From Dull to Diva: Fashion Tips for the Everyday Woman

28 Aug

I affectionately refer to my 30’s as the “Diva” years.  I’ve been fortunate to work for an amazing boutique in Scottsdale named Divalicious for the past 5 years.  This job has done wonders for my sense of style, helped me figure out exactly what I like, and how to pull it together.  The best part of my job is that it hasn’t just been about defining my style, but helping other women find their own personal style.  Style is an interesting thing, it differs from fashion.  Fashion is about trends, about what’s hot at the moment.  Style is individual, it’s about what works on you.  Finding your style takes time, but once you have it mastered, it makes shopping and getting ready in the morning a whole lot easier.

I’m constantly surprised by the number of women who shop and say they can’t “pull off” a certain style.  I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m too short, I’m too broad, my chest is too flat, my boobs are too big, it goes on and on.  I often wish some of these women could see themselves through my eyes.  No matter who walks through the door, there are always things that will look good on them.  I am lucky to work in a place with such diverse cuts and styles.  Pulling off a style has more to do with confidence that anything else.  Although there are always going to be looks that work better on certain people, don’t sell yourself short when it comes to fashion.  If you like it, there is almost always a way to make it work.  I’m by no means advocating that we all run around in daisy dukes.  However, as women we ought to embrace our inner beauty and give things a try.  Take a fashion risk.  Try on a color you’ve never worn, a cut that’s new for you.  You might be surprised at the reaction you get.  Don’t be afraid to stand out a little!

So onto the business of making fashion work.  For this blog, we’ll talk tips and hopefully give you some ideas for the next time you are shopping.

1) Accessorize. 
The beauty of accessories is that you never grow out of them.  Accessories make the outfit!  I guarantee if you don’t typically wear jewelery and you start, people will notice.  If you tend to shy away from accessories start small.  Add a watch, a simple necklace, earrings that are not diamond studs, a bright colored handbag.  Try buying your accessories when you buy your clothing.  It will work with the outfits you just purchased, and if you like it, will likely work with plenty of other things you have in your closet.

2) Incorporate a few bold pieces.
Animal prints, faux leather, fur, bright colors, embellished hats, a scarf tied around your handbag, heels, patterned scarfs.  If you are a person that likes basics, this is a great way to add style to your wardrobe.  The investment is minimal and it helps you make a statement.  If you are on a budget and like some of the higher end styles, try shopping in the juniors department.  They often have reasonably prices items that follow similar cuts and lines.

3) Shop trends but don’t buy every one you see.
I am a firm believer in following fashion trends.  Incorporating a few of these pieces makes a statement.  Keep in mind, however, that you can’t always showcase every trend, nor do you want to.  While something might look good on the runway, it doesn’t necessarily mean it looks good in real life.

4) Shop with a friend.
I’m surprised that I’m suggesting this because I typically prefer to shop alone.  However, I came up with this exercise and I think it’s worth while.  Pick a friend you trust; someone that makes you feel good and whose taste you respect. Make a shopping date and agree that you will pick at least 5 outfits for the other person you think they will look on them.  The rule – like it or not, you must try it on!  The benefit is that often people see things in you that you don’t see in yourself.  You might stumble across something you would have never tried on, but really love.  I’ve been helping women shop for several years now.  I frequently ask them to try on things they would never pick out.  More often then not, they love the item and end up buying it.

5) Create a style journal.
Putting together “looks” can be very difficult.  I’ve taken to keeping a style journal.  It’s a 3-ring binder with page holders. For my last birthday I asked for subscriptions to many of the fashion magazines.  I carry them in my purse when I am out and about (doctor’s offices, the school pick-up line, etc.) and when I have a moment I scan through them.  Whenever I like an outfit I pull it out and add it to the style binder.  Before I shop I review the binder and try to buy pieces that are similar to the outfit.  My last purchase was a pair of jeans which I rolled at the bottom, wedges, a long short-sleeved wrap a chunky necklace and a snakeskin wristlet. I would have never pulled this outfit together on my own, but when I got it home it looked a lot like what I pulled from the magazine, with some of my own flair.

6) Organize your closet so you can see things.
This is especially important when it comes to accessories.  I have hooks in my closet to hang my necklaces in plain view, my shoes are in the open, and I hang up most of what I own.  This decision resulted in having my husband use the closet upstairs, but it works for us.  Don’t forget the “don’t use it, get rid of it” rule here.  In order to have space, you can’t accumulate too much stuff. If you have too much stuff and can’t see what you have, you wont use it.  Because my space is somewhat limited, I also put seasonal items such as boots and scarves away when the weather changes.

7) No matter how cheap it is, if you don’t love it, don’t buy it.
It’s tempting to think of the amount of money you will save when you hit the clearance rack.  However, it doesn’t help to spend money on anything if you don’t use it. Rather than buying 3 shirts on sale for a deal, spend a little more on the one you love and that you will wear all the time.

8) Make the investment when it’s worth it.
I like to look at it like this.  I bought a few Juicy Couture tracksuits last year.  They cost me entirely more than I wanted to spend.  I know they hold up well though and I love them.  You can dress them up or down.  I made the investment and I have worn them hundreds of times.  Compare that to an item you spend a lot on and only wear once every few months.  unless you are dressing for a special occasion and want to splurge, spend your money on the things you will use the most.

9) Make a fashion resolution.
Just like in loosing weight and changing eating patterns, developing a fashion sense and style takes time.  Pick something you like, or want to do better with your style and commit to doing it.  Let me give you an example.  Four years ago I never wore heels.  I just didn’t see the practicality.  I always admired women who wore them though since they looked so elegant and stylish.  I resolved to buy heels and wear them at least once a month.  I felt terribly out of place in them at first.  Now, I can’t seem to get enough of them!

10) Less is more.
This rule pertains to shopping.  It’s tempting to go to stores that are the size of Costco with deep discounts, but when you are working on developing style, I think it best to start at a manageable level.  The more choices you have, the more confusing it gets.  Riffling through rack after messy rack can get very overwhelming and frustrating.  You can find yourself shopping for a very long time and walking out with nothing to show for it.  Start at a smaller well-organized store with good customer service.  Ask for assistance, pick a few things and try on.  You are more likely to find something that suits you.

Hopefully following these tips will get you started on the right track to finding your style, or even re-making your style.  Remember, at the end of the day, make a statement with your style, but also with your smile.  Wear them both well and you’ll leave a lasting impression.

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2 Responses to “From Dull to Diva: Fashion Tips for the Everyday Woman”

  1. XaxiiFan October 6, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    Nice tips. Seriously doubt the “less is more” works for fashionistas 😉

  2. bonkasaurus October 9, 2011 at 4:40 am #

    These are some great tips! I really like the style journal! I used to use polyvore for that.

    -Bianca at http://theinbetweengirls.wordpress.com/

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