Over the years, I'd like to think I've developed a pretty good sense of style. I plan my outfits out every day, look forward to dressing up, and often get compliments on my clothing. But just a few years ago, I still wore hoodies and leggings most days. What changed?
Well, I figured a few things out and had to change my mindset a bit. For me, I feel more confident and personally empowered when I dress how I want. If you're not interested in fashion or clothing, that's OK too! Do whatever makes you most happy and confident. But if you'd like to start dressing how you want, here are a few tips.
1. Use social media to find what you like.
While social media has its many benefits and downsides, one thing it's really great for is exploring different forms of style. Finding people on Instagram and TikTok with amazing fashion has really inspired me, and it can show you so many styles and subcultures you may not see much in real life.
Following people on these platforms can help you see so much to take inspiration from, and some accounts are even dedicated to giving styling tips. The best platform, however, is definitely Pinterest. You can save and organize outfits and clothing pieces you love so you can come back to them later for inspiration. The Pinterest explore page algorithm is also pretty good at catering content to your taste, so it's really easy and fun to get lost scrolling in it.
2. Look outside your traditional shopping places.
Although brands such as Forever 21, Shein, and Fashion Nova are very popular, they're pretty generic and contribute a lot to fast fashion. It's OK to get clothing from big brands, but there are lots of other options.
I always recommend going to thrift or secondhand stores — it's cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and you can find vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces. If going thrifting in person is too much of a time commitment (sometimes you have to search for the perfect piece!), thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can go thrifting online. Sites such as Depop, Poshmark, and eBay are great resources to find secondhand clothing or hard-to-find pieces.
3. Start with the basics first.
When curating your style, try to find pieces that will look good in multiple styles. When looking at a piece of clothing, I think about how it will look with clothing I already have, and how I can layer it in different ways. For example, turtlenecks look classic and sophisticated on their own, but can also be worn under a t-shirt or tank top for a cute layered look.
It's best to also start with more neutral pieces before adding more eccentric ones. Maybe you find an amazing pair of colorful plaid pants, but do you have any tops that would go with them? When you have a good basis of basics, it leads you to have more choices when building outfits.
4. It's not just about the clothing.
One thing I've learned recently is that accessories are what can really help solidify your looks. Adding unique jewelry to a simple outfit can make it stand out, or maybe you want to wear a signature necklace that makes each outfit yours. Belts, socks, and hair pieces all add a little extra something. Play around with different things and see what looks best to you.
Additionally, shoes are so important. They're usually a little bigger of an investment, but having a few great pairs helps bring your style all together.
5. Know that you look best when you're most confident.
Something I hear people say often is that they wish they could "pull off" a certain look. To which I say — what's stopping you? Ignore arbitrary rules about what you should and shouldn't wear, and move into wearing what you truly want to, regardless of body type or size.
Once you move away from basic ways of dressing, you may feel like you stand out — so embrace it! Most of the time when people look at you, it'll be with admiration. Even if people are critical, know that it comes from a place of jealousy or insecurity.
Seeing someone express themselves and be happy is one of the most beautiful things. Fashion doesn't define who you are, but it can make you feel like your most authentic, confident self. So go out and show the world that you look great!