The idea here is to kind of analyse what I like to do when composing and outfit and buying clothes and give you some of my style tips. Of course I don't considering myself to be super stylish, and I hesitated quite a lot before writing this because I felt quite vain and pedantic giving you advice on how to dress. But I really wanted to share with you these ideas that, to my opinion, made my looks a lot more interesting and made me feel better about how I look in clothes. I also wanted to explain about my "philosophy" regarding fast fashion and trends, and also share a bit of my own journey with style. I do hope you will find this interesting and maybe pick a few ideas!
1 - Mix influences
Romantic, rock, bohemian, preppy, why should one be defined with only one of these influences? I love mixing them, and sometimes depending on my mood, going for a completely different influence. I like to make a difference between "style" and "influence", to me style is something really personal, a special way of arranging clothes and accessories, a taste for a special shape or details, and influences are more cultural. "Rock" and "preppy" definitely remind of certain cities and eras! I like to wear rock boots and belts with preppy dresses, adding bohemian and ethnic accessories picked at a local market in Africa. I think that an eclectic style reflects the love for travel and therefore can really show your personality!
Baroque dress and rustic scarf!
2 - Pick fabrics carefully
The second thing I always do when choosing an item (after wondering if I like it or not) is carefully looking at the fabric. I always find that a cheap-looking fabric, a one that screams synthetic, a one that gets wrinkled, a one that will easily loose its shape or color after wearing it only three times is never a good idea.
To my mind, that's what makes the difference between effortless/casual and cheap/not neat/careless outfits. Well, I'm definitely not advising you to spend all your money on silk and top quality linens! And of course if you really love an item despite the fabric, you can always balance the effect by wearing it with top quality materials. This is actually what many people unconsciously do when they mix fast fashion clothes with mid - high end items. But If you really want to look neat and make you clothes look expensive, next time you shop at Zara or Pimkie, look first at the fabric before buying ;)
There are two pieces costing less than 20 euros here ;)
3 - Balance
This is about considering the whole silhouette and this really is important. It is about balancing proportions but also about showing skin and balancing sophisticated and relaxed. The classical rule is: when wearing a tight piece as a top, wear a loose bottom, and when wearing a bodycon skirt or jeans, wear something wide on top or as a jacket, and adapt your heels to the length of your skirt - and remember that sometimes, rules are made to be broken! This applies as well to showing skin: chose between legs or cleavage, but you can also show some skin in a more subtle way: sheer tops, bare shoulders, backless dress...
And of course, balancing the overall feel of an outfit: I like looking polished but not too severe or too glamorous (this definitely is a personal taste, nothing wrong if you like to look that way!), and I think that makeup and hair can play a big role in that balance. I like ladylike clothes and feminine skirts but I like my hair to always look a little messy, my makeup not too perfect with smudged eyeliner, and throw on a chunky, well-worn knitted cardigan (Maxime likes to call this a for an instant relaxed feel even on the most elegant skirts.
Natural hair and casual bucket bag to balance a mini dress
4 - Mix textures
I'm writing this in almost every single outfit post: Textures is the key to an interesting outfit! Silk, velvet, furry things, wool, chiffon, leather, suede, lace, pleats, neoprene, beads, stone, mother-of pearl, wood, metal, special knit stitches... All mixed together, this can easily make a simple monochrome outfit look so much better. The more contrast there is, the more interesting it will get!
All black outfit but 7 different textures here!
5 - Unexpected and standing out accessories
Let's first define unexpected. It may be an item with a completely different style, or in a bright and bold color, or a very special shape... It can also be an item that was not made to be worn as an accessory (a box turned into a bag, a pillow made into a pouch), or a shopping straw basket used as a fashionable item... Some materials can also be quite unexpected, such as stone and wood! The idea is to create a focal point that adds some modernism to an outfit!
yellow shoes warm up that little black dress!
6 - Play with items
One more thing I like to do when buying an item, especially and expensive one, is to think first about at least 3 ways to wear it. Take a flowy dress: you can layer a sweater over it, roll the sleeves, add a belt and tuck the fabric, play with the belt (knot, worn at the waistline or on the hips)... The way you knot a scarf can also be quite playful, and it can also be attached to a bag or at the wrist, worn as a belt... be creative! The last thing you can easily do to get the most out of an item is to wear it at different times of year, or wear an evening dress in the daytime!
