Sometimes the same outfit that was perfect at the store looks humdrum at home. Dressing well involves more than diving into the latest trends and coordinating your pieces to look just like those on the mannequin. Learn how to individualize your look for your taste, body type and lifestyle, and you can create a style that is both uniquely you and casually chic. If you are shopping on a budget, have no fear. A few key pieces can make the difference between daytime drab and everyday diva.
Shop Your Closet
Before you hit the stores, hit your closet. You never know what treasures you will unearth. Pull out your favorite pieces, the clothes you haven’t worn for awhile, the items you keep promising yourself you will fix, and the clothes you have forgotten about. Donate the pieces that just don’t work, and sort through the rest. Examine the pieces that stand out for you as wardrobe essentials and your go-to outfits. They most likely represent your favorite palette, prints, cuts and combinations. Use these pieces as a springboard for developing a more put-together look. Write a list of clothing you need to coordinate well with the pieces you have.
A Good Beginning
The first layer of clothing you put on every morning should fit as well as the later layers. This means you need to ditch the bra with the straps that don’t adjust and skip the tight underpants that make your waistline bulge. Invest in basic, neutral undergarments that fit well and have some stretchy fabric that helps shape your curves. You should also have a decent arsenal of body-hugging tank tops, skinny T-shirts, camisoles and slips to use for layering. Save the tie-dye and neon colors for Zumba class. Go for black, skin tone, white, dark gray and other neutrals.
Stress the Basics
Trends come and go, but the basics of a good wardrobe are timeless. Prioritize your purchase of wardrobe essentials that fit well and suit your body type, and then use accessories to customize the look. A little black dress in a body-skimming, but not body-squeezing, fit works for all body types. Keep the dress work-ready by having it hit the knee. A couple pairs of dark-wash jeans in a flattering fit and a good length take you from hanging out at the park to going out for cocktails. Play with your styles of tops to find what works for you. Short-waisted women and women with apple shapes create length and flow with tunics. Women with athletic body types, hourglass figures or long waists can create definition with shirts that narrow at the waist.
Dressing well should not mean you leave your personality behind. The brooch your great grandma gave you can pin a pashmina shawl at your shoulder for a glam urban look. Those bangles from your last international trip give jeans and tunic bohemian chic. A pair of bright cowboy boots adds a pop of color to a black sheath dress. Stick to earthier materials and neutral tones for day wear, and bring out the gold, silver, copper, bronze and glitter at night.