Dressing for yourself

Dressing for yourself


Wearing clothes to express yourself

Why Clothes Matter:

Although there are far more serious issues in the world, how we look and dress does have an affect on us. There is scientific evidence which says how we dress affects our personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others.

First Impressions

A commonly held view is that what we wear, sends a message to others about the sort of person we are. Superficial and unfair though it might be, first appearances have a big impact on most people. Within a few moments assumptions will be made based on our clothes, our grooming, the way we carry ourselves and then the way we speak.

Some people will deduce certain facts from our appearance related to class, education, money and age. And it’s not just other people — we ourselves will at times make similar judgement, often unconsciously — about others. We stereotype people because of age, the way they are dressed or have their hair, or even the way they move. And, sometimes we all get it wrong!

Not all businessmen/women dress in expensive suits or semi-formal outfits, a prime example being Virgin boss, Richard Branson. Not all celebrities dress in carefyuhigh-fashion or designer clothes, think of the beautifully individual Helena Bonham Carter, or the quirky Olsen Twins.

In business now, the suit is no longer de rigeur, lots of the tech and more creative companies allow and encourage their staff to dress casually and in what they are comfortable wearing, the idea behind this being that when staff feel comfortable in their own clothes, they are likely to feel more creative, be more productive etc.

Even in the more traditional companies, Business Casual has become the norm over the years, e.g. shirt/slacks for men rather than the traditional suit, collar and tie. Business casual is still not as easily defined for women, but suffice to say that the traditional skirt suit or trouser suit is no longer appropriate in many setting, other than perhaps the traditional professions e.g. legal profession etc.

The most important issue is how our clothes make us feel about ourselves. It all depends on whether we feel happier in mainstream clothes that the average person from our age group and background favour — or whether we prefer to go our own way regardless of what others are currently wearing. Sometimes we move from one way of dressing to another to suit certain occasions.

What matters is that the clothes are our own choice and make us happy.

If we are wearing clothes we feel ‘right’ in — and reflect how we want to see ourselves — we can head out into the world, and almost forget about them for the rest of the day. The ‘right clothes’ means different things to different people. For some it might be a conservative suit, jeans or chinos and a top or shirt, a fashion-forward colour combination or a dramatic, unstructured, flowing ensemble. For others, clothes are a way to show that they are members of a certain group or part.

Work has a huge influence on us, and if our company is dress-conscious with bosses opting for a shirt and tie or a high-end fashion pieces, we’re likely to adapt our own style to ensure our work clothes fit in and make us look like a team player. Some places might decide a uniform is the best option for staff. In certain workplaces there are also practical issues to consider when dressing, if we are in physical work which involves bending, stretching etc.

(More about dressing for work in another blog post from Anne)

Dressing for relaxation at home and weekends is a different ballgame, and we should be absolutely free to wear the clothes that make us feel comfortable and (more importantly!) confident in our own skin.

Clothes that ‘Spark Joy’ for the wearer!

We should also feel free to express ourselves in our clothes without the need to conform to what others think. Many people have views on how we should dress according to our age, our body shape and our social class. Whatever other people or general convention thinks, it is one of our basic rights and privileges to dress as we so wish.

Regardless of what our family, friends or colleagues say we look good in, our gut instinct is usually best to guide us as to what looks and feels right for us. This is where the lovely Marie Kondo’s catch-phrase hits the nail on the head — only wear and buy things which ‘Spark Joy’, whether it is an outfit, jewellery, shoes, ties, bags and scarves.

If you look in the mirror and get a great lift from what you see, that’s the best sign that you are dressing authentically and expressing yourself. If you get a flat or ‘not sure’ feeling it is probably a sign that it is not for you. Your style reflects you as an individual and can be toned down to basics if needed for work or practicalities, and then embellished with more pieces for special events.

Anne and I have similar tastes in clothes and often go for the same brands, but whilst we have a few identical pieces, we often buy totally different items from the same shop. Firstly, we are very different shapes and secondly that basic individuality that we have, makes certain clothes ‘spark joy’ for one and not the other.

