Help! I Have No Fashion Sense!

Updated on November 10, 2011
S.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
22 answers

I've always been kind of lazy about my "look". I usually just have on a plain top, jeans and flats. No makeup. No accessories. More and more, it's bugging me how completely boring I look day in and day out. Where do I even start to learn the rules of fashion? Like what shoes go with what clothes, what accessories go with what, etc? I'm thinking of subscribing to some magazines and just studying the ads. lol. is that what I have to do?? where did you get your fashion sense from?? any tips on how i can find my style without breaking the bank? thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Wow! Some great advice..thanks everyone!! I just bought some stuff on after studying the models and seeing what I liked. I'll probably have to return a bunch of stuff since I couldln't try it on but this is the best I can do given my lack of time for actual go-to-the-mall shopping. After I lose a few lbs, I'm going to reward myself and try the nordstrom stylist too. thanks mamas!! This is getting to be kinda fun! :)

Featured Answers



answers from El Paso on

....... I watch "What Not to Wear" lol. They give a lot of good advice, honestly. Just try to follow their "rules." Most of them are pretty consistent through every episode.

Typically, they say have a neutral piece, a visual interest piece, and........ something else that I can't remember.... :p

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

good question I am the same way, and when I need something fancy to wear I buy it off the Maniquin in the store LOL then I KNOW it looks good. HAHAHA otherwise I am a fashion nightmare.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I got tired of my very lame basic look this year & on the recommendation of my sister, I tried the personal stylist service at Nordstrom. Nordstrom provides this service for free - you just make an appointment, the stylists work on commission. I was surprised at the mix of things I got - some work things, some casual, nearly everything goes with everything else, and the stylist DID pick a lot of budget friendly items. Now, when I go back, she knows what's already in my closet & she picks things that augment what I already have.
One tip she gave me, is to pair basics with some pieces that tie the look together or make it stand out. There's nothing wrong with the basics - black trousers, t-shirts, jeans, basic sweaters. Her tip was to focus on the 3rd & 4th "piece" of the outfit - a jacket, a scarf or a cool necklace, some sweet shoes, a cute bag - the 3rd & 4th pieces make an outfit look like it was planned, even if it's eclectic - it can look like you put some thought into it.
Also, one budget-friendly tip that my sister taught me was to SHOP with the stylist, but to actually BUY a lot of the basics at inexpensive stores - a white t-shirt is the same at Sears and at Saks. Even fun accessories can be found at Sears or JC Penneys, but can mimic the expensive items you try on at higher end stores. Save on things that are interchangeable. Spend your money on things that are worth it, due to quality, or a perfect cut, or a great classic style that will last a long time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I learn a lot from TLC's "What Not to Wear". I love that show!!

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was getting tired of my SAHM uniform: long-sleeved solid tee, hoodie, mom-jeans (cute fit but out-of-style color), and tennis shoes. So I went to New York and Company one morning when they weren't busy because I know their jeans work for me. After feeling out how comfortable I was with the saleswomen, I told them what I wanted to do with my look. They really listened and helped me put together some really cute COMFORTABLE outfits. I felt soooo good afterwards. Then I ran to Old Navy with my new knowledge and bought more stuff. Hooray!!

How about looking online at the websites of stores you like? They always have a "What's Hot Now" type section to give you ideas.

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am right there with you! You might check out missussmartypants dot com. You have to pay for a subscription but it isn't much. You do a body profile and then she sends you what works for YOUR body type. I've used her off and on for several years (off like right now when there isn't much money for new clothes, and then on again when I'm ready to start shopping again!). She always keeps the seasons current, and she sends you actual pieces from real stores - different ones each week. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I agree with what the ladies have said so far. I also have to add, you have to feel comfortable in way you are wearing. i personally love flats, though i buy flats and everything else in between. a pair of good jeans is a must. shop your body style, not what is in. For example, some people rock the skinny jeans, and some should not even consider buying them. i have simple long sleeves shirts in almost every color. i love simple. Those long sleeves shirts go with everything, jeans, black pants, trousers etc.
Work on accessories. those should not be expensive. ry cold creek water, NY and company. the accessories can dress up anything. Buy 2-3 good interesting purses.
then sweaters. Depending on your body style again. For my body frame, which is slim, and pretty much no curves, I still like body fitting stuff, which i get at banana republic or ann taylor. Always wait for sales, you can score so many beautiful things for cheap.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

instead of magazines, make it up close & personal!

Walk the mall, hit the stores, & really look at the women. Take notes of what you like & what you don't.

When you go shopping, don't shy away from trying on clothing which is unfamiliar to you. Try on everything & keep an open mind. You might be surprised at what will work for you!

Oh, & as a head's up: this past wkend, I hit a historic shopping/bar district with my Mom, Sis, & Niece. We all had on something different.

