Something I’ve come to realise over time is that not everyone had someone to tell them how to dress awesomely, so I’m going to break it down into the basic cardinal rules.
6. Figure out “your” colours. Look at your skin tone and then ask yourself when you’re trying things on in front of the mirror- What does my skin look like when I’m wearing this colour? Does it bring out the roses in my cheeks/shadows under my eyes? Does it have a nice contrast effect against my skin? Do I look healthy in this colour? It will take a while, but eventually, you’ll figure out what colours look awesome on you, what colours look just okay, and what colours make you look like you’re about to be the vector for the newest mutant plague strain (I look REALLY bad in pastel orange, omg)
CHEAT MODE: Find someone with your colouring (hair, eyes, skin) who dresses well - a relative, a celebrity, whoever, and look at what (their stylist says) looks good and borrow their colour palette.
5. Only wear things that fit. Not too loose, not too tight. Goldilocks that shit. And try that stuff on in the store. Especially if you have a female body type, things that are the same size on the tag but of a different cut might fit totally differently around the boobs/waist/hips regions. So unless you already own something that is basically identical in pattern, then try it on, and see how it feels.
Don’t worry about what the tag says. If it says “large” if it says “small” if it says “plus size” if it says “kids size” it doesn’t matter. Does it fit? Is it comfortable? Do you feel awesome in it? Then it’s your style. Own it. Clothes are just coverings for what you’ve got. Rather than bothering with aspirational sizing, (”I wish I was size X so I will buy size X even though I’m a size Y”) stick to wearing things that are cut for your body type. The fashion statement you should be making is that your body is awesome because it’s yours. If your clothes are what’s making you feel anything less than awesome, then you’re wearing the wrong clothes.
CHEAT MODE 1: get a dressmaker’s measuring tape, and figure out your exact size around your chest, waist and hips. Then look up online what exact measurements various store’s sizes are. Get the clothes that are closest to your size.
CHEAT MODE 2: If you can afford it/are buying something special or that you’re going to wear all the time then get your clothes tailored. That’s what the celebs do. Yes even the jeans and casual tshirts.
HARD MODE: If you can’t afford tailoring/don’t have a friend you can bribe, then learn to sew. There are like a billion tutorials on the net. Sewing is not a skill you pick up overnight, but it is a skill for life. I’d recommend you at least be able to hem pants and sew buttons on even if you can’t do anything else.
4. Ignore fashion, find your own style. Fashion is about what clothes art is popular at the moment, not individual style. But, artists, individual artists, tend to have a very particular style that they’re trying to refine. If you look up the work of famous artists, after a while you can often recognise who painted/sculpted what, because it’s in a distinctive style. Figure out what works for you, and don’t worry about what’s popular on other people. “Fashion consists of clothes too ugly to wear for a second season” - Oscar Wilde.
CHEAT MODE: If you pay attention to what other people wear, then treat it as an exercise in what looks good/bad/meh on them. If you really like a certain aspect of a look, by all means experiment and give it a go. If it doesn’t feel good, then just let it go.
3. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look awesome. If it’s the right cut and colour, and it’s in good condition (not fraying anywhere it’s not supposed to, clean of stains etc) then who cares if you got it off the discount rack or out of a bag of handmedowns or from the most expensive shop in town? I’ve had people compliment me on $3 earrings and $10 shoes before, because they fit right with my look, and were a rad colour/shape/design. If you want to look rich, buy labels. If you want to look good then wear things that fit your personal style (as above).
CHEAT MODE 1: Factory Outlet stores. End of Season Sales in the opposite hemisphere if you’re shopping online. The Clearance Rack. Labels from your local op-shop.
HARD MODE: Get artsy. Make your own clothes. Alter clothes you almost like into something you like better. Put on more awesome buttons. Splatter paint. Apply dye. Will take a bit of experimentation, but this can be fun :)
2. Come to terms with your body. Your body is a particular shape. Think of things that you like about it. Accept that this is your body, and that this is what you have to work with, and that that’s okay. You are you-shaped, and some days that’ll mean you feel bloated, or you’ll feel like your boobs are the wrong size, or you’ll have a bad skin day. It happens. If you’re eating fresh food in a balanced diet, exercising when you can, getting regular sunshine, getting enough sleep and practicing good hygiene (shower at least once every two days, more if you exercise/live somewhere hot, and wash your hair enough that it’s not greasy at the start of a day) then that’s it, that’s your healthy body. Accept it. Love it. If you for whatever reason can’t manage this level of self-care, then I hope you’re okay, and doing what you need to to make things better for yourself. If the reason why you don’t practice self-care is anything other than physical health-related, then START NOW.
CHEATMODE: Take care of yourself. You deserve it. I don’t mean spoil yourself. I mean, give yourself regular maintenance. You’ll feel better about yourself if you do. If you are physically fit but don’t feel better about yourself, then consult your doctor or therapist, or failing that the wisest person you know who seems to have their shit together and has a sympathetic ear. If you are not physically fit and want to feel better about yourself, figure out what exerciseful activity you enjoy, and then go out and start doing it. Alternatively: find a dog that needs regular walks.
1. WEAR SOMETHING YOU FEEL BADASS IN. I’m serious, this is the absolute most important thing. Wear things that are comfortable, breathable, right for the elements, in colours you like, that you can move easily in, and that make you feel prepared for whatever it is you’re going to face. Because the best way to look awesome is to feel awesome, and you can’t feel awesome if you’re uncomfortable.
CHEATMODE: Confidence. But if you’re wearing something you feel badass in, you probably feel more confident, so you’re good.