Need Style Help

Updated on May 08, 2014
S.B. asks from Encino, CA
13 answers

Hi Moms -
I need some style help. I've pretty much ignored my wardrobe - professional and casual - since my son was born. I'd love a guide that could help me update my style without spending much money. I'm not a fan of magazines like Vogue or Cosmo, and don't enjoy shows like "What Not to Wear." Any thoughts?
To clarify from my original post - I know what types of clothes look good for my body type; the issue is more about what is in style these days - what are the absolutes in a wardrobe right now for someone who is not a fashionista and needs more casual clothes (including shoes)? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thanks, everyone. I've checked out Tim Gunn's book out at the library, and already am feeling more in control of the process of finding the right clothes out there.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Try I found out about her through and she has really helped me with all her tips.
Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

The people I glance at a second time, because they look great, have well fitting clothes on and look coordinated. It's a total package from head to toe.

If you want to update your wardrobe, invest in boots. Long ones, that come to just below your knees, are very fashionable. You can get some skinny jeans or leggings that go inside them and wear them with a longer tunic type shirt. These boots go great with a sweater dress and knee length skirts as well. They are good for work or leisure time. Short boots to mid calf or ankle also look good with jeans and leggings tucked inside. Both flare and skinny fitting jeans are in style. Well fitting slacks in nuetral colors are a must for work. Ballet flats or maryjanes look good with jeans or work slacks.

Two or three jackets in basic colors extend your wardrobe. These can be blazer type or more casual looking in corduroy or tweed type fabrics. Long blazers or ones that fit like men's suit coats look old fashioned, find shorter fitted styles. Pair your jackets with mufflers and scarves that match your handbag, slacks or shoes. Alternately you can wear a scarf that has a pattern that reflects all the colors that you have on. Several great purses, that you can change to accessorize your outfit, add to your style. The same for jewelry, buy some inexpensive pieces that you can switch around with your clothes for a stand out look.

Everything you buy should be able to mix and match to change your look by changing a piece and an accessory. Avoid colors and prints that can't be interchanged, or stand out too much colorwise, because you can't wear them very often.

Don't forget to keep your manicure looking great too. Nothing says style and caring for yourself more than pretty nails, a good looking haircut, and subtle make-up.

Have fun with it! Try on some things outside your normal comfort zone, you may be surprised!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I just updated my wardrobe with a few pieces and wow, what a difference!

Long sweaters are in, I got two long sweaters that I can wear different colored camis underneath. I got camis on sale at Kohls. They make long sweaters in a variety of styles for any body shape.

I have some leggings, they are inexpensive and you can get a variety of colors. I also have "jeggings" or jean leggings.

I invested in a pair of tall boots, and a pair of nice dress shoes.

I find that I can create several different outfits by pairing different colored camis under the sweaters with different leggings and different jewelry.

Happy shopping!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I am a little "funkier" in my style. But, I stick with predominantly neutral colors in my core clothing. I add a little personality with accessories and
my winter coat is usually a fun, pretty color. Fit is most important. Make
sure the item fits properly, and don't be afraid to have an item tailored if
you are between sizes, or something. It'll be worth the money. I spend
a bit more on pants that fit well and are good quality fabric, and I've learned
that spending a bit on comfortable shoes is a justifiable expense.
I prefer black, grey, navy, and white as my neutrals. I do pops of fuschia, and orange. I tend to favor shoes that are comfortable with a little bit of a funky style to them.

good luck!

good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita on

I would watch whatever your fav show is and pay attention to what the regular people are wearing. When I was trying to come up with a style for a professional workplace, I watched a lot of west wing episodes and got tips from Donna and CJ.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Step 1: decide what kind of clothes you like. Jeans and a t-shirt? Slacks and polo shirts? Bohemian hippie skirts and Birkenstocks? Once you have determined that...
Step 2: Find a store that sells what you like. If you're a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal, try Banana Republic or Abercrombie. If you go for a Coco Chanel classic kind of look, try Ann Taylor or White House Black Market. If you're a hippie at heart, try Anthropologie. If you hang out at the country club a lot, go to J Crew.
Step 3: I find it works best to go shopping with no real intention of buying anything. Try on a ton of stuff, and reject 99% of it. Only buy it if you LOVE it and think you will want to wear it every day of your life. It's helpful to shop at more upscale stores where you can get a lot of help. Tell the sales lady that you are really looking for some style ideas, and your style is (classic, boho, edgy, whatever). A good sales lady can pull things for you to try on that you might not try for yourself, but that might look wonderful.
Step 4: Only buy trendy accessories. This way you don't invest a ton of money in pricey clothes that will look dated 3 months from now. Accessories are easy enough to change out with the seasons. Or if you do want to buy trendy clothes, buy them somewhere cheap like Forever 21 or H&M.

