Happy Q&A Thursday! I’m here to answer another incredible question from our friend, Pat. She emailed me to ask for advice on how to put together casual outfits that are fun and memorable and I am here for it! I want you to stop being intimidated by fashion and overwhelmed at the thought of getting dressed and start having some FUN! I want you to feel courageous and confident when you get dressed, even if your style is effortless and low-key.
Whether you prefer to be a wallflower or you love having all eyes on you, it’s helpful to know how to make your mark with your style. Because occasions will arise when you want to leave an impression and step out in a look that’s unforgettable.
So before you head to your next game night, BBQ, or pool party this summer, discover my best advice to stand out (in a good way!) and take both your casual and formal outfits to the next level.
Create a Memorable Look with ANY Style
First, let’s get over any limited thinking that tells you you have to have a wild, dramatic style in order to be noticed. That is NOT true. Some of the most memorable outfits I’ve worn have been elegant and understated. I’ll give you a quick example.
Back in the day, I was working with a celebrity nutritionist and she had a conference in LA that I attended. There was a formal night with a DJ and a red carpet for the attendees. Instead of a cocktail or evening dress, I decided to wear matching separates. I wore a black, short sleeve, crop top with silver and gold beading around the neckline and I paired it with a black and gold striped A-line skirt. I absolutely loved this outfit and I felt amazing in it. But it wasn’t the most dramatic or revealing. The colors were understated; I mean, I was wearing black for goodness sake, which I almost never do! My client was wearing a bright, fiery red cocktail dress and killer heels. Her assistant was wearing this stunning, pink peach, floor-length dress with an open back and plunging neckline. I mean, these women looked jaw-droppingly beautiful next to me on the red carpet and out on the dance floor.
And do you know what? About 7 years later, when I launched my Wardrobe Refresh Program, one of the first women to sign up was someone who was at that conference and remembered what I was wearing. She told me she loved my outfit because it was elegant and understated. She’d been following me because of that outfit and she wanted to work with me so she could create a style like that for herself.
Now, I realize this wasn’t a situation like Pat’s where she’s looking for advice on casual outfits that are fun and memorable. And I’m also not saying this to toot my own horn! But I wanted to make the point that your outfits don’t need to be loud or like anyone else’s to make an impact.
So the first suggestion I’m going to drive home today is to stay true to your style. You will stand out far more and far better by being yourself. Don’t stress over what everyone else is wearing. I could’ve gotten in my head about not looking sexy enough or as fun as my peers at that party. I live on the east coast and west coast style is very different. I could’ve easily conformed to what everyone else was going to look like. But I wouldn’t have signed that client 7 years later if I had dressed like anyone other than myself!
Master Your Foundations of Style
In case this is a new concept for you, I define the Foundations of Style as:
- Dialing-in your signature style
- Flattering your figure
- Wearing your best colors
Those 3 simple elements are the building blocks to creating a memorable wardrobe you love.
We already talked about staying true to your signature style. Now, whether you’re dressing up or dressing down, you’ll look better and more noteworthy when you’re wearing clothes that fit you flawlessly and that are in your best colors. This sounds so simple, but do not skip this step! You have to graduate elementary school before you head off for your masters, right? You also need to get these basics down first and not underestimate the power of the right colors and a good fit!
Adopt a Signature Accessory
I was in a Wardrobe Strategy Session with a client earlier this week and we figured out that she has a very classic and effortless, Parisian, Audrey Hepburn sort of style. She mentioned that she has a massive collection of silk scarves and I went nuts. Because this is the perfect accessory to take her outfits to the next-level and help her stand out with an otherwise very timeless and elegant style!
Sometimes, adding an unexpected element like a sophisticated scarf, a quirky hat, a bracelet stack, or a bold statement ring can be all you need to not only have fun expressing yourself in a bigger way, but also creating a more eye-catching and memorable look.
What could that be for you? Maybe you want to have a signature print or piece of clothing that you’re kind of known for wearing: a blazer, a certain style of shoe, or even a signature color! This is a great idea if you have your own business and you want your brand to be easily recognizable. You could wear one color or versions of a particular color in both your casual and formal wear.
Think Outside the Box
Don’t blindly follow trends, especially if you’re trying to stand out.
A month or two ago, my husband and I met my best friend for dinner in the city and every other woman was wearing cowboy boots. And yes, that’s a super cute look right now. I know, Taylor Swift and the eras tour and all that, but they all started to blend together. My husband and I were chuckling to ourselves because with each new table that was seated, there was another pair of cowboy boots. I’m not exaggerating! Everyone looked like a carbon copy of one another. So even though that’s a big trend right now and I’m really not hating on it, not a single outfit was memorable to me.
I’d rather see you bring a unique quality to your outfits and actually put together something different that will make a statement and leave a mark. Being less on-trend and more original will make a difference!
I talked about a couple of simple ways to do this in last week’s Q&A Thursday episode #52: 5 Styling Hacks To More Easily Mix and Match Your Wardrobe. You can mix your prints, try unexpected color combinations. There are lots of ways to experiment, play, and have fun with your fashion! And if you’re attending a casual, low-key event with friends or even in the comfort of your own home, what better time to take a risk and try something new?
It’s Not What You Wear, It’s How You Make Others Feel
Do I want your outfits to be memorable? Sure! Do I want you to hear compliments on your clothing? Of course!
But more importantly, I want YOU to stand out more than what you’re wearing. I want people to see and remember you. They’ll probably also remember that you looked amazing and put together and polished. But I want them to recall how you were showing up –with confidence, radiance, thoughtfulness– more so than that you had a great handbag. You know? I believe your clothing should be there to compliment you and bring out your best qualities, not to steal center stage.
Now, you might love a dramatic style. I certainly do! And you might want your outfits to be bold and get people talking. There’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t hide behind your clothing. Let people get to know you. Make an even bigger impression with who you are. In my humble opinion, that means so much more.
People will forget what you were wearing (most of the time!) but they won’t forget how you made them feel.
So, there you have it friend. I offered up a whole handful of ways to have more FUN expressing your style and creating memorable outfits. You can use these tips whether you’re dressing up or down and I can’t wait to hear which one you’ll try first.