Fresh ideas that will keep you classic, memorable, and impeccable–at every age
By Renata Leverence
Do you find yourself asking what’s in style each season? While trends are a fun way to experiment with new colors and silhouettes, there are stress-free ways to approach fashion that will have you leaving the house looking effortlessly stylish for every occasion. In celebration of our thirtieth anniversary, we have put together an easy-reference list of thirty of our favorite timeless fashion tips.
Confidence is the most attractive and flattering thing you can wear.
If you are not excited or hesitate about an outfit in the fitting room, don’t buy it. No matter how beautiful a garment is, if it never leaves your closet because it doesn’t feel right, it is a waste of money.
Find a good tailor and engage her services often. Aside from couture, clothes are not designed for one specific person. Having sleeves hemmed to the perfect length for your arm is going to be the special touch that leaves you looking polished. Is your waist smaller than your hips? Have pants and skirts taken in at the waistband for a fit that won’t leave you fussing with your clothes. Do you have smaller shoulders with fuller hips? Ask your tailor to open the side vents on your tops. Don’t be frustrated with needing to have things altered. You’re investing in your wardrobe. Invest just a bit more for the perfect fit.
Own a little black dress that is your go-to to feel fabulous for any occasion. Pair her with a nude pump for the office, a magenta shoe for happy hour and sneakers and a denim jacket for a fun and stylish Saturday afternoon full of errands.
Yin and Yang is great for your wardrobe, too! Balance your fitted leggings with a flowy top, menswear inspired slacks with a silky feminine blouse, etc and use those opposites to your advantage to create an effortless but inspired look.
Invest in a handbag that helps you feel amazing. Let’s face it, clothes and shoes don’t always fit…but a handbag that helps you smile will make any outfit look better. Even better? Carry a handbag in a seasonal hue as a fun pop of color. (I don’t even own a black handbag.)
Looking for the comfort of jeans and a tee shirt but want to look more polished? The solution is easy; add a third piece. Grab a cardigan in a fun color, a statement necklace, a cropped jacket, or a fabulous scarf and watch your “jeans and a tee shirt” transform into an “outfit”.
Gone are the days of “Garanimals” where tops have to have the same color in them as the bottoms. Elevate your look by pairing complementary colors. (Think burgundy jeans and a navy and white striped top – and a denim jacket as your third piece to complete the look.)
Looking great isn’t only about your clothes. A red lipstick is a classic and perfect way to add life to your style.
Buttons and zippers on women’s clothing are for decoration. Leaving your jacket unbuttoned will create an elongating and slenderizing appearance.
If shopping is not one of your superpowers, partner with a professional. Retailers like Nordstrom offer Personal Stylists, a no-pressure solution for everything from finding the perfect special occasion dress to discovering your style during a wardrobe update.
Invest in staple pieces you are going to wear often – your jeans, black work slacks, little black dress, etc. Stay fun and current – and on budget – by playing with inexpensive trendy items that won’t likely be around in two seasons (cold shoulder tops, tassel earrings, etc.).
Our mothers (and their mothers and their mothers…) have told us time and time again that horizontal stripes are our fashion enemy. Stripes actually add interest and personality to your outfit leaving you looking great. Still unsure if stripes are for you? Add a long scarf around your neck to break them up.
Not feeling 100% confident in your shape? Trying to hide yourself under flowy clothing will often make you appear bigger and even sloppy. Stretch your comfort zone and dare to wear something tailored to boost your confidence.
Grooming is a key image detail. Take the time to pamper yourself with either a professional manicure or a few minutes of quiet time to tend to chipped polish and dry cuticles.
Own a fitted cropped denim jacket. It’s a great “go-to” to pair over a dress, a sequin top, black jeans, etc. Kut from the Kloth jackets are my affordable favorite.
If you are only going to own two pair of pumps, make it a pair of black and a pair of nude. Partner your nude heels with any dress to create the illusion of a longer leg, and black pumps are great with slacks for the office or jeans for your elevated evening-out look. (Have trouble walking in a classic heel? Try a stacked heel for the same “lift” with a less-likely-to-stumble foundation.)
