Sunday, March 15, 2009

Style Tips: Easy Mode

Photo by riot jane

I know that some of my readers already have a fabulous sense of style, but my blog was started for...well, myself, but also for sartorial n00bs. Hopefully this post will serve as a guide for funking up a case of the common outfit (or a refresher for those of you who've been there, done that).
  • Scarves, scarves, scarves. I'm talking about lightweight silk scarves, shawls, winter scarves, bandannas, anything; in all materials, sizes and shapes. They're everywhere, they're cheap, and they're probably the easiest sartorial tool to utilize. Fold a square one in half and put it on your head or wear it around your neck (point forward like a cowboy or in back like Hank Venture). Use a long one as a belt or a headband. Experiment with where & how you tie it (brush up on fancy knots). Tie one on your belt loop, around your arm, a tank top strap, a purse, your ankle...anything. A piece of scrap fabric works just as well, too.
  • Layering. I've been rocking the short-sleeves over long-sleeves look forever (and also getting compliments) but only recently diversified my layers. Plain ribbed tanks are a good lightweight alternative to sweater vests over sleeved shirts. Contrasting socks look awesome over bright tights or leggings. Putting a shirt on over a dress turns it into a brand new skirt. If you need help, there are innumerable articles on this.
  • Belt loops are not just for belts. Attach a scarf, necklce, ribbon, keychain, bracelet, toy...anything. Great for a fun look and also an easy way to tie in an isolated color somewhere else in your outfit.
  • Simple color coordination works wonders. For example, you can go nuts mixing patterns if they all contain the same few colors. If a color looks too out of place in an outfit, find a place for a small accessory in the same color. Sometimes fashion magazines will tell you to avoid being all "matchy-matchy", but I personally think it's crap. Coordinate items most people wouldn't think of, like umbrellas to your outfit or towels to your bathing suit. It really makes you look like you know what you're doing.
  • Don't seperate your dress-up clothes from your casual clothes. Wear super-fancy pieces with the basics. Why have a bunch of pretty clothes you never wear? I occassionally even dress down my old prom dresses!
  • Name your outfits. I think the key to unique outfits is almost treating them as costumes. I constantly dress up (subtly) as video game characters. I'm not talking about full-on cosplay; just try to capture the essence of something in the outfit. Examples of (non-video game- or pop culture-related) outfits I've worn and named: Indie Farm Girl, Tough Love, Ninja Skater, Semi-formal Beach, Hipster Jock, Russian Bombshell. It seems silly, but it really helps. And no one has to know the theme of your outfit but you! Try dressing with the essence of a hybrid sartorial stereotype, your favorite song, a best friend, an animal...anything.
More "advanced" style tips coming soon!


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