Express Yourself: Using Clothing to Showcase your Unique Characteristics.

Since the earliest centuries, clothing has been used by people to characterize themselves. Textiles have represented our development as a society, reflecting which materials were available and the technologies mastered in each decade. This is as true today as it was in the past. Clothing even has a social significance suggesting characteristics of an individual’s lifestyle before ever starting a conversation.  For example, some occupations can be identified by their uniforms, celebrations by a guest’s attire, or ambitions by an employee’s chosen garments.

Moral of the story?

Express yourself. Who do you want to be? What do you want to become?

We are all individuals with unique facial features, body shapes, and lifestyles. We must dress to suit our own personalities. As such, it is important to study the self. Determine what suits you and what does not; find the colors that flatter and emphasize your uniqueness; and, when shopping, pay particular attention to the fit of your garments.

According to Christian Dior, “simplicity, good taste, and grooming are the three fundamentals of good dressing and these do not cost money.” It is possible to be elegant without spending a fortune on clothes if you choose items that suit your personality. The rules of fashion? There are no rules, only guidelines that aim to flatter your singularity.

So take charge lovelies. Wear what complements you. And do not be afraid to mix your mall finds with those pieces that are completely individual.

You have a story to tell. Share it with the world.

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Fashion Tips and Tricks Every Style Maven Should Know

vintagesunniesI recently stumbled upon a website full of fantastic tips and tricks for the stylish woman! While their article featured 101 hints every girl should know, I’ve listed here what I feel are the top take-homes for the everyday lady (they are also the most helpful!).

Give these a try and may you always look fabulous:

  1. Despite what it says on the tag, cashmere is best washed by hand. To dry it, use a salad spinner, which releases excess water in seconds.
  2. Wash new jeans twice before taking them to the tailor. Why? Because jeans will always shrink in length when washed.
  3. The secret to well-fitting everyday clothes is Lycra. The formulas to look for: 95% cotton/5% Lycra spandex for T-shirts, and at least 2% Lycra for jeans to hold their shape.
  4. “Always organize your clothes going light to dark from left to right in your closet. Your eye will follow the color and thus help you stay organized.” — Melanie Charlton Fascitelli, Founder, Clos-ette and Clos-ette Too.
  5. “If you don’t have time to try on jeans in the store, try the Neck Method: You can determine your size by placing the waistline of the jeans around the diameter of your neck. If the waistline of the pant comfortably meets at back of your neck, then the jeans will fit.”— Sarah Ahmed, Creative Director, DL1961 Premium Denim
    (must give this a try asap!)
  6. Cut down your closet by 25% by asking yourself this one question: “If I were shopping right this second, would I buy this?” If the answer’s no, out it goes. — Melanie Charlton Fascitelli, Founder, Clos-ette and Clos-ette Too.
  7. Never put your swimwear in the washing machine, and always hand dry. The machine will damage the suit and it will lose its elasticity. The only exception: At the end of the summer or vacation, wash your swimwear in lingerie washing bags on the gentle cycle with a bit if Drift or Woolite. But only after many wears.” —Shoshanna Gruss, Designer
  8. Dressy occasions aren’t the time to play with trends, so know your silhouette and stick to it to always look your best. Perfect example: Sofia Vergara knows she looks good in mermaid dresses, and always chooses variations of the shape on red carpets.
  9. “Never put a garment on immediately after ironing, as this can actually cause new wrinkles to form. Instead, let it sit for five minutes to set the press.” — Althea Harper, Designer and Rowenta Brand Ambassador
  10. The best way to de-fuzz a sweater: use a pumice stone.
  11. Spray tights with sticky (read: cheap) hairspray to avoid holes and runs.
  12. If you don’t feel like trying on a dress but still want to see where the hem will hit you, align the shoulder seam exactly with your shoulder bone (not your collarbone).
  13. Revamp an old coat by swapping out the buttons and having a tailor replace the lining with something eye-catching, like a pattern or a bright color.
  14. Break in stiff or too-snug shoes by slipping them on with socks and blasting your feet with a hot hairdryer.
  15. To stop squeaky shoes, remove the insole and apply Vaseline or WD-40 before replacing it.
  16. When you’re shopping for a jacket, coat, or blazer, pay attention to the fit around the shoulders. While a tailor can tweak pretty much everything about the fit of a jacket—from tapering the waist to shortening it—they can’t change the shoulders. Make sure the seams sit perfectly at the bony tops of your shoulders.
  17. Everyday bras should be replaced every three to six months, as that’s when they start to lose elasticity and support.
  18. Ideally, a pencil skirt should hit just at the top of your knee. Any lower and it will start to shorten your leg.
  19. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-fitting, stylish winter coat. You can be wearing pajamas underneath and you’ll still look perfectly put together.
  20. Don’t buy items you know you won’t properly care for. For example, if you know you’re never going to hand-wash that delicate cami or beaded sweater, don’t buy it.
  21. To achieve the perfectly effortless cuffed sleeve, keep the top button (which is called the gauntlet) buttoned while you roll.
  22. Freeze jeans inside a plastic bag for two days to zap odor without running them through the washing machine.
  23. Looking for an easy trick to make your bare legs look longer? Try pumps the same color of your skin, which gives give the illusion that your legs extend a few extra inches.
  24. A modern trick to looking like the most effortlessly stylish girl in the room: Pair dressy bottoms (a velvet maxi, a leather or beaded skirt, silk pants) with a worn gray crew-neck sweatshirt or T-shirt.
  25. When it doubt, always choose the smaller denim size, since jeans stretch with wear.
  26. The easiest way to make your closet look organized: Buy all the same hangers for everything–same color, same shape.
  27. If you can’t fit two fingers underneath your bra band comfortably, it’s probably too tight.
  28. Pile on good accessories—scarves, sunglasses, hats, statement jewelry—to instantly transform even the most basic outfit.
  29. If you’re unsure about an impulse or sale purchase, leave it at the store. If you’re still thinking about it when you wake up the next day, buy it.
  30. There’s nothing cooler than sticking to a signature style you know looks good on you. Slaves to fashion are never chic!

Intrigued? For the full list of 101 visit the StyleCaster’s website.

Do you use any of these tips regularly? Or did you learn something new?

I am most excited to try #5 the jean fitting tip as there are times (aka boxing day) where the prices are right but the changing room lines are just too long (I’m sure you can relate :)), and #6 to clean out my closet for fall.

Image courtesy of crossingilandmono at tumblr.