The most liberating thing about style, REAL style, is that there are no rules. The world of fashion has turned anything resembling a rule upside down. These days, white shoes are worn year-round, boots are worn in the summer, navy and black are worn together (so much so that there are whole Pinterest boards dedicated to it), bold prints are paired with other bold prints (aka ‘print clashing’), sneakers are worn with suits, and jeans full of rips and holes are worn with heels for evening. The only “rule” that anyone should adhere is that clothes should fit properly and flatter your shape. Otherwise, anything goes.
Having style has nothing to do with age, but there are styles that can be unnecessarily ageing, if we don’t tweak them a little. Since Spring is not so far away, I’m trying to think ahead to ensure my style is fresh and fully tweaked!
Don’t be too classic: There is nothing wrong with having plenty of classic, timeless pieces as a foundation for your wardrobe, but wearing ONLY classic things can look a little dull and boring, and can be ageing. Adding in a few youthful pieces can put a whole new spin on a classic look. Think about a big statement necklace, wearing a fun tee under a jacket (love this one), wrapping an oversize boldly printed scarf around your neck (leopard, plaid, or something with sequins), or wearing an unpredictable fun shoe (love these) with a classic outfit. Just one Stylish twist can take a classic outfit from boring to elegant and savvy, like this one below.
Don’t let your jewellery age you. What’s old always becomes new again, so don’t be hasty in throwing anything out, but make sure you’re mixing things up properly and not always wearing the same jewellery out of habit. All it takes is a bright punchy necklace or a quirky bracelet to add a little edge to your look. You don’t even need to spend a lot of money on statement jewellery; before Christmas, I bought a big chunky silvery one from Zara (similar to this) and have worn it with everything from a black sweater dress and biker boots during the day to a black blazer and sequin skirt for evening. Places like Baublebar, JCrew, and Zara (in store only, their online offering is pretty sparse) are great for finding stylish jewellery to breathe some new life into your existing wardrobe. I really love the modern style of this mix of bracelets from Celine.
Don’t let your hair hold you back. Like the rings on a tree which reveal its age, sometimes hairstyles can do the same. We hang on to a look that worked for us, long after it has stopped working or being current. Modern hair is intentionally imperfect. It should look just a little undone, and have some movement, not like it has been blow-dried and hair-sprayed into tidy submission. If you’re in need of inspiration to mess up your look just a little, go have a snoop through the J Crew website, where style queen Jenna Lyons has made sure that all the models look just a little ‘undone.’ If necessary, change hairstylists. A fresh perspective on what suits you, or a second opinion on your current style is sometimes needed. Sienna Miller nails this done-but-undone look perfectly.
Don’t wear a uniform. What I mean here is don’t let every item in your closet look like every other item in your closet. How many black trousers do you need? How many navy sweaters do you need? Personally, I suffer from a grey cashmere sweater addiction; I no longer let myself buy them because that was all I was wearing (My inner voice cries out: “But they’re different COLOURS of gray! And different necklines! And a change from black!” Still, a grey sweater is a grey sweater is a grey sweater). Almost everyone is guilty of this. If you need help, ask an honest friend (or me!) if they think your clothes are too same-y. Don’t buy on repeat, even if it is on sale. Or in my case, EVEN IF the grey sweater has a pink bunny and a single pink cuff, which makes it different from every other grey sweater I own. Step away. Do not be a Repeat Offender!
Don’t let your glasses keep you in the past. You can have a practical pair or two, but you MUST have a couple of fun pairs. My mother in law wears red frames. I have an aunt who wears multicoloured ones. They add interest, and provide a Styish anchor point for the rest of your look. As long as you feel like the shape suits your face, be brave and bold with your glasses (this applies to sunglasses as well, but that is a whole ‘nother forthcoming post). Warby Parker lets you try 5 pairs of glasses at home for 5 days, so you can have friends and family give their honest opinions, without taking them all to the store with you, which is such a great idea. I am after a bright blue pair; I particularly love these.
Don’t let your makeup trap you in a time warp. I don’t see this being done as much as I used to, but suffice it to say that there are miles of makeup counters where makeup artists are dying to get their hands on you to show off their skills for free, in hope that you might buy something in return. There is almost no excuse for not having a style refresh on your face. If you are ever in need of inspiration, have a look at Lisa Eldridge’s world-class makeup tutorials. She does videos on how to choose the right foundation, what makeup works best during menopause, anti-aging makeup tricks, makeup for the office, how to do several versions of a smokey eye, etc. She is the best of the pros in my opinion, and unlike magazines, is not biased by being paid for recommendations.
So, enjoy your snuggly winter coats and sweaters for now, but let’s get ready to refresh our Style once we see a few Spring buds. My plan is to get more colour into my closet, and I will definitely continue having far too much fun with jewellery… the bolder, the better! What is your plan? (I’m including a few runway inspiration photos from Style.com to keep me on the colour track).