Thirteen Things You Need to Know Before Getting Dressed

Getting dressed used to be a piece of cake.  I mean, get up, go to your closet, choose an ‘outfit’ and be done with it, right? But in today’s world things have gotten far more complicated.  At least it seems that way for most women I know over the age of 30.  Everyone and their sister claim to be a ‘stylist’ and with many fashion bloggers offering up such unrealistic and far-fetched tips such as ‘to winterize your summer wardrobe, simply wear a pair of socks with your sandals’.  Um, no thank you.

The landscape of fashion as we know it has changed dramatically, and I feel frustrated that so many women feel the need to simply ‘give up’ and throw in the towel.  Armed with some basic information, you, too, can take your style back and step into your best self this year.  Here are my thirteen best tips to give you a leg up on your style and and leave you looking forward to getting dressed again!

1/ Never, ever compare.

It’s been said that ‘comparison is the thief of beauty’ and I must agree.  To compare yourself to a friend, and wonder why that outfit that she rocked like a boss made you look like a sack of potatoes will do nothing but deflate your ego.   Realize that your friend has her own awesome style, and that – yes – you do too!  What’s right for her will not necessarily be right for you, simply because you’re both different.  AND you’re both beautiful!

2/ You are already beautiful.

Period.  God made you that way, so stop arguing.  You may not be able to see it, but just know that you are.  If you need help in seeing it, seek out a style coach, a trusted friend or a really good mirror. Now go rock whatcha got!

3/ Discover your assets and attributes.

You can’t know what to wear until you know what you have to work with.  When you’ve uncovered your personal coloring, body type and personal style (take our StyleFinder ID® mini quiz), you know what’s right (and what’s not) and how to put together an outfit that truly flatters you for all the right reasons.  Need help?  Our style coaches and Stylista’s can help you understand how to dress for you!

4/ Don’t let a label stand in for personal style.

What defines your style?  Is it that you’re wearing a luxury brand, or that you create your own unique combination of clothing that makes you light up?  When you’re wearing something just for the label, you’re allowing your own style to be on the back burner.  Never let a label be a substitute for your own style.  Instead, let it complement what you love to wear.  Remember, the best compliment you can get is “YOU look beautiful!”

5/ Give up your should’s.

Something that most women have lurking in the back of their closet is their should’s.  This is anything you feel you should wear, but that you don’t truly love.  A suit you think you need to hang on to.  A pair of shoes that you don’t truly love.  A top your mother told you looked great on you but you never really felt right in.  Give them up and make it a policy to wear only those items that make you feel fabulous.

6/ Don’t take style advice from your teen daughter. 

I have three teen girls at home who have very different styles, and occasionally I’ll glean a great fashion tip from them. But mostly, their style is not appropriate for me.  Your teen may have a great eye and the best of intentions, but remember – you’re not her age, don’t have her body and don’t necessarily want to dress the way she does, even if she looks great.

7/ Just because a fashion blogger wears it doesn’t mean you should.

With the raging popularity of blogs such as ‘Man Repeller’, what’s hot has taken on a whole new spin.  I mean, seriously?  Some of the things featured on these blogs are nothing short of unattractive, and nothing that I would ever recommend that my clients wear.  Be discerning.  If you don’t like it, don’t wear it.  Just because a fashion blogger touts it does not mean you should try it too.

8/ It doesn’t have to match.

What do you wear with black and white print pants?  Most often clients tell me either a black shirt or a white shirt.  I tell them – wrong!  Wear color!  Cobalt blue, lime green, fuchsia…When you can get out of the mindset of things having to match, you infinitely expand your wardrobe options.  A mustard skirt with a fuchsia blouse?  Yes!  A teal tunic with olive pants?  Yes!  A leopard print top with coral jeans?  Yes!  Mixing things up has the added benefit of keeping you out of a style rut and helping you to explore new horizons in your own closet.  Go ahead, mix it up!

9/Shop when you don’t need something.

Waiting until you’re in desperation mode is no way to shop!  Instead, shop early, plan your wardrobe and always have something fabulous to wear! Continually cultivating your wardrobe will give you endless options and help you to feel amazing the next time a last-minute opportunity comes up, rather than having to pass it by because you don’t have a thing to wear.

10/ Just because you’ve always worn it does not mean it still works for you.

No matter how timeless your style, sometimes things simply expire.  The cut of a pair of pants, hairstyles, makeup, shoes are all great examples of things that need to be updated periodically to look fresh.  Simply wearing something forever is a surefire way to fall into a rut and look matronly.

11/ Your style is always changing.

While I believe that your style is who you are, and will remain the same for your whole life, I also believe that the way you express your style is always changing.  As your body, your lifestyle and your age change, so will what you choose to wear and how you put it together.  And with each change come amazing new revelations.  It took me until I was in my 40s to embrace skinny jeans, long hair and my passion for boots – and it just keeps getting better!

12/ Ask yourself “How can I wear it?”

Instead of looking at something and thinking that it would never look good on you, ask yourself ‘how can it work for me’?  Often when you see a complete outfit on a mannequin, in a photo or on someone, the whole ensemble will not be right for you.  Visually pick it apart and find the elements that you really like – then replicate them in a way that is flattering to you.  This opens up a whole new world of options and inspires your inner stylist to help you look like your best you!

13/ Always trust your intuition.

When clients come into the boutique, I love pulling things out that they would never have considered without our guidance.  Often, they’re skeptical, but the moment of truth comes when they emerge from the fitting room.  I can typically tell in about 3 seconds whether a clients loves it – or hates it.  But often the client says she isn’t sure.  Somehow we have gotten away from trusting our own intuition, and try to talk ourselves into wearing things we thing we ‘should’ wear.  Give it up. Instead, ask yourself ‘do I love it on me?’ If the answer is yes, you’ll feel it in every fiber of your being.

There you have it.  My thirteen best tips for helping you to get dressed effortlessly, everyday! It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does take little time to learn what’s right for you.  Need help?  Come into StyleFinder Boutique and let our Stylista’s help you choose an outfit – or a whole wardrobe – that’s right for you, or book a session with a StyleFinder certified style coach and discover your very own elements of style that will become the basis for getting dressed for years to come.

Illustration by Jessica Durrant.

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