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Needless to say, I haven't done much clothes shopping the past few weeks so don't really have any special deals to report as most stores are catering more to gifts in the form of jewelry than gifts of cloth. But someone asked me the other day where and how I figured out what I like. It sounded like a strange question at first, but after Ii thought about it a little bit, I realized that, as far as fashion is concerned, I've absolutely and completely become a thief! My advice to her was "Steal. Steal every chance you get and from any source that inspires you".
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If I'm held captive for more than 5 minutes (think nail salon, hair stylist, doctors office), I grab the biggest, fattest magazine I can find and thumb through it. It doesn't even have to be a fashion magazine; anything that has pictures of people who are wearing clothes. Study hair styles and shoes....look at accessories and how they're put together with different outfits....think of what you have in your closet that you could pair together to create a similar look and imagine how you'd feel wearing it if it's something you haven't tried yet. Check out how makeup is done (adverts are great for this as they usually show a woman's face up close so you can really see how the makeup is done). In doing this, I realized that I hadn't changed how I applied my eyeliner since I first started sneaking it on at boarding school almost 30 (?!!!) years ago. I used my cell phone to take a picture of the ad that had the eyeliner application I wanted to try, and have been using this new method often lately. Cell phone cameras are a great resource when it comes to this. If you're anything like me, you won't remember what you like unless you have a reference point. My camera is full of ideas, from a new color of eye makeup, to a jewelry design I particularly like, that I would have otherwise forgotten if I hadn't snapped a pic.
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TV is another great source where the camera also comes in handy. The hairstyle I have now came directly from a Nike commercial that I saw on TV four years ago. I found the commercial online, bookmarked the video in my phone and took it to my stylist. She used it as a reference point more than once as she cut my long hair into the new short style, and she appreciated having the entire commercial to see the hair style at different angles and in motion. And I love the style....it's exactly what I wanted, exactly like the woman's hair in the commercial.
Study people (try not to be creepy about it though!). For instance, because I work in a professional office, I am in constant contact with many women, a number of whom are in my age bracket (though certainly not in my tax bracket!) who take a lot of pride in their appearance. There is one woman in particular whose sense of style I greatly admire. Lucky for me, we have similar coloring and body build, and I've made it a point to surreptitiously check out her wardrobe every morning when I see her. She's always impeccably dressed, a little dressier than business casual since she is a VP, but what strikes me the most every time I see her is how she wears her clothes. She's not a knock-out; she's as ordinary as the rest of us. But she walks in with her head up, looks you in the eye when she says 'Good morning', stands up straight even though she's above-average in height, and doesn't rush when she walks. She exudes this aura of control and femininity and strength that is fascinating to me, (who feels like I mostly stumble around with my head down bumping into things and apologizing!) 'Regal' is the word I think of when I see her. But she doesn't come off as snooty or conceited. Just very, very confident. And it's the most striking thing about her. It's something I genuinely aspire to (but that's another entry for another day)! :) But I truly believe that confidence is the smartest thing you can put on every day. No matter how that confidence is dressed, it's what people will notice the most.
.....but I digress. As I was saying, find someone whose style you admire and copy it for all you're worth, always remembering to put your own spin on it. (Remember, you're copying the style, not the outfit itself, so no 'twinning' here...creepy).
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Don't be afraid to try something new! Never worn eye shadow before? There are these great little compacts that are sold at Walgreen's for about $3 that come with three complimentary colors: one for the lid, one for the crease, and one for the brow. It makes a smokey eye fool-proof! And for the cost, even if you decide you don't like how it looks on you, you haven't spent so much you're going to feel bad if you never use it again. Always wear diamond studs and nothing else? Walmart is a good source for inexpensive experimentation. You can usually find some cute earrings there for under $5 that you won't be upset tossing out if you decide you hate them. A lot of times those little stores in the mall that sell accessories only, like Claire's, are good for this too. Just make sure that you're always comfortable with what you choose to wear. Don't wear it just because you convince yourself you have to try something new. So many woman I see seem so uncomfortable in what they're wearing, they look as though their clothes are wearing them! More than anything else, you have to feel comfortable with your fashion choices in that they are a true representation of you as a person.
And I think that is the most important part: making sure that when you step out of your house, you feel confident in what you've chosen to wear. That doesn't have to mean the latest fashions, bright colors, or even makeup or jewelry. If it doesn't make you feel comfortable and beautiful, don't bother. Confidence that how you appear to others is a true representation of who you are on the inside is truly the only accessory you'll ever need. So copy what you like and wear it like you mean it!
Confidence: It's the new black.