In the words of well known stylist Rachel Zoe, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak”. Whether we like it or not, our aesthetic goes a long way in communicating components of who we are to the world around us, oftentimes on a very subconscious level. We owe it to ourselves to put our best effort into how we dress. Dressing well relies on you knowing yourself and what you want to convey to others visually. Despite popular belief, tasteful style does not have to be expensive, time consuming or complicated. With smart shopping, dressing well can be exquisitely simple, you just have to figure out what your personal style is.
A lot of developing a personal style that reflects who you are is a process of trial and error. But, the confidence that comes with visually projecting the best version of yourself to the world around you is so satisfying. Here are a few basic tips to streamline your shopping, and help you buy clothing that will really work for you.
1. Fit First. Fit is key.
Top priority with clothing is always fit. You want to shine in your clothing, not be overwhelmed by it. Even an expensive piece of clothing can look bad if it fits wrong, while conversely, “low end” clothing can look fantastic if it fits well.
2. Don’t chase every trend.
Wear what flatters your body type and don’t get too caught up in what’s “trendy”. Not only is dressing very trendily extremely costly, but not every trend flatters every body type, and that is okay. Know yourself, and stick to that.
3. Buy Quality.
A higher price does not always indicate a higher quality. To get the most “bang for your buck” consider the thread count, stitch count, and the fabric content of items prior to purchasing. Fabric contents are always written on a tag somewhere on the clothing. Natural fabrics like real cotton are superior to polyester blends, for example, because polyester blended with other fabrics pills up. If you focus on buying quality items, you’ll spend less money replacing cheaply made clothing.
4. Know when to invest, cover your staples
Everyone’s “staples” vary depending on personal style and needs, but it is important to identify your staples to focus your wardrobe development. Staples should last you a long time, so it is okay to invest in things you will wear again and again. For example, I invested in a black wool coat at age 11 and am still wearing and receiving compliments on it eight years later. Smart shopping pays off.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of developing your own eye for style, and not mindlessly dressing with trends. Trends may serve as inspiration and be something you play off of, but they can never be a substitute for a good sense of style. Bottom line is, when it comes to fashion, you do you.
But what if “you do you” doesn’t seem so simple when it comes to clothing? How do you figure out what your personal style is? There’s no easy answer, but a good place to start is to start just by looking. Look through magazines, fashion sites, and lookbooks before you even head into a store. Find people who dress in a way you like and break their look down piece by piece. What do you like about their outfit? How can you achieve a similar look and put your own spin on it? Come up with a list of a few key items you want the most to direct your shopping efforts. Shop deliberately. If you go into a store without a plan of what you want, you will waste money and most likely make random purchases that won’t satisfy you in the long run. Overall, building a wardrobe is a fun process that when a little bit of thought is invested can pay big dividends.