Change Your Out-Look
When Courtney Brown, a residence director in Dallas, recently upgraded her wardrobe from college student to that of a working woman, she tried to figure out where her wardrobe was lacking. “I had very little professional clothing, so I wanted to get items that I could wear at work or to events that required me to dress in business attire,” she says. Courtney stuck with classic pieces, and asked her mother and sister for guidance. Now, she feels more confident because she is dressed appropriately.
Getting advice and paying attention to what he saw helped Jason. “At the risk of embarrassing myself, I learned mostly from the movies. I started to take note of certain actors’ wardrobes that I liked in movies and TV and tried to do something comparable on my own,” he says. Jason also listened to suggestions his wife made when they went shopping. She would give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to certain pairings. “After a while, I started to learn what colors go with each other,” he says. Over time, he’s become more comfortable with experimenting outside his usual color scheme of blue, black and grey.
You can look to celebrities for style inspiration and ideas (as Jason did), but shouldn’t feel like you need to buy exactly what you see in magazines or look like someone else. Holly Getty, a New York-based stylist who has worked for J. Crew and Bergdorf Goodman, recommends you try something new, and not be fearful of experimenting. “Go into a store you have always wanted to visit, but are maybe intimidated by or think isn’t for you,” she says. “Try a trend, don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t think you have limits.” By letting down your guard and releasing your expectations about your look, you’ll find freedom in letting your inner desires out.
Keep Changing Your Look
Once you’ve got an idea of your new image, spend some time in different stores trying things on. Try not to be married to “your size” as brands vary widely in cut and proportion. Make sure, for instance, that shoulder seams are even with your shoulders, pants are long enough to just skim the floor without shoes, and that nothing pinches, binds or otherwise feels uncomfortable. Nor should you be swimming in your attire. Bigger clothes won’t camouflage whatever flaw you’re trying to cover. You’ll only look big and frumpy.
This is especially true for weekend wear. Sweats may scream comfort, but they don’t really make you feel good when you run into that cute neighbor or a co-worker running errands on a Sunday afternoon. Buying one great fitting pair of jeans is the first rule. “You can dress them up or dress them down; you can wear them on a date or to Target,” says Meiler. Guys and girls can try a great dark jean with a fitted sweater or jacket over a tee and casual shoes.
When in doubt, go one size up and have things nipped and tucked. Any well-dressed person will tell you that finding a good tailor is key. Few people can just pull clothing off the rack and have it fit like a dream. If all this is sounding like a nice idea but a little expensive, remember that you don’t have to shell out tons of money to look great. “It’s about making the right choices.”