Friday, July 6, 2012

A Fresh Start, Part 3: Dress

Now we come to the final post in our 'A Fresh Start' series. The series has focused on creating an organized, neat atmosphere for your summer plans. If you missed our last two posts, 'Part 1: Studies' and 'Part 2: Rooms', look in our archive on the right, or scroll down. 

Fashion icon Coco Channel once said, "Dress shabbily and they remember the dress. Dress impeccably and they remember the woman." And it's true: the way we dress can affect how successful we are, the opportunities we are given, and our level of attractiveness. Dressing nicely, though, isn't as much work as some think. Putting together polished, thrifty, and easy-to-wear outfits only takes a couple minutes more out of your day, and is well worth the extra effort. 

Style: I know you've all heard this before, but I will say it again: style doesn't matter as much if the clothing is neat and clean. And it's true. Everybody has a different sense of style, some more adventurous than others, but all can create a polished look. The trick is to find what complements your personality and figure, what things inspire your style, and what clothing will help you check things off your to-do list. And remember: a cultivated style is always more attractive than a wardrobe made from off-the-shelf pieces.

Tip: If you're worried about a piece of clothing being too loud, try pairing it with a more neutral, clean-lined piece (like a geometric shape printed blouse and a basic, black pencil skirt). The trick is balance.

White Blouse from Modcloth
Outfit No. 1
Fit: Young ladies, especially, should make it a habit to make sure that their entire wardrobe is well-fitted. The result is more flattering outfits, and higher self esteem. A good fit can also change the entire look from rumpled, dowdy, and outdated to chic, professional, and classy. Some say tailored clothes can even make a young woman more successful at interviews, auditions, and other events when you are being compared to others. Alterations, however, can often get expensive. There is definitely  much to be said about learning to re-fit items on your own, or finding a friend who is willing to do so for a more reasonable price. If you would like to learn, local sewing schools often offer classes on alterations. 

Shopping: When purchasing anything more than a basic T-shirt, always try it on! Clothes look much different when on a hanger. If you do decide to buy, make sure you have taken into consideration the quality, whether it would be cheaper at another store, and it's wear-ability (including if you have wardrobe pieces that go with it, and whether or not it is comfortable). It is true that you 'get what you pay for', so in some cases, paying a little more is acceptable. In others, you'd be better to wait for it to go on sale. And if you're not perfectly happy with something, don't waste your money on it!

Blue Skirt with Bow, from Modcloth
Outfit No. 1
Tip: Never underestimate thrift shops and online shopping (such as ebay). Oftentimes unique pieces can be found much cheaper at these places. Be prepared to pick, but keep an open mind! You never know what you may find. If you have a dance or other dressy event coming up, consider borrowing a dress from a friend. This is a great way to try a style you like, without investing a large amount of money.

Makeup: Good makeup skills are worth having, as they can add a lot to an outfit. I personally feel that you shouldn't start wearing makeup often until high school. Before that, it's simply not necessary. Even in high school, I really don't think it a must to wear it everyday. If you decide to put some on for an average event (such as school, church, or a club meeting), go light. Makeup should enhance your natural beauty, not change the way you look. Try keeping it to just three items (this will also save you time in the morning!). My three are concealer, foundation, and mascara; experiment and find out what combination works for you. When going to a formal event, feel free to wear much more than usual.

Beige Mary Jane Flats from Modcloth
Outfit No. 1

Tip: Try talking to a private makeup consultant, hair stylist, or a woman working the mall's makeup counter for ideas and tips on what will work with you. Also, try to find out your 'colors'. Using them will enhance the overall effect. 

What to wear when? We've all had to face the question, 'what do I wear?'. Though not always easily answered, the question shouldn't be ignored. Dressing appropriately is just as important as dressing in a stylish way. Here are some basic scenarios, what type of clothing is appropriate, and an outfit idea for inspiration.
Cotton Blouse from Etsy
Outfit No. 2

No. 1-Talent show, recitation, or awards ceremony: Presumably this event is held in the evening, so try a slightly dressier outfit than you would wear during the day. Also, since you will probably be on stage, wear some blush to make sure you don't wash out. For an outfit, wear a breezy skirt and a light blouse, and try to make one of the pieces have some detail. You may also want to pull on a matching cardigan. For shoes, go with either basic flats, sandals, or wedges.

Khacki Shorts with Bow, from JC Penny
Outfit No. 2

No. 2-Day of biking/strolling/outdoor activity: Since you are going to be outside, you definitely to dress in clothes that are light and easy to clean. A hat would be a good idea, too. Try wearing a skort or shorts, a sleeveless top, functional shoes, and a hat.

No. 3-Clerking at a local store: You did it: you got the job to run the cash register at a local shop for the summer! But what do you wear? For a clerking job, the trick is to look professional yet casual, and wear clothes that you can easily move in. Try basic, straight-silhouette skirts, with short sleeved blouses, flats, and a cute bag. 
Brown Sneakers from Payless
Outfit No. 2

Rayon Skirt from Modcloth
Outfit No. 3

Basic Pink T from Old Navy
Outfit No. 3

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