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According to the CDC, the average American woman is just under 5’4” and weighs almost 165 pounds. Funny how most fashion “advice” we receive from shopping magazines and Web sites seem to be geared towards women who are over 5’5” and a size 6 or smaller.
Show off your curves with a belt!
Every woman needs a classic trench in her wardrobe – an instant way to look chic on a rainy day!
Reading articles about how every woman has a right red lipstick, pair of jeans, or LBD and they will tell you which one is right for you can be a bit depressing. No matter your size or age, I bet you often look at these lists and either don’t fit one category, or span over multiple categories. What if you are petite and have wide hips? If you have light eyes but olive skin? If you have a heart-shaped face when at goal weight, but right now have some extra softness around the jaw line? These categories don’t help the average woman, they just make women feel even more awkward.
Stop trying to be trendy; trendy is usually tacky when you are over the age of 21. Use your fashion magazines and Web sites as you would a coffee table book of Monet’s works – something for inspiration, for entertainment, for meditation. Absorb the whole look, not just the boot or the lip color. See the beauty, note what draws you in and what makes you flip the page faster.
Think of women who are considered stylish. Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Gwenyth Paltrow, Michelle Obama, Diane Kruger, Carolina Hererra, Diane von Furstenberg. These women aren’t known for adopting every trend that comes across a runway. They are perennially stylish because they don’t adopt trends, they have slowly, over time, found their personal style. A look that works with their figure, their personality, their lifestyle. There is nothing trendy about them, and that is a GOOD thing.
Fashion magazines and Web sites, blogs that notify you about the latest looks and designer collections – they are wonderful references. But keep them as just that – a reference. When you wrote research papers in school, you were encouraged to find information from a variety or primary and secondary resources. No one ever received an ‘A’ from writing a paper solely off information in the World Book Encyclopedia, or even from interviewing the person who was the topic of the research. Good research, just like good style comes from a variety of sources and adding your own opinion to what you have collected. Just as with a quality research paper, one does not accomplish style overnight. It takes time, thought, and careful editing. Often it is best when seen with a second set of eyes, be it your roommate proofing your paper, or your best friend helping you decide between the strappy sandals or the D’Orsay pumps.
When you try to replicate the trend or style of another, it always looks like that – a copy. Not everyone can wear a crisp white shirt or a trench. Not every woman looks stylish in red lipstick, and there isn’t the right pair of jeans out there on a rack for every woman. This doesn’t mean you need to lock yourself in your home in your Snuggie, but it means you need to find and accept your personal style. Once you do, you will see that shopping and fashion is far easier than your Senior Thesis.
I love this! I totally agree. It’s taken me years to come up with my own sense of style and it is always evolving. This season I found myself inspired by the Louis Vuitton collection – lots of deep rich raspberries and deep purples along with a rich carmel color. I added these colors to some items I already have and stepped up my look a bit. I love what you wrote because rather than following ‘rules’ sometimes it’s simply good to be observant about what looks good on YOU.
Wow! I am average! Amazing… and, well, so there, Vogue! I stopped reading most fashion magazines because of the one-item focus–the belt, the skinny jean, the skinny T–which is about selling, let’s face it, not style. I have recently gotten back into the water with just your philosophy and feel great about enjoying fashion mags (always one of my secret pleasures!) again. Now I notice, however, that most of them think spending $200 on a blouse–a poorly made, one-season fashion blouse–is normal. That’s the NEW “unreal” to me!
You know, I always knew that some things just didn’t work for me – like trench coats. But… because everyone was always saying that you needed one, I’d keep trying – growing evermore frustrated with not being to find one that looked good and feeling angry about feeling obligated to buy something that I didn’t really want in order to be stylish.
So, I really appreciate you validating my feelings that most “must have” lists are a bunch of hooey and can be safely ignored. Except for yours – I love your wardrobe basics list. Especially since you don’t insist that everyone must have everything in there whether it suits them or not.
Don’t get me wrong – I love fashion mags, but it’s best to take them with a grain of salt; they are in the business of selling whatever it is that the industry is pushing.
Well put. My problem is that I kind of know my style but it is hard to put together with what is available in the stores. I love you blog.
Wonderful article! Thank you for saying it so well.