How To Get Dressed

Fashion should be fun, not stressful.  And what you wear should make you feel great, not  uncomfortable, or like anything less than your best self.  

The very word "fashion" can make some women feel nervous because they equate it with pressure to look somehow more glamorous than they think they are, or to spend more money than they should.

I love fashion, but my definition is not the pictures I see in Vogue. Much as I love looking at high fashion photography I view it as art rather than a recipe for my own life.  I live in the suburbs, work from home most days, and have a daughter in first grade.  So my favorite "fashion" item of late is my denim cut-off shorts that I wear with t-shirts, some cute jewelry and my red patent leather Birkenstocks.  To me, fashion is feeling comfortable, pulled together, and a little bit on trend without looking trendy.

A few getting dressed tips that guide me:

Know Thyself Be honest about what looks good on you and what doesn't. Just because something is in style doesn't mean it suits you, your body type, or your lifestyle. You'll never see me in Manolo Blahniks, super mini skirts or high waisted jeans, no matter how cool other people look in them. I like solid colors, clean lines and classic shapes and fabrics.

Skip the Hottest Trends I never want to look like I'm trying too hard.  Over-the-knee boots?  Denim overalls? Not gonna do it.  Sure, they look cute on girls in their twenties, but that's not me.  (For the record, I had a pair of high boots when they were in style last time: Back when Cindy Crawford was married to Richard Gere.) I also don't like to spend money on clothes that are having a moment, because when that moment is over I'm sad I wasted my money. On the other hand, I love reading fashion blogs and observing street style because it spurs me on to create my own renditions.  I'm not going to wear the super duper high-waisted ultra flared jeans, but I might get a pair of slightly flared jeans for fun.

Monkey See, Monkey Do While I'm not a slave to fashion trends I am happy to say that I let other women inspire my style decisions.  I'm a copycat from way back. If I see something on another woman and I think it might look good on me I'm happy to reproduce it.  (And if she's someone I know I circle back and tell her she influenced me. Who doesn't like that kind of flattery?) 

Check the Silhouette Most people aren't going to take in the details of your outfit. They'll notice the overall shape, or silhouette, instead. So I make sure I don't pair a long skirt with a long shirt, or a tight t-shirt with skinny jeans.  The overall shape, and how polished and proportional, is more important than the brand or how on-trend each piece is.

Apply Accessories Jeans and a t-shirt becomes more than the sum of their parts when you add the right jewelry, a cool belt, or a knock-out pair of shoes or boots.  Average clothes look pulled together with accessories. Even when I work from home, and no one but my dogs is going to see me, I add a few accessories to my outfit. This always puts an extra spring in my step for the long commute down the hall to my office. And, hey, these days I never know when a planned conference call will suddenly turn into a video meeting, so having a necklace on is always a good idea.  (I also keep a lipstick right under my computer for just such emergencies.)

Don't Go Overboard I try to have one stand-out item in each outfit. Without something special to tie it all together a top and bottom can be bland. But with too many things competing for attention I'd look clownish.  So if I wear a sparkly top I make sure everything else is subdued.  If I wear metallic shoes nothing else should be shiny.  And, something I have to keep reminding my little girl, never ever wear more than one animal print at a time. ("I know it's tacky Mommy, but I just love it!" ) 



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P.P.S. I just had a closet and wardrobe consultation with the fabulous Jill DeWan at Flair Shopping.  I'll write about that unexpectedly awesome experience soon.