If you’re a fashion newbie, then I totally get how overwhelming the fashion world may seem through your eyes. Too many options and thousands of rules and styles that may double up your confusion. Things may seem impossible to you, it feels like you are standing in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, everyone around you are putting great outfits together in a way that you have no idea about.
Having a good sense of style is a skill that you can improve by only practicing. For now, your goals should be to observe, develop a better understanding of the different aspects of an outfit and how they all work together, and get a feeling of what kind of things you like and why. We are not in the stage of worrying about defining our styles yet.
1 || Train Your Fashion Eye
By this I mean, observe how other people are doing it. Be aware of every little detail; what types of pieces they are wearing, colors they are mixing and shoes, and accessories they are matching to their outfits. Every little detail makes a huge difference. Train your eyes whenever possible; while sitting in a cafe or a restaurant, at work, or gym. You can even make great use of social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
The trick here is being as precise as possible. Whenever you like an outfit you need to make an effort to know why you liked it. Is it the overall vibe of the look (e.g. preppy, bohemian, or minimalist), the color scheme, or a specific piece?
2 || No Shame In Imitation
When we want to learn any language, we start by imitating the native speakers and copy their statements and expressions before we start to invent our own. We learn art in the same way, we first copy pieces of the greatest artists, before we start unleashing our creativity. The same goes for styling. Yes, we always encourage you to follow your own rules, ignoring other people’s rules. But if you are a complete beginner then copying other people’s styles will help you build a strong base that you can add your touch to later. It’s like learning the basics by following others, and once you get that you start adding your own touches with more confidence. Sometimes we save a lot of time and effort by learning from others’ experiences, and this is what you’ll be doing.
Imitate! Pick one outfit and try to imitate it as close as possible with what you have, or simply go into a store and try stuff on. Then assess what you like/don’t like about it, rinse and repeat.
Why is this point so important for beginners? Two reasons, first of all, when you try to copy an outfit as close as possible you’ll be forced to pay extra attention to details. And this really matters in fashion. For example, imagine two outfits, both consist of a white t-shirt, jeans and a brown belt but styled differently, the cut and fit of those pieces, and therefore also the silhouette and overall vibe of the outfit will be completely different.
Secondly, In the best-case scenario, you love your copied look and have discovered a new favorite that you’ll want to wear all the time. And if you don’t like the outfit on you, you can use that as an opportunity to learn more about your style too, by trying to figure out exactly what it is you don’t like about it. The fit of the pieces, the colors, the materials? Can you think of a way to tweak it to make it better? Are there any aspects you do like about the look? How could you incorporate it into your wardrobe?
3 || Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
If you are a fashion newbie, you can know what you like and what works best for you in only one way; trying things out. Only after you expose yourself to thousands of different aesthetics and experiments, you can confidently point to something and say, “yes this is my style.” Only then you start to have a clear image of what you like and don’t like when it comes to fashion.
This “experimentation phase” is a must in anyone’s fashion journey, even the greatest fashion bloggers have gone through this. And they have got it wrong many many times before they become as glamourous as we see right now.
Hey, I know what you’re thinking right now; “How in hell would I have the money for this?”… Well, I got you. I don’t expect you to have hundreds of clothes piles that you will never wear. That’s why make it fun! Actively seek out new styles, colors and silhouettes that are outside of your typical comfort zone, all for the sake of research. Go into stores just to try on a bunch of stuff, take mental or actual notes of what you like/dislike, and leave again without buying anything.
A good exercise to get you out of your comfort zone is going to a store you have never bought anything from and challenge yourself to find a complete outfit that you like and would wear. Or try on that one piece that you love on other people but think you can’t pull off yourself, and see if you can build an outfit around it.
4 || Make Your Most-Worn Pieces Your Starting Point
Even if you don’t like your wardrobe state right now, I am sure you have some pieces that you really like and wear everywhere. These could help you a lot. How? start by figuring out why you like them; is it the colors, fabrics, or the silhouettes?
Again, make sure you are precise at this point. Instead of saying ‘I like that pair of pants because it’s comfortable and has a nice fit’, find out what exact feature of the piece makes it so comfortable and well-fitting. The all-natural material, the high waist, the thicker fabric?
Once you define what you like about these pieces, you’ll have a detailed list that you can refer to when you go shopping.
Another thing you can do is to do a little online research to see how other people are styling your most-worn pieces. Let’s say one of your wardrobe favorites is a simple striped top. Type in “Striped top outfits” on Pinterest,… and voila: a whole set of new outfit ideas to experiment with.
Enjoy the journey 🙂