By Tan Siang Ning
It’s the time of the day. You wake up, looking through your closet bursting full of clothes, but ultimately end up wearing the same few pieces over and over again. Having to worry about what’s going into your outfit of the day is an unnecessary source of stress, you think as you bemoan that you have nothing to wear. As you walk outside, you can’t help but notice the people around you, some looking ever so primped and polished, while others are decked out in cool and trendy-looking clothes.
I can attest to that struggle since I was a child, up until a couple of years ago. What kickstarted my process of dressing better was getting acquainted with tips on fashion styles and putting outfits together. With that in mind, I present various ways in which you can look stylish, no matter the occasion.
High-waisted bottoms, one of my go-tos in clothing. Credit: Edmerson Low
1. Know Your Body
Ever wondered how someone looks so good in a white T-shirt and jeans? The answer to that is fit.
It is important to choose clothes that fit properly. Wearing clothes that are too big or don’t fit you can throw off your body proportions and end up looking sloppy. Just by having the right fit can allow you to look effortlessly stylish without spending too much money, while someone else can look “terrible” in an ill-fitted suit which costs more.
In other words, you do not need something expensive in order to look stylish. You can even dress up in T-shirts and shorts and still look great.
Besides fit, opting for certain designs in clothing can help de-emphasise areas that you are insecure about or don’t like to show. For instance, Kaiti Yoo, a fashion and lifestyle YouTuber, has some insecurity over her shoulders and does not like to showcase her hips. As such, she stays away from bodycon dresses, strapless clothing and tank tops, instead going for clothes with puff sleeves, flowy tops with V-necks and baggy clothing.
For myself, I have a long torso, which means that my torso and my legs are of similar lengths. As such, I opt for high-waisted bottoms as a means of elongating my legs and defining my waistline.
One of my main sources of fashion inspiration – Instagram. Credit: Edmerson Low
2. Find Your Own Style
One way of having a good idea of your likes and dislikes in clothing will be looking through social media, websites, movies, magazines and even coffee table books among others to acquaint yourself with how people dress. From there, ask yourself what you like and/or dislike about an outfit you come across. If you need to, create a moodboard of the outfits that you like to further help you pinpoint what your style may be.
When choosing clothes and exploring your style, keep these two questions in mind – what looks do you gravitate towards? What designs, colours or cutting in clothes speak to you more than another?
Everyone’s styles will differ for one another, and the same goes for the style finding process. For example, my friend’s preference in fashion is clear cut – he is big on techwear. On the other hand, my style is neither easily nor strictly defined and is constantly subject to change. If I have to put some specifications to it, it could perhaps be loosely defined as casual and encompassing a range of clothing, like printed dresses, crop tops, T-shirts, jeans, miniskirts and knitwear. Although I do go online to look at how people put outfits together, I tend to use the styles that I like as a source of inspiration to develop my own way of dressing, which will require more time.
Say goodbye to monotony with accessories! Credit: Edmerson Low
3. Invest in Accessories
Accessories are an easy way to elevate and add interest to an outfit. Common examples are jewellery, hats, sunglasses, scarves, watches and bags.
When it comes to wearing clothing that may be deemed as “basic”, like a black T-shirt and a pair of black jeans, it can appear inexpensive. Adding, for instance, jewellery and a hat can immediately make an outfit look like it costs more. Not only that, accessories can help break up the monotony of an outfit by introducing bling or a pop of colour, or even give a new look to an outfit that has been previously worn.
Some ways to accessorise will be layering necklaces, wearing a hat, or switching out the pair of shoes you’ve been wearing. At times, accessories, especially rings and earrings, can also be a talking point, which can help in breaking the ice.
Adding a leather jacket can instantly break up an otherwise overarchingly girly outfit. Credit: Edmerson Low
4. Wear a Hero Piece
According to the YouTube channel Dearly Bethany, a hero piece is a magical third piece that creates more interest in an outfit. This helps to create a focal point in your outfit, and depending on the type of item you are wearing as a hero piece, it draws attention to different parts of your outfit. As such, it is better to be intentional about the hero piece you wear. For instance, wearing a necklace brings attention to your décolletage or the top you are wearing.
It is important to note that a hero piece isn’t necessarily practical, such as a hat, statement pieces like a printed skirt, or jewellery. In fact, a hero piece is more often worn for the sake of style, and is a way of expressing yourself. In my case, I like including something edgier than what I usually wear from time to time, hence pairing a leather jacket (which functions as my hero piece) with a flowy dress, for example.
However, a hero piece can also be practical, like a pair of shoes. That pair of shoes could be absolutely essential, but they have amazing quality and fit, and function well as a conversation piece.
Classics from colour to fit – perfect anytime, anywhere. Credit: Edmerson Low
5. Classics Before Trends
In 2020, pastel colours were trending; many local fashion brands were selling clothes in soft pink, lilac, baby blue and daffodil yellow. However, in 2022, neutral colours became the in thing for these brands, and pastel coloured clothing were barely seen on the racks of these stores or online.
That is the thing about trends – they come and go. However, there are colours and pieces of clothing that have stood the test of time and will never go out of style. As such, it is a safer option to fall back to the classics. Examples of classical colours are khaki, olive, white, black, grey and navy, while classical pieces of clothing could be T-shirts, jeans, dress shirts, trousers and blazers.
From there, feel free to experiment with colours and prints, or even clothes that might be deemed outlandish or unusual.
Grabbing that cute T-shirt you see in a shop? Proceed with caution! Credit: Edmerson Low
6. Shop Smart
Let’s be real. Some of us can’t resist getting clothes that are on sale. We think that we’ve landed ourselves a good bargain, only to realise that that piece does not fit in well with the clothes you have in your wardrobe.
To prevent overbuying and subsequent regret, when shopping for clothes, have an idea about what kind of clothing you are looking for. When trying on new pieces, ask yourself the following – does it fit well with the clothes you currently own? Is it versatile? Can you see yourself wearing it in the long run? If the answer to all three questions is yes, congratulations, you may have found new clothes for your wardrobe!
Even so, don’t rush into getting these clothes just yet. Wait it out for at least a week or two. If you still really want the pieces of clothing and think that they are a great addition to what you already have, go ahead and make the purchase.
I’ll put this out there – it can be difficult in the pursuit of dressing better. Even I myself am still in the process of finding out what I like and what suits me, all while making changes to my wardrobe along the way. However, so long as you look at yourself in the mirror, like what you’re seeing and can’t help but remark, “Hey, I look good”, there’s absolutely no way anybody can convince you otherwise.
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