5 Biggest Style Mistakes Women Make

5 Biggest Style Mistakes Women Make

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Despite numerous requests for this post, I’ve been hesitant. I don’t like to frame my advice in the negative; I’d much rather compose a piece on the 15 items every woman needs in her closet, or the 5 nonmaterial ways to improve your style. I think you always get with more with the carrot than the stick. Also? Where to even begin! Per a recent Facebook poll, my friends contributed a long list of legitimate faux-pas, so while there are many ways in which well-intentioned women are set astray, I think my list (while certainly neither exhaustive nor definitive) covers the most common (and maybe not-so-obvious) ground.

No accessories– A pair of blue skinny jeans + a black v-neck cashmere sweater + gold ballet flats = clothes. Add a red lip + a killer ring from Goldyn + a tie-dye Chan Luu scarf– now you have an outfit. Accessories can be anything from jewelry to makeup and nail color, to a hat, scarf, or pin, and you need one or two to transform your clothing into an outfit.

Bad shoes– Ladies, nothing kills an otherwise great outfit like bad shoes, and the damage they do is so profound it’s hard to adequately quantify. Picture bad seafood. Picture inappropriate public displays of affection. Bad shoes have a stop you in your tracks effect. So what qualifies shoes to be this bad? Cheap + chunk. Shoes featuring cheap leather and hardware and those with big, black, rubbery chunky soles will kill any style mojo you otherwise have.

Outerwear– You bought the perfect cocktail dress for an upcoming party and, this time, you even splurged on a beautiful pair of heels to go with it. You have great jewelry laid out, hair is done, you’re even trying a bold lip color! As you dash out the door, you grab your puffy Patagonia coat- it’s not like you’ll be wearing it inside the party so who cares right? WRONG. If you’re going to commit to style and make the effort to put together a great outfit, you simply must follow through with the whole outfit, and that includes a proper coat.

Defensive dressing– There is a fine line between making smart and practical fashion choices meant to flatter your complexion and shape with being a prisoner to those choices. As I’ve said many times before, do certain colors look best on certain complexions? YES. Should you then exclusively wear only those shades to the exclusion of everything else? NO. If you can’t relax a little into your style, I’m sorry to tell you, it will never be very good.

Mannequin shopping– Do you ever notice that boutique mannequins are all roughly the same size and shape? 6′, a size 4 with 34-25-35 measurements*. Are you? I’m certainly not. Stores do a fabulous job of making their merchandise look good on the ‘ideal’ body for fashion, and while it’s great to be inspired by the looks they create, it should be just that: inspiration. Great style takes pieces from everywhere: a top from Chelsea, jeans from Willow, shoes from Common Threads, your mother’s necklace, a hat you bought while visiting San Francisco… No mannequin can or should compare.

*The standard measurements.

 

How To Wear High Heels

How To Wear High Heels

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Part of what I love about my job is the amount of teaching I get to do. A client will know more after working with me, which is very gratifying. One area of instruction that is de rigueur involves heels, specifically ‘how the hell am I supposed to wear these??’ Below are my 5 talking points on how to wear high heels, whether you’re a total novice or simply out of practice.

Confirm your size- I can’t even guess the number of clients who thought they were one size but were really another. Or who required a wide shoe and had no idea. Have you given birth? Chances are your feet changed size. Take a few minutes to visit a local cobbler and measure both feet!

Platform- The trick to wearing high heels comfortably is to find the ones with a small platform (1/4-1″) built into the base of the shoe (corresponding to the ball of your foot). It not only minimizes the effect of the heel height, it absorbs much of the shock when your feet pound the pavement. The good news is that nearly all the top designers (perhaps save for Manolo Blahnik) feature a few platform styles (Prada specifically does this very well), so you shouldn’t have to sacrifice looks for comfort.*

Heel style- A stiletto heel (pictured above) is the hardest to walk in and wear comfortably. Ditto an ankle-strap. If you know you are inexperienced in the world of heels, I would recommend scrubbing the stiletto completely. Instead, look for a thicker heel (pictured below). If you can find one with a small platform like these from Stuart Weitzman, you’re in good shape.

Practice- We’ve all seen that girl; most of us have been that girl, the one stumbling around, taking clunky, awkward steps where the shoes are wearing us, not the other way around. To successfully walk in heels, it’s simple: you must practice. What does that look like? Walk around your house for an hour doing your work, or laundry or cooking dinner- do this every day/other day until it feels more natural and comfortable. Focus on balance, keeping your leg muscles tight and constricting your core. It’s not rocket science, but don’t expect your shoes to do all the work; your body needs to help.

Expectations- This is simple: high heels will never feel like flats, not even with all the ‘Nike Air technology’ in the world. If you’re wearing them, you’re simply going to have to accept this fact and be ok with walking less, sitting more, driving farther. You’re going to have to pull up your big girl panties, stop complaining, and accept that you’re trading the comfort of your flats for a few short hours and that this trade is worth it!

*A word of caution with the platforms: be discerning! About 3 years ago, platforms trended with an exaggerated style, a look that closely resembled stripper heels. This look is still available among many of the top designers and it’s definitely not one I’d recommend.

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