The original article appeared on Who What When Wear.
You know those girls who always get it right? Their outfits always look cool, wherever they are, and yet they never look like they tried. Well we’ve been watching them closely, and are happy to announce that we have finally cracked their secret code. If you can master these tricks, the sartorial world is your oyster.
- 1 of 12
- 2 of 12
Invest in quality pieces.
When you are buying trendy, one-season pieces, feel free to go the cheaper route. But for items like jeans, blazers, and bags, it is always worth coughing up some extra cash to make sure the material and construction is more luxe. These investment items will carry you through to the next decade, so you want them to be made well.
- 3 of 12
Create your own uniform.
Stylish women have a particular rubric that they rely on for getting dressed in under five minutes. For example, Kate Moss is often seen in skinny black jeans, ankle boots, a crew neck tee, and a tailored black jacket. Having a statement look like this will help you get out the door quickly, even when plagued by the common “I have nothing to wear” refrain.
- 4 of 12
Break conventional rules.
Knowing when to push the boundaries and step outside of the box is a trait shared by those in the style set. This can be as simple as wearing head-to-toe denim (see left), or shunning convention and wearing trousers instead of dresses (see Coco Chanel in the 1920s). Go forth and take some risks.
- 5 of 12
Adeptly mix prints and patterns.
Most people are intimidated by the idea of mixing prints, but as long as you work within a similar color scheme, it’s actually a very simple way to make a big, stylish impact. Try something like this leopard-on-leopard look at left, just make sure the prints are different sizes.
- 6 of 12
Create multiple combinations.
Full disclosure: having an overstuffed closet does not a style maven make. Instead, being able to re-work key pieces into a variety of different looks not only shows style savvy, but also saves money when it comes to purchasing and dry cleaning. Before you hand over that credit card, think of at least three ways to wear the piece with items you already own. If you’re stumped, walk away.
- 7 of 12
Elevate basic outfits with personal accessories.
If you strip away her sneakers, wide-brimmed fedora, arm cuff, and quirky clutch, Leandra Medine of Man Repeller is just wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a blazer. Chances are you own all of those things, but your ensemble looks decidedly more boring because you lack similarly unique accessories. Pick out a few items that speak to you, and incorporate them into your everyday ensembles to add personality.
- 8 of 12
Know what works for your body.
Olivia Palermo looks fantastic in just about anything, but she knows that a shorter skirt, waist-cinching belt, loosely tucked blouse, and killer heels really work for her, so she keeps that combination in heavy rotation. Experiment with a few basic silhouettes, even get a friend to take some pictures, so that the next time you’re deciding between a fit-and-flare dress or skinny pants, you know what will be most the flattering, without being swayed by current trends.
- 9 of 12
Even the best outfit will look ridiculous if you’re cowering in the corner and tugging at your hemline. You can get away with anything as long as you ‘own’ it and hold your head high. You are your best advertiser, you can wear whatever you want, and confidence is very persuasive. Ok, sermon over.
- 10 of 12
Don’t take it too seriously.
You don’t have to look like you fell out of a magazine editorial to be considered stylish. You can, and should, have fun with getting dressed. After all, it is a form of self-expression. Wear a bubblegum pink coat or a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, just keep the rest of the look basic.
- 11 of 12
Own a signature makeup look.
We aren’t suggesting you get eyeliner tattooed or anything extreme, but having a go-to cosmetic routine is helpful for making you look pulled together. Maybe it’s a wash of eye shadow, or a pop of color on your lips, but perfecting one style will always provide polish to your appearance.
Want makeup inspiration? Check out the Ultimate Spring Beauty Trend Guide.
- 12 of 12
If you’re wearing a statement piece, like a studded belt or a bright, white purse, start with those items first, and then build the rest of your look around them. Working backwards like this ensures that the eye-catching accessories look like the intentional focal point of the outfit, instead of looking like they are competing with your clothes for attention.