Discovering Your Style:
- Have a reference point. Think about your personal style icons: people you consider to be the height of style. Whether it’s Kanye West, Ralph Lauren, James Dean, or Walt Whitman, try and wonder what they’re trying to accomplish with their style. If it is truly “the perfection of a point of view,” think what your icon’s point of view might’ve been, and think about what your point of view might be. Whatever it is, let it guide you when you shop and dress.
- Consider how you’d like others to think of you, or your style. Is it classic? Do you aim to be an iconoclast? Style isn’t dressing “well,” or “fashionably,” it’s dressing for your character. There are no style “don’ts” and only really one style “do:” wear what you want, and own it.
- Dress to fit your lifestyle. If you’re a high school student, it won’t do to clothe yourself as a full English gentleman. If you’re a construction worker, you’ll need to leave the Armani for the weekend. Tailor your point of view to the life you lead in order to feel as stylish as you look, and to make your style a part of your everyday life. Playing the style peacock only feels as good as your life will allow; it won’t feel great wearing your Bruno Maglis if you’ve got to stand all day as a cashier, for instance.
If your school or work maintain a strict dress code, push it to its limits (accepting the risk, of course). In these situations, don’t underestimate the power of style-through-detail: make unique choices wherever possible.
- Act your style. If you’re sporting Gucci, don’t act like a boozy frat boy. If you’re channeling Kanye West, don’t be afraid to loosen your gait and walk with a swagger. If your clothing echoes a certain point of view, allow your behavior to do the same. This is key to feeling stylish, as it completes the personal connection you’ve drawn between yourself and your outfit.
- Let your clothes inspire confidence. Do your best to transfer how you feel strutting in the mirror in the morning to how you feel going about your day, realizing that nothing’s changed from being in front of that mirror to being at work, or school.
Building Your Wardrobe:
- Shop for outfits. Design your wardrobe (especially if on a budget) to have a lot of stuff that matches (or doesn’t–if that’s your style). Prepare your outfits the night before. Not only does this save time, it allows you to put more thought into what you’re wearing, giving the impression that you’re cool and composed in all decisions stylish.
- Know the color wheel. A quick Google search for matching colors and patterns will reveal all sorts of informative sources regarding how to match. Even if you’re looking to dress against convention, it always helps to know what goes with what.
- Buy quality that lasts. If you can afford it, try and go in on some high quality (do your research) items which can serve as foundations for your wardrobe. Shoes should be on the top of this list; no other item in your wardrobe will be used as much with as much wear and tear.
- Be sure it fits. Most clothing stores (note: not stores that also sell clothes) will have staff trained to measure your size and help you pick out items to match. You could buy the most expensive clothing and it would still look awful if none of it fit.
- Don’t skimp on underwear. It may be tempting to save money on the piece of clothing least seen, but good fitting, high quality underwear lasts long and contributes to well-fitting pants.
- If you can afford it, try and build a relationship with a reliable alterations tailor as well as dry cleaner. Having one or both goes a long way towards making quality clothing last as long as it can.
- Browse regularly, buy rarely. Always know what’s available, whether in stores or in shops online. It helps to know all of your options before making a choice.