Article written by Ann Reinten AICI CIP, creator of the My Private Stylist program:  Changing Lives One Wardrobe At A Time

The term ‘fashion victim’ was coined by Oscar de la Renta to describe someone who is unable to identify commonly recognised boundaries of style. Gianni Versace referred to it as “When a woman alters her look too much from season to season.

I’d be the first to put my hand up and say I LOVE fashion and with it comes the potential for me to fall into the fashion victim category. I love constantly being presented with new and interesting looks that allow me to evolve my personal style while expanding and experimenting with my wardrobe choices.

But becoming a fashion victim is not something that will happen to me. For starters, I know who I am, I take from fashion only what suits my personality and figure and I wear things my way.

So in the spirit of being fashionably fabulous, here’s my take on what’s important to know:

To Thine Self Be True

Possessing a great look is first and foremost about feeling great when you look in the mirror. If you’ve ever had a friend cajole you into into wearing something that wasn’t ‘you’, you’d have experienced the discomfort it brings. Even if it looked great on your body, if the style did not gel with who you are (your style personality) it felt awkward and disconnected. In fact wearing any thing that isn’t you literally drains you of energy.

So, regardless if an item is the hottest must-have ever, if it’s not ‘you’ pass on it. There are always plenty of other trends to choose items from.

Also, Your Personal Style is ever evolving and as you explore and discover your authentic style you’ll discover what an awesome journey it is, and the more original, fresh and happy you’ll be in your clothes.

Dodge Fashion Time Warps

It may have been ‘totally you’ and it’s served you well over the years, having paid for itself many times over but it’s now 15 years. Now when you wear it, you and the garment look outdated. “But it’s retro – that’s in” I hear you say. That may be true, but retro on the young looks cool. However on those who have lived through the era it often looks dowdy and outdated. A style mantra to remember is ‘if you were young enough to wear it the first time you’re probably too old to wear it the second time round.

Strive to always wear clothes that are current. They will show you are current and have a love of today.

Nail the Basics

stylebasicsThese are the building blocks that create a stylish wardrobe and presence that will create the image you wish to portray to the world. If you skip over building a solid foundation, then your presence will be all flash and no substance.

Your foundation pieces are the real work horses of your wardrobe. So much so, that if you lost them it would severely debilitate your ability to create outfits that fit your lifestyle and aesthetic ideals. Foundation garments are primarily classic in nature and simply in design. Nailing these means ensuring you have the right quantity, in the best style for your figure and in the best quality you can afford.

Focus on Style, Not Price

Regardless of the designer name on the label, the price you paid or how ‘in’ the item is, if the style does not suit or fit, or the colour is unflattering don’t go there. Fashion victims snap up the latest trends and wear them proudly, showing everyone that they know what’s in style. Meanwhile, those around them are thinking, “So you know what’s in style. But do you have a mirror?”

Conspicuous consumption isn’t stylish either, and raises questions regarding your sensibilities of what’s important. It shows social insecurity and turns more people off than it impresses. By focusing on what suits your personal style, figure, colouring and lifestyle you’ll be streets ahead in the style stakes.

Fight Fashion Frenzy

Wearing too much of anything is never a good idea, no matter what it is, but especially when it comes to fashion. Keep statement or trend pieces to one or two per outfit lest you be seen as a try-hard. Likewise buying garments that don’t go with anything just because they are ‘in’ begs the question why? You can get into a vicious circle of throwing good money after bad trying to make a bad purchase or an orphan item work.

Avoid Pinch, Pull, Tug

There’s nothing worse than knickers up your butt. It’s irritating, distracting and looks bad.

Your undergarments affect your overall appearance, and wearing the correct size will give you the level support and coverage you need. Badly fitting underwear causes unsightly bulges and the embarrassment of being caught in the act of liberating your knickers out of your butt . So throw away anything that is stretched or too tight, and have regular bra fittings. Unlike clothing, that is often vanity sized, lingerie is usually correctly sized and as a result will need to be larger than you expect. If the size on the label distresses you cut it off – I won’t tell.

Be Mindful of Your Age Limitations

You may still have a great body, but what age does your face say you are? A well dressed woman wears clothes that match her face. There are many trends that can easily be adapted to many ages and then there are some that should be left to the young. Thirtysomething designer Veronica Swanson Beard has got it right when she says “Dressing your age means feeling comfortable in your own skin and working with what you’ve got.” Working with what you’ve got, not what you had – is the key. ->

Obviously age inappropriate clothes worn by mature age women proclaim to the world that they are not coping well with aging, are gullible or lack self awareness. Dress too old and you may be mistaken for an old maid or door mouse.

You’re Not Toothpaste

So don’t go squeezing yourself into, or out of anything that’s too small for you. Sizes were invented for the sole reason of identifying and fitting various body sizes, not as an ego boost so you can prove to yourself you’re still a size 10.

The simple truth is, if you wear clothes that are too small for you, you’ll end up looking heavier than you actually are, and that’s not stylish, attractive or comfortable. You’ll look much slimmer and appealing if you wear the right size for your figure.

Blessed is Shapewear

If your body is not as firm as it was but you wish to wear fitted garments, shapewear is the only way to go. Without it the sight is one of shake, wobble and roll.

Long gone are the days of iron and whalebone corsets or latex girdles. Today’s body shapers are comfortable, effective, and give a natural-looking shape and if you need any more convincing, know that over 80% of female celebrities wear them.

Article written by Ann Reinten AICI CIP, creator of the My Private Stylist program:  Changing Lives One Wardrobe At A Time
© 2013 Image Innovators Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission

So how about you? Are you a fashion victim or fashion fabulous?

Feature image by Andrea

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