There are people who go through college without considering their clothing choices by repeating the same outfit over and over. They exist in a world of jeans, basketball shorts and sweatshirts from colleges they don’t attend. As a young child, my mother primarily dressed me. While I do love my mother, she forced me into some truly horrendous outfits. My style as a child emulated that of someone who blindly reached into a closet and picked out the first thing their fingers touched. Since then, my mother’s style has changed and so has mine. She has become the first person I turn to when picking out outfits and my favorite shopping buddy. We have spent hours together rummaging through stacks of clothes at thrift shops and TJ Maxx. And yet again, I’ve picked up a few tricks from her.
1. Flannel- If you’re like me, you may have enough black clothing to dress an entire stage crew for a play on Broadway. There have been times I’ve simply worn all black and called it a day. A way to bring a little pop to your outfit is by simply adding a flannel. Girls – don’t waste your time on the fitted flannels that you would waste upwards of $30 on. By shopping in the men’s section and thrift shops, I’ve found tons of comfy and cute flannels that accentuate any outfit. Although some people say not to mix patterns, I’ve found that some of the best outfits have come from breaking away from typical style choices and mixing flannel with floral or even polka dots!
2. Find your colors – everyone looks better in different colors. There are two pretty basic colors that generally look great on everyone – black and white. But there are other colors that simply don’t work for you. I, for instance, try to stay away from pink. It washes me out and also clashes pretty badly with my reddish hair. The colors you look good in might not always be your favorite colors, so branch out. I personally never liked purple until I started incorporating it into my wardrobe and now I wear it frequently.
3. The fit – I’m no stranger to the days where you don’t want to dress up or even get out of bed. I have two levels of outfits – planned and stylish or “I just rolled out of bed.” I don’t have an in between. There will always be days when I prefer baggy sweatpants and slippers to a dress and heels. That being said, when you dress up, find clothes that are fitted and flattering. Buying the wrong size can completely throw off an outfit. You may be tempted to go a size up or down in whatever piece of clothing you’re buying, but the best looks are the ones that fit.
4. Shoes – A big part of any outfit is the shoes. I myself have a large box of shoes shoved in my closet and several pairs crammed beneath my bed. Excessive? Yes. Useful when creating outfits? Absolutely. The shoes can make or break an outfit. Slippers, Uggs or sneakers simply won’t cut it with some outfits. When buying a new outfit or a new pair of shoes, try to envision a full outfit that includes them. I’m not saying you should have an embarrassingly high number of shoes as I do -bordering on an obsession – but it comes in handy when you have a cute outfit and no shoes to match.
5. Patterns – This is my personal favorite. All of my friends, family and probably strangers can tell I love patterns. Floral, polka dot, stripes, you name it – I probably have it. I’m a big supporter of leggings as pants and what better way to add a little flair to your outfit than a pattern. Any bad day can be cured by a cute outfit involving patterns and a cup of coffee. While some patterns might seem like something you might never wear, some of the best outfits I’ve created have been started by trying on a shirt or dress or pair of pants with a pattern I would never consider wearing.