Sometimes, you just want to be vogue. On some people’s bucket lists, like Kim‘s, there is a goal to create a snazzy sense of style. After all, living in New York, where everyone looks like a model (and probably is), you really begin to feel inadequate. Add into that the fact that my alma mater was featured in the New York Times style section for our fashion. (Hint, I was not featured).
For a long time, I was terrible at fashion. I steadfastly refused to wear jeans until probably, high school. I probably had days where I belonged in the back of Glamour Magazine with my face blurred out for my crimes against fashion.
I still am pretty terrible. I love how seamlessly my best friends can put together some outfits that give them the perfect balance of poised, fierce, and gorgeous.
Me? I end up looking like a turnip in a sack. I’ve had a fashion-doesn’t-exist stage. A wannabe goth stage. A Barbie doll phase, complete with blonde hair and all. Now I’m really just in the I’m-going-to-do-me stage. Sometimes that’s great. Sometimes it’s still atrocious. Sometimes I still feel like a turnip.
But I’ve learned. Through trials and tribulations, of what actually works. And… you can too! I’m sharing my general guidelines to cultivating a modicum of style, so you can go tackle the other fun things on your bucket list.
Trends are not friends.
Harem pants. Tie-dye. Scrunchies. Anything that you’ll look back at in ten years and want to burn the photographic evidence. There’s a difference between a flash trend (I’m looking at you, Juicy velour tracksuits) and a staying trend (like skinny jeans). Staying trends stick around for several years, and probably don’t look too horrible.
But when in doubt, just dress for what looks good on you. Experimenting with new looks is fun, but fully immersing yourself in each new fad is chaotic. Going goth, then prep, then hipster? To me it’s too much effort and unsettling.
Believe it or not, there’s something to be said for uniforms. They eat up less brain power. If you love thinking about outfits and throwing them together, then by all means, continue. If you just want to wake up in the morning, grab something you know looks good, and go, then a loosely defined uniform works. At times I imagine it’s very refreshing to be a man and just wear a suit everyday. The mothers in my town have adopted the yoga pant uniform, though, none of them ever look sweaty.
A uniform can be anything. For me, this has been skater dresses and cardigans. In the winter, add on some thermal tights and boots, and a sweater and voila. Instant transition. Of course, I also like tunics over leggings for the days I can’t stand my dresses. You have to spice it up once in a while. I also find I tend to dress like Persephone, all colors in the summer and black in the winter.
Reduce. Aka, let it go, let it go!
I always know it’s time to clear out my closet when I’m struggling past piles of unworn clothes to get to the same couple of pieces over and over. If 80% of my wardrobe is untouched, we have a problem.
There are so many good tricks to simplify your closet. You can turn your hangers all the opposite way, and as you wear clothes, turn the hangers back around. The ones still hanging the opposite way should be tossed or donated. Or, what I do, is I’ll gather the clothes I’m not wearing and shove them in my trunk. If I don’t feel the need to open my trunk and fish them out within a reasonable timespan, they too, get to join the big closet in the sky.
But there’s no need to replace your wardrobe every year either. If something still looks good and brings you happiness, keep it. If it’s ratty, you might want to retire it to your pajama or workout drawer.
Being uncomfortable should never win.
There are two types of women in this world. Those who can wear heels and those who can’t. And if you’re like me, those who can’t be bothered. I like heels once in a while, but when I need to run around, I’m not going to prescribe to this modern version of foot binding.
Things that pinch or don’t fit properly are also out. You don’t need to be adjusting yourself all day. For women like me, with a Renaissance wench worthy bosom, this often means pairing camisoles under dresses or shirts.
Dress for you.
Whatever surrounds you with joy when you look in the mirror. It can be dangly koi fish earrings. A geeky bracelet or graphic tee that reminds you of your fandoms. A swishy skirt that you can twirl in. Some steel-toed combat boots you can kick serious butt in. Adding little fun personal touches can set your mood for the day.
Basically, just wear what you want. People are more concerned with themselves than how you look. My system is far, far from perfect. But I’m happy with it. I don’t want to think about fashion, really. I want to look okay, and get on with my life. There’s so much else to do!