As a stylist people are always asking what I would dress them in.  And if it’s different than what they dress themselves in.  Usually, my response isn’t what I would pick for them, but rather a question like… How do you spend most of your time?  That’s the truth about personal style that may surprise you… it’s not all about the clothes.  My approach to styling a client is identifying what they’re like, what their days are filled with, and what their budget for clothes is.  It’s important to understand the person and not just pick a look depending on the typical things like; body shape, hair color, eye color, and skin tone.  Their new style has to work for their life and stay in balance with who they are and what they represent.  The style that best suits people is something they can relate to, feel good in, and afford to keep up.  You can’t have a high-end jacket that you blew your wad on because it doesn’t leave you any flexibility in the other areas of your wardrobe.  It’s important to mix and match your wardrobe with high end and low-end fashion to stay within your budget so that you assemble complete and updated looks at a price you can live with till next season! So the truth about personal style that may surprise you is that its actually about balance.  Balancing out what you love and want to wear with what you can afford and it’s like this for everyone!  The best wardrobes are a mix and match of quality and affordability.  What we each consider quality and affordable is different so to help you shop like a personal stylist I put together a little list below.

Here are a few tips for knowing When to Spend and When to Save…

It’s worth your money when the item is versatile, season-less, timeless and most of all…well made!  This is when you can feel good about spending more than normal.  While standing in line to purchase or with your finger hovering the checkout button on your favorite website you’ll have confidence knowing that it’s an item you can wear with many different things and that it’s interchangeable.  You’ll know that you can wear it in multiple months of the year and that it’s not going out of style anytime soon.  When you are making purchases with confidence like this, you are going to look amazing wearing it!   Here are some examples….

When to Spend:

Handbags:  You carry them every day and to me a handbag says a lot about a person.  You’re sending a message every time you take out your wallet.  It’s the piece that brings your entire look together.  Handbags and Scarves score high on my accessory list.  (What scores high on yours??)  Stay away from heavy hardware or trendy patterns because these embellishments are what make the handbag go out of style.  You can get something eye-catching, but there’s no need for a Reno Casino look!  Ya know what I’m saying??

Jeans:  You wear them multiple times a week and they go with everything!  If you have the right pair they take your confidence up a few notches and make you feel amazing!  Make sure the pockets are positioned just right…just think…lower is better than higher! Those reasons alone are your reason to spend what it takes to get a pair that fit like a glove!  Or maybe even 2 or 3 pairs…. 

Shoes:  Depends on what kind of shoe it is, how old you are, and how often you’ll wear them.  The right looking and fitting pair are priceless!  Just be aware of a few things… Are your feet still growing?  Will you wear them comfortably or are they gonna hurt your feet?  How often will you wear them?  If you can answer these questions and it make sense and they’re in your budget, go for it.  My rule is if I can wear them with at least 3 outfits, and they don’t hurt my feet, I’ll consider them.

Classics:  Items like a Leather Jacket or a Black Blazer can last a lifetime.  Or even a black wool coat for those dreadful winters where the weight of a heavy coat is totally necessary but you don’t want to sacrifice your style to stay warm…  This season, invest in something Grey….trust me, the look’s going to stay around and it’s such a fresh change up from black, I love it!  Classics should represent 70% of your wardrobe and only 30% of it should be trendy.  This keeps you only having to update the 30% season to season and gets you building a wardrobe that will last over time.

Bras:  Once you’ve tried on a well-made bra, you won’t buy another cheap one again.  In this area, you totally get what you pay for.  So depending on what you’re looking for, push up, tone down, pretty, plain, underwire or super padded, you can find what you need by making an appointment at your local department store for a fitting or by visiting Victoria’s Secret.  It’ll be time well spent and you’ll actually see your clothes fit differently.  It’s amazing! Remember, your ‘girls’ shape your whole upper body so make sure you have your straps tightened 🙂

When to Save:

Tank Tops and T-Shirts:  Typically these are 100% cotton and won’t last forever anyway and I don’t know about you, but I like to have a tank top in every color for Spring and Summer so a budget option is a good idea so you can free up your funds to add other items.  Like an amazing white/neutral handbag!  Layering white is huge this season so a handbag is a great way to make sure you always have your white on!  It’s such a fresh look in natural light.

Trendy Patterns & Characters:  Trendy patterns, movie, and other character prints go out of style too fast to spend too much money on.  With the exception of your favorite bands’ t-shirt of course! 

Jewelry:  I’m one to change all my jewelry every day so I like to have a lot of options.  For my budget, that means I shop fashion jewelry and not always sterling silver, gold, or natural stone jewelry.  It keeps me looking fresh at a price I can afford and keep up with season to season.  Plus, I don’t get so irritated when I lose something like an earring, which happens often for me.  Does that happen to anyone else?  You get home with one earring?  I have so many orphan earrings lying around. lol! 

One of my favorite tips on this subject is to figure out the Cost Per Wear of what you’re buying before you pay for it. Take the total amount of the item and divide it over how many times you’ll wear it.  If you buy a $100 pair of jeans but wear them 100 times before they’re done, that’s $1 per wear, which is a steal!  If you can stay between $3 and $5 you are doing well.  I use this tip every time I shop. Write it down 🙂

Okay, so we’ve covered the surprising truth about personal style, everyone and I mean everyone has to balance between what they want and what they can afford.  You can look like a million bucks and spend $100, trust me!  Don’t let your budget or current wardrobe hold you back.  There’s always new outfits to pair and things to add, fall in love with the process of being inspired, identifying what you have, and what you still need and then wear the outfits you love!

Is your head spinning but you want to get started??

Take my 3 Steps To Personal Style Masterclass where I walk you through how I find the style I love, how I handle my closet and shopping for what I want, and then how I bring it all together to wear the outfits I love!  Its a fun class and you can access it instantly right here!  Enjoy!!!

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xoxo, Kathleen