You’ve likely spent a fair amount of time reading our enormous cadre of styling tips, street style observations, and educated thoughts about the world of celebrity dressing. It can all be a bit overwhelming at times, and it can be hard to know the right things to do all the time when there’s so much information at your disposal.
So, to help ease the stress of getting dressed, we’ve stepped back and taken a look at all the style tips, tricks, and maxims of the stylish set and narrowed down the eight most important things to keep in mind. From clothing as a form of communication to a refreshingly comforting outlook on trends, these tips will not only help to put your best foot forward but also put you at ease.
Keep scrolling to read eight simple rules stylish gals always follow!
1. Clothing is a form of communication.
There is a theory that no matter what you do in life, you are always communicating something. Body language experts have built entire careers on this theory—as have stylists. They believe (rightfully) that your outfit is not simply a thing with a certain aesthetic appeal; it’s a form of self-expression. Your clothing says something to those around you, whether you intend it to or not, so it’s best to approach dressing with some form of intention.
2. Outfits are responses to social situations.
Similarly to how your clothing can communicate some of your ideas to those around you, clothes also serve as responses to social situations. There’s a reason you want to dress a certain way for the office and a certain way when you’re going to a dinner party, and rarely are they the same. Clothing should be used as a method by which you show up to a social event or location and say, “I’m present and ready for whatever is coming my way.”
3. Fit is the most important thing.
You could have on the trendiest, most expensive outfit in the world—but if it doesn’t fit you properly, you’re not going to look stylish, and all your effort and money would have been wasted. Stylist Stacy London advises, “The biggest mistake women make is wearing clothes that don’t fit because they don’t accept the body they have right now. You have to do that in order to figure out what looks good on you. And besides, confidence is the best accessory. It can make or break an outfit.”
4. A great pair of jeans is worth investing in.
Whether you prefer the customized effect of investing in a pair of raw denim jeans, like Vogue market editor Kelly Connor, or simply want a pair of these-will-last-forever jeans, the wardrobe staples are definitely worth investing in. Whereas a less expensive, on-trend pair is fine to grab every now and then, you really need quality denim in your closet to last you from year to year.
5. Dressing should be half your audience, half your personal style.
Even though it’s true that dressing should be an expression of your self, it’s ill-advised to completely ignore the setting you’re going to be in. For example, just because you feel like wearing that brand new mini to the office, doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to do so. It’s healthy and wise to consider both your own desires and your situation when you’re getting dressed.
6. It’s important to know the right times to play with trends.
While we would certainly never discourage you from trying out as many trends as your heart desires, there are right and wrong places to do so. If you’re attending a relative’s wedding, for example, it might not be the best time to bust out those Birkenstocks. Trying out trends is much more appropriate for dressy but not formal social occasions, like nights out with the ladies.
7. Seemingly tiny tricks can totally change your look.
Something as simple as looping your belt a certain way or tucking your shirt in can have a huge impact on your style. Not everything is about making giant overhauls to your closet; the cuff of a shirt sleeve or the roll of a pant hem can totally transform you in an instant.
8. One must have a style signature.
Above all, no matter what else is true of your personal style, it’s very important to have a signature. Whether it’s a gold bangle you always wear or the fact that you always choose boyfriend jeans over skinnies, figure out what one thing that defines your own personal style, and stick with it—until you want to change it, and then feel free to do so.