in your closet. I’m not too fond of the idea of waking up and having to sort through garments that are too small. Move them into a different closet, or keep them in a bin under your bed. 

When you’re ready to try them on again, use the same exercise and principles, you used for the rest of your closet.  

Fit Doesn’t Mean You Keep

Remember, just because something fits doesn’t mean it’s for you. As women, we are so used to the struggle of finding things that fit; we often ignore whether we like it or not.

 I found this out personally when I resubscribed to Stitch Fix for some postpartum clothes after I had my last baby. I was so happy something zipped up I often kept the piece with no thought to whether I liked it. I eventually ended up spending more money than I wanted, which turned into a large donation pile. 

Think about how many things you have that you are lukewarm about in terms of style but kept because you’re just happy it fits? (Women around the world raise their hands.)

Your Closet is NOT a Department Store

You don’t need to stock your closet like a department store. While I’m far from a minimalist, the sheer volume I’ve seen in closets is incredible.

The biggest issue was women buying things because they were on sale. Not because they needed them, liked them, or had any interest in wearing them. They purchased the garment because it was at a discount.

Not only does that fill your space with unnecessary “stuff,” it’s a gross waste of money.

Making a habit of thoughtfully considered purchases will help keep your closet organized, better for your wallet, and limit the waste we so frequently in the retail industry. 

Getting organized and building a wardrobe you love is a lot like getting fit and healthy.

There is no quick fix or magic wand to turn it around quickly. It takes a great deal of time and discipline. Editing your wardrobe is like those first few workouts back at the gym. It’s miserable, but then you feel great, and then it gets easier.

For a step-by-step guide to editing your wardrobe, take The Well Dressed Life, Four Week Wardrobe Challenge. It’s free and game-changing. 

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Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist

 

 

7 Ways to Have Great Style on a Budget

7 Ways to have great style on a budget
7 Ways You’ve Never Heard of Before to Look Stylish on a Budget

A budget is subjective. One person’s “save” is another person’s “splurge,” but everyone works within some financial parameters. Today, I’m sharing some of my best tips to have great style on any budget. 

Creating a classic wardrobe that feels sophisticated yet comfortable is a lesson in nuances and simplicity. It’s also ever-changing. You will forever be editing and updating your wardrobe.

Keeping your wardrobe modern is my goal.

Most of our readers aren’t looking for crazy trends or head-to-toe designer looks.

Instead, they want to keep it simple and classic with the occasional trend thrown in, and most of all, easy to pull together.

Looking fabulous while being smart with your money is more about exercising a deft hand in how you dress and what you buy rather than bringing more into your closet.

If we were chatting over a glass of wine, this is what I would tell you to do to look stylish on a budget.

How to Have Great Style on a Budget

 

BONUS: Download our FREE Wardrobe Building Checklist to See Everything you Need for a Classic and Chic Closet Full of Clothes.

Stop Wearing Old Crap

Perhaps the best piece of advice I can give you so you can build a modern, chic style on a budget is to get rid of your old stuff. 

Inevitably, every time I say this, I am flooded with emails telling me about this one fantastic garment that someone is still wearing after 20 or 30 years. So let me say this, yes, fair enough, there can be a handful of things with real staying power.

7 Ways to have great style on a budget

These are exceptions, not the norm. 

And, of course, you will wear your Burberry trench or your grandmother’s Chanel jacket for a lifetime because you’re supposed to. You’re paying for their quality, craftsmanship, and enduring style upfront.

I spent ten years as a personal stylist for very normal people with very normal budgets. I have stood in thousands of closets, and the one common thread (pun intended) is that too many women are holding onto and wearing their old crap.

– An astonishing number of clients would try to keep stained and damaged pieces because they could “put something over it.”

– Even more, they would be physically uncomfortable in clothes too small because they refused to buy the next size up.

– But the most common offense, the real reason I was there, was that they didn’t see when items were becoming dated. 

For Great Style on a Budget Remove Your Dated Pieces

Styles and fashions evolve. It’s why it is so easy to throw an 80s costume party. The older a piece is, the further we get away from a decade, the look becomes more specific. 

So hop in your closet and give it a good edit. 

Define Your Personal Style

If you want to have an enviable style on a budget, knowing what you like and what you don’t will save you so much time and money and help you make better choices when shopping.

Our preferences and needs change drastically over the years, yet we tend to stay stuck in a particular time when it comes to our clothing.

The best way to maximize your budget is to create a framework for your style.

I used to have new clients create style inspiration boards with pictures from magazines and categories and, as time went by, on Pinterest. (You can see my Pinterest boards here.)