That's what I do, seems to work pretty well for me. You don't really need to be cutting edge - just buy a couple of current things every season to refresh your look. Happy shopping!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I just want to second what Bh said about wearing clothes that fit - it makes all the difference in the world. I, too, have ignored my clothes & style for quite sometime & recently I really caught a good glimpse of myself and was shocked! I stopped wearing "those clothes" because I was trying to hide my weight gain. What a difference! And it really motivated me to get healthy all over! Also, Bh's comments about haircut and manicure are right on- you don't have to spend a lot of money, and you can do your own nails, and you just feel so much better, and that positively affects your attitude and appearance. Have fun! B.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I know you said you don't enjoy shows like What Not To Wear, but they do provide a lot of good tips of items that are in style and how to wear them on your body type. However, if you don't like it, you don't like it, I get it;) Have you ever watched Tim Gunn's Guide to Style? Not sure if it's still on the air, but he had a list of "must-have items" for every woman's wardrobe. I bet that you could google it and find the list, it was a great checklist. Depending on your location, you may not get everything on his last (I live in San Diego and the last thing I need is a trench coat - usually).

As for what's "in-style" - good fit and simple, clean lines never go out of style. What's in fad is a whole other ball of wax and if you're trying to spend your money wisely, I would keep in mind fit, structure and simple clean lines. One of the best things about What Not To Wear is that it really talks to people about how the clothes are supposed to fit and how you should buy items that may seem to not fit in the store, but can be altered. They talk about what to look for in clothing as far as structure, etc. If you can ignore the drama aspect (which thankfully has been tamed down), you can glean a good amount of information. I bet, you could even just go on the website and get written tips and not have to 'suffer' through an episode;)

Good luck & HAVE FUN! Oh, and try absolutely everything on.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I don't know what your typical look is, but one thing I've learned for myself is to embrace who I am and not be worried about what others think. Because of that, I wear mainly jeans and tank tops. I have tank tops in nearly every color. I then add some jewelry and call it my own.

The major thing I would recommend is have pieces that can be interchanged and in neutral colors. (Or colors that can easily interchanged.) Have shirts that look good with jeans AND your work clothes. This will help streamline your wardrobe.

Good luck! (I'll definitely be stalking this question to see if I can get any ideas for my wardrobe! hehe!)



answers from San Francisco on

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answers from New York on

I think sticking to places like ann taylor loft would be a great start. They offer smart and clean choices and when on sale, the prices are pretty fair. They have pieces that go together and make obvious outfits. The problem with places like tjmax, at least that I have found, is that I spend the same amount of money and end up with random pieces that I never wear because they do not go with anything else I have. Also, sometimes the prices look so good I can not pass them up and then what a waste. You need a pair of nice black pants, a pair of navy blue and a pair of tan. I like pants that are more fitted at top and flare a little at the bottom. I find these to be the most attractive. Also a few cardigans and even a blouse or two that wraps or ties. I love patent leather shoes too. I like anne klein shoes. You can always buy a a few cute a silver one to really make an outfit.
Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Curious as to why you don't get anything from a show like "What Not to Wear." The good side of that is that you see what works for different shapes and personalities and what's current style.

The biggest thing is dressing to your shape and height. Just like a hairstyle is most complimentary if it goes with the shape of your face. Colors too go with some complexions and complextions.

Example for my body type, weight, height: I'm just over 5'3", long waisted, short legs, size 12, chesty now that I'm older, but I do have a waist and nice neck. Worst top on me would be a round neck. Makes the bust look almost matronly. Best is a v or scoop neck with nice costume jewelry or a scarf that hangs down the middle. (See New York and Company) My skirt hits just at the top of my knee cap. I try to stay with the same color top and bottom which makes you look thinner and taller. I have learned recently that belted is better. Don't wear a big long shirt or sweater to cover extra weight. Belt it with a narrow or wide belt. Other blouses should not be stretchy if they hug less than flat tummy lines. I try to wear a heel of some height when in slacks or skirt for height/length if I'm dressing to impress. Etc.

There are style people for hire of course. I had one once which my employer paid for with my promotion. She'd stand you in front of the mirror and show you what length skirt worked best, etc. etc and shop with you and take you to the tailor. She was insistant on using a tailor for most important purchases for a great fit and to tighten the arms of the suit so I could push them up.

Aside from that, I'd google "style on a budget" or "updating your wardrobe" or check your "yellow pages" on line for "stylist" or "image consultant."

There are personal shoppers at some stores but they usually have higher priced clothing. You can bring an item you are wanting to pair it with. The key is to not be afraid to ask questions even as humble as: do you think this skirt is still in style or what would dress up this dress even more?

Just recently, I found a sales clerk in a Chico store that was amazing. We opened the door to her to help us find a few great things in colors we knew were good for us, said things we wanted to avoid (thin material slacks, too baggy slacks in the thigh when your waist isn't small etc) and she did a wonderful job and stayed with us the whole time. I got her card. Fabulous taste and taught us a few new style tips (like the belts that are in vogue now).

And remember, if you find a slack or skirt or blouse that you love, buy them in a few colors and remember that store and especially that brand. Then you can check them out online for pricing.


answers from Phoenix on

Jewerly really makes an outfit pop out from boring to fun ! I would accessorize ( if that is how you spell it ) scarfs are in around a neck line
too...... I am terrible with fashion but see how others seem to fit it all together.

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