With a small investment, or in some cases none at all, you can achieve new and updated looks for any season. Whether you are being hit hard by the economy or simply trying to get the most for the least money, adding these ideas to your look will give you a freshened sense of style.
- Switch purses – If you can buy a new purse, great, but just changing from the purse you’ve been using a few months to one that has been sitting in your closet will give your look a lift and give you a new attitude every time you grab your handbag and head out the door.
- Add charms – You can buy charms for little cost to add to your purse, key chain, or jewelry. You may even be able to reconfigure old and seldom-worn jewelry into a pretty charm for your purse.
- Shoe clips – Liven up old shoes by adding shoe clips. Shoe clips can be made of various materials with rosettes, faux gems, and other designs. Those old pumps can get new life with jewelry of their own.
- Jewelry in nonmatching colors – Don’t match your jewelry color to your clothes. For example, many women have got into the routine of grabbing for their ruby earrings when they put on their red blouse. Next time you put that red shirt on, try turquoise jewelry or some other color-contrasting combination. Other people are much more likely to notice your jewelry when it stands out. Those same ruby earrings will stand out when paired with an aqua top, garnering you attention and compliments.
- Steal from the opposite season – This works best in the winter. It’s also a great way to chase away the winter doldrums. Pick out your favorite summer tank or short-sleeved blouse and wear it with a blazer or cardigan. Get out your summery black-and-white flower print skirt and pair it with black tights and boots.
- Repurpose clothing – Belts are in, so find other apparel items that can be worn as a belt, such as a long scarf or even a man’s necktie.
- Layer on the jewelry – One bracelet is nice, five bracelets on one arm become interesting. One necklace is expected, three necklaces or varying styles and lengths becomes a conversation piece.
- Or, pick one statement piece of jewelry – Find something that is big and bold to make your seen-before outfit have a new focal point. Two good options are extra large beads in a bright hue or a splashy cocktail ring.
- Go vintage – Borrow from your mother or grandmother’s old wardrobe or hit the local thrift store for some pieces that are new to you. This is also a great place to find pieces mentioned earlier, such as shoe clips and cocktail rings.
- Have an accessories swap – Maybe you and your friends don’t have the same taste in clothes and are not the same size, but accessories will fit anyone. Ask your friends if they have old purses or jewelry that they are ready to get rid of and offer something in exchange. With different pairings, old accessories can look completely new.
- Change your eyeshadow – If you are a pinks and beiges type of girl, try something different such as violet or green. And vice versa, if you like lots of color, try going with nudes for a fresher look.
- Change your part – If you simply switch your part from one side to the other, your hair will have more body because it is accustomed to lying flat in the other direction. Better yet, try parting your hair down the middle, which is a hot look right now.
Rules & Guidelines for Creating a Personal Style
Nina Garcia gained her knowledge of style from her parents, working in fashion houses and in fashion media, and on Bravo’s Project Runway. In her book, The Little Black Book of Style (Collins, 2007) she says,“…when it comes to style, there are no rules…but there are definite basics.
Clean the Closet then Fill it with Clothing Staples
If a woman’s closet is filled with clothing that doesn’t fit or look good on her body it is harder to be stylish. Weed out clothing held onto for sentimental reasons or because it was a great deal five years ago. Then, look if the closet includes basic pieces that work through day or night, several seasons, and from year-to-year.
Garcia suggests the little black dress, a classic men’s white shirt, a cashmere cardigan or turtleneck, a trench coat, denim, a man’s classic watch, diamonds, ballet flats, a classic high-heel pump, and a great bag. These pieces don’t fill a woman’s closet but they give her the basic elements to fall back on in many situations.
Spend more money on classic pieces that will last for years. Everyday basics like t-shirts, khaki pants, button-up shirts, etc. don’t have to be expensive – figure out what is worth spending money on and where money can be saved.
Invest in Dramatic Accessories but Avoid Becoming a Fashion Victim
Garcia recommends buying “truly fantastic” pieces that the wearer falls in love with “immediately.” These pieces should be timeless as opposed to trendy (meaning that it can be worn for years).
As for accessories, Garcia points out that no matter what the scale says, accessories will help the wearer express her personality or mood for the day. Avoid going overboard by wearing two (or more) dramatic, eye-catching pieces. The same goes for trendy items – following too many trends in one outfit prevents the wearer from expressing her personality, and therefore, her style.
Find a Good Tailor or Seamstress
While the only clothing a woman may think to have fitted to her is a wedding dress, a tailor can personalize a garment by giving it a perfect fit, revive an old item and make it new, and turn an item into a one-of-a-kind object. If clothing never fits quite right and the wearer has to settle for what’s on the rack, a tailor can create a polished look.
Create Unpredictable Outfits or How to Mix and Match Clothes and Accessories
Garcia points out that “Style is about … imperfect mixes and … unusual juxtapositions, it takes time and trial to perfect the mix….it has to look effortless.” This is the hard part because there are no hard and fast rules that will ensure the perfect outfit. If the wearer feels uncomfortable or self-conscious, then the mix isn’t for her (even if it looked great on someone else). Try mixing vintage and modern, preppy with edge, masculine with feminine, funky with basic, or sweet with vampy.
These suggestions boil down to a woman figuring out how she wants to present herself to the world instead of simply following trends. Avoid allowing the clothing to overshadow the wearer.