Having a visual of what you like is the most efficient way to make the most of your budget because it gives you a structure through which to filter your choices.

When you get clear on what you like, you start to see those things in other places. 

For example, I’ve always loved the look of Theory. I love monochromatic outfits, mixing neutrals and textures, and I love fitted blazers with jeans. But I can’t wear head-to-toe Theory because I have to put three kids through college. 

Once I broke down the style elements, I started to see it in other places, and now I can easily recreate those looks with pieces from stores like H&M and Zara. 

Here’s an example of a texture-rich, monochromatic outfit I recently wore with an inexpensive sweater from H&M and a clearance skirt from J.Crew Factory.

High Style, Low Cost

 
 
 
 
 
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🎉How many unknown outfits are hanging in your closet?? . 🥂For date night I gave myself 2 challenges: . 1. Find an outfit I didn’t know I had, . 2. No jeans! . 🤚🏼So many of us go to jeans all the time. . I know I do because my life is super casual and jeans just fit me better. . I’m THRILLED with this outfit. . I had both pieces in my closet and never thought to put them together – and this is what I do for a living! . It shows how important it is to have an organized closet (you have to see your stuff!) and you have to give yourself a minute to look through what you have. . I love a monochromatic moment that combines various textures like the knobbiness of the sweater and the shine of the silk skirt💕 . And, this outfit was so affordable. The sweater was under $30 and the skirt was on clearance for $20. . So carve out some time and see if you can find the hidden looks in your wardrobe! . Swipe to see tagged retailers in picture. . 👼Photo-bomber just turned 14 months and is fresh out of the bath💕

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Figure out what you like and those items will start to jump off the rack at you!

Related: How to Define Your Personal Style

Keep Your Nails Polished with this Hack

How to give yourself a salon manicure at home

There’s no doubt that polished nails elevate your look in a big way, but weekly manicures add up and are total time killers. While I try to get a manicure every couple of weeks, I can’t always sneak out for one (especially these days).

When I am out of time, I do it myself using this quick hack, and my nails look like I just walked out of the salon. You can see my step-by-step guide here.

Match Your Hardware

“Hardware” is anything extra on an item like a belt or shoe buckle, buttons, zippers, chains on a bag; you get the idea. By coordinating your metal color, you create a cohesive look. It’s subtle but has a significant impact.

This means that if you are wearing a navy blazer with gold buttons, don’t wear a shoe with a silver buckle. Instead, wear one with gold, or skip altogether.

Along with keeping your hardware the same, be careful not to wear too much. Hardware will weigh down your look, and it doesn’t look sophisticated when there is too much.

For example, if you are wearing a zipper-heavy moto jacket, avoid pairing it with pieces that have additional hardware. Also, be careful of pairing heavy hardware with busy patterns.  

Work with Neutrals, Texture, and Basics

style on a budget
H&M tweed jacket paired with better basics

 

For a hight style look within a budget, focus your resources on basics, neutrals and pieces with texture, (like the tweed jacket above paired with black basics).

You’ll get more use out of your pieces, but you’ll also look more pulled together. When neutrals are paired together, they create a richness to your look, regardless of how much you spent.

Neutrals are more than just white, tan, brown, and black. Navy, gray, and burgundy are also give the same effect.

Patterns can be neutral too. Animal prints, pinstripes, and even textures like tweed (like above) and croco count. Incorporating these and pairing them together will elevate your look in a big way.

If you want to include patterns in your wardrobe, look for more sophisticated prints that feel like a neutral and wear them with modern basics. 

Making a Pattern Neutral

Don’t Mix Patterns

Contrary to what most fashion blogs will tell you, mixing pattern takes a great deal of technique and an understanding of color theory, balance, and composition. If you do it haphazardly, you will look like a hot mess.

There are so many patterns out there that lack sophistication and will ruin your outfit instantly. 

Wonder what you should have in your closet? Download our FREE Wardrobe Checklist Here.

Avoid Super High Heels

Walking around like a newborn fawn isn’t a great look. Heels and platforms that are disproportionately high cheapen your look and throw off your balance, both literally and figuratively.

There are ways to give yourself some extra height other than wearing an extreme heel. Making sure your pants are hitting at your best length and wearing elongating necklaces and necklines can add the appearance of height.

You’ll also dumb down your look if your shoes are ill-fitting. If you can slide your finger between your heel and the back of your shoe, they don’t fit.  If you keep stepping out of your shoe, it’s time to donate.

Our guide to the most comfortable heels is a helpful place to start to organize your shoe collection. 

