I love fashion – in a parallel reality I’m a famous fashion designer running a fashion label in Milan.
In this reality though, I write. I seem to be better at that than fashion. As much as I love style, it’s always been a problem for me.
I’m not very good at putting outfits together. With so many options, I usually get lost in what to wear and what not to wear.
So to feel comfortable and play safe, I usually end up opting for the classics. But while you can never really go wrong with that, it can get quite boring and bland.
To add to my “problem”, fashion went downhill for me when I started working from home three years ago. Now, the “need” to wear nice clothes and makeup disappeared and the appeal of walk around in comfy sweats or pajamas was irresistible.
But recently, a switch went off and I decided that I wanted to start dressing my best and showing my personality through my own fashion style. And yes, I would also wear a little makeup even if the only person to see me like that would be myself.
This new desire brought me to meeting Natalia, a fashion stylist in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I spent a whole morning at a seminar conducted by her and I discovered a whole new world of fashion secrets. She taught me a lot of handy stuff, and I would like to share some of those with you.
Here are some secrets that every fashionista already knows – a list of 5 things that can instantly boost the way you look and feel.
1. Less is more
I know this sounds cheesy but it is true. One of the biggest mistakes I tend to make is to buy a lot of “cheap stuff”. If I had $100 to spend, I would prefer to make five purchases of $20 instead on getting one purchase for the full $100.
Natalia says that we don’t need that much to make an outfit stand out, but instead, we should focus on having beautiful, unique pieces to complement our outfit. The additional benefit of buying unique stuff is that there is also less of a chance to meet someone else who has the same piece.
Is there a commercial label you and your friends love shopping at that’s very popular (think Zara, H&M, Topshop, etc.)? Well, you might want to stop shopping there. How else could we stand out if we’re all shopping at the same place?
If we want to make an impression and stand out from others, we need to find something that makes us unique. This can be in your clothes or accessories. Either one works.
When it comes to accessories, there are so many options to choose from. Necklace, earrings, bangles. This could also include scarves or pashminas. We can also play around with shoes and belts. And don’t forget handbags.
When it comes to handbags though, Natalia says that while it can complete an outfit, she wouldn’t try to coordinate too much with colors and patterns. A bag is something we may carry with us, but once we’ve arrived at our destination like the office, we tend to leave it somewhere. So it’s not always “with us”.
Here the tip is to opt for something nice and classic, in plain colors like nude, camel, black and grey.
2. Not everything goes with everything
This was a huge “A-ha moment” for me. I used to buy things that would (or have the potential to) match everything I had in my wardrobe. What I would end up with was a lot of the same plain stuff.
But the trick, according to Natalia is to think about it one outfit at a time, and shop based on that.
For example, if you have a nice red dress that you’d like to wear, buy stuff that you think would look nice for that dress. What you’ll end up with is several unique pieces that could stand out on other outfits as well versus just owning a pair of “something” that goes with everything.
So now you have accessories that would look nice with that red dress. If you then had to plan another outfit for work and you have on a top and a skirt, you might just be able to add one of the earlier accessories from the red dress assemble to complement this other outfit and make it stand out.
Chances are most things will go with a lot of outfits, but if you change your point of view on how you select your pieces (i.e. start by going with something that matches one outfit instead of something that matches all outfits), you will end up with something that not only stands out, but goes with a lot of other stuff as well.
Shifting the (shopping) point of view is the key to the perfect match.
3. Clothes have an expiration date
Natalia recommends we don’t wear anything older than 5 years old. This was a little tough for me to digest – I have to confess, I still had some jackets from my college days.
The idea here is that while the it’s nice to think we have items like the “classic jacket” or “classic dress” sitting in our closet, the truth is that fashion does change and some items can become outdated. It’s usually a long time before something can be deemed “vintage” and until then, our own bodies and sense of style can also change during this time.
According to Natalia, “Our clothes should reflect who we are now, not who we used to be.”
That line got me thinking about all the old stuff I’ve been hanging on to, which, let’s face it, I haven’t used for years. For some reason I had trouble letting those go, but after that, I said my goodbyes.
Also if we think of clothes as energy, holding on to a lot of old stuff can also add to energetic clutter. If we can’t let go, it will not allow us to flow into a new space for anything. We’d be living (and dressing) in the past.
4. What we wear says a lot about us
This may sound obvious to a lot of people, but it wasn’t to me. I always felt that it didn’t matter what one wore or how they looked on the outside; that as long as I had something to share with the world and I was aligned with my higher purpose then I would be “seen” by the right people.
While that is definitely still true, I do realize that we live in a world that is image conscious. Before people can stop to hear what I say, they will stop and see how I look. They will notice what I’m wearing.
First impressions count.
What we wear says a lot about our personalities – so why not use that to actually say something about yours?
That got me thinking. I’ve decided that I would indeed experiment and express my personality through my dressing and see if this is comfortable and if I feel okay. It might be a challenge, but it should be a fun process and will push me outside my comfort zone. Instead of buying the simple “classics”, I will think unique and different but yet still a representation of my personality.
Keep you posted on how that goes!
5. Highlight your assets
This final concept was my biggest takeaway. Natalia says that “most women dress to hide the one thing they don’t like about their bodies. And they put all the effort and money into hiding it everyday. I want you to change that and start dressing to highlight your best parts instead”.
How true that was!
How many of us hide the thing we dislike most about our bodies? In my case, it’s my big boobs, for some of my girlfriends its their butts, stomach, thighs, arms, shoulders, ankles, you name it, someone is hiding something.
We just can’t help looking for flaws.
But what if we looked at what we liked about ourselves instead and focussed on that? So instead of doing our best to cover something up, don’t even bother and just go straight to focussing or accentuating what you have that is working for you.
This simple mind shift can be life-changing as well – once you grasp this, you will apply this to other areas in your life. You will no longer put any energy on what’s not working, and instead, shine on what is. When you do that, others will only notice what you’re putting your energy to, and that’s your best and favorite feature. 🙂
So try these fashion secrets and let us know if they help. Also do you have any of your own tips to share that make you feel and look great? Comment below!