1. Adjust your clothing so it works with your proportions
Ideally, it’s best to avoid alterations. It’s an extra cost to consider with your purchase and it’s time and effort on your part. I like to avoid alterations where possible and find a better fit in another store or brand.
However, sometimes a simple alteration is all that’s needed to take an amazingly great item and turn it into a perfect item that feels like it was custom made for you.
Still, I would only recommend an alteration if the item is absolutely perfect everywhere else, has a clear purpose in your wardrobe and will be a staple in your outfits for years to come.
It’s worth getting the hemline on a pair of pants or taking up the sleeve of a blazer shortened if they are perfect everywhere else and you love them. These are common alterations and are usually quick and affordable.
There are many ways to adjust your clothing so that it works with your proportions, without a trip to the tailor. Here are some examples.
Roll the sleeves to your elbow, it will look like a relaxed gathered and intentional detail. If the sleeves don’t stay when rolled up, simply cuff the sleeves at the wrist, twice or three times is enough. This transitions your jackets into suitable tran-seasonal pieces to wear in the in-between weather and shortens your sleeve length temporarily. It looks trendy and intentional too! A bonus here is you can return the sleeve to its usual length when you want to layer a long sleeve top underneath.
If you’re wearing jeans, cuff the hem twice, about 1cm per cuff. This shortens the hemline and looks great with sandals, espadrilles or sneakers in a casual situation. You can also do this when wearing ankle boots. Cuffing this way will make your jeans meet at the top of your ankle boot, without the messy tucking situation.
Tuck your top into your mid to high rise bottoms. French tucks are a popular one and look effortlessly styled. Or, tuck your top lightly at the front and let the sides and back relax out if you’re wearing pants. If you’re tucking into a skirt, tuck your top in and blouse it over lightly, about a thumb space of excess fabric.
If you’re not a fan of tucking tops, simply tie your top into a neat knot at the front. This works particularly well with button up shirts, undo the last couple of buttons so you can tie the top instead of buttoning.
2. Wear a colour that reflects you and your daily plans
We all have colours that we can slip on and feel instantly refreshed, focused and like we had more sleep than we actually had. These colours highlight the whites of your eyes, the brightness of your eye colour and lift your complexion, minimising any dark circles or pigmentation. Wear these colours on a day when you’re feeling flat.
Consider what your plans are for the day and choose a colour to wear that you feel represents those plans. For example, if you’re heading for a day out that involves a bike ride and breakfast at the local café, the colours and clothing you choose to wear will be very different to when you’re heading into a day of meetings with internal colleagues and external stakeholders on a busy Tuesday in the office.
3. Swap sloppy cardigans for relaxed jackets
Cardigans have a purpose and are fine to wear when you’re heading to do groceries or down to the park, but usually show signs of wear quickly and they lack any structure so can look unpolished. Cardigans with shape around the neckline, waistline or in the arms are best, and look for some with interest in the colour of the texture.
An alternative is wearing a relaxed fitting, lightweight jacket. They still provide you with an additional layer that’s easy to move in, some coverage to keep you warm and are lightweight so don’t feel too heavy in place of a cardigan.
Casually, a denim jacket is a great alternative to a cardigan and can easily be worn with dresses, skirts or jeans and t-shirts if you choose the right one for your proportions and lifestyle. There are plenty of denim jackets that have stretch in the fabric so are no longer rigid and restrictive.
If you like the option of being able to roll a cardigan up into your bag, look for one with texture, like a ribbed texture through the fabric. This will help your cardigan hold its shape when it comes out of the bag, conceal any small pulls in the fabric and help minimise signs of wear.
4. Own less shoes, choose neutral colours
Good quality, comfortable shoes are expensive and you want to get your money’s worth here. Having a collection of neutral coloured shoes means you will be able to own fewer pairs, but have the ability to mix and match them with various outfits.
A pair of white sneakers, black boots and some flats and heels in black, tan or beige are all helpful colours that work with plenty of prints, textures and colours across many wardrobes.
Your lifestyle is an important one to consider when choosing shoes. If you walk to work, heels might not be necessary but a comfortable pair of boots will be, so you can still walk when it’s raining. Or, if you work in a corporate environment, white sneakers to work might never be suitable, but if you work in an office with a smart casual dress code, then white sneakers could form part of your work wardrobe quite easily.
5. Wear one accessory that significantly impacts your outfit
Just like shoes, you don’t need a lot of accessories, just a few really workable pieces that you can wear with most outfits in your wardrobe. A pair of fun earrings, gold or silver earrings, a minimalistic necklace and a watch are all versatile items that will enhance the colours, textures and prints within your outfit. The exact accessories should be based on what items you own, your face shape and individual colouring.