Monday, December 12, 2011

How to Look Polished Without Really Trying

One of the most common requests I get from my clients is to help them look more polished and "put-together."  In today's world of fast-fashion, monthly trends, and emotional shopping, many women find themselves staring at a closet full of clothes and thinking, "I have nothing to wear."  The cause is simply buying clothes without considering what exactly they will be worn with.  This results in a disjointed wardrobe that yields few amazing outfits that achieve the look you're aiming for.

The solution in three easy steps:
1. Define a style - What do you want to look like?  Take 15 minutes to flip through a fashion magazine and rip out the looks that speak to you.  When you're done, look at your selections and see if there is a defining style that emerges.  Don't worry- it will happen!  Here are three examples from Ann Taylor:

2. Choose a go-to silhouette.  Think about what flatters your body.  I know there are two or three outfits in your wardrobe that you go to constantly when you want to look your best.  These cuts flatter your figure and make you feel confident- don't fight it, go with what works!
3. Pick a color scheme.  What colors do you really love?  Think about one or two colors that make you feel your best (for example, I like red- you may have noticed here and here.)  Then pick a supporting cast of neutral colors to complement the colored pieces and make a complete outfit (because a red shirt, red pants, red shoes and a red purse are a bit much.)  Black white, tan and gray are great neutrals.  For maximum efficiency, it's good to pick either black or brown tones as your go-to neutral.

Now that you've picked a style- stick to it!  It's not going to do you any good to buy that brown fringe hobo bag or brown shearling vest if your style is classic, tailored pieces in a palette of black, white and red. You simply won't have anything to wear it with, and it will sit in your closet unworn and unused.  Be very strict with yourself and only buy pieces that match your style, favorite cuts, and color scheme.  (For me that's classic, elegant pieces that can transition from work to weekend; figure-flattering dresses+pumps or blouses+pencil skirts; and this season: black, white, red and blush.)  

Fair warning- with all of the cute things you see in stores, it's not easy to do this!  But if you do, you will steadily build a wardrobe of pieces that all work together and all work on you. When all of your clothes are the same style, cut and color scheme, they will all "go" together, and no matter what you pair together it will all result in polished looks that will consistently achieve that "put together" look we all want.


  1. That is my favorite Post! I will definitely take a deep look into my closet when I am back in Germany. Thank you very much!


    1. Hi Nicole! I'm so glad you found this useful- good luck with editing your wardrobe!