What is your emotional reaction to the term “great style”?
Does it seem intimidating, illusive or the exclusive domain of the young, beautiful and wealthy?
If so, you’re not alone. Seeking perfect outfits for our imperfect bodies is a source of great stress for many. And the challenge isn’t just tactical; it can be profoundly psychological as well. Some people intentionally avoid dressing well for fear of drawing attention to themselves or being judged.
But style is not the domain of a special minority. Being stylish doesn’t require an artistic flair, superb genetics, youth, svelteness or a big budget. Everyone can use clothing to create an intended image and send positive visual messages to others.
A quick formula to evaluate your style quotient is the five FACTS of style. Ask yourself, does my wardrobe pass the standards of: Fit, Appropriateness, Closet functionality, Technicalities and Signature Style?
To see how your wardrobe measures up, let’s review these elements in detail.
Fit is the foundation of style. If you master no other element of style other than great fit, you will still be ahead of the game in terms of looking neat and put together. Conversely, you could be an expert on all the latest trends and a master at coordinating outfits together but still look sloppy if your garments don’t fit well. Make a great, flattering fit your number one priority for everything you wear. This means no pull points, wrinkles or sagging. Never assume that an off-the-rack fit will be good enough. Purchase the size that properly fits that biggest parts of your body and have items tailored to fit your smaller parts perfectly.
Appropriateness is essential to great style. An outfit that looks good on the beach is not appropriate for the mall. What works for a night club doesn’t work for the office. Women with impeccable style are always appropriate, appearing elegant in every situation.
Inappropriate clothing makes other people uncomfortable and conveys poor judgement. When it comes work appropriateness, always error on the side of caution. If you find yourself wondering, “Is this appropriate for work?”, it’s probably not.
Closet functionality is the conduit of style. You might be able to pull one great outfit from a messy closet jammed with unorganized clothes, but you won’t be able to keep it up day after day. Knowing exactly what you have in your closet is the key to dressing well all the time.
Holding onto items that don’t fit or no longer flatter is wasteful and distracting. These useless items clutter up your closet, preventing you from clearly assessing you best options each morning. A high functioning closet is one containing only clothes you actually wear, look good in and can combine into great outfits .
Technicalities are the reinforcers of great style. These include the details of your appearance and your accessories. Are your shoes scuffed or in need of a polish? Are there threads hanging from your shirt? Do you have a small stain on your shirt or chipped nails? Your carefully selected outfit may signify “confident, detail-oriented professional” but the message is entirely undermined by armpit stains and a missing button. Make sure the details of your outfit reinforce the message you want your image to send.
Accessories are another “technical” component of your wardrobe. Jewellery, scarves, shoes and handbags can dramatically change the tone of an outfit. Little to no accessories can look bland and conventional while overdone accessories are gaudy and unrefined. Reinforce your visual message with carefully selected pieces that compliment your desired look.
A signature look is the triumph of great style. A woman with signature style has a common tone connecting all of her outfits. Everything she wears, though possibly quite varied in terms of garment type, colour and style, has her personal stamp on it. All of her outfits belong together, connected by a recognizable aesthetic that is uniquely her own and highly complimentary to her figure and aspirations.
The woman with signature style knows that the value of fashion trends is simply to inspire her creativity; she never follows a trend that isn’t true to her spirit or complimentary to her look. Even as she evolves with the times and the seasons, there is a common thread from outfit to outfit that demonstrates a deep self-awareness and carefully constructed image.
Want to upgrade the style quotient of your wardrobe? Edit your closet with the criteria of fit, appropriateness, closet functionality, technicalities and signature style in mind.