Finding your ‘right’ colours: Wear whatever colour you feel best in whether it is canary yellow, purple or black, black, black! I am a black devotee, although I often mix it with grey and white, and, if I can find the right shade of blue, red, purple and green, I will wear those too. I love seeing other people in pastel colours, but most of them don’t feel right on me. Whilst they look fresh and summery on friends, they have always made me look and feel ‘faded’.

The minute I try a colour on, I know if it works or not. For some people, finding ‘the right clothes in the right colour’ is a never-ending problem, as they are just not sure what works for them. There are also lots of other people who don’t feel clothes or fashion rate high on their list of priorities, and feel happy and confident in whatever they wear. There are others who get a real lift from putting outfits together which are quirky and different.

For anyone interested in clothes but feel they have never found their own personal style, it’s never too late to start. Age is no barrier, there are lots of fashion icons who are in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s — even up to 90’s! Women such as the cool Lyn Slater and the colourful Iris Apfel, and for men, John Malkovich who have shown that age does not dictate personal style. If you are looking for inspiration, there are plenty of fashion websites, blogs, Pinterest and Instagram to find outfits that grab your attention. There are all sorts of labels for various styles such as chic, streetwear, sophisticated, rocker, preppy, grunge, vintage, urban, boho, sporty and somewhere, amongst all of those will be something which will feel right for you.

What you are drawn to is often what will suit you. All you have to do is track the clothes down in the right proportions!

Keep an open mind when shopping:

When you have the time and some money to spend on something special, head for your nearest city and you will have a much bigger choice of department stores, charity shops, vintage or high-street shops.

Take your time to try things on properly in a full-length mirror.

If you are not sure what works for your colouring or shape, or if you just need a change, some stores offer a styling service where the staff are happy to suggest things they think would work for you. If you explain what you want the outfit for, and the sort of thing you like, (you can cut out examples of fashions from magazines or save Pinterest pictures on your phone) they are more than likely to come up with something that suits your shape and personal taste.

If you are shopping in a charity shop, vintage or second-hand designer outlets, not only will it be cheaper, but whatever you buy will usually be a one-off style. You can get some fantastic bargains that have hardly been worn and some brand new with the original tags still on. (We will be covering Sustainable Fashion more thoroughly in a blog post soon)

Regardless of what is suggested, buy nothing unless you really love it and feel that it reflects your own taste and personality. If you are buying separates, check if the piece will work with other things in your wardrobe. A good tip is to actually go through your wardrobe to refresh your mind on what you actually have and decide in advance what pieces you are looking for to complement these, or even bring some pieces with you to try with the new pieces you are buying.

If you are dressing for a wedding or an interview or for some big occasion where you want to feel at your very best — it’s important to wear something that makes you feel absolutely 100%! You can then forget about what you are wearing and relax and enjoy the occasion.

From my own experience, wearing a new outfit I’m not quite sure about (or something that feels tight or uncomfortable, or is not hanging properly) leaves me unsure or self-conscious for the rest of the day. Who needs that? Bad enough that we might like that on an ordinary day — but a special event (with photographs to capture your awkwardness) can be ruined by wearing something that just doesn’t feel or look right.

Always ch mmm hhheck an outfit you have bought for a wedding or dressy event several times at home before the big day. Also make sure the shop will accept a return if you change your mind. Shop mirrors can be deceivingly flattering, and some are deliberately designed to make you look taller and more sylph-like. As someone under 5 feet tall, I’ve been delighted with the illusion that something works perfectly for me in shop mirrors, only to get home and discover that it swamps me or catches me in the ‘wrong places’ in real life!

Try the outfit on when you are back at home with your usual mirror and lighting, and decide then if the new one makes you feel great — and is better than anything else you already have.

On a number of occasions, I have ditched a new outfit, and, at the last minute, turned up in an old favourite I’ve worn on dozens of occasions, because I felt better in it. And never once have I regretted it. If people recognise your outfit from before, just remember Princess Anne who has worn the same outfit to public functions twenty years apart without giving a hoot what anyone else thinks.

Whilst we are aware there are more serious issues in life — it’s good to know that wearing the clothes we feel ‘right’ in can add that little extra lift to our day!

