As a wardrobe stylist, I work with clients everyday on updating their wardrobes – but filling a closet with beautiful clothes isn’t the end goal. The true focus of working together is providing my client with the tools to feel confident in how she looks, so she can get dressed, feel amazing, and get on with her day.
Confidence is key in getting what you want out of life and surmounting any obstacles – but for many of us, gaining confidence is easier said than done. Luckily, feeling confident in your clothes isn’t rocket science – it just takes a little time and some self-knowledge. Check out the five ways you can gain confidence in your clothes, so you can funnel your newfound awesomeness into every aspect of your life!
KNOW YOUR BODY
Knowing your body isn’t only being familiar with every inch of you. It’s knowing:
- Your body proportions – are you curvy? Is your bottom half bigger or smaller than your top half? Do you have broad shoulders, or are you narrower? Are your limbs slim, but you carry weight in other parts?
- What works and what doesn’t – once you know your proportions, learn what silhouettes help balance your frame.
- Your strengths – notice that I’m not adding ‘your weaknesses’ to this point. I always tell clients that when we work together, we’ll focus on their assets, and naturally camouflage anything they aren’t comfortable with. If they love their legs, then skirts are on the agenda. If they are enamored with their curves, body-conscious styles will flaunt their assets. Focus on the positive, and keep moving forward.
This part requires some honest self-reflection regarding your likes and dislikes in clothes and what you put on your body. It’s knowing:
- What you love – I often get asked, ‘can I wear this color?’ And my answer is, ‘do you want to?’ Yes, there are colors that flatter certain skin tones more than others - generally, warmer tones flatter darker skin and cooler tones complement lighter skin. But, if there’s a color you love that may not be best against your face, you can wear it in on your bottom half, in a shoe or bag, or diluted within a print. If there’s something you absolutely love, there’s often some way to make it work – and the same goes for patterns, shapes, fabrics, etc etc etc.
- What works – to talk about color again, knowing which hues make your eyes bright and perk up your skin is super helpful. I use this specifically on days when I’m tired or dragging – my eyes are hazel, so I’ll wear green or olive to make them pop.
- Your personal comfort level – do you like to show off your figure, or do you prefer clothes that skim your frame? Are you comfortable showing skin, or are you a little more modest? Embracing the answers to these types of questions is an incredible filter when choosing which styles will make you feel powerful - and which may not.
FIT IS FOREMOST
I can’t say it enough – if it doesn’t fit, don’t get it. Good fit is something that can make the least expensive clothes look incredible, and conversely can make super pricey styles look cheap. A few tips:
- Know what you generally need altered – if you’re between a regular and petite length, then factor in the cost of hemming pants when you’re shopping for new ones. If blazers don’t show off your shape, a good tailor can slim them to your unique figure. And dress lengths can almost always be updated to flatter your legs most.
- If you don’t have a trusted tailor, shop in stores with tailors on the premises, and get things tailored as soon as you purchase them. It saves you an extra trip – now isn’t that nice?
- If you’ve gained or lost weight, taking an hour to try things on over the weekend is infinitely more productive than realizing those pants don’t zip up when you have five minutes to get out the door in the morning. And then move whatever doesn’t fit to an underbed box, the corner of the closet, or into the donation pile.
No one wants to accidentally wear a cocktail dress to a backyard barbecue, or get caught in sneakers and jeans when everyone else is in formal business attire – so if you’re in a new situation, do your homework. Appropriateness doesn’t necessarily mean blending in – but it does mean meeting the minimum acceptable standard of dress (or slightly beyond). And the best thing? When you’re familiar with the dress code and know your audience, you can play with your style and purposely stand out when you’re in the mood!
GIVE YOURSELF TIME
Time is insanely precious, but investing it appropriately pays off in droves. A few hints:
- If dressing for work is your biggest challenge – pull your clothes the night before, get up early, or do whatever you need to do to ensure that you’re not rushed into making desperate clothing decisions that you’ll regret by the time you hit the car. I have a client who is a single mom of 3, and her limited closet space means that she needs to get dressed from multiple locations. So what does she do? In order to have a great week, she pulls her Monday through Friday outfits all on Sunday night. What’s the lesson to be learned? Create an environment where last minute decisions aren’t the norm, no matter what your circumstances.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new – but do it in degrees. Are you dying to wear fuchsia, but never dared to? Will you put on a skirt and tights when everyone in the office has only seen you in jeans? The general rule I give clients is that if it’s a new color – grab it in a trusted style or silhouette. And if it’s a new style or shape – your first time can be in a color you’re comfortable wearing. That way, you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone (yay!), but you haven’t gone straight into the deep end.
Once you’ve got the wardrobe that works for your body, filled with styles and colors that you love, that gets you through all the wonderful occasions in your life confidently, then amazing things may happen. You’ll never know until you try, right?