Seven sins of style for men and women
You may be committing these sins of style without even knowing it. Style is about subtly and nuance but many of us want to create style by shopping or as I like to call it “throwing clothes at the problem.” If these style basics aren’t right then it doesn’t matter how many clothes you buy, you will still end up frustrated by your look. Read below for seven sins of style that you may be making.
1. You don’t take care of your footwear!
Scuffed shoes, worn leather, high heels that look they have been hit with rocks. All of these contribute to diminishing the impact of any outfit. Find a cobbler and work with him/her. Shoes should be conditioned, polished to remove scuffs, heels can be replaced and can be made to look like new. If they can’t be cleaned up by a cobbler, consider a new pair. It’s important to note that you should be investing in high quality shoes that can be maintained. They will serve you over time instead of appearing cheap within a few months of wear. The more sustainable choice is to buy less, but buy higher quality.
2. You aren’t wearing foundation garments.
Either my clients aren’t wearing foundation garments – slips are the usual missing element for women or they have not recently been measured for a bra. For men this means not wearing an undershirt beneath a dress shirt. Lack of proper coverage is immediately evident and can ruin the overall effect of an outfit. Women, you should get measured for your bra every two years and sooner if you have had a major change in weight (+/- ten pounds). If you are someone who worries about sweating and sweat stains in your underarms. Try garment guards – they will help you be more comfortable in the clothes you wear as they protect the clothes from sweat stains. Why you need a slip for skirts and dresses.
3. You wear socks with heels or flats and let them show.
I see this a lot from my female clients. They sometimes come from a part of the U.S. where it was traditional to wear socks with their flats. However, that has moved from traditional to style mistake. If you live an area where you are concerned about cold feet consider alternate shoes like boots where the sock is concealed. If you like to wear flats or pumps but don’t like your feet to be bare – consider no see-um socks where they just cover the bottom of your foot and the tops of your toes. This goes for men who wear boat shoes or (open shoes), you see the top of the sock above the top of the shoe or even worse, when men wear ankle socks with these types of shoes. Again, get a pair of no show socks.
Men – did you know that your socks should be the same color or darker than the trouser you are wearing? This helps create an unbroken, lean line. Review the colors of your socks compared to your trousers to make sure you have appropriate colors for the trousers and jeans.
4. You rely on color matching instead of color pairing.
This includes refusal to mix neutrals. (Reminder: Neutral colors are gray, white, black, brown and navy). Now there are nuances. I advise wearing caramel or tan with black vs. chocolate brown and black. Navy and black always work. For women, if you wear navy pumps with navy trousers you are going to look “matchy-matchy” and the effect is matronly. Men – I think this is easier for you but if you are struggling with this, know that neutrals pair with other neutrals always. Color pairing includes wearing colors based on color theory. Check out the videos below to learn more about color theory.
5. You wear the wrong length of pants.
When you wear pants that are too long, the pants stack – when you pant leg folds on top of itself – or they pool at the ankle. If you wear pants that are too short, you look like you ready to wade into a stream. Proper length of pant is to the top of the foot. If you wear heels, evaluate the pants you have and wear the correct length pants with heels. It helps to have pants hemmed to different lengths if you wear flats and heels so you have pants to go with each. For men, it’s rare for you to be able to buy clothes right off the rack without tailoring, especially if you have a shorter inseam. The bottom of a man’s pant should be just about a half inch above the back heel of the shoe. Evaluate your pants and get them hemmed if necessary. Hemming pants is one of the easy alterations (and more affordable) but yet many of us do not do it and end up looking frumpy.
6. Your clothes don’t fit.
One of the most basic elements of style yet, one that is often overlooked with unfortunate style consequences. If your clothes are too tight, they will pull across your chest or top of hips. For men, if your shirt is too tight, it will create an “X” across your torso. If your pants are too tight, they will pull across the top of your hips as well. You may be concerned about having to buy clothes to cover a larger part of your body and then the rest of the clothing is too big. Buy for the toughest to fit area and alter the rest. This could mean fitting your bust for women and having the shirt taken in at the sides. For men this could mean buying a shirt that fits your chest and having it taken in to fit your torso. When your clothes are tailored or altered they look like they were custom made and you’ll be much more more likely to wear and enjoy them with a proper (and flattering) fit.
7. You think more is better.
More clothes, more shopping, more shoes! All of it adds up to spending more money and decision fatigue or paralysis through analysis when deciding to get ready each day. An edited wardrobe is a stylish wardrobe. Do not think that by shopping more, buying more or having that latest “thing” that your style woes will suddenly go away or be solved. It’s not about “more” it’s about defining your style, creating cohesive, flattering looks and understanding how to dress your body.
The solution does not mean you need to ditch your entire wardrobe and spend thousands of dollars. Style has to do with the message you send with your clothes not the label, brand or cost of the clothes. Take a moment to consider which of these sins you have committed and see what happens when you stop committing these style sins.
Stop committing style “sins!”
Ready to address your style sins AND learn how to confidently create new outfits without having to buy new clothes? I cover these style sins plus much, much more in The Conscious Closet Confidence Course for women.