I believe that one of the best kept secrets of the most stylish women is that they know when to say yes…and when to say no…to style choices. The most stylish women – the ones who always look effortlessly pulled together and tastefully chic – know that they don’t have to participate in every fashion trend, utilize every style hack or wear every trending color to stay in step with style. Today let’s take a cue from these women and learn ten questions we can ask ourselves so we can make wise style choices and look as fabulous as they do…without copying every single thing they do!
Actually it might be a good idea to keep these questions handy as we begin talking about 2021 fashion trends and colors soon. And as we replenish our spring and summer wardrobes, we’ll be wise to review these questions again. In fact, I’d suggest asking yourself these 10 questions each time you read my blog posts, especially when, like yesterday, I’m offering style tips. Not every tip I offer will work for you.
That’s right. You heard it from me. A stylish woman will have to weed through the advice I give here and find what works best for her. Let’s get going on those questions, and I think you’ll see what I mean.
Each time you consider adding a trending color or style, trying out a current style hack or wearing a new piece of clothing, first ask yourself…
Q #1 – Does it fit my personal style aesthetic?
My personal style aesthetic or style essence is classic with a modern, sophisticated twist. Those are my words. I made them up. You get to make up your own personal style essence, too. Every woman gets to determine for herself what message she wants to communicate with her clothing choices.
And that’s exactly what a style essence is, by the way. It’s what you communicate to the world with the way you dress. If you still need some help determining your personal style essence, you might enjoy taking my little style essence quiz. If you’ve already done that and still don’t know your personal style aesthetic, read or review How to Define Your Signature Style.
Stylish women have put their signature on their style and wear it boldly.
Q #2 – Do I like this?
Shoot. If you don’t like a particular garment or color or style hack, stop right there. Again, you absolutely do not have to participate in any trend or formula you don’t absolutely enjoy. My 27-year-old daughter does not like any clothing that features buttons as decoration. I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter. If she doesn’t like a sweater like mine below which feature buttons on the shoulder, she shouldn’t buy it or wear it.
Of course, I also believe a truly confident and beautiful woman will not need to tell everyone she doesn’t like something. Especially if other people seem to be enjoying that garment, color or style. Ahem. No, the most stylish women just quietly choose the things they like and allow others to enjoy those they don’t without feeling or intimating that they are somehow right and others are wrong.
A stylish woman enjoys wearing what she likes.
Q #3 – Does this work well in the wardrobe I’ve cultivated?
In 2019 I did a pretty extensive blog series about Building a Wardrobe that Works for You. If you haven’t read that series of posts, you can always find them in the top menu under FASHION. But I suggest you start with the post, 9 Keys to Building a Wardrobe that Works for You.
The bottom line is that rather than just accumulating clothing you like, you might want to build a wardrobe that works together beautifully. Anytime we consider bringing a new garment or accessory into that well-cultivated wardrobe that we’ve worked so hard to fine tune, it’s wise to ask if it will “play well” with other things that are already in your closet. If it doesn’t, resist the urge!
A stylish woman curates a wardrobe that works for her over time.
Q #4 – Is this a color that is in my selected personal color palette?
Now if you’re considering adding a garment or accessory in a new and trending color, it may well not be in your chosen color palette. That’s okay. But if it’s not, you’ll want to consider purchasing that new color in an accessory or inexpensive garment such as a t-shirt rather than a wardrobe essential or expensive garment.
But it’s so important for us to embrace the colors we’ve “limited ourselves to” because this limit is actually going to serve us well in the end. Remember, the stylish woman knows when to say no. Saying no to a trending color doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it; it just means you’ve wisely determined a) it’s not a great color for you or b) it doesn’t play well in your cultivated wardrobe.
Want to know more about choosing the colors of your wardrobe? Read or review How to Choose the Colors of Your Wardrobe.
A stylish woman wears the colors that make her look and feel her best…regardless of what’s “in.“
Q #5 – Does this work for my body shape?
As thrilled as I was that so many readers enjoyed yesterday’s post on wearing socks stylishly for winter, I was also actually quite glad to see a few women commenting that some of my tips might not work for them. That shows me you’re thinking through many of these questions. And one of the most important questions to ask yourself when I suggest a style hack or formula is “Does this work for my body shape?”
For instance, if you’re an oval shape, you may just need to tune me out when I suggest tucking your shirt. That doesn’t hurt my feelings one iota. I don’t want to give you bad advice. But only you can determine if something I or any other blogger suggests is good for your body shape.
