As with pretty much everything in life, you live and you (hopefully) learn. Mastering the rules of fashion is obviously not as important as learning how to manage your finances or figuring out how to successfully merge onto a freeway; but making fashion mistakes can affect how others see you — and even how you see yourself. Read on for eight common style blunders and how to avoid them. (And don’t worry. They’re all way easier than merging.)
8 Fashion Mistakes to Fix Once and For All
Mistake #1: Not shopping for your height.
Just a few years ago, I finally discovered the world of petite clothing. (For reference, I’m 5’3” and a half.) I couldn’t get over the difference these pieces made in my overall appearance — the sleeves stopped at my wrists, the shoulders were the correct width, and hemlines hit me at the right spot. If you’re 5’3” or under (or 5’8” or taller), utilize petite and tall sizes, respectively, for a better fit. Otherwise, your clothing purchases will never do you justice.
Mistake #2: Wearing the wrong size.
Similarly, wearing the wrong size can totally derail even the best styling efforts. According to Tim Gunn, Project Runway consultant and general fashion god, most women wear clothing that’s either too big or too small for their bodies, which ultimately makes them look larger and does nothing to flatter their proportions.
As a general guideline, look at each retailer’s size chart to best determine your brand-specific size rather than committing to one specific number across the board. We all know that a size 2 in one store is a size 6 in another, so ignore the number on the tag and base your purchases on the fit of each garment instead.
Mistake #3: Only focusing on price.
Everyone enjoys a great sale; but if you only shop from the clearance section, you may be shortchanging your style. In fact, paying more for an item that you love will likely save you more money in the long run, because you’ll actually wear it. On the other hand, you’ll just keep filling up your closet with impulse buys when you’re indifferent about everything in your wardrobe.
Mistake #4: Refusing to shop second-hand.
What goes around comes around, as evidenced by today’s resurgence of ‘70s fashion. Fashion is constantly recycling itself, and what was popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s will soon become popular again. (A terrifying thought, but I digress.) Vintage clothing can actually provide you with more fitted options than modern-day styles, and the quality tends to be better in general (even with wear and tear). Plus, no one will ever show up to a party in the same outfit as you, which is pretty awesome in and of itself.
Mistake #5: Buying the wrong shades.
Color theory is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing your clothes. Don’t believe me? Think of those times when people raved about how great a color looked on you — or the times when ill-mannered people remarked on how tired you looked. (Sarcastically speaking, aren’t those people the best?) Knowing which hues work for your skin tone means that you’ll instantly brighten your complexion and look refreshed regardless of your exhaustion level.
Mistake #6: Becoming a slave to trends.
Some trends will never, ever suit your styling needs, which is completely fine. Just because magazines and blogs are hailing flared jeans, polka dots, or leopard print as the next big thing, that doesn’t mean you need to abandon your favorite skinny jeans or commit to wearing head-to-toe prints if that’s out of your comfort zone. Stay true to what works for your body and your lifestyle.
Mistake #7: Not knowing what you have.
Closet filled with nothing to wear? I hear you. All too often, it’s because you’re either buying the wrong things in the first place or don’t have your closet organized efficiently. If you have to dig through messy drawers to find your favorite pair of joggers, you’ll always struggle with putting an outfit together. The problem isn’t that you don’t have enough clothing. It’s that you have a bad system.
Mistake #8: Never using a tailor.
A good tailor can absolutely change your life, and alterations aren’t even that expensive. If you’re constantly facing fit issues (like a waistband that gaps or dresses that are too tight in the hips), taking items to your local tailor will resolve these problems and make your clothes fit like a glove.
Which of these fashion mistakes have you made or (gasp!) are currently making? Don’t be shy — confess your style sins in the comments section below!