It’s a new year, and everyone is talking about resolutions. But resolutions don’t have to be huge obstacles that squelch bad behavior or big changes in habits. Resolutions can actually be enjoyable, especially when it comes to your style. So if you want to do a major style overhaul, or you’re just looking for a few things to advance your look, check out my top 5 style resolutions for the coming year.
FOCUS ON FIT
Above all else, great fit can make inexpensive clothes look awesome. And conversely, poor fit can make even the priciest styles look less than stellar. So it’s time to figure out what already fits great in your wardrobe, and deal with what needs some help.
- Finally hem those pants! You know you’ve done it – you stare at those pants that look great with heels, but you rarely wear heels. And you hope that always cuffing your jeans keeps everyone from noticing that they’re 2 inches too long. Bite the bullet, go through your bottoms wardrobe, and schedule some time at the tailor.
- Find a tailor. If you don’t already have a go-to place for alterations, ask around. Check in with your friends (especially the stylish ones), ask for recommendations on Facebook, or inquire at a favorite boutique to find out who they refer. Yes, the guy at your dry cleaner can often do a simple hem, but you need an expert for anything more complex.
- Figure out what you can wear off the rack (& what you can’t). You may already know that you’re great with pants from specific brands, but dresses always need to be shortened. Or that sweaters are fine, but shirt sleeves are always a little too long. Factor this knowledge into the time and budget that you devote to shopping – shop at stores that do in-house alterations, or schedule a visit to the tailor on the way home from your next shopping trip.
CULTIVATE, NOT COLLECT
As the old saying goes – quality over quantity! Instead of filling your closet with a bunch of ‘stuff’, carefully consider what deserves to enter your wardrobe. A few things to think about:
- Can you wear it 3 ways? If you can’t think of 3 different things to wear with a new purchase, then maybe it’s not right for you. Because otherwise, you’ll have to buy something else new to go with the first new thing, and then something else to go with the second thing, and that can be an endless cycle of shopping despair…
- 75% of your wardrobe is ‘basics’. This doesn’t mean that 75% of your wardrobe is boring – it means that the majority of your wardrobe should be comprised of versatile, multi-functional pieces that are easy to outfit, transcend occasions (and sometimes, seasons), and that you can wear on a regular basis. What these are will dramatically vary based on your lifestyle and preferences, but the key words are versatility and dependability.
- 25% of your wardrobe is ‘special’. Again – this doesn’t mean that the majority of your wardrobe is blah and bland. It simply signifies that about a quarter of your wardrobe can be the truly special, unique, awe-inspiring items that get you noticed. The downside to these is that you’ll wear them sparingly, specifically because they are so memorable – to you and everyone else. I have a few clients whose wardrobes are comprised largely of these attention-getting styles, but they have a hard time wearing them because they have nothing to pair them with. I often talk about it in movie terms - 25% of your wardrobe can be the ‘stars’ of your outfits, and 75% can be the ‘supporting players’ that let the stars shine.
If you do nothing else with your style this year, commit to trying something new each season. It can be as simple as wearing a new color (or color combination), finding a different silhouette, or finally breaking into prints. If this seems scary, remember – it’s just you and a fitting room mirror, and you might surprise yourself! If you need a little help breaking out of your comfort zone, check out my tips here.
CARE FOR YOUR CLOTHES
A versatile, modern wardrobe that functions for all the facets of your life can be an investment – so honor that investment by caring for your clothes.
- Read the washing instructions. Every garment has guidelines, and you’ll rarely go wrong by following them.
- Dry clean only when needed. Dry cleaning is a chemical process that can slowly weaken fabric fibers, so use it on an as-needed basis, as opposed to a regular schedule. Think about this when you’re shopping – if you’re about to purchase something that’s dry clean only, but you’ll most often wear it playing with the kids, maybe it’s worth finding another option. And remember that most dry cleaners offer laundry service as well, so you can have them wash and press your shirts instead (based on the care label).
- Be kind to your shoes. Quality shoes are one of the wisest places to invest your wardrobe budget, but you need to care for them to make your investment last. Shoe trees and weather/waterproof shoe sprays are two of the best ways to get maximum wear out of your shoe wardrobe. Also – it pays to rotate through pairs, so that you’re not always wearing the same shoes two days in a row (leather/suede shoes need a day of rest in between wearings to recover).
You plan your vacations, you plan your daily schedule, and you plan what you’ll have for dinner – so why not treat your wardrobe the same way?
- Pick out what you’re wearing the night before. Believe me – 5 minutes the night before can save 20 minutes the next morning. And if you’re motivated – plan a few days in advance! One of my clients is a single mom of 3, and she plans out her entire week on Sunday nights. It’s a truly practical option for her hectic life, and provides her with piece of mind knowing that her outfit choice is one decision that’s not on the table each and every morning.
- Pick out what you’re wearing weeks before. No, I’m not asking you to plan a month’s worth of work outfits – I’m talking about being proactive for the big occasions. Are you attending a wedding next month? Then try on the dress you plan to wear today (with the shoes and jewelry), as opposed to the morning of the event. Are you going on vacation soon? Then review your holiday wardrobe this weekend to confirm that everything fits and is in good condition, and so that you can fill any holes prior to the day you leave.
- Plan to shop. An analogy that I consistently use with my clients is that you take a list to the grocery store to shop for food, but do you take a list to the mall to shop for clothes? Most people don’t, and that’s a big mistake. Knowing what you need to fill the holes in your wardrobe is key to creating looks with pieces that you already have. We’d all love to buy complete outfits each time we go shopping, but the reality (and practicality) of it is that we need to make selections that work with what’s sitting in our closets, to maximize our wardrobe dollars. How else can you prepare to shop? Read my advice here.
Will you be making style resolutions for the coming year? Tell us which ones you'll be trying in the comments!