10 Tips of How to Style Outfits Yourself

Pandemic changed our lifestyles a lot. From restricted outings and work from home, our wardrobe saw a drastic change. All your business meetings and casual outings got limited to video calling. It also affected styling and fashion sense. This article will broadly cover the 10 tips of how to style outfits yourself.

Tips of How to Style Outfits Yourself

Staying at home was more about comfort and relaxed clothing. It made us understand what we need to keep and what is completely unnecessary in our wardrobe. However, fast fashion and online shopping tempt us to stack our wardrobes. This situation makes it difficult to find our unique style. So here we have come up with a few tips to make this task a bit easy for you. Let’s just find out how to invest in limited clothes yet make them look new and stylish every time you wear them.

1. Become A Better Shopper

Stop falling for the sales and attractive discount deals. These traps are responsible for filing up your closet with clothes that hardly favor your style. For a better sense of styling, you need to stick to what you are looking for. The deals on the online websites will allure you to buy things which are not required by you. Most of the time, this merchandise doesn’t match your styling, and you just end up wasting money. So, whenever you opt for online shopping, make sure to ignore these deals.

2. Find Your Style

No person is obligated to judge you on your choices and sense of styling. Every person has their way of dressing up. However, styling to look top-notch takes a lot of learning about fashion. Earlier, people confined themselves to set standards of colors and styling techniques. But in the past decade, the fashion world has widened a lot for experimentation with patterns, designs, colors and clothing types. You can now explore more and gather information from top-class designers about what suits your body type the best.

3. Don’t Buy Something for Just One Occasion

Buying clothes for a single occasion is one of the biggest reasons to crowd your closet. Panic shopping never lets you stick to your style. Mostly you end up choosing clothes that fit according to the occasion but not according to your style. This approach certainly wastes your money and you never wear the same dress again. You can just ditch buying new clothes every time. Rather, you must learn to style your old clothes with different accessories or mix and match them with other clothes owned by you.

4. Don’t Buy or Keep Something That Doesn’t Fit

Keeping the clothes which you haven’t touched in last 3 months are no way going to get picked by you in near future. It’s better to get rid of these clothes than to keep them in your closet. Wong fit will anyway make you look old. Make sure you never buy any clothes that don’t comply with your fit (unless you are pregnant). This simple rule will save you money and stop you from crowding your closet unnecessarily.

5. Color Group Matching

You must have read this tip in most of the style guiding articles. Learning to match colors will help you explore more. Before going shopping, open your closet and look at what you need and what you own. If you love all the colors, you are free to mix and match different shades of the same colors or even the different ones. People who love monochromes can play with colors by wearing contrasting accessories. Try to pick different outfits with different patterns and designs for a fresh look every time you step out.

6. Use Formal for Informal

Rather than buying a new outfit for some special occasion, try matching your formal with informal clothes. This blend will surely elevate your style. For a more casual look, you need a piece of statement jewellery and some trendy hairdos. Once you learn to choose the correct formal and informal blend, you will never like to spend a penny on these special outfits anymore. Moreover, formal clothes add a class to your overall appearance and let you stick to your style. This trick also saves you from last-minute expensive shopping.

7. Follow The Trends

Leveling up your style requires you to catch up with the ongoing trends too. There is a big difference between timeless clothes and seasonal trends. You can always stay true to your style while following the trends too. Just find the correct outfit that suits your choices. You can make alterations with jewellery, makeup and haircuts too.

8. Up-Cycling Tired Pieces

This tip basically targets the creative people out there. Just look at the clothes that you feel are outdated or need some alterations. Take out your sewing machines and scissors to create something new that matches the ongoing trends. You can even fix your clothes by stitching them yourself with a few alterations. You can even do embroidery to add a fresh look to your old unused clothes. Up cycling also helps in sustainable blank clothing and saving the environment.

9. Stock Up On the Basics

Always keep your closet stacked up with some basic outfits. This technique is also called a capsule wardrobe. This method keeps your clothes limited while fulfilling all your styling requirements. Pair of jeans, jackets, white clothes, a few accessories, and statement jewellery are some of the examples of these basic wardrobe-essentials. You just need to pick the clothes in accordance with the trends while making sure all these clothes suit your body type and style.

