It’s the rare woman who doesn’t spend far too many hours in her robe, staring at her closet, wondering what on earth she’s going to put on so that she can start her day already; and even though she’s been dressing herself for years, a little clothing advice is always useful at any age.
Clothing Advice Starts with Color
Determining the colors which are most flattering on you is harder than you think. It’s no wonder women have spent decades, and a lot of money, having their colors done; with middling results.
Whereas one’s personal color palette was previously designated as seasonal (you were a Spring or Autumn, say), the terminology now used is “Silver” and “Gold,” reflecting the two most common metals in jewelry and thus classing you by which metal looks brightest against your skin. Generally, if you were a Summer or Autumn before, you are now a Gold, whereas a Spring or Winter is a Silver, but it’s really more useful to discuss what jewelry colors look fabulous on you. Simply hold a necklace or bracelet in the two colors to your skin and take note of which one is brighter and stands out more. This is your color type.
Golds look well in rich, warm colors, such as yellows, oranges, browns and reds. If you have a preference for lighter colors, stick with bright shades and avoid pastels. Most blues and greens will probably not be flattering to your skin, but if you see something you love in one of these shades, don’t shy away from trying it on. Colors will always vary widely and you can sometimes be pleasantly surprised.
Silvers look best in cooler colors, such as blues, greens, violet and pastels. Deep greens and purples are often excellent choices for formal wear. Silvers are advised to avoid reds and oranges as these can wash a person out, but again, it never hurts to try something you love on and see for yourself if this particular shade might just work.
And of course, the bit of clothing advice everyone knows is that black looks great on everyone, provided it isn’t a roasting hot day. If you have several all-black, monochromatic, outfits and are interested in making them pop, go for texture and accessories. A bright pink scarf tied with a jaunty knot will look smashing with a sleek black day dress. A plain jersey top can be paired with an eyelet skirt for interest, and topped with a denim jacket. Just because your wardrobe is simple doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
What Every Woman Needs
A good wardrobe all comes down to basics. If you hate every single thing in your closet and nothing seems to work, hit the ground running to stock up on one or two of each of the following:
- Fitted long-sleeved top
- Black or otherwise monochromatic skirt
- Wraparound dress
- Black or otherwise monochromatic trousers
- Cardigans in a light and dark color
- Black or otherwise monochromatic jacket
- Black or otherwise monochromatic coat
- Suit or something suitable for job interviews
Once you have these, you can at least start getting dressed and then decide how to perk things up with scarves, necklaces, belts and hats. A wardrobe stocked with excellent basics frees you to enjoy shopping more, because you can concentrate on trying on fun, exotic items, rather than sticking to the same old thing. You know that if you buy a blouse in a wild print, you have jeans or a skirt to wear it with and look great.
Spend to Save
There are a lot of organic and responsibly made clothes out there, but there is no denying they tend to be expensive. It’s hard to get enthusiastic about spending $30 for a plain camisole made of organic cotton in a non-sweatshop factory, but try to think beyond what you’re doing for fellow people and the planet. When you buy a well-made garment in a top-grade fabric, you’re making an investment, whether it’s a bra or an evening gown. So long as you take good care of them, better clothes will last much longer and continue to look better than anything you can buy in a discount shop. Ultimately, you save the planet and save money, which is a great win-win.
Trust Your Friends
Never know what really looks great on you? Who can, when most dressing rooms have the world’s least-flattering lights and not enough room to put your hands on your hips? Shopping with friends is not only fun, it’s one of the best ways to be sure you won’t end up with a lemon. An objective, honest friend can be the best source of good clothing advice there is. She will always tell you when something isn’t quite working. Likewise, she’ll tell you when something is fabulous and mustn’t be left behind. If you feel you have a body that’s hard to dress, bring a good friend along on your hunt for basics and ply her with coffee as you take your time finding cuts that suit you. If you have a curvy figure, you know you look good in a dress with a fitted top and flared skirt, but that’s not how you want to dress all the time. Given some patience and good objective advice, you’ll eventually find the sort of tops and pants that make you look and feel as fabulous as you deserve, every single time.
Keep Playing Dress-Up
Once you’ve got a good working wardrobe, be careful of falling into a rut. Don’t continue to buy the same few things over and over. You’re not a boring person, so why should your look be stagnant? This doesn’t mean you should be constantly shopping, but consider if maybe a pair of sparkly sandals or a sequined wrap might need to come home with you. And don’t be afraid to shop in your own closet, too. If you come across a belt or scarf or blouse you still love but can’t seem to make work, try tying them over a plain skirt, or even around your head. Not all experiments will be successful, but more often than not you’re going to surprise yourself and others, and that will make for an excellent day.