Courtesy of Gotham Books
The Wow Factor

Jacqui Stafford’s new book, “The Wow Factor: Insider Style Secrets for Every Body and Every Budget,” hits store shelves today. Here, Stafford shares her top fashion tips for looking your best without breaking the bank.

The easiest way to look sensational…

…is to only wear what flatters your body shape—and nothing that doesn’t. Get your body shape figured out, and you’ll be able to get dressed and look amazing within minutes.

MORE: Our Body Shape Guide


Completely ignore size labels….

…because, really, who cares what size is on the label? No one but you sees it anyway. Focus on finding your best fit. Don’t delude yourself by squeezing into something unflatteringly snug because you can’t bear to go “up” a size. You’ll look slimmer if it fits properly and isn’t stretched across the expanse of your butt or bust. I cut out size labels on practically everything I show to clients.


The best style items to buy online are…

…accessories—bags, jewelry, belts, scarves, etc. Why? Because they’re less size-dependent, so you’re less likely to need to return them because they don’t fit. With shoes and boots, buy two sizes, and return the ill-fitting pair instead of waiting (impatiently) for a lengthy return.

The reason style insiders completely ignore “trends”…

…is because we don’t waste our money on anything that will be deeply unfashionable by next Tuesday. But if you want to get a trend piece, find the dirt cheap version of the item, and then mix it in with a less-trendy, investment classic—like fabulously cut jeans, a versatile blazer and a gorgeous pair of heels—so that no one knows you paid next to nothing for it.


The items more crucial than just about everything else in your closet…

…are the ones you wear underneath. Get to your nearest bra and shapewear department to find your right bra size—since 80 percent of you are wearing the wrong one—and find a bra that lifts your bust to shave up to 10 pounds off your torso by tonight. And then invest in a cellulite-reducing thigh slimmer to smooth out your bottom half. Every celeb on the red carpet is wearing them; often two pairs at the same time for extra “sucking in” power.

MORE: Look Five Pounds Thinner With the Right Bra


The one simple step that sets you apart from everyone else…

…is finding a signature fragrance. It’s the most often-forgotten style accessory, yet the one that guarantees to up your “wow factor.” Shop for one in the morning when your sense of smell is keenest and test no more than two scents at a time. Know which scents men find the most attractive? Woody and clean, with notes of citrus and/or lavender.

Why insiders never shop without a game plan…

…is because stores are positively evil about using tricks to persuade you to part with your hard-earned cash. Don’t get sidetracked; remind yourself that you already own 14 striped tees. Instead, think like a magazine editor as if you’re creating a “page theme” and be specific about what you’re looking for. Don’t deviate from your purchasing plan.

MORE: How to Control Your Impulse Shopping Urge