From the second I realized I was probably going to intern at a fashion magazine to the day I left, I was always trying to figure out what to wear. The dress code was pretty much anything goes. So that meant you could really rock whatever you loved…but it also meant you could totally miss the mark. I definitely felt like there were some unspoken (uhh sometimes spoken) rules.
So besides a crazy work ethic and an addiction to the Crackberry, I did get a sense of style. So here are some of the things I learned!
1. Figure out your personal style. I always said that fashion people were like cartoon characters because they never seemed to change clothes. This came from the fact that everyone had such a defined sense of style that on any given day, they looked pretty much like they had the day before! Dressing up or dressing down…it still was rooted in something that was just them. If you aren’t sure what’s “you,” make a mini-vision board. Tear into a few (different!!) magazines and pull out anything that strikes your fancy — colors, clothes, bands, celebs hairstyles, decor — and once you get it all into one place, look for themes and patterns. And look at runway pics on Style.com! You may not be able to afford it, but you can get a great sense of what you like.
2. Know your body and your hair. Part of defining your style comes from knowing what works on your shape and what works with your overall look. I can never, ever do “boho”…it doesn’t work with my body and it certainly doesn’t work with my hair! Part of having good style is taking a long hard look in the mirror.
3. Quality over quantity. One of the things I noticed right away about fashion people is that while they do wear crazy expensive things, they wear the same few things all the time. Seriously, they may have had just ten great outfits in rotation…but because they knew their style so well, they knew when they truly loved something enough to wear it a lot. Don’t buy three trendy tops; buy one good one that really works for you. Figure out what your “must-haves” are and then invest in nice ones.
4. Be smart with your investments (no matter how small)! Seriously, purchase wisely. I will always splurge on accessories I love but I buy cheap jeans because designer jeans do nothing for me. Other women cannot do denim that costs under $200. Working in fashion really helped me realize that I should only buy things I love and that work for me. I have less clothes now but I never feel like I have “nothing to wear.” And loving clothes has nothing to do with the price! My go-to “I need to feel sexy” LBD is from Forever 21; I’d be lost without it.
5. Only follow trends that work with your style. Some trends go with the style you figured out in step #1. Some don’t. Personally, I cannot do any kind of “edgy.” No matter how trendy it is, it’s still not me. So if I want to update my wardrobe, I go with the trends that are more in line with my style. Right now, I’m obsessed with flat lace-ups, but these are a trend that are pretty close to my style.
But it will be a cold day in hell before you see me in any booties. Not because they aren’t adorable, but because I look ridiculous and feel uncomfortable in booties.
Believe me, there are enough trends for all of us! You know when a trend is something that’s kind of you and when it’s just not. (See also: don’t be ridiculous.)
6. Do not wear fake shit. This was huge. Do not. Wear. Fake. Shit. Aside from the fact that the people who are making your fake bags are probably treated horribly and aside from the fact that no one believes it’s real…honestly, it’s just dumb. If you can’t afford real Chanel — and once you’ve played with real Chanel, you realize like everything that is wrong with knock-offs — then fine. But don’t try to be something you aren’t.
7. And don’t be a label snob. Someone in head-to-toe designer might be dressed “right,” but I think the most important thing was having style. On any given day, most assistants and interns were in some sort of H & M/well-known designer/random vintage/chick on Etsy mash-up. Going along with this, fashion people pretty much never wear logos. Like, ever. Logos are kind of for mass-produced stuff; truly great/well-made designer pieces are recognizable for their shape, hardware, etc. and, really, for how you wear them.
7. Seek out talented designers. This is kind of hard to explain but…I would never tell someone to buy Gucci shoes. Why? Because Gucci isn’t a shoe company…it’s a fashion house that added shoes. Jimmy Choo and Sergio Rossi know shoes. So don’t just look at the label; consider the craftsmanship of the piece you actually want to buy.
8. Be resourceful. Get on eBay or Craigslist or hit up consignment shops for designer pieces. Don’t pay $300 for a pair of shoes from J. Crew (OMG WTF J. CREW??!??!?!)…you could probably get a really cool pair of designer shoes for the same price that are actually made well.
9. Have a uniform. Once you’ve put all the other steps together, you can really develop a “look.” Seriously, fashion people just always wear new twists on the same thing and they always look great. (It’s actually really weird when they venture away from it.) This isn’t the same as getting stuck in a rut; it’s knowing what works for you, suits your tastes, and makes you feel good.
My favorite designers have led me to a style that I define as preppy and earthy (Hermes, Ralph Lauren) but that’s still feminine and French (Chanel, Sonia Rykiel) and cut for a girl with boobs and big hair. Nothing about me is edgy or hip or boho or mysterious or super sexy at all, but I’ve owned it! I don’t think I’m the most stylish person on the planet, but I have found that I look more pulled-together now that I know these basic rules. I love people whose style is “so them” and that’s how working in fashion taught me to dress and shop!
You need confidence to have good style but you won’t get confidence until you fall in love with your true style. So figure out what you love, toss the stuff you don’t, and wear the same three outfits all the damn time if they are “so you.” Because then “so you” will equal “so stylish.”
So…what are your style rules and secrets? How did you find your true style, what is it, and how do you rock it? Seriously, share…I know how girls like to talk about this stuff!