“You Can Have Anything You Want in Life if You Dress For it”
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”
– Edith Haead
“You take forever to get ready.” Sound familiar? If so, you’re in good company. In my experience, finding the perfect outfit can be quite the chore if I do not plan ahead. If you are a professional, particularly if your position requires you to attend networking events, preparation is not just a way, it is the only way. Why you ask? Because you cannot go out and promote yourself or your company if you are not feeling and presenting your best self.
Here are my top 10 tips to help you get organized and to make sure you feel great every time you leave the house.
- Organize your closet. Personally, I’m a minimalist. I do not like to have any clutter and I have zero emotional attachment to anything besides my dogs (and maybe a few DVF dresses). If you want to look your very best, start with purging your closet of the clothes that you no longer wear. Go through your entire closet and separate your clothes into three categories: Wear, Donate, Consign. If you have worn the outfit within the past three months or can envision wearing it within the next few months, it goes in the “wear” category. If you have a piece that is worn and can’t be consigned for money, donate it to someone in need. If you have a piece that is in great shape and carries a designer brand name, consign it!
- Consign, consign, consign. If Kate Middleton can re-wear her clothes, so can we. While I prioritize quality over quantity, I also want to get my money’s worth so if I invest in a great piece, I will wear it again and again. If cared for properly, these items will go the distance, but when I notice that I’m wearing the same ensemble in all of my Facebook pictures, I know it is time to consign. I like to drop my clothes off at Mosh Posh in Tampa or Moss in Austin. I also use an app called Poshmark to sell clothes I no longer wear, which frees up closet space and money for new outfits.
- Cut costs with creativity. Your budget may be limited, but there’s no cap on your imagination. Channel your creativity and find your unique sense of style. I recommend switching up pieces to give the clothing a different look. For example, if there is a shirt that you absolutely love, pair it with a skirt one day, then opt for a pair of jeans or different jewelry the next time to give the outfit a fresh feel. If you wear the same shirt with the same jeans, you look like a repeat offender; however, if you pair that same shirt with a blazer, voila! It looks like a completely different outfit.
- Start with the shoes. It is easy to pull out the new purse or shoes and wear them for days or get stuck in a rut of wearing the same few outfits because they don’t require any thought or planning. Either way, the result is the same: boring! I have a new strategy that helps me wear what I have versus what I am comfortable in. My method starts with shoes. I pick out a different pair for each day of the week and use my footwear to determine my outfit. For example, on Monday I wear my favorite Stewart Weitzman over-the-knee black boots so I am more likely to grab my black pants and a loose top. On Tuesday, I wear my tan rag and bone booties, which leads me to pick out a skirt with a more fitting top. Choosing flats on Wednesdays forces me to pick a skinny pant with a top and long necklace. This strategy really helps me to add variety to my wardrobe choices; otherwise, I would find myself in the same outfit every day.
- Don’t be afraid to mix it up. I am on my feet all day so well-made shoes are an absolute must. Find a brand that suits you and purchase your classics. I also like to invest in a few nice purses, but I am very selective, usually opting for classic piece. When it comes to tops, flats, and everyday wear, I am more likely to look for a deal. Some of my best finds have been in stores like Forever 21 or H&M. For example, my military jacket is a staple piece that I wear all the time and it cost less than $30.00. Mixing high-end and low-end pieces allows you to show off your creativity and create a look that is all your own.
- Always keep it classy! I like to play by the 90/10 rule. If a dress is showing leg, I make a point to have the rest of my body covered up. If I’m wearing a sleeveless dress, I make sure the length is not too short. If you are getting ready to leave the house and you are questioning the v in the neckline or the length of the dress, then take it off. Remember there is nothing sexier than leaving something to the imagination.
- Wear what flatters YOUR body type. I love booties and they are everywhere right now, but I must admit that there are very few pairs that flatter my body type. I have muscular calves, so as much as I like to wear booties, the high rise cut does absolutely nothing for my legs. It took a lot of effort finding the perfect cut for me, but rather than just wear any bootie, I opted for a flat shoe or a boot until I found the right fit. All trends are not created equal and they certainly don’t work for everyone. In some cases, you’re better off abstaining altogether. You’re always better off going with tried and true styles that work for your body and taste.
- Wear what you feel good in. There is no recipe for finding the perfect outfit for an occasion. It is something that you have to feel inside. There are some days when I prefer a more understated look and others when I love to dress to the nines. I feel equally good in either scenario as long as I’m comfortable in what I’m wearing. Feeling comfortable usually equates to feeling confident and when you feel confident, you can tackle anything that comes your way. When it comes to your professional wardrobe, it’s important to find pieces that you feel good about wearing. When you feel good, you look good, but more importantly, you’ll exude the kind of poise and self-assurance that conveys professional competence.
- Establish standbys. Everyone looks good in black and red lipstick! Go for it. Don’t be afraid to set aside one outfit as your emergency or fallback outfit. For me, it’s all black in the winter and all white in the summer. If I am fussing over what to wear, I throw on black pants, a black top, and add a little pop of color on top with a scarf or a piece of jewelry. There are some days nothing will feel right and you have to have your fallback outfit ready.
- Create a catalog. Plan outfits in advance and snap a picture to refer to when you are in a rush. I love to do this! When I find outfits I like in magazines, I’ll look for similar items in my closet and snap a picture. As a result, I now have wardrobe photo album to turn to when I need inspiration. When I am in a rush and feel like I have nothing to wear, I refer to my album to remind myself exactly what I have.
Key takeaways: Remember that feeling good comes from the inside. If you’re not happy with yourself, no designer dress will change that. Keep your closet organized and prepare your outfits for the week to prevent those “I have nothing to wear” moments.