Now that you’ve de-cluttered your closet and refined your wardrobe, it’s time to get to the fun part: dressing yourself. An organized closet is just the first step toward looking great. An edited selection and visual clarity will make it even easier to look put-together, and below, we have some tips for putting it all together.
Start with a Good Foundation
Undergarments can be a game changer when it comes to how your clothes look on your body. The right bra is a good place to start; if you aren’t sure about what size you are or feel you need to re-asses, go to a store like Intimacy and have a bra fit specialist help you out, or you can use an online tool, like this one from Victoria’s Secret to help you measure your bra size yourself. Try your bras on with your clothing so that you can see how they will look in a action. Different clothing may require different undergarments, but it is a good idea to at least have basic no-show bras in nude and black. A convertible bra, which can be worn strapless, one shoulder, racerback, etc. will do double (or triple) duty and save you money. Aim for smooth and seamless styles; any lace can show through and look lumpy under clothes.
With underwear, variety is key. Avoid styles that cut into your backside, as they will give you a visible panty line through clothes. If you are wearing white pants, for instance, go with a nude thong or full-coverage nude-colored brief or boyshorts. Shapewear (like Spanx) may also be necessary in some cases -- super lightweight fabrics aren’t so forgiving (think silk pants), and same goes for anything clingy or drapey. Shapewear helps to keep everything in place and looking smooth. Tights and hosiery are also great for smoothing and minimizing.
Next, think about your layering pieces. You want to avoid any added bulk, so go for base items that are fitted -- ideally with a hint of stretch to keep their shape and form to yours. Aim for a couple of styles: camisole or tank, t-shirt, ¾ sleeve, and long sleeve, as they will all come in handy for a variety of needs. In the winter, a fitted long-sleeved shirt will be undetectable under a sweater but still add extra warmth; a ¾ sleeve length works well for any item with sleeves of the same length so that they don’t hang out of the ends. A fitted camisole will go under any low-cut tops or garments where you need extra coverage. You don’t want your underlayers hanging out of your clothing; tuck tops in whenever possible. Black and white are usually your best choices for colors, as they will blend with everything.
Go for Fit & Quality Above All Else
If an item fits you well, you will automatically look more put-together. Choose what flatters your body the most and accentuates your best features. We all have our days where we’d rather wear pajamas, but properly fitted clothes is minimizing and adds polish. Know what works well for your body and stick with it; don’t aim to hide behind your clothing. You can almost never go wrong with a defined waist when wearing a skirt or dress; a tailored skinny or full pant are no-fail options for bottoms. Even a uniform dark wash jean can look professional when paired properly according to the bloggers at Ms. Career Girl. Tops don’t necessarily have to be structured, but they should hit you in all the right places -- the shoulder seams should fall on top of your shoulders, and there should be no pulling across the chest or gaps in buttons. Avoid “pregnancy tops” (unless you’re actually pregnant) -- the extra volume is not as flattering as body-skimming styles. Test your clothing out to see if it’s actually functional -- bend over, squat, stretch your arms, and see how it feels. If anything pulls or feels uncomfortable, you might want to skip it.
In addition, don’t be afraid to spend moneyon tailoring. Hemming a pair of pants, for example, is well worth the cost, because you can tailor the pant to the heel height you plan to wear, and the hem won’t be ruined from dragging on the ground. If your size has fluctuated recently and you have some pieces you don’t want to part with, consider having them taken in or let out. The same goes for nice pieces whose could use a nip or tuck to update their lines and keep them current. Good tailoring helps your clothes fit well and is a great way increase an item’s longevity and overall value in your wardrobe.
Quality of clothing also plays a major role in how your clothes fit and how clean your look is. Cheaper fabrics tend to wrinkle more easily, and they stretch out over time. Some items, like pants, take a fair amount of abuse from sitting, standing, and walking, so it’s especially important to invest in quality items that will hold up. Synthetic fabrics also tend to pill, which can look sloppy and cheap, so lean toward natural fibers that will still look great after many wears. Good base layers are important, and will likely take a bit of wear and tear. You want to ensure that they hold up and keep their size, shape, and color over time so they are just as nice as the day you bought them. Buying cheap layering pieces means you will have to replace them often; buying quality items and taking proper care of them ensures that you will have them for years.
Finishing Touches & Tricks
Yes, ironing your clothes can be a pain, but it can make a world of difference. Wrinkles in clothes are a distraction and make you look disheveled. Iron or steam clothes before wearing if necessary, and store properly so as to not recrease them. If you’re in a rush, you can take a hot shower and hang your clothes in the bathroom to steam (this actually works) or, if the fabric can get wet, fill a spray bottle with water and mist on wrinkles to release them. However, don’t be afraid of fabrics like washed linen, which will have a slight crinkle -- it actually gives the fabric more life and character.
Don’t forget to think about other small details: a lint roller is always helpful for any fuzz that may show up on dark fabrics (or if you have a pet). Double-sided fashion tape is also handy to keep straps in place or close any gaps in clothing -- it can also serve as a quick hem adjuster if you are in a pinch.
As they saying goes, it’s all in the details. We’d love to hear questions, comments, or if you have any styling tips of your own to share!