Classy, fabulous, elegant, sophisticated, stylish, graceful… all of these are often things we hope to achieve when it comes to our next chapter. However, these are often things we associate with being fancy, and therefore it is intimidating. Don’t you have to have money? Don’t you have to shop at specific stores? Don’t you need to be a certain age? Well, I am here to tell you the answer is no, no, and no!
Updating your style and being “fancy” is totally within your arm’s reach. There are plenty of ways to update your wardrobe and overall sense of fashion, to step up to the next level. Whether you are just graduating high school and getting ready for college or a fresh college graduate entering the workforce, here are 10 easy steps to update your style:
Yes, those items are on sale. Yes, it is buy-one-get-one. Yes, it is cute. But do you really need it? (Not want, need.) Will you really wear it? And often? Okay, so that outfit is perfect, but can those pieces be worn with other things? Will you store this away after the season and bring it out next year? Things are the kinds of things you need to start asking yourself.
Quality over quantity does not mean shoveling out hundreds of dollars for clothes at fancy brand stores. Really, it means being thoughtful and picky about what you do buy, making sure to know when to invest, and when to thrift. Invest in jeans, jackets, coats, and shoes, thrift for trendy items, screen tees, and accessories.
But also, it means making sure everything you do buy is literally perfect for you. None of this, “well it would be perfect except” or “it’s close enough” or “well I could change this…”. Because, really, you are not going to make any changes to it and the more you wear it the more imperfect it becomes, and your hard-earned money should not be wasted.
Once you start down the road to making a capsule wardrobe and focusing on basic items, it will get easier and easier to shop. It would be smart to also keep in mind finding your perfect fit in specific brands and shopping around, (like for jeans, if you find a perfect fit, then get them in more colors and styles). In addition, my grandmother always said: “if you like it, get it in every color”. That way you know, for sure, you love it and will wear it often.
It is a shame that people compare themselves to celebrities. Whether on tv or in movies or from photoshoots, it seems like every woman (or man) has compared themselves and thought: “why can’t I look like that?” Even in a white shirt and jeans, they always seem so perfect and no matter what you try, you never look like that, right? Well, guess what – all their clothes are tailor-made for them – literally!
You do not need to be rich to find a good tailor and get any and all of your pieces altered. Though it is a financial investment, and it will take time to do your entire wardrobe, you can start with your favorite pieces and go from there. Those quality items that you love and invest in from the last point now can be made to fit you perfectly. Soon enough you will be looking even better than a store mannequin and all those celebrities.
Often the topic of tabloid and webzines, it is not unfamiliar to look back on trends of years past and go “what were they thinking?” The trouble is, at the time, everyone was doing it and it made a lot of sense. So, even now, trendy things of current years are in the same boat… everyone is doing it and it makes a lot of sense.
In this case, we can equate trendy to fashion, and timelessness to style. Having your own style is extremely important, just as is understanding what will last. Since the invention of the jean pant in the late 1800s, they have never gone out of style. Though the exact fashion – low waist, flare, overly-ripped – had its time, it is important to have a simple, perfectly fit, staple pair you can match with just about anything.
This goes for everything else you can think of, so it would be smarter to find pieces you can see yourself wearing in multiple environments and for many years to come. Just as you are told to ask
in an argument “will this be important to me in a day, a week, a month, a year,” you should be asking yourself, “will I be wearing this next week, next month, next year?” Can these items transition with you, no matter where you go?
When I look through my saved photos on Instagram, all the fashion posts have the same features: the outfits, clothing, and accessories all have clear, clean lines. The outfits are simple with minimal detail. Tops tucked into pants or skirts have a clear beltline, the fabric is often one or two colors with no added detail, and dresses are fabulously simple with a clean neckline and hem.
Think about it, one of the most classic combinations is jeans and a tee-shirt. Plain, straight-leg blue-jeans, with a tucked-in white tee shirt, a simple black leather belt with matching black flats, add a thin gold necklace with a pearl pendant, and this whole outfit can be worn as is or dressed up with a sleek blazer. Either way, it is sophisticated and elegant and totally “put-together”. It appears that you put a lot of time and effort in, but really you just were thoughtful and kept things simple.
Some people think dresses are fancy, but I used to know a girl that was most comfortable in dresses. Some people think full-face makeup is fancy, but my mom is most comfortable that way. Personally, I am most comfortable in jeans, and tucking in a shirt with a belt is most flattering to my shape. While I think this is a normal, everyday outfit, there are others who would wear this for business casual. That is to say two things: everyone’s understanding of comfort is different and comfort is not always sweatpants and a tank top.
So, this can be one way to update your style. Instead of going for leggings and sweatpants for a night in with your significant other or a day of shopping with your best friend because that is what is anticipated, go with the jeans, skirts, or dresses you love. Comfort, really, is wearing what makes you feel great and leaves you without the worry about how you look.
This brings me to my next point, you do you! Even in fashion. Whether you are living the Dark Academia aesthetic, following the Lolita lifestyle, or attending a Dapper Day event, wear what you want. As long as you are appropriately dressed for public or location standards (such as school or work dress code), you have the freedom to express yourself head-to-toe.
The point of life is to live and to live for yourself. We enter and leave the world alone, and this is your story. If you only want to wear vintage clothes, do it. If you only want to pastel colors, do it. If you want to get a well-tailored suit for your friend’s wedding, (instead of a cocktail dress), do it. Celebrities do not have to be the only ones “pushing fashion boundaries”.
Rules were made to be broken, and in this case “Fashion Rules” were too. For many years there were such rules as you cannot wear black and brown together, you cannot wear white after Labor Day, a redhead cannot wear pink, and you are either cool or warmed tone. Though there may be some truth in that last one, all the others are crap.
First of all, you should wear whatever colors you want! Especially if certain colors make you happy and more confident, then why not? What colors Spark Joy, huh? Do not look at something and think “oh, I wish I could wear that”. Guess what? You can! If you think you need it in your wardrobe and you buy it, it is yours to do with what you please.
Personally, I have found that I think I look great in neutrals and pastels. Not only do they complement my style and appearance, but they also give me great confidence that I look great when I wear them. Never let anything hold you back.
After picking quality over quantity, investing in timeless pieces and thrifting trendy items, getting everything tailor-made for you, finding your favorite colors, and mastering the art of simplicity, all that is left is your unique take on style and fashion. Being fancy does not have to break the bank, as long as you know what you are looking for. (Name brands do not mean anything, just as a diamond is just a clear rock.) There is always a way to be fancy without being an exact replica of fashion icons and style stereotypes. Just be thoughtful in the process and kind to yourself and your interests.
Whether it is sourced from a specific decade, from a specific culture, or from a specific fashion designer, everyone has their own style. Nowadays, it is referenced as an “aesthetic” and you might not even realize you are in the thick of it.
What clothes are you drawn to? What accessories? What makes you feel like you?
In trendy and timeless items, we can find things that speak to us, and if that is the case? Go full steam ahead! Preppy, goth, academia, punk, sporty – does not matter what it is called, as long as it fits into your aesthetic and wardrobe, go for it! Many different pieces can be styled in many different ways, so never be intimidated by the store or how it’s advertised. If you can picture it just so, then it is a perfect piece for you.
Of course, this list would not be complete without talking about confidence. Whether we actively recognize it or not, one of the reasons we see people as fancy, elegant, sophisticated, etcetera, is because they seem effervescent and like their whole look was effortless. Why? Because they know they look great, they feel great, and they do not have to worry about anything from head to toe.
Though it might be a difficult thing to personally work on, hopefully, all the steps above leave you feeling confident and carefree, knowing that your look is absolutely classy and fabulous.