A stylish woman knows, embraces and dresses her unique body shape.
Q #6 – Does this help me create the most pleasing proportions?
But it’s not enough to know our body shape. We also need to know and constantly consider our unique body proportions. The goal is to use our clothing and accessories to create a “golden ratio” in which one portion of our body appears to be roughly 1/3 longer than the other. The longer portion could be the top, as when you wear a dress, or the bottom, as when you wear long pants and a shorter top.
However, your unique body proportions have to factor into creating those pleasing proportions. If you are high waisted with long legs, then you may not need to tuck in your shirt to create those magical proportions. But someone with a long waist and short legs will almost have to wear higher waisted pants and cropped tops or tuck that top in to get those same proportions. Make sense?
A stylish woman knows her unique body proportions and how to work with them optimally.
Q #7 – Will this draw the focus where I want it or where I want to avoid it?
Again, one of my readers pointed out that the style tips I proposed for wearing socks in yesterday’s post would draw the focus to her shoes. She was absolutely right. For many of us, that’s not a problem. But for her, it would be. This is a woman who knows what parts of her body she wants the focus to be on and those where she’d rather divert the attention. Smart lady.
Do you know what part of your body you want to draw attention to? Don’t say none. That’s not a good answer. I like to draw focus to my eyes and my balanced proportions. I also don’t mind having focus on other parts of my body. But I work pretty hard to divert attention from my calves and my upper arms.
A stylish woman knows her assets and draws attention to them appropriately and tastefully.
Q #8 – What does this garment (trend, color, style hack, etc.) communicate?
The science of enclothed cognition purports that our clothing says something about us to other people. Not only does it communicate our style choices, however. It can also carry deeper meanings that we may or may not be aware of. We’re wise to consider the messages our clothing communicates about us.
For instance, if you are in a position where you need to exude authority and intelligence, you may want to wear more red and/or black. If you need to earn the trust of your clients, patients or students, you may choose to wear more blue. And if you want to put your teammates at rest and ease, then you may select to wear green. And those are just colors.
Your footwear choices, sleeve length, collar and fabric choices also communicate subtle messages to those who encounter you. Consider what your clothing and the way you wear it may be saying to other people.
A stylish woman knows her influence and uses her style to accentuate it.
Q #9 – Does this work on my frame?
Besides considering your body shape and proportions, a stylish woman also takes into account her frame. If you’re petite, for instance, you may not want to carry a large tote bag that would only overwhelm you. But if you’re tall or large framed, you might want to think again before choosing to wear that trendy skinny belt.
A stylish woman embraces her unique frame and uses it to take up the space she is due.
Q #10 – How do I feel in this?
When all is said and done the most beautiful thing you can wear, besides your smile, is a little self-confidence. And let’s face it, you’re more likely to smile if your confidence level is high.
Sometimes I love the idea of something. But when I put it on my body, it just doesn’t work. Maybe it doesn’t feel like me; it doesn’t feel authentic. Or maybe it feels itchy. Or maybe it binds and bulges or sags and bags. Whatever the case, it doesn’t feel good.
On the other hand, when I feel good in my clothes, it shows.
Stylish women feel good in their clothes and it shows.
Now, that’s not to say we should never push ourselves beyond our comfort zone a little. I do believe that some new trends or style hacks take a little (or a lot!) of getting used to. So don’t be afraid to give something new more than a few spins around the block before determining if it’s a good fit or not. Otherwise we could easily talk ourselves into just wearing our pjs all day, every day.
Also, I’m not talking about fit here. Obviously fit is key. But that’s a question to ask of a particular garment. The ten questions I’ve posed here are more for trying out a new concept. But, yes. Definitely make sure your clothes fit.
Thank you for stopping in today. I appreciate you reading today’s post. Let me know if you have questions or thoughts you’d like to share. Have a great day!
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Blessed for My Day
Today I pray for you to feel God’s presence as you walk through your day. May you know and experience His constancy in your life. And may you hear His voice above all the other voices that clamor for your attention.
While we may think that kind of intimacy comes only through solitude and meditation in God’s presence, the Bible teaches us that as we walk blamelessly in the world we actually grow closer to God. Until God takes us out of this world, we have a responsibility to live in it in a way that reflects His grace and holiness and love to the people with whom we come in contact.
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved. ~ Psalm 15:1-5