Remember that old fashion rule about not wearing white after Labor Day? So not true anymore. And the notion that you can’t mix patterns? Talk about outdated. But there are plenty of style rules that not only continue to hold true, but following them will also make you look taller, leaner and—naturally—more stylish in a snap.
Your tailor is your best friend. Good tailoring makes all the difference when it comes to how flattering your clothes look on your body, allowing you to play up your best assets and camouflage the parts you’d prefer to play down. “Learning how to accentuate your best attributes is all about the cut of your clothes, so you need to be aware of your silhouette and making sure things fit,” says celebrity stylist Erin Walsh, whose star clients include Kerry Washington, Sarah Jessica Parker and Maggie Gyllenhaal. “Tailoring allows you to accentuate that best version of yourself. Also, you won’t wear the things you buy if they don’t fit you right.”
Don’t sweat the size on the tag. Cut them out if you have to, because tags are meaningless, Walsh says, as different designers work off different sample sizing. “It’s about you, not the number, whether it’s on the scale or the tag,” she says. “It’s about how you feel, the confidence you have and the kind of statement you want to make. It has nothing to do with the tag—I can’t stress that enough.”
Hem your jeans to match your shoes. Tailor the hem of each pair of jeans and pants to match the heels you want to wear them with, suggests Walsh. In other words, the hem should work with either your flats or your stilettos—it can’t be both or else your pants will look too long or too short.
Invest in good undergarments. “Undergarments are as important as the lotion and deodorant you put on each morning,” Walsh says. “When you start with a good base, the rest of you just feels more comfortable.” And your clothes fall better on your body. The goal is to keep lines under wraps for a more streamlined look (read: no visible panty lines). And make sure you have a bra that fits. “Get measured at a store,” Walsh says.
Balance out your top to bottom. Rule of thumb: If you’re wearing something baggy on top, wear something fitted on the bottom, and vice versa. “When it comes to proportion, if you’re wearing an oversize jacket, do a skinny pant,” says Walsh. Her favorite look: a trapeze-style top worn with a slim capri pant—think 1960s Audrey Hepburn.
A statement necklace or scarf can transform any outfit. Never underestimate the power of a statement necklace or a colorful scarf to elevate even the most basic outfit, says Jacqui Stafford, YouBeauty Style Expert and author of “The Wow! Factor: Insider Style Secrets for Every Body and Budget.” “The simplest, most boring T-shirt and jeans can be absolutely transformed if you just add a necklace or scarf,” she says.Just consider your neckline when choosing your accessory, Stafford notes. Wearing a turtleneck or a style that’s cut close to the neck? Opt for a long necklace to add length.
Embrace your shape.“Rather than worrying about dieting and trying to get into a certain size, when you dress for your body shape you can look 10 pounds thinner tomorrow,” Stafford says. The key is to highlight the best parts of your body and accept your unique shape, she says. “Women waste so much time wishing for what they don’t have rather than making what they do have look spectacular,” Stafford says. “Focus on figuring out what looks best on your body. Once you know what works on your body shape, you will look younger and slimmer just by wearing the right clothes.”
Nude pumps go with everything.“They’re genius,” Walsh says. “I love playing with different colors and patterns, with shoes in particular, but in terms of elongating your leg, a nude pump works every time.” Just make sure your nude shoe matches your skintone.
Splurge on two great bags.For running around town, Walsh recommends reaching for a large framed bag, such as a doctor style one, which is big enough to fit your newspaper, water bottle, snack, wallet, passport, etc. And while clutches are great, Walsh says a cross-body bag can’t be beat when you can get away with something smaller. “They’re very convenient and streamlined,” she says, “and you won’t leave it behind in the taxi.”
Don’t always get sold by sales.We’ve all been there: Sure, those pants are snug, but they’re so cheap, you’ll surely drop a few pounds and fit into them soon, right? Or, yeah, that bright orange top is a bit much for you, but it’s on clearance! Remember, it’s only a bargain if you wear it.
When in doubt, wear black.It’s slimming and sexy and never goes out of style. And if you’re worried about smudging deodorant on your black clothes as you slip them on, Walsh, who has teamed with Dove Advanced Care Deodorant, recommends the brand’s invisible solid that won’t leave marks on your clothes. But if the white stuff does make its way onto your LBD, Walsh suggests this trick: Simply rub the fabric together to erase it—or wipe it away with a dry sponge.