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  • How to be Stylish: 12 Steps to Style


    In recognition of what will be the 15th Anniversary of FocusOnStyle online, (craaaaazy!) I will be spotlighting some of my favorite evergreen, timeless style posts for you take note.

    Let’s start with this post from 2007 about how to be stylish. Check out the old-school art, EEK… at least its color is THE color of THIS year

    Damning dowdy with fashion tips for a wardrobe makeover

    Hell has no fury than a woman who lost her fashion mojo.

    15 years Focusonstyle anniversary  320x338-logo copyLearn the 12 steps to style, now!

    >> MORE: Favorite posts from the 15 Years Online Anniversary Celebration

    Dear Sharon: Help! I’m a 27 year old social worker who works at a private university. I already feel like I’ve started to become “frumpy” in terms of my boring wardrobe. My usual lack of makeup is made worse by my face’s uneven skin tone. I have limited funds and I am not particularly brave when it comes to fashion, but I am in desperate need of a bit more modern-ness in my clothing and total image. What steps would you suggest to help me get my fashion mojo in gear? (The Frumpmistress of Stale Style– Evansville, IN)

    >> MORE: Style Motivation

    Dear Frumpmistress: You’re 27, that’s at least 80 years too young to look frumpy in my book! You poor little pink print T-shirt under a dreary cardigan, khaki pants, sensible slog (slide + clog, even worse than a skort) with socks wearing thing. I know you haven’t said exactly what you wear, but I can just envision the ultimate of mass-appeal frumpiness—there are scores of lackluster lovelies out there, all too timid to try their turn at style.

    Boohoo no more, you’ve yowled your cry for an image upgrade. Toss all those tedious twin sweater sets and monotonous pearls away and break the style stereotype of the dreary social worker for good. I’m here to help you get your fashion mojo back.

    So, let’s get going and share some budget-friendly fashion tips to help you sizzle up your wardrobe.

    12 Steps to Style:

    1. Admit it– There you’ve done it! You took a long, hard look in the mirror and put yourself asleep. Stop snoozing behind the style wheel and do something about it. There is absolutely no reason to look boring, unless you intentionally want to be perceived that way. Here, is where we could use your social worker skills for some.

    2. Believe that you can be beautiful– Looking great is not only the best revenge, it’s the best self-confidence booster! Way back when, I began writing my Focus on Style column because so many women who I came across sadly thought that they could never be as beautiful as the models I worked with as a fashion stylist. Beauty is subjective. Looking gorgeous is a state of mind, plus some effort to make the most of what you’ve got! Every woman deserves to be her own favorite supermodel of loveliness.

    3. Find a fashion idol– Yes, most of us would like to find the fashion medium between Audrey Hepburn’s eternal chic and Kate Moss’s edgy simplicity. I included. But I also admit, that I have never nor ever will share their lean, perfect hanger figures. But I can adapt their style to my own curves, and add my own personal funk to embrace the look as my own. Famous or friend, find a fashion icon who inspires you and take note of how her personal style stands out and what you can do to make it yours!

    4. Educate yourself– Curb cluelessness! Flip the pages of fashion magazines, check out designer runway photos, window shop in the most stylish stores, take a walk around the trendier part of your town, and just plain soak it all in. Immerse yourself in style until you actually “get” the difference between what is blah and what is stunning. Soon, you will be able to hone in on what would look fantastic on you.

    5. Take action– You took a positive step by writing me for fashion advice, and others are reading this. Settling for mediocre is inexcusable these days, anyone anywhere can find stylish clothing; all they need to do is look online if modern fashion isn’t readily available in their town. Don’t whine. Don’t wish. Make today your day to start looking fabulous.

    6. Assess what you have and what suits your lifestyle– Surely, your entire wardrobe isn’t a complete fashion disaster. It may be as simple as understanding different ways to mix pieces that you already own with a few great, new fashion fixes to truly upgrade your style. Think out of the box and pair the unexpected for stylish results.

    7. Set your limits– They say, don’t go to the supermarket on an empty stomach, well, don’t go shopping for a new wardrobe totally clueless. Have a mental list of what you actually need and stick to it. This way, you won’t be lured into buying frivolous sale items that will break your budget and do nothing to enhance your total look.

    8. Find your fit– One of the secrets French woman have to looking chic, is a tailor. Take the time and effort to have your clothes altered to fit you perfectly. A little nip and tuck here and there can be the difference between looking dumpy and looking dynamite. But don’t expect total tailoring magic if something is simply not the right cut for you. Understand your shape and dress for it.

    9. Don’t be a fashion victim– Just because something is in style and trendy, doesn’t mean it’s right for you, your figure, and your lifestyle. Be honest and realistic about the shape you are in and your body’s general proportions to avoid looking like a fashion victim. Dress smartly to camouflage figure flaws and spotlight figure assets. Adapt your clothing choices to flatter your figure.

    10. Understand the fine line between modern and trendy– Adapt to trends to keep your wardrobe and image fresh. If you are on a very strict budget, shy away from super-trendy items that will be out of style in a quick fashion minute. When you do want to spurge on a cute, trendy piece, find a cheapie fast fashion version that you know you will only wear a few times.

    11. Hair and beauty– Style doesn’t stop above the shoulders. You admit that your skin tone is uneven without make-up, most woman have the same problem. There’s no excuse not to adapt a fast, five-minute, natural make-up routine that can get you out of the house looking refreshed everyday. It’s usually easiest and the most cost effective to have a cosmetic counter makeover. Before you jump to it, be sure that the department store makeup artist has a technique that you like and that you are only expected to buy the products that you want—tinted moisturizer would be a good start to even your complexion.

    There’s no better quick fix makeover than a great haircut to look modern and renewed. Don’t forget to shape your eyebrows, too! Too often, woman forget to invest the effort in their overall beauty regime and wind up looking terribly dated and dull.

    12. Love your fashion awakening– Take a good look at yourself and be proud that you know you look the best that you can each day. Explore your personal style and constantly tweak your look to stay modern. Never settle for mediocre when you can look marvelous. Let your confidence soar—you did it!

    Original Publish Date: February 21, 2007

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