Less can be more. Some would say early drag queen used to be my favorite beauty style… until I met the professionals at the Trish McEvoy counter. The Trish team showed me ways to streamline my look – saving me time by wearing significantly less makeup – and now I feel fresh and look years younger.
When you try on denim, it should be very snug – not tight – but you should have to make an effort to zip them. Denim will relax and, if you buy them where they fit comfortably in the store, they will “grow”, and you will hate them. Premium denim is a smart investment to help you look and feel amazing.
Have a professional bra fitting and keep in mind there is not one bra that will fit all your fashion needs. Building a lingerie wardrobe will give you the perfect foundation for everything from a well-fitting tee shirt bra to an enhanced look with your cocktail dresses.
Buy for the size you are now. Starting a diet next month? Great! But you want to look good in well-fitting clothing today, too.
Is your wardrobe limited by budget or space? Build a capsule wardrobe around one base color. Black your go-to color? No need to start buying brown tones as you will want to add neutral toned shoes.
Buy clothes that not only fit your body, but your lifestyle as well. Three kids under 5? That white dry-clean only silk dress may have to wait. Who has time to go to the dry cleaners every time your bundles of joy wrap their peanut butter and jelly decorated hands around you?
If shoes are uncomfortable in the store, they will not magically fit better when you wear them to interview for your dream job or doll-up for Girls Night Out. If the fit is close, ask your salesperson or local shoe repair shop to stretch them for you.
Long necklaces with a pendant not only create visual interest to your outfits, they are elongating by creating the same effect as a v-neck. Look for necklaces with a pendant that hits the smallest part of your torso (generally right below the breasts).
While black is timeless, adding a pop of color breathes life into your go-to pieces. Pair a bright blue necklace with your favorite black cashmere sweater, a burgundy bootie with your black jeans, or an animal print clutch with your little black dress.
Dare to break away from traditional fashion “rules”. Wear your white jeans after Labor Day – just style it for the season with a black blazer and booties or an oversized cashmere cowl neck sweater.
Leather. Leather. Leather. A classic black leather skirt can be worn to the office or for a night on the town. And your leather leggings are sexy coupled with a silk blouse or fun on a Saturday paired with an oversized flannel shirt and slip on sneakers. Looking to update your suits? Trade out the corporate blazer for a collarless cropped leather jacket to create an edgier work-appropriate look. (Buy leather that fits very snugly in the store because, like leather shoes, they will stretch – and baggy leather is anything but flattering.)
Being photographed? Put a hand on your hip. This creates space to show your silhouette instead of making you look wider by adding the width of your arm. (And it may sound cheesy, but saying “hey” as you are smiling will raise your eyebrows giving your face a lift.)
Wear jewelry; it’s a beautiful way to polish off your look, but avoid wearing “sets”. Have a matching necklace, ring and earrings? Pick one and pair it with other pieces that compliment it without being matchy-matchy.
No matter which outfit you’re wearing, no one else in the world is you. Use this to your advantage. Dress like you, feel like you, be amazingly you.
Clothing Care Tips!
- Velvet hangers are key to every closet. They don’t stretch-out shoulders, they take up less space and make closets appear more organized. I love Joy Mangano’s Huggable Hangers.
- To avoid denim transfer, wash your denim at least once before wearing. Wash each pair by themselves, in cold water, and use one cup of vinegar instead of detergent. This will help set the color. Do not put your denim in the dryer or take them to the dry cleaners as the heat will break down the fibers.
- When hemming denim, pay a bit extra to have the tailor reattach the original hem.
- Don’t store leather or suede in plastic. When they are not being used, they can be covered with a sheet or pillowcase.
- Folding your sweaters is best as hanging sweaters will cause them to grow.
- We tend to wash clothes too often. Jeans should be worn 10-15 times between washes with intermittent spot cleaning. Looking to kill odors and bacteria without breaking down the fibers? Fold jeans and put them into a gallon zip-lock bag and place in the freezer. (Works for sweaters, too!)