Stuck in a style rut? Think you have no style? Well, it’s time to snap out of it and decide to look your best every day. That’s right, looking good and put-together is a choice. Only the tiniest percentage of humans over the age of four look amazing 24/7 — so you can’t expect to wake up and be a style icon straight out of bed.
But here’s the good news. Learn a few tricks and you’ll be out of that style rut faster than you can spell Furstenberg. Let’s get started.
1. Forget your assumptions about style
The fashion world is intimidating. Spend too much time watching the runways, window-shopping designers, and following super models on IG and you can easily feel discouraged about your style prospects.
It’s likely you can’t afford to spend four figures on a single outfit. It’s also likely that you wouldn’t have any occasion to wear most of the pieces that grace the runway. On top of that, you may feel like your shape limits your style choices.
So, forget all that.
Style isn’t about how expensive your outfit is or which designer you’re wearing. Style isn’t about how thin or tall or short or curvy you are.
Style is about how you cultivate your look every day. You might rock black nail polish, ripped jeans, and spikey blue hair. That’s style. Or maybe you prefer mom jeans, a tucked in tee, and a cropped bomber jacket. Also stylish.
What isn’t stylish is getting up, grabbing whatever’s on top of the clean laundry pile, and heading out the door. And I’m not judging here. I don’t care if you don’t prioritize style — you’re probably doing more important things with your energy. I’m just saying that if you want to be stylish, it does take effort on your part.
You can make that effort no matter what your clothing budget is or what pieces you have in your closet.
If you have no idea where to start, cultivate neatness. Tuck in your shirts, trim away loose threads, tighten buttons and notions, and use an iron. You may also want to change up your go-to hair style. In the neatness vein, try a low ponytail, headscarf, side clip, etc.
2. Make sure it fits
You might think that your clothes fit fine, but most of them probably don’t — unless they’re meant to be oversized clothing. There’s a difference between fitting fine and fitting perfectly. The closer you can get to a perfect fit, the more pulled-together you’ll look.
Measuring yourself regularly is the gospel for styling. Knowing your measurements makes online shopping more manageable and more convenient. You’ll also improve your skill at recognizing fit.
As you develop an eye for fit, you can inspect your closet to identify out which pieces need some nips and tucks. Getting your pieces altered is a fantastic (and often affordable) way to get out of a style rut.
The other benefit of knowing your measurements is you’ll have access to tailor-made clothing. And yes, that’s a thing! You can buy custom shorts, custom jeans, custom leather jackets, and more. If rack sizing just doesn’t work for you and tailoring is too cumbersome, try investing in a custom-made piece or two. You might get hooked.
Budget Fashionista Tip: Use the Coupert browser extension to save at 1000s of online fashion shops.
Accessories are your best friend, especially if you have an understated or simple wardrobe. Just think of Audrey Hepburn’s simple but sharp style. Most of her pieces were styled by Givenchy for her, so you know, she had an advantage. But even with her beautiful, designer wardrobe, Hepburn was a fan of accessories — a bold earring or necklace, scarf, or oversized sunglasses often finished her outfit.
You don’t need a ton of accessories on hand, either. It’s actually better to follow a more minimalist approach. Try picking one signature piece. For example, you might wear a necklace every day. Or sunglasses. You could easily build a collection of inexpensive sunnies in various styles. Or maybe you’re a watch girl. Invest in one with changeable straps so you can keep the look fresh.
4. Know your colors
You might want to wear your favorite colors, and that’s perfectly understandable. But donning colors that flatter your skin tone immediately adds an extra something to your overall look. You’ll glow and people will notice. You’ll notice that noticing and glow more. You get the idea.
There are many resources online that can teach you more about choosing colors for your skin tone. You can check out a few of our posts on this topic: The Best Swimsuit Colors for Your Skin Tone and Wear the Best Colors for Your Skin Tone. But if you want the quick-and-dirty info, here it is:
- Winter Skin Tones. You have a cool skin undertone and high color contrast between your eye and hair color. Stick to dark or bright cool undertones. Avoid icy and pastel colors.
- Autumn Skin Tones. You have a warm or golden skin undertone, and your hair and eyes are also warm and rich colored. Muted or vibrant golden yellows, greens, orange-reds, and golden browns will suit you the best.
- Spring Skin Tones. You have a warm golden skin tone, and maybe freckles. Your hair is probably a warm and golden color copper, strawberry blonde, golden blonde, or light golden brown. You might have had a lighter color as a child but grew up to have dark hair. You have light-colored eyes in shades of greens, hazels, or blues. You can pull off light or rich and warm yellows, greens, orange-reds, peach-pinks, and other similar colors.
- Summer Skin Tones. You have a cool skin undertone with a pinkish hue. Your hair can be ashy or muted, ranging from dark blonde to dark brown. Your eyes can be gray, blue, green, or muted brown. Medium to light colors, such as pinks, blues, browns, and navy, would look stunning.
Get out of the style rut
The next time you hear yourself thinking, “I have no style,” remember this: Fashion is different from style. You don’t need expensive or trendy clothes or a look that’s fully unique to have style. You need to know your body and dress to your taste. This is where you might get stuck — not knowing what clothes you like or don’t.
You can get out of that style rut. Start by making sure your look is tidy every day. That forces you to pay attention to your look. And paying attention naturally leads you to start having an opinion. Listen to the instinct that encourages you to wear florals or discourages you from lug boots. Your instinct won’t lead you astray.
Remember too to pick a signature accessory and make it “your thing.” If your friends know you have a quirky collection of sunglasses, they’ll be so focused on your face that they won’t notice the Target t-shirt you’re wearing. It’s true. That’s the beauty of style — you can use it to direct attention, create an impression, and bolster your own confidence all at the same time.