So many people are intimidated by the idea of choosing their own wardrobe or breaking away from the styles they usually go for. And there’s nothing wrong with that—once you know what you like and what looks good on you, then it’s OK to stay on that lane and be comfortable for the rest of your life.
But if the pandemic has inspired you to step up your fashion game, that’s OK too! No matter how old or young you are, it’s never too late or too early to improve your sense of style. Here are some simple ways to improve your taste in fashion if you don’t know where to start.
Look up inspiration from all over the world.
There’s a reason why trends go from the runways to ready-to-wear (RTW)—it’s because the majority of retailers and consumers pull from the same sources. It’s OK to look at what the most prominent fashion houses are doing during Fashion Week, but if you really want to stand out, you may want to look at different inspirations from all over the world.
Instead of just looking up the same designers and brands over and over again, why not get an African magazine subscription? You can also check what major publications are doing in other parts of the world, and not just the United States. Looking at magazines from all over the world will greatly enrich your palate and sensibilities, and you won’t be stuck with just one perspective.
Prioritize good quality.
Regardless of where you stand on the ethics of fast fashion, you can’t deny that it doesn’t always provide the highest quality. Many of us have fallen into the trap of settling for clothing items from these fast fashion brands because they’re up-to-the-minute but still relatively affordable.
However, the problem with these clothes is that they’re not built to last, which can negatively affect their appearance over time. If you really want to improve your style, go for durable, long-lasting pieces that you can mix and match with other items from your closet.
Make a capsule wardrobe filled with basics.
Speaking of long-lasting pieces, it’s important to choose high-quality pieces that you can use for many occasions and last you a long time. If we’re being honest, high-quality often entails being a bit more expensive, so it’s more prudent to prioritize the basics, which include:
- Well-fitting button-up white shirt
- Striped sweater
- Classic jeans
- Neutral-colored trench coat
- Everyday sunglasses
- Little black dress
- Perfectly-tailored blazer
- Wrap skirt
- Work slacks
- White sneakers
- Ballet flats
- White t-shirt
- Big tote bag
- Gold hoop earrings
- Killer pair of stilettos
As long as you have these pieces that are high quality, you have everything you need for a capsule closet filled with pieces that you love and often use, instead of a giant wardrobe filled with clothes you never wear.
Focus on what looks good on you.
What frustrates us about shopping is that we never seem to look as good as the models wearing the clothes. I have some good news for you: Those people are not real. They have been airbrushed from hell and back. No matter your body type, you are bound to find clothes and outfits that fit you perfectly and emphasize your strengths and assets. So instead of looking at models and wondering why you don’t look like them, focus on you and what looks good on you and makes you feel wonderful and confident.
Observe, then imitate.
Focusing on you does not mean you need to stop looking for inspiration—it simply means looking for inspiration in the right places. There’s a reason why body positivity advocates have risen in popularity in recent years; because so many people are looking for positive representation in popular media.
Look for celebrities and influencers who share your body type and sense of style, and be an expert observer. Train your eyes to see what makes the outfit work and what doesn’t. And once you’ve mastered the art of observing and analyzing, it’s time to apply the style principles that made the outfit look good and apply it to your own look. The best part is that clothes are not permanent, so experimentation is always welcome.
The Bottom Line
Set goals for what you want your style to be when all this is over. The way to do that is by observing yourself and other people whose style and taste inspire you. Get a feeling for the kind of aesthetic that draws you in, then observe what clothes and outfits make you feel good about yourself. You can do it!