January 17, 2010

reader's question: how to be more fashionable

Dear NY Spender,

I am looking to try new fashion trends. I was always one not to try a few just because I wonder what people will think of me.

This town I live in isn’t exactly about “fashion”. It’s a very small town, and you see plenty people in sweats and jeans. So I guess out of habit, I start dressing like that as well. If someone in my town would attempt to dress “fashionable”, they would get those “are-you-crazy” looks. I do not want to dress in sweats and jeans all the time! I want to dress like these people here:


Nothing makes me more confident than feeling “put together”.

There are a ton of real people out there with great fashion sense (you included!) I want to be open to these fashion trends.

However, I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I tend to buy different pieces sporadically, but never wear them because, well, I don’t know how to wear them or what to pair them with!

What advice would you have for a person (like myself) trying to re-do her closet and get into all these latest fashion trends?



Dear Taryn,

you don't specify your age (I am guessing it can be anywhere from 12 to 30 years old), but one thing is for sure: it's never too late to start dressing up the way it makes you comfortable and that makes you feel "put together". Just don't waste anymore time on it, start today!

Also, stop wasting money on things you don't wear, and stop caring about what people think about you.

If you want to be fashionable, especially in a town where nobody is fashionable, then you have to be ready to have all eyes on you. And you have to learn to enjoy that feeling.

If you start dressing up with style, wearing nicely put together outfits, showing off all your charm and "I-can't-help-it-I-am-so-fashionable" attitude, yes, maybe you'll initially get the "are you crazy" stares, but soon enough, inevitably, those stares are going to turn into secret admiration from all the other girls in town. I promise.

I come from a town similar but opposite of yours, a small Italian town where everybody dressed up all the time! Where people would iron their jeans. Where the only people wearing sweats and sneakers were the PE teachers. Where you would always wear a new outfit on Sundays! Everybody judging everybody.

So I understand what is like in towns like these.

But I would have loved a town like yours! You have it easy! Without much effort, you should be able to rise above all of them, and, who knows? Maybe start something?

Maybe you could be the girl that brings winds of fashion change! Maybe you'll become the girl that other girls will look up to for inspiration...

So where do you begin? Let me step-it-out for you:

1) You need inspiration and you need to be informed. Fashion education is vital. Get it from the internet, on websites like chictopia, and browse fashion magazines at the bookstore. Get a good idea of what you like and figure out your style.

2) Compare this new style and your closet. Make necessary adjustments. Clean up your closet of the things you know you don't want to wear, and that don't fit in with your new style.

3) Until you become more experienced buying separates, try buying entire outfits right off the mannequins. If you see a look you like in a clothing store, study the mannequin and see if you already have any of the pieces at home. Then buy what you are missing. Lots of clothing websites have "look ideas" and "shop the outfit" options that put the look together for you.

Martin + Osa - Bebe - Ann Taylor - Forever 21 - NY&Co

4) Keep reading NY Spender! ;)

Your style and your confidence won't show up overnight, these are things that need to be built and worked on everyday, but with time and patience, you will blossom into the most fashionable girl in town. I just know it.


Update: an email from Taryn describing her first fashion accomplishments. :)


Soos said...

I'm over 30, so I've figured out what to wear that reflects me. It has to:
- Suit the weather. I live in Honolulu, which is generally hot and humid. This is a "big" small town. Taryn may need to dress for more of a range of temps.
- Flatter and be comfortable. This is about color, fabric and proportions. I've learned what colors, shoe types, jeans cuts I shouldn't wear. For me that means no neons, yellow, orange and no to most greens. Black and brown are the basis of my wardrobe. For Taryn it might be navy or gray. No stilettos for me, rather platforms. So, knowing what works for you can eliminate a lot so that you can focus.
- Be about STYLE, not fashion. When I look through a magazine, the fashion pages are the least interesting to me. I can't afford what's there. I'm more interested in those layouts that show items that reflect designer pieces for less. I might see costume jewelry I can afford and choose earrings or a watch that echo those by designers.
People will comment on the color of a blouse, a ruffled sweater or scarf I'm wearing. Sometimes I'll tell them it's from Ross or the clearance rack at Macy's. Sometimes I don't.
Did I say I don't really like to shop? I don't. I do have prices in mind that I won't go over. And I do shop with a list.
My latest purchases: 2 berets - one black, the other rust colored. I wear them on a walk with my husband, on the way to work or on a bad hair day.
Off to look for some affordable fingerless gloves. The temps in the office have been falling! I may also wear some shiny eyeshadow or liner - a little personal rebellion for having to work in an office! I don't care what people think - what they see is what they get!
Best to you both...

NY Spender said...

Soos, you're awesome! :)

Soos said...


Maybe not awesome, but just thick-skinned? My husband remembers that I wore a red satin cape with fringe - I'm sure it was over a black turtleneck, black jeans and ankle boots - on our 3rd or 4th date, which was to watch a formal Japanese dance recital!

I just remember being so happy because I caught one of those souvenir towels. His memory is better than mine, so he's probably right. What you wear CAN be unforgettable!

Can't wait to see the personal style of Taryn, Spender and Signorina Spender! Aloha!

Taryn said...

Thanks for the tips, ladies! I will be sure to share as my "quest" begins. This is definately an inspiring place to be. Oh and to specify, my age is 25. Turning 26 this year.

Daisy said...

Just turned 40, going on 80. Working hard on looking good. I'd say doing admirably. Will remain just as ravishing at age 80. Soos, you are not the only one who is thick skinned.


Twisted Tina said...

What wonderful advice! I would add that you need to make friends with the fitting room. Try it on and if you don't love it in that FIRST INSTANT, no amount of zhushing it will make it better. Once you've determined your style, you'll get really good at what to look for in the mirror.

Oh, and accessories can transform you! I'm obviously biased towards Twisted Silver, but play with the jewelry that you already have too, and try wearing it in different ways: hook together a couple of neckalces to make a funky big long one, or twist two together, or connect three bracelets. Develop your own stamp.

Good luck, Taryn, you trend-setter!