10. Keep in Mind That Black Is Always in Style

When in confusion, go for a black outfit. Your LBD is always going to save you at the last minute. The best part is black suits every body type, race and colour. It is mandatory to keep one black outfit staple in your closet. Black colour never gets out of the trend. Be it a t-shirt, black pair of jeans, black ball dress, gown or even your black shoes, belts, and your other accessories, all of these things deserve to be on your styling list.

The Guide: Dressing For Your Body Shape

Just like a snowflake, your shape’s unique and all your own! For personalized tips on dressing your body shape, head to Ask a Stylist to get in touch with one of our experts for even more advice.

Also commonly referred to as a “rectangular” or “straight” shape, you’re not particularly curvy— your shoulders and hips tend to be the same proportion.

Often also referred to as an “inverted triangle” shape, your hips tend to be narrower than your shoulders.

Otherwise known as a “triangle” shape, your hips tend to be broader than your shoulders.

Have you ever described your shape as “curvy”? Then, you might be an hourglass shape, with the waist being the narrowest part of your frame. You typically have a fuller bust and hips.

Finally, wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your hips, just above your hip bone.

Next, wrap your tape measure around the narrowest part of your waist or just above your belly button.

Then, wrap the tape measure over the fullest part of your bust. Not under, not over—the fullest part!

To measure your shoulders, wrap a tape measure around the width of your shoulder, just under the edges—like where an off-the-shoulder top would sit!

But wait, are you wondering what your body shape even is? Grab a tape measure! We designed this nifty calculator to help you get started.

Trends change fast, and it’s not always easy to know how to adapt them for our unique (and beautiful!) body shapes. We believe that fashion is about feeling great in the looks we love and feeling great in who we are. But, you could say that we follow guidelines, not rules. So we created this handy guide to help you learn how to dress your body shape and play up your most favorite features with styles you have (or should have) in your closet. But first things first, do you know your body shape?

Now, read on for more tips for styling your shape!

Pear Shaped Body Type aka a triangle shape. You may be this body type if… Your waist is wider than your bust

You consider yourself to have fuller hips

You have narrower shoulders in

comparison to your hips

comparison to your hips You have a fuller rear Learn how to dress your pear shape Hourglass Shaped Body Type aka a curvy shape. You may be this body type if… You’d describe your body as curvy

You have a well-defined waist

Your bust and hip measurements are

roughly even

roughly even You may have fuller bust, hips, and thighs Learn how to dress your hourglass shape

Apple Shaped Body Type aka an inverted triangle. You may be this body type if… You are generally well-proportioned

Your shoulders are broader than

your hips

your hips You are not necessarily as curvy

through your hips

through your hips You don’t have a well-defined waistline

(If you do, you’re likely an hourglass!) Learn how to dress your apple shape Athletic Shaped Body Type aka a rectangle or straight shape. You may be this body type if… You’re not particularly curvy

Your shoulders and hip measurements

are nearly the same

are nearly the same Your waist isn’t very small or well-defined,

but rather straight up and down

but rather straight up and down Your weight is fairly evenly distributed

throughout your body Learn how to dress your athletic shape

Keep reading for more advice on dressing your body type!

One Last Thought On Body Shapes

Everybody and every body is different. If you’re not one of these shapes—that’s ok! These dressing guidelines are best used as a starting point to understand the basics. And, let’s be honest—most women are a combination of several! It’s all about mixing & matching until you find what’s best for you.

And, we believe the best place to really get the lowdown on how to dress your body is from real women—just like you. From dishing on how to find the best jeans for petite, to understanding how to dress your curves—hear from all shapes & sizes in our series: My Body, My Style.

Are you ready to flaunt your favorite features with new silhouettes? Finding the perfect fit is kind of our thing. Our stylists are standing by and ready to help you find what you love. Take your style quiz and schedule a Fix. Just sit back and relax. We’ll send five pieces, handpicked just for you, to try on in the comfort of your own home. Buy what you love, send back the rest. Shipping, exchanges and returns are free.

Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

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