Practice Makes Perfect
My clients often worry that they’ll never be able to shop again; fearing a regression to old buying habits, they want my stamp of approval on most purchases post Mile High Style intervention. And I’m happy to do it. Not only do I like to go above and beyond for my clients, I completely understand their trepidation in venturing out on their own. I’ve been there too. I tell them, as I’m telling you, that you will get better at style, but it will only happen one way: with effort.
Social scientist Malcolm Gladwell maintains that expertise in any field is, to a large extent, determined by the ‘10,000 hour rule’: practice any task 10,000 hours in your lifetime, and you’ll master it. 10,000 hours is probably not necessary for the average person, but some work is absolutely critical. When it comes to improving style (as opposed to playing an instrument, learning a foreign language, mastering a foul shot), the practice is all visual and all about exposure.
*Magazines– reading the right fashion magazines is the single best way to expand your fashion acumen. They not only show what’s available, but also what’s possible in terms of pairing. And like most things, all fashion magazines are not created equal. VOGUE is mostly known for editorial content and won’t help you a bit. Stick to Elle, BIZARRE, and Lucky and subscribe monthly! Flipping through one during the occasional pedicure won’t cut it.
*TV– while not as comprehensive, certain shows can help. ‘What Not To Wear’ is a big hit, and while it won’t necessarily inspire you to high style, it will certainly demonstrate what not to do (and that’s half the battle). ‘Project Runway’ helped me learn the language of fashion, which is always useful, and old episodes of ‘Sex & The City’ have no shortage of inspiration.
*Street fashion– I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been inspired by an outfit on a stranger, and so often it’s just a matter of pairing (as in ‘I never thought about wearing trouser jeans with that or ‘that kind of shoe isn’t too trendy and really looks good that way’). Paying attention to what’s around you will give you great ideas.
*Blogs– Reading mine is a great start, as I try to break down style into bite-size pieces. Many others are also fabulous (including an old friend from New York, who really takes fashion to the outer levels- www.thelittleblacklist.com). Log on and see what we’re saying, wearing, loving, recommending.
And try on. Spend 5 extra minutes in your closet considering the possibilities. And ask: why would this work, why wouldn’t it. And take a chance. Great style is 50% confidence, and there’s only one way you’re gonna get there.