”The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.”
I love wearing black….I always have. It is truly my signature color. But for so many years, my family told me to stop wearing so much black and that I needed more color in my wardrobe. So I listened to their opinion. I also listened to sales clerks at stores, listened to my friends, poured over fashion magazines and stared at women wearing stunning clothes thinking to myself “I wish I had style….I have no fashion sense.”
I believed that story about myself for many many years.
Today, I own so much black, I’m swimming in black clothes…..and I feel beautiful wearing them! When my daughter asks me, “What are you wearing tonight?”, we both look at each other and laugh as I say “I don’t know….maybe black??!!” It took me five decades to trust myself enough to make my own choices about style. But looking on the bright side of things, at least better late than never!
Here’s the thing…..we women are often notorious for being people pleasers. Things are changing, but what we wear is often heavily influenced by either what society or other people expect us to look like.
So for all you lovely ladies out there, regardless of your age, who still believe the story that you don’t know how to choose clothing, create stylish outfits and constantly look to others for approval as to what you buy and wear, let me tell you to stop doubting yourself. You’ve got this!
Here’s some of the fashion “rules” I follow now that I’ve learned to trust my own style:
1. Do wear what’s comfortable.
If something isn’t comfortable, I don’t buy it….no matter how much I may love it. If it binds at the waist, gives me a muffin top, tugs at the shoulder, doesn’t feel soft on the skin…..it never, ever makes it to the cash register.
The good news is that comfy doesn’t have to be frumpy anymore! You don’t need to sacrifice fashion, even elegant fashion, for comfort. Todays fabrics are so much softer and stretchier and today’s fashions are so much more simple, casual and sporty. So give me all the jeggings, leggings, palazzo pants and cute joggers please….and thank you!
Comfortable style is in! 2. Do focus on highlighting the features you most love about yourself, not just on hiding those features you don’t.
I’m not saying that that you shouldn’t look for clothing that camouflages some of your least favorite features. I have a jelly belly, love handles and a non-existent waist, so I am always conscious of buying clothes that don’t accentuate those areas of my body.
However, everyone has their favorite “assets”…those physical features you love about yourself, whether it’s the color of your eyes, your smile, your curves, etc. Whatever it is, choose clothes that really help those features stand out. That way, when you look in the mirror, your eyes immediately go to what you find most beautiful about yourself and in clothing, like life, it’s always better to focus on the positive over the negative.
For me, I love to wear V-Neck tops and dresses because they bring attention to my long neck and my smile and sleeveless because it shows off my toned shoulders I’ve worked so hard for. Finally, I adore wearing black because it always looks great against my skin and hair color.
So go ahead, be proud of your fabulous best features and show them off! When you feel beautiful, you look beautiful! 3. Do buy clothes that make you feel beautiful today….just as you are.
I’ve gone shopping with many good friends who see things they love but refuse to buy them because they are waiting…..waiting until they lose a few pounds, or waiting to get in better shape, or waiting to begin a new job or a new relationship….but in the end, refusing to believe that they are worthy of beautiful clothes right now, just as they are today.
I love the quote “Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.”…by Louise Hay.
So love yourself completely right here, right now and as part of that, treat yourself to fabulous clothes that you love yourself in. Don’t wait. You are deserving now. 4. Don’t worry about what’s “age appropriate”.
I’m in my 50s and I still sometimes shop in the Juniors Department. I buy clothes from American Eagle, Urban Outfitters and Guess. Of course I also shop the women’s departments, J Crew, Chicos, Ann Taylor Loft and all the traditional outlets that sell more mature clothes. And now, my favorite place to shop is in my own store, EmilyAnna Boutique. But the point is, I shop them all.
And the kicker is…..my daughter, who is in her 20s, is forever stealing my clothes these days without knowing or caring what department or store I bought them from.
So the moral of the story is, if you think something is beautiful, it doesn’t matter where you find it. Take it to the dressing room, and if it makes you feel fabulous, take it home! Maybe you need to size up, but who cares!
Bottom line….anything goes. Don’t let concerns over what’s “age appropriate” keep you from having fun with style! 5. Don’t forget that cheaper is not always less expensive.
To save money on your wardrobe remember that cost is not the same as value. Cost is how much you pay for an item, value is how beautiful you feel in it and how often and how long you wear it.
Like many women, I love nothing better than a great deal, but I’ve learned through years of shopping experience that many of these items end up just sitting in my closet because they don’t go with anything else I own, they don’t fit right, they aren’t that flattering on me or they shrink, fade or stretch out after the first wash.
The best way to save money on your wardrobe is to buy foundational pieces that are versatile with other items already in your closet, easy to care for, comfortable, fit well and are good quality. I don’t mind spending more on a top, that makes me look and feel beautiful, that I can wear all year around and that I can dress up or dress down depending on how I accessorize it or what I pair it with.
You may not be able to afford as many clothes, but you will get a lot more mileage out of the ones you have and you will look and feel amazing wearing them. Treat yourself. You’re worth it.
6. Do accessorize….accessorize…accessorize!!!
Once you’re done buying good quality foundational pieces for your wardrobe, now it’s time to get creative and add color, sparkle, texture, sass and fun to your outfits.
Shoes, jewelry, scarves, jackets and handbags can change an outfit from being casual to a night out on the town…..from Spring to Summer…..from Summer to Fall. Accessories are how you can really elevate your look and take simple foundational pieces anywhere you need or want to go.
Accessories are also a much less expensive way to sprinkle your wardrobe with the most current trends.
My obsession for accessories is legendary among my circle of family and friends. The other day my daughter said to me, “Mom….I know you love your accessories, but do you have to wear them all….at the same time?”. I laugh and say….”I think your outfit needs a bracelet.” So she takes one of mine. 7. Do use Pinterest, Instagram, read your favorite fashion magazines and shamelessly engage is serious people/style watching when you’re out and about for fashion ideas and inspiration.
Just promise me you won’t compare or judge yourself against what you see along the way. If you ever start doing that, just please forget this tip!
8. DO TRUST YOURSELF above all others about your own style.
We’ve all seen it, or even worse, experienced it for ourselves. We try something on in a dressing room and look in the mirror, and the sun shines, rainbows and unicorns appear and we hear angels singing. WE LOVE how we look and we are striking poses better than Madonna in the mirror and can’t wait to get out of the dressing room to show how amazing we look to our shopping partner (usually my husband…..poor man).
Then we walk out and the person we are with looks at you and says “it looks ok, but I like the other one better…..or try this on instead”.
When I’ve watched this happen to someone else, they usually immediately look deflated, go back into the dressing room, take off the item they loved so much and walk out without it. That person has been me many, many times in the past. And then if they are anything like me, they go home and think….I should have bought it….it would have been perfect.
Ladies….just stop it!! Now when that happens to me, I laugh and walk back into the dressing room saying “this treasure is coming home with me!”….and it does. The kicker is……when I wear it later at home, my faithful shopping partner usually looks at me and says “You know, you were right…..that looks really good on you”.