Mom - black leather loafers; mid-toned, slightly-flared jeans; red & black sweater. & she always wears 3 silver necklaces + a couple of rings + a watch & bracelet.
Sis - black leather ballet flats w/ brass beading; mid-toned skinny jeans; black top. A few rings.
Niece - brown moccasins; faded skinny jeans; coffee/cream striped top; western-style jacket & purse. Hoops & a ring.
I wore black leather spectators; mid-toned/faded black, looser than skinny jeans; black top; jeweled-tone red, brushed satin, smocked jacket (very retro). I wear 5 bracelets 24/7 + my rings. Dangly black onyx earrings.

Sooo, we were all very different in approach. A mix of casual/business casual, except my red jacket which I love. But honestly, I would have worn my dark brown corduroy jacket if it'd been clean!

We're all different in personality.....& in size. We wear what works for us, pulling trends & classics together.

As for not breaking the bank, with my size I rely on Fashion Bug & JMS clothing. A few pieces from Penneys, too. Accessories are either good quality or vintage.

My Sis & Niece buy from everywhere. TJMaxx is their go-to store, as is Kohls & Penneys. They also have a few favs in the mall. & they've been known to use Plato's Closet....a resale shop. My niece loves vintage & retro, & has the attitude to work it!

Hope this helps.....go & have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

I also love "what not to wear" because they put clothes on real women and give easy guidelines to follow for different body types and lifestyles.

Books like the ones by Nina Garcia on fashion and style.

Online, the Elle magazine website and the daily "Street Chic" emails showing women on the street wearing their own well-put-together outfits.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

First off you have to be comfortable in what you have on - otherwise you will just look uncomfortable and that vibe will shine through! So - you say you typically have a plaint top, jeans, and flats - what about putting a cute scarf on with the t-shirt or getting ballet flats with a funky pattern?

Another thing - back to the being comfortable in what you have on - magazines will often have articles about what looks best on certain body types - as someone else said-what looks great on some may not on someone else - take a look at those articles or look them up online. They will tell you what types of shirts and what cuts of pants work best for you - take the information to the store and try them on.

Best of luck to you!


answers from Richmond on

My style is simple, and maybe not totally chic, but it works and it's comfortable! I do jeans, then tank tops and 'grandma sweaters' in every color... dress up with heels, a little makeup, jewelry, and a cute handbag... dress down with sneakers, a pony tail, mascara only, and hoop earrings. I try to looks 'presentable' and a bit 'put together'... but I will NEVER be one of those women with a full face of makeup everyday! I don't know how they do it!

I love big, bold costume jewelry... I get more compliments on the fake stuff than I've ever gotten on anything real, LOL!! A small, colorful clutch dresses up jeans better than heels do. It's trial and error... you can find something that fits you and your personality without emptying your wallet!



answers from Los Angeles on + What Not to Wear have great tips.

For makeup try lip colors. Experiment with different lip glosses and lipsticks.

Go shopping with a friend. Have the friend pick out items and try them on. Just see if anything works.

Visit stores like Nordstrom and Saks. Maybe even try a personal shopper. Then you can recreate looks at less expensive stores if necessary. Or maybe you'll splurge on those items that really fit well and look great.

Magazines Lucky, O Mag and Glamour are good sources too.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I think the simplest thing to do that goes the farthest for looking "put together" is to regularly have your hair cut.
Ever see a mom with just jeans and a t-shirt, but her hair looks so great that what she's wearing is secondary?
Just go "shopping/looking" O. day and try stuff on!
You'll see what looks good, what feels good (more important, imo!) and what you like!


answers from Washington DC on

it's helpful to look at media stuff for ideas, but don't scorn your no-frills look! maybe for the most part keep it, just add one *fun* thing to funky it all up. i can't wear heels any more (hinky knees) so often what i wear when i'm teaching is an all-business suit or skirt-and-blouse with wild print tights and hot pink high-top sneakers. or jeans that i've patched myself with bright silk and velvet patches with a blouse, blazer and short boots. it's stuff you'll never see in magazines but it's distinctive and very me.
or you could pick one accessory that you love and that makes you feel great and groove on that. for example, if you like the drama of a silk scarf, buy them by the dozen whenever they're on sale and add one to every outfit, around your neck, as a bandana-headband, floating from your wrist, tied together as a belt, tied around your ponytail and so forth.
because i really don't have a great sense of color coordination or when i'm getting TOO funky, i tend to fall back on my kids. my boys all have weirdly great fashion sense and i can always run prospective outfits by their critical eyes and give them veto power.
i like clothes that stay in fashion year after year rather than trendy stuff (probably my age) but i do keep half an eye on the media. i was watching 'damages' recently and loved glenn close's simple oxford shirt with thin v-neck pullover look, which i haven't seen around for a while, so i hit the sales racks at ross's and found my own version.
have fun!
good luck!
:) khairete


answers from Cincinnati on

For winter, splurge on a nice pair of boots. Something with fur maybe that's calf height or higher, and get some cheap leggings and then some tunics or long sweaters. You will be in style with an easy look. Don't over do jewelry! Focus on your shoes/boots and purses, not gaudy jewelry.