Creating the wardrobe you love takes a little bit of time upfront.  What I know for sure, after years of helping others get dressed and feel great in their clothes is that you don’t need to spend a fortune.  You just need discipline and an awareness of changing styles and trends to stay modern, current and classic.

Style on A Budget Recap

This is a lot of information! Let’s break it down:

  1. Purge your closet of old, dated, and damage items to make room for updated classic. 
  2. Clearly define your personal style so it’s easier to shop and to create outfits that best reflect you. 
  3. Grooming is high impact and can be low cost. Have your nails manicured with our simple hack is an easy way to look polished on a budget. 
  4. Create a cohesive look by matching your hardwares. Keep gold with gold, silver with silver. It makes a huge difference. 
  5. Work with neutrals, textures, and better basics. Divide your resources so you are investing in workhorse pieces. These allow you to then layer in less expensive and/or trend focused pieces.
  6. Avoid patterns. Most patterns lack sophistication and look cheap – even if they aren’t. Also, skip mixing and matching patterns unless you are really good at it.
  7. Skip super high heels. No matter the cost, if you can’t walk in them, or if the proportion is too high you’ll look sloppy. Instead, spend what you can on quality shoes that help elevate your outfit. 

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Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist

 

 

 

 

How to Look Stylish Every Day

7 Secrets to Look Stylish Everyday

Let’s talk about how to look stylish every day because it’s easier than you may think. 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.

How to Look Stylish Every Day: Seven Easy Tips 

How to Look Stylish Every Day
How to Look Stylish Every Day

My clients were in all seasons of life: stay at home moms, seasoned executives, single professionals and recently retired. While they were diverse, they all shared one thing in common: they wanted to look stylish within their lives without having to fuss and fret about it.

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. These are the strategies and advice that worked for my clients time and again. 

Not on this list are the standard go-to’s like have fresh manicure, keep your make-up dewy, and hair styled. Of course, these things make a HUGE difference, even if you’re just wearing a sweatsuit. But today’s list a little deeper, to the real core of making daily style easy. 

They are practical, simple to implement, and will help you look stylish all the time. 

1. Get Rid of “Just Okay” 

The key to looking stylish is only to wear things you love. 

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 do 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. 

2. Let Go of Dated Clothes 

How to Finally Let Go of Clothes You Don't Need

In a similar spirit, if you want to look stylish, please stop trying to get a lifetime’s worth of wear out of your clothes

Clothes. Wear. Out. 

Of all the advice I give, 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 start to date your look.

Patterns, prints, and color combinations will go out of style too. 

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, it’s safe to say goodbye if you are hitting the 20-year mark.

Staying aware of trends and the expected shifts in fashion will help train your eye to notice when a piece isn’t up to date anymore. Also, ask your best friend, sister, or daughter; they’ll tell you the truth 🙂 

3. Choose a Neutral Color Palette

This tip is not for everyone; however, if you lean more classic and traditional, with a twist, stick to neutral, tonal colors is an easy way to look stylish. 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 bold color and pattern? Go for it! The 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 time goes on. 

4. When In Doubt Wear Black 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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🙋🏼‍♀️Do you need a few “going out tops”? . The kind you wear for drinks with friends or a date night? . Overwhelming, this is the biggest void in most of my readers wardrobes. . And it makes sense. After spending our days working and taking care of our families, on the rare night we can go out for a little, we have nothing that feels special . Isn’t that a crummy feeling? . Standing in your closets, flipping through pieces you either JUST wore to work or maybe they don’t feel fun or special. . So over the next few weeks I’ll feature some pretty and affordable pieces you can mix into your wardrobe so you have a few things on hand when you get a minute to have a grown up night out. . Today I’m starting with wrap-style tops. These are flattering for all body types and quickly dress up basics you already have. Like this textured faux wrap blouse from @jcrew ☝🏼follow the link in my profile for all the well priced, size inclusive options.

A post shared by The Well Dressed Life (@thewelldressedlife) on


 

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 as a 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.

5. Invest in Simple Upgrades

Three items you could spend on 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 everyday 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 a sophisticated element that creates an elegant style.

Related: How to Mix High and Low Fashion

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. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I love neutrals. Whether I’m investing in a piece or picking up a bargain I always opt for neutrals. So when I throw on an outfit it looks chic and sophisticated.

A post shared by The Well Dressed Life (@thewelldressedlife) on


 

Play around with the elements in your daily look to add a touch more style. 

6. 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 your favorite, stylish outfits that you 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 can keep my style harmonious and “feel” like me without being overly repetitive. 

7. Have Enough of What You Need

Think 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 tanks, 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. This way, you’ll look stylish every day without feeling like you are reinvention the wheel every time you have to get dressed. 


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist