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How to Look Put Together When You’re Not a Fashionista

Anyone else have those things you desperately want to be into, but you just can’t get there? I can certainly remember a few ex-boyfriends that fall in this category, but a more current lineup includes meditation, crafting, musical theater, baking, the stock market…..shall I go on? No, okay. Also on list, fashion and beauty trends. I generally get a bizarre combo of feeling both bored and overwhelmed by shopping for clothes and makeup (furniture, plants, and books are a completely different tune). That doesn’t negate the fact that I still like to make an effort to put on my best face. So, over the years I’ve come up with a few strategies for looking put together with minimal effort. Let me share:

  1. Go Monochromatic with a Pop. Pick your favorite, most flattery colors (for me these are navy blue and black) and wear them head to toe. Think something in the line of skinny black jeans with a black cashmere sweater or a denim jumpsuit. Then throw in one pop of color or pattern. Accessories such as shoes, scarves, statement jewelry are a great place for this, as well as cute cardigans, shawls, or jackets. Aside from being an easy way to put an outfit together, going monochromatic also tends to have a slimming effect. Sign me up!

    Photo by Sviatlana
  2. Invest in Signature Pieces. Like Rome, killer wardrobe is not built in a day. If you don’t have a limitless budget and a love for shopping, I find the best wardrobe building strategy is to slowly invest in high-quality classic pieces. Think in the lines of a trench coat or tweed jacket, black cocktail dresses, purses, designer sunglasses, cashmere sweaters and scarves, and of course shoes! Every year, I set aside part of my tax return and treat myself to a new signature piece. Consider picking a yearly occasion (birthday, mother’s days, etc.) to splurge a bit on those Manolo Mary Janes. You’ll have and love them forever, and look great too!
  3. Understand the Third Piece. Coco Chanel famously advised to take one thing off before you leave the house. While I understand the reasoning behind Ms. Chanel’s advice, and to prefer her classic and paired down preference for all things beauty, if you’re not a naturally fashion-focused gal, you probably are more in need of adding to your look rather than subtracting. The third piece is essentially an extra layer added onto your standard outfit to create a more polished, put together vibe. A cute vest, statement jewelry or belts, scarf, hats, and the like. Inexpensive, yet trendy stores such as Zara or H&M are good spots to pick up a fashionable third piece.
  4. Steal the Display. This is a bit of a funny one to wrap your head around, but if you truly loathe or are mystified by clothes shopping, here’s one left field idea I often suggest to friends: on a scheduled basis, say the beginning of Spring and Fall, hit up your local mall or shopping core of your city. Do a bit of window browsing and find a fully-styled outfit you love. Then buy the whole darn thing in your size. That way twice a year you are adding two stylish outfits to your wardrobe, which will include pieces that you can mix in with what you’ve already got.
  5. Hire it Out. If something is important to you, say looking put together or having clean bathrooms, but it’s not something you’re either good at or have the time for, outsource, my friends! Stylists aren’t just for the celebrities these days. Stich Fix, Trunk Club, Capsule Wardrobe Collections; there are several businesses available to help get your style in check, especially if you’re short on time. Many will also get you on a schedule of your choosing to send you updated pieces, keeping your wardrobe fresh with minimal effort and thought on your end.

If you also have zero interest if blush and bomber jackets are having a moment, yet want to look and feel put together, consider following my simple fashion tips: limit and streamline your color palette, invest in classic pieces, layer with inexpensive trendy items, and lean on the experts for scheduled updates.

Photo by Angela Carlyle