There are a lot of reasons to dress well: it can help you get ahead in your career, boost your self-esteem, and cause other people to see you in a better light. But plenty of people shy away from the world of fashion. Lots of us find the world of fashion to be intimidating, and many of us think of being stylish as adhering to a long list of fashion rules.
Relax: fashion isn’t really that complicated — at least, not unless you want it to be. For most of us, dressing well is about mastering a few basics and remembering simple tips and guidelines. Here are a few style tips that anyone can use, whether you have a big budget or a small one.
Choose clothes by fit
If there is one single, simple thing that will transform your style, it’s this: the fit is the key. Sure, there’s more to style. We can talk about colors and layering and all of that until the cows come home (and we will touch on some of that stuff later). But the number one reason that stylish people look good in their clothes is that they understand fit.
Clothes that are shapeless and boxy look bad on you. So do clothes that are better suited to a different body type — no matter how many fashion-forward details they may have or what color they may be. Determine your body type, and then look for clothes that flatter it. Try on clothes from different brands and manufacturers and really assess the fit, trying not to think about anything else. Take note of which clothes work for you, and stick to those cuts.
Stay within yourself: shop simple
Being fashionable means wearing clothes that suit you and flatter you. It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, you could be doing yourself a disservice if you try to get too fancy with things before you understand the basics. So here’s a tip: shop simple. Look for classics and basics without frills and distinctive features. A clean, classic look is always in, and clothes without fashion-forward details stay in style for longer.
Gearing up with classic, simple looks will give you lots of options for layering and pairing pieces together. Then, if and when you decide to get bolder with your fashion, you’ll have plenty of options for matching your latest and most daring acquisitions with smart classics that ground them a bit.
Think about the purpose of your clothes
One of the big mistakes that fashion newbies make is that they shop for clothes without thinking about when or why they’d wear those clothes. You don’t need generic “pants” and “dresses” in your closet — you need pants that you’ll wear to work and pants that you’ll wear on dates, dresses that you’ll wear to the park and dresses that you’ll wear to the club. Your clothes have a purpose, and you should consider that when you shop.
A related mistake is to be too narrow in your idea of your clothing’s purpose. Picture this: you have a fancy dinner coming up, so you shop for a fancy dress for that dinner. But you want to wear this dress more than once, so don’t narrow your view too much: consider looking at formal dresses that work just as well at a dinner party, or in church, or at a nice restaurant.
Dressing well doesn’t have to be complicated. By keeping simple things in mind, anyone can build a smart and effective wardrobe.