Style and Styling

5 Common Style Mistakes (Redux)

Happy day, dearest reader!

Are you a people watcher? I am! I find human beings endlessly fascinating. Not just how they look, but also how they move and behave. The advent of the cell phone makes this even more interesting, because people seem to think that what they say (or the person speaking to them on speaker) is private, even when they are shouting into their phones… When the woman at the mall announced “That man will never get his hands down my pants again!” she forfeited the right to wonder why the entire population in earshot is staring! Or to follow it up with “What are you looking at?” #notsayinganythingjustsaying

Last October, I was lucky enough to spend an evening in Harlem, Georgia at the Ladies’ Night Out event. Hundreds of women were enjoying the cool evening air, wine and snacks, and seeing what the sellers had to offer. It was a fabulous opportunity for women-watching! There were women of all shapes, styles, and ages. Over the course of the evening, women sporting some very common style mistakes wandered past over and over again. I have had a few other extreme people-watching opportunities since, and the same five keep appearing. So, I thought it time to reshare those five, and some simple ways to correct them! (Men do these same things, BTW…)

1. Wearing Unflattering Colors

The most glaring mistake I saw was color incompatibility, when your personal coloring and clothing or makeup aren’t harmonious. It can be challenging to tell if a color is good for us; we see color in stores with (bizarre) artificial lighting, and through the filter of our own likes and dislikes. We rarely see color objectively! We like colors that do us no favors and buy them without thinking about how to make them work for us. (AND buy colors our friends love when we shop with them!) Incompatible colors make you look tired, unwell, or like you need makeup. Often you put them on and just don’t feel “yourself” in them, so you take them back off again. Your closet wears them more than you do.

Your best colors make you look healthy, happy, well rested, or in love; those are your “good” colors! When someone says “I love the color of that shirt!” They are saying more about themselves than they are about how the color looks on you. As a matter of fact, when they notice the color first, it’s likely “too” for you. Too bright, too muted, too dark, too light, too warm, or too cool… All those “too’s” are color properties, and getting them right is one of the  keys to looking your best without trying! Noticing when you receive those “Wow, you look great today!” “What are you doing differently?” or “Are you in love?” comments will be cues that you are wearing a great color for you. If that’s not happening, think about a color consultation. (I’d LOVE to help!) If you had one ten or more years ago, it’s time for an update. Our coloring changes as we age… (There are lots of color systems out there, but the one I use is the Absolute Color System. I was frequently mis-typed in other systems causing frustration and confusion!)

2. Neglecting Accessories

Accessories make the difference between I-covered-my-nakedness, and an outfit. To see what a difference accessories (and toppers) can make, check out 5 Ways to Style a White Tee and Jeans. Most of the additions to the white tee + jeans equation are what I call Style Staples, the pieces I look for in a client’s closet to get them styling!

Accessories (along with color and pattern) are one of the best ways to draw attention to the parts of you that you love, and away from those you don’t! Dressing is similar to a magician who “disappears” a bus. You can hide the bus, but unless you redirect attention to where you want them to look, they will see when the bus drives off. If you don’t want people to notice your tummy, you need to give them something else to look at! Statement earrings or a necklace, or even some fun shoes… There are lots of choices!

3. Wearing Clothes Too Large

This is a pet peeve of most stylists I know. Women frequently buy their clothes with extra room to hide (what they think is) their problem area. It might be the tummy, the booty, the thighs, you name it! The problem with extra room is that our eye visually fills in that extra room, and our brain interprets that empty space as solid, meaning bigger than it is! I’m not suggesting the solution is to squeeze into a sausage casing; that is equally unflattering.  Buy and wear clothing that skims the body. That’s what I look for when dressing my clients. Not squeezing, but not baggy either! If you have to buy an item larger to fit a body variation, say a generous bust or ample booty, please have the rest tailored to fit you properly.  Shorten and/or slim the sleeves, take in the waist, and hem the shirt to the proper length.  Buy the jeans that fit your booty, and have the waist taken in. That will make all the difference in the world!

4. Throwing on Just Any Jacket

I understand that stylish outerwear may not be at the top of your priority list when evacuating due to an oncoming natural disaster, but in ordinary time, when you attend a (primarily) outdoor event, give some thought to your outer layer. Throwing on that baggy old fleece hides the cute blouse and perfect necklace that made you look and feel so great when you dressed. (You know the fleece I mean… The hand-me-down that lives in the back of your car. Yup. The one with dog hair and spilled condiments on it.) A good looking outer layer is what people see you in when the weather is cold or poor, so it makes sense to make sure your outerwear isn’t an afterthought. Three years living in England convinced me of the importance of a stylish outer layer! Yes, it needs to be warm and keep you dry, but you can still choose a coat or jacket that fits well (see above), and flatters your silhouette and coloring. A coat doesn’t have to be neutral! Try a coat in a color that enhances your eyes or skin. That will always look good on you!

This jacket color is one of my Lip Enhancers…

5. Wearing Jeans or Trousers Too Long

I need to do some more research on this one… Quite a few women walk about with dragging hems. It looks like they choose flats to wear with jeans that would be perfect with heels. I know that flats (or low heels) are the better choice for walking around for the evening. I certainly would choose them, myself! That said, wandering with your hems dragging is unchic, unhygienic, and unsafe. (Can you say “tripping and germs”? Ewwwww.)  Unless you wear all your bottoms cropped, it makes sense to have some hemmed for heels, and others for flats. If your jeans won’t stay rolled for the duration, or you don’t like the look, hem a pair of jeans for flat shoe days.

Can you help me with my research! Are any of these mistakes with which you struggle? What is it about hemming jeans? Do you bother or not? If not, why not? Or are you so long legged that it is unnecessary? (I’ll be envious!) I’d appreciate any of your experiences and insights. Please feel free to share in the comments below.

Stylishly yours,


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