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Update Your Look
1. Look in the mirror.
Ask yourself: Am I doing this for me or to please someone else? If it's about you, keep going: How do I want to present myself? What do I feel good about? What do I want to update? Let the changes you make reveal the real you. (Have an outgoing personality? Try some bolder colors!)
2. Clean out your closet.
Make three piles: one for items that fit well and make you feel great, one for items that need tailoring, and one for items to donate or toss. Clearing out clutter helps you assess what you still need and makes room for a hot new wardrobe -- and lets you appreciate what you already own.
3. Find a fashion mentor.
Share your mission with one of your stylish girlfriends. Ask her to dish her secrets: What designers does she love? Is she free to take you shopping? If you hit the mall solo, get advice from a chic store clerk about what silhouettes and colors might look good on you.
Give yourself permission to try a look that you may think "isn't you." Once you step out of your wardrobe safety zone, you'll see your fashion possibilities in a whole new way. And if the look doesn't feel quite right, ask yourself which parts did work. You may find a single new element to make your own.
5. Don't give up.
The best thing about a style change is that if you don't love it, you can leave it. New jacket looks a little too funky? Return it! Haircut a bit short? It'll grow back! As you develop your look, you'll see what clothes and makeup bring out the best version of you -- and build confidence along the way.
Finding Your Style: 3 Questions for Ariane
Why is fashion so intimidating?
The fashion we see seems flawless: Models have the perfect bodies and clothing, and it's intimidating to compare ourselves to that unrealistic standard. But you can unhook your fears by focusing on the positive feelings that come from updating your look. Even a small change -- like a form-flattering pencil skirt -- can make you feel great. The confidence that comes from strutting your stuff in something you love will radiate from the inside out.
Why do people hang on to familiar looks?
Everyone has fashion blind spots. People think they can't wear heels, or color, so they become trapped in what they've always worn. Plus, there's a comfort in the familiar. Silence the inner chatter telling you, Color isn't me, or, I'm too tall for heels, by focusing on what makes you feel good. When you get excited over an outfit or haircut, you'll know it's right.
How can I stop comparing myself to people around me and learn to own my unique style?
Let go of the way you think your hair or body should be and allow what you do have to come forth. Remind yourself that just as you compare your looks to friends', you might very well be a role model for someone else -- and that she looks to you for style inspiration.