It’s easy to believe that style is either encoded into our DNA or it isn’t. We’re either among those who inherently know what patterns look dazzling together, or we’re among the ordinary folk who think that maybe polka-dots and stripes don’t mix, but don’t really know. It’s time to shed this fallacy and take control of our fashion. Style isn’t something that simply happens, it’s something we cultivate, something we learn, something we practice, and something we care about. Put in its most rudimentary form, we get dressed every single day, which means we should be caring about it everyday.
But, beyond trying our best when we garb ourselves, and following suggestions when we buy clothes, it’s difficult to think of ways to add stylishness to our daily life. The trick is to find people who seem to have the stylish gene, follow them, watch what they do, and emulate it. This works well, and our impromptu research has shown that people who drip and ooze style all have a few common habits that they’ve cultivated. By learning these 16 habits of fashionable people, we’ve seen how to turn our own relationship with our wardrobe on its ear.
Get the Fit Right
No stylish person has ever suggested that you buy clothes that don’t fit the way you want them to. You should be buying for your body, getting all the nips and tucks where you want them, and not spending all day sucking in your gut, fiddling with a strange strap, or trying to keep a piece in place.
Before you ever decide on how something looks, ask yourself first how it feels and how you feel in it. Being confident in the fit of your clothes and feeling at home in them are the first tenets of style. Your clothes should be doing the job of making you feel and look good. Focus on those facets and your ease in clothes will translate to style without strain.
When you see a look you like, you need to borrow it rather than steal it wholesale. Don’t jump at every designer label and get exactly what you see someone else wearing. Snag the idea, then find a way to make it your own.
Plan Your Outfits
If you hope that grabbing any pair of pants and jacket is going to make you come out on top, you’re confused. Spending the time to execute a look means pre-planning. You can improvise once you’re sure of how things are “supposed to” look on you.
Learn Your Body
You should know what colors look best with your skin, and have some sense of dressing for your body type. Being realistic about your attributes and flaws will tell you what to cover, what to accent, and how to do it. Then, you can think less about the weight you need to lose, the hair you need to gain, or your too skinny/chubby legs. Let the clothes hide your sins.
Keep Emergency Clothes
You should be ready for any event, which means having a sartorial standby. For women, a black dress usually covers this, since it can be mixed and matched for just about anything. Guys have a tougher time, but keeping a gray suit on hand should do plenty. You can also go with navy or black, but those are both beat to death and have limited flex. With gray, the world is your playground.
Mix & Match
You can have a few designer pieces, but stir those in with some vintage, retro, or thrift store stuff. Going out in head to toe Armani is fine, but impractical. It also makes you look like a department store mannequin rather than someone who is going their singularly stylish way.
Know the Forecast
True, all the gorgeous weather girls are going to lie to you, but you should still know what the sky plans on dumping down on you and dress for that. Since the goal is to start with comfort, being dry and warm or cool enough are huge factors to consider.
Trust Your Staff
While we know you don’t technically have a staff, you do have a group of people who help you with your appearance. By having a barber or stylist you like and trust – the same with a tailor or seamstress – and having a good rapport with them, you have someone else who will work to make you snappy and sexy. They’ll also be more honest with you than your best friend, which is invaluable.
Learn to Launder
While you should know and trust your dry cleaner, you should also take control of your own wardrobe. This means knowing how everything needs to be washed, maintained, repaired, dried, hung, shined, and used. Understand the symbols in your tags and adjust your washing accordingly. Not only will your clothes look better, they’ll last longer.
Dress For You
More than anyone, you should like how you look. As with being comfortable, you should also love what you’re wearing rather than rely on the compliments of others. If you feel dashing or slinky in an outfit, anyone who disagrees can go right to hell.
Think of the Unmentionables
Your underwear isn’t likely to make an appearance, but don’t discount the possibility. Dressing for yourself means from the skin upwards, so guys shouldn’t be wearing ratty boxer briefs and ladies should avoid those perpetually falling bra straps. These items cradle and cover some of your most precious and delicate parts. They should be top shelf in both look and feel.
Arrange Your Closet
Put everything in a place so you know where to focus. A heap of laundry isn’t going to win you style points, even if you managed to make that rumpled morass look like something. You put your car in a garage, you keep your wallet in a pocket, you should have a well-laid, well-designed home for your clothes. Even a well-organized coat rack is better than a pile of garments.
Dressing trendy will make you look just that: Trendy. It isn’t about you, it isn’t about real style, it’s about being part of the culture. That’s a waste that costs you in time and money. Ignore what’s glossy and aim for what you know works for you.
Single Out Your Accessories
Sometimes we tend to think of adding more as being helpful. Putting on a hat, a pair of sunglasses, a tie, then adding in a tie pin, a tie clip, a boutonnière, a square, and cufflinks tends to make you look a mess. Choosing a signature piece or two should be about all the accessorizing you do. Loading up on rings and ascots to go with your piercings and tats will just turn you into an insane collage.
Here’s one of the keys to high-fashion: Add a little slop. Throwing on a pair of Chuck Taylor’s with a cocktail dress, or putting your distressed jeans with your nattiest blazer (complete with pocket square and lapel pin) adds a sense of cool that tends to make you a little reserved, a little detached, and a little bit of a rebel. All of which translate to looking good. Just make sure you do it intentionally, or it’s just laziness.