Putting effort into your appearance and style pays off in many ways, but especially in an improved attitude. I think we get “style stuck” because we set unrealistic goals and get derailed when they aren’t met. Style is more about showing up for yourself than others. Sometimes it’s hard to start.
Create a style vision board.
Before you can look at your closet or go shopping, ask yourself, “W hat do I do each day and how do I want to look and feel?”
Find images of TV and movie characters or women you admire. Use Pinterest or Instagram and look at the different posts and look for the colors, shapes, prints and accessories you love. Ask yourself what is it about that style that is so appealing? Is it clean and classic, or is it fashion-forward? That’s your baseline. On Instagram I follow Stylecrone, Susan_unefemme and styleatacertainage. Each of these gals have a lot of good ideas. You need to find your peeps.
Take a ruthless look at your closet.
Go through your closet and pinpoint what you feel good in — what you’re loving and what’s feeling right for you at this moment. That’s your personal style now and what you should keep and build on. If there is something in your closet that you wouldn’t want to wear in a picture, get rid of it.
Then identify the things you’re not wearing — things that don’t fit or don’t make you feel good. Let go of the stuff that doesn’t work for you. This helps you get dressed in five minutes because you’re only keeping the stuff you love.
Break out of a color rut.
Many women rely on black, navy and gray because those colors are safe. Wearing black from head to toe is easy, but there’s a whole world of color out there. Start by identifying the colors that make you happy (hint- everyone can wear turquoise, teal and blue green) If you are unsure, get your colors done. You should be able to build your wardrobe around 5 colors. If you stay within that range, then everything in your wardrobe mixes and matches.
Know your silhouette.
Pants that fit are always the most difficult item to find. Every brand has its own fit and you do “have to kiss a lot of frogs” to find the fit you like/need. I always advise our shoppers to never leave behind a pair of pants that fit. Once you find the right style for you, invest in a great-fitting pair of pants, dark denim blue jeans and black jeans. Add colors and fabrics over time.
Same with finding the perfect dress. Figure out the shape of dress that’s right for your body, whether sheath or fit and flare, you can put it on and add shoes, earrings and a handbag, and you’re dressed.
Look for tops.
Tops are the pieces of clothing that you need to replace most frequently. Cute blouses, cotton tees and tunics can really change your look. When worn over a solid pant, a blouse in a fun color or pattern is an instant feel-good update. Finish your outfit with bomber jacket, a long sweater or a Moto jacket. These additions will make your look instantly modern.
Wear some makeup.
A little bit of lipstick, some cheek color and eyebrow pencil go a long way.
Don’t forget what goes underneath.
Clothes can only look good on top if you have the right undergarments. Get a professional bra fitting at a boutique or a high end department store. The salespeople are trained to help a broader range of ages. If you feel comfortable, your clothes will fit better and look better. This includes underwear- no panty lines.
When you show up every day for your life, whether you’re alone or out and about, you tell the world that you care for yourself and that you matter. You want to be ready- as if someone was going to take your picture. Style is all about confidence and respecting who you are regardless of age, weight or occupation.
Adapted from Andrea Barbalich, AARP.