The top is tucked int the skirt to define the waistline and the scarf
complements the bag rather than warming the neck ;)
7 - Toss anything ill-fitting
It's also about getting the right size! Well, i'm sure we all agree, it's so hard sometimes since measurements in most shops are based on and average body type but often, there are not perfectly fitting our measurements. Two solutions here: Forget about what really doesn't suit your body type (which is rare!), but the second will sort out most fitting problems: tailoring. Now i'm sure most how you will say it's expensive or that they don't know how to do themselves yet (or they don't have the most amazing grandma doing it for you!)... Well I agree, tailoring can be quite an investment so you'll have to decide weather it's worth it or not or if you have other options (safety pins, belts, rolling) that can just do the job! To my opinion, it can make the biggest difference :)
These pants were way too wide on the waist before a quick
visit to the sewing machine ;)
8 - About trends
That's a tricky one, but let me give my honest mind: In the fashion industry, trends seems to be super important, always having the latest trendy bag or trendy silhouette, even if this doesn't look good on you (for some people only). Especially as a blogger, platforms and online magazines tend to share your posts only if you're wearing the latest trends. Well, you might have guessed: I'm 100% against wearing trends because they are trendy. It's also 100% normal to like the new things in store for each season and it's normal to want something new from your favorite designer but really, I'm quite skeptical with all the "2016 trends to forget about and how what trend to love in 2017" posts that flourish every season. Now, I think that since we all shop in the same stores, it's no problem that we all wear a little of the latest trends and it's nice to fall for the latest ones that we really like!
But my point here is to say that being stylish and being trendy may have some common points but style is about arranging clothes and show personality, not to pile up the latest most wanted items and copying the latest runway silhouettes. I often buy clothes in outlet malls or second hand sales. Who cares it an item is two seasons old if it's beautiful?! Does it make you less stylish? Hell no! If you like maximalism when everyone wants minimalism, go for it! You still love your white Adidas sneakers when magazines tell you should throw them away for a furry pair of mules? Keep them! As I said, style and influences are to me something totally different.
3 years old and definitely not minimalist skirt ^^
9 - Find a formula that works for you
This tip will save you quite a lot of time in the morning! First, you'll want to identify what you like the most about your silhouette: is it your legs, your chest, your butt, your small waist, your shoulders? Then, identify what you are not comfortable showing. You may also want to ask some advice from a friend, and ask them which from your favorite outfits suits you the best. Now, remember about the proportions tip and start building the outfit. You may want to start with neutral colors to focus only on shapes. This can be quite fun, go to a store with a friend and try, try, try!
Here is the outfit formula that works the best for me (well, I believe so!): short skirt and heeled ankle boots or flat sandals and paired with a flowy blouse or top. the skirt can either be bodycon or pleated but I always adapt the proportions by picking a wider or tighter top.
Nevertheless, even if you do find the silhouette that really makes you look amazing, don't hesitated to experiment and sometimes wear something a bit different. If you do love pants, try a little dress some time - or in my case, to the other way round ;)
Mini skirt and lace up espadrilles with a wide
summer knit top: one of my favorite pairings!
10 - Details, details, details
To add more interest to an outfit, I really like paying attention to small details: matching prints and colors, changing buttons, wearing asymmetrical hems and special sleeves... It's all about the little things that draw attention to the clothes but also about the overall harmony: mixing carefully clothes, making things respond to each other rather than having them standing side by side. For instance, if you have an embroidered dress, look what colors and textures the embroidery or beading is made of and try to accessorize accordingly, repeating the same texture (like glowing materials) or picking shoes in one of the embroidery's colors...
This dress' embroidery features black, white, red and grey,
the shoes, belt and jacket have been picked in the same colors.
11 - Dare!
This is what was the key for me. If you've read my "About" page, you may know that up to my 22 year, I would dress in extremely plain clothes. casual jeans, no dresses or skirts, ankle boots, lightweight sweaters and of course super neutral colors. All to hide my extremely skinny and tall silhouette (I had absolutely no feminine curves back then and weighed a few pounds less than now - no health/psy problem here, my body just really took its time to go from child to adult, except its height!) Meeting Maxime was quite a turning point in my style life, he reassured me about my silhouette and encouraged me to wear items I liked - and eventually, I got my few curves ;)
I also once heard: "Do you really believe people spend their time judging on how you dress? They are already focused and worried about how they look themselves!" And she was so right. As long as you're no completely naked, extremely vulgarian or wearing a dead chicken as a hat, most people won't care about your look.
We all lack self confidence, we all want to make a good impression, and we all have parts of our bodies we don't like. So dare! Wear the prints you like, the items you want, show your personality! Most people actually don't judge or don't even notice, and the ones who meanly criticize are not worth listening to. Thoughtful critics or advice are the ones you should take in account but really, we should all stop dramatizing! Outfits are about having fun and feeling good in our own skin!