We all make mistakes. Remember that armful of bangles that got in the way of everything you did or those print leggings that you knew were awful, but you bought and wore anyway? How about that gown that had too much of…..well, everything? I’ve made plenty in my life (and according to my closet I still do).
Some women seem to be able to toss on any old thing
I am no supermodel. I am older, heavier, and challenged in the height department. I have come to learn that at slightly five feet tall, I have to look at proportions a little more carefully and beware of things like prints and ruffles, that can look like wallpaper on my petite frame.
Back in the 70’s I lived in Paris
I ate like a Parisian, walked just about everywhere, and yes I dressed in that understated cool Parisian style. You see, growing up, my mother had taught me the sensibility that less is more and and after years of trying to break out of that mold, I realized how right she was.
Keep it Subtle
Less is more and gaudy is…well, gaudy. Just because you LOVE something doesn’t mean you have to drape all of it on your body. Understated elegance is just that – UNDERSTATED. Have you ever wondered why a simple pair of jeans, a white button-down shirt and your favorite (and comfy) pair of ballet flats always feel so good when you put them on? It’s because you LOOK GOOD in this simple, timeless style. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not TOTALLY against a graphic T every now and then, but those who know me know that I usually wear a simple Breton style striped shirt with my jeans and flats.
Keep it Neutral
A pop of color can be fun. I have a red dress that I absolutely love (in a classic style), and I do wear it when I want to make a bold statement. But, if you’re looking for the “IT” look that is to-die-for gorgeous, keep it in the beige, black, gray, navy or white families. You want people looking at YOU, not your overbearing print.
Find your statement piece
Making a fashion statement doesn’t mean copying something that you saw on this year’s runway. As a matter of fact, the fashions shown on most runways are the OPPOSITE of what defines elegance. They tend to be fleeting and trendy. Trendy is great when you’re 20 and searching for yourself, but once you hit 40, it’s time to come into your own. My statement has been a striped shirt. It has been that way since I was just out of high school when I first discovered them living in Paris. I still have my first one and you’ll see me wear it often. With a traditional bateau neck and stripes spaced perfectly for my frame, it is my go-to for comfortable chic whether paired with jeans, skirts, or trousers.
You want them to remember you for YOU
Not someone elses name or logo. So, stay away from designers who put their brand, logo, name or initials on the OUTSIDE of their clothing vs. subtly on the tag. I’ve always loved Kamali and the way her dresses fit. I also love the fact that you’ll never find her name outside of the tag on the neck. They do this for ADVERTISING and frankly, if you want me to advertise your brand…you can pay me to do it. I have my share of LV, TB and more tucked into my closet and I may pull out a handbag every now and then, but I rarely wear clothing with logos on them. The reason? It just looks like you’re trying to hard to be something vs. looking great effortlessly.
Comfortable doesn’t have to mean sloppy
Being comfortable is VERY important but think about how you look as well. When I hang around the house, I’m usually in a pull on skort and t-shirt. I’ll switch the T to a striped shirt before leaving to upscale the look slightly (and no one knows that my little black skirt hides comfy shorts underneath).
Building a wardrobe doesn’t happen in one trip to the store
It takes YEARS finding the perfect mix of outfits to create your core wardrobe. Don’t try to rush the process. You’ll just waste time, money and find that you’ll have a closet with more misses than hits.
I am petite and a little too wide. You may be tall, or wide, or athletic looking. What I wear would look AWFUL on someone who’s 6’1” with an athletic build. Shop for clothing that fit your frame. Long flowing skirts make me look like Little House on the Prairie (even if they are simple). You might look like a hoochie mama in a short skirt. Take the time and really study your body and choose items that flatter and fit.
Mine is a striped shirt. When I lived in Paris or New England, I’d never leave the house without a scarf around my neck, but living in Florida, it’s too hot (and very silly looking) to do this in summer. It may be a pair of red shoes, a biker jacket or the perfect a gorgeous leather tote bag that you found on Etsy. Wearing a signature piece makes you not only FEEL confident, but it is also obvious to others that you know who you are.
That being said – it’s about the LOOK, not the piece
A mirror can be your best friend. I used to shop trends and price. NO MORE. Buying investment pieces that will last a lifetime tally up to spending less and looking pulled together. When adding anything new to your closet remember that it should fit with your LOOK, your VIBE, your ESSENCE.
Every now and then it’s okay to break a rule
Just remember that buying trendy is what I call throw-away fashion. Spend as little money as possible on that top that will be in the bag for Goodwill next season.
Now go clean out your closet. You’ll probably be surprised that you may already have the basics of looking effortlessly chic.