Having your nails painted will not only make you feel better, but it will make you look put together. Right now, dark is better. Deep purples, dark gray, even black polish is in.

My makeup consists of 2 things : lots of black mascara and lip gloss. It is all you need! Maybe a little powder if you have an oily face. But skip the liquid make up, colored eye shadows and red lips. It's too much. Just look natural.

Look at any magazine website for fashion tips.,, Etc.



answers from Lexington on

LOL - I can relate. My own daughters took over "dressing" me... how my younger one could just yank clothes from the rack for me to try on I don't know, because she'd pull something off that I would never have tried and voila - it looked good on me.

That taught me - take other people shopping with me. Some people LOVE LOVE LOVE to shop! LOL - For every wedding, rehearsal dinner... whatever major event, I have other people help me. My daughter's now mother-in-law is the one who picked out my clothes for their wedding, and even :-( for her husband's funeral.

Left to my own devices I wear something like... blue pants and a blue shirt, or brown pants and a brown shirt. And the shirt is too big on me. The pants are baggy. You'd think with all their help I can choose better. Well... no... only if they put the outfit together first so I know that is a good outfit.

As for makeup, I have one thing I do - eyeliner on the bottom lashes (I have very dark long lashes. They tried lipstick and gloss on me but I cannot get used to the feel of the stuff on my lips, so we gave up on that.
So for makeup, just let your friends (or kids, or cousins, or ...) help figure out the minimum that looks nice and you would actually use.



answers from New York on

You live central of the fashionistas. I don't know what the weather is like year round, but keep your basic jeans as a starter, and get some funky tops that hug your body or sit nicely on you. You're right about not wanting to spend a lot. Things go in and out of style too quickly. I like what Laura said. Go to Nordstrom, see what a stylist can put together for you. If you're a walker, or not into doing things with high heels stick to flat shoes. Sneakers are good, but not your usual Nikes, Reebox etc. Get something that's sharp looking, as in a sneaker shoe. I bought a sneaker shoe from a shop that used to be very expensive, but did a 70% off on everything, because they're shutting down. "La Martina". Look at shops that are closing down and have good sales. You'll be surprised at the bargains.


answers from New York on

I would first begin by opening up your eyes when your out, watching TV, or around friends and noticing what styles you like. Then if you do see an outfit you like, you have to decide if you think that look would work for you. The clothes and styles we like don't always work for us personally. You have to experiment a little. Start with some basics, wardrobe staples. A good pair of pants or skirts and a few simple but chic tops are a necessary starting point. If I go out shopping without anything in mind and don't have any pants I really like or that fit me well at home, I wind up buying a bunch of weird shirts that don't work with anything I already have. So I also need to work hard at following my own advice hahahaaa!



answers from Los Angeles on

Go to my website and check out CAbi! Give me a call if you want to discuss and possibly get you started by building a wardrobe slowly but surely!



answers from Syracuse on

I think checking out what other people are wearing for styles is more helpful than magazines, at least for me. I too, am always in jeans, flats and a plain shirt. I think you can really dress up a look with some simple accessories (scarves, jewlery) that aren't too pricey. I like the stuff at Coldwater Creek when it's on sale. As for make-up, go to a Clinique counter and have them suggest a nice lipstick, eyeliner and blush to get started.



answers from Las Vegas on

What's most important is that you stick to what looks good on you.... not everyone can or wants to look good in heels and or certain jeans... you can throw on a cute belt with those jeans you have... take a nicely fitted t-shirt and then wear a little cardigan sweater with it (Old Navy has them in many colors) throw on some earrings.. keep the flats on too... IF makeup isn't your thing.. even a little blush can go a long way.. or light colored lipstick.. sometimes less is more.. if it looks like you made some effort.. if you are wearing as you say plain tops.. then it's getting cooler put on a light weight scarf, one of those you wrap around and tie up in the front.. not the kind mom used to wear, but the longer ones.. you may have seen the look? again, wear a belt... maybe , depending upon your flats.. treat yourself to a different pair.. if you buy really well made, then the money can be worth it.. but everything else, you needn't spend tons.. Old Navy has many accessories.. some flashy , some not... have some fun.. go and try and some different looks and see what feels right on you...

best to you and yours



answers from Sacramento on

You can also sign up for Missy Smarty Pants through



answers from Los Angeles on

want to learn how to do it on the cheap and look me

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions