One of the things I love about the digital age is the ability to connect with others! I recently got a great idea from a youtuber I follow to make a list of 20 "rules" that define my lifestyle and I really loved this idea and thought not only would this be a good exercise for myself but a good topic to share with y'all. So, obviously you do you and wear whatever you want but these are my guidelines for my modern feminine without breaking the bank aesthetic.
1. Focus on pieces with wear ability beyond one season, don't get sucked into too many trends. For example, gingham will always be wearable for summer, plaid for fall, sweaters for winter and floral for spring - but get pieces with classic cuts so you can wear them year after year. For example, a gingham shirt dress is classic, a gingham top with bell sleeves will look dated the second that shape is out.
2. Don't be afraid to spend a little more for quality timeless pieces - a cashmere sweater, a great black dress but don't buy expensive trendy pieces. There's nothing wrong with wanting a gingham bell sleeve top right now if that really speaks to you - but don't spend a lot for one. Meanwhile, I don't for a second regret spending $180 for this gingham shirt dress because I will wear it every summer for years to come.
3. Have pricing guidelines for what you will "invest" in and what you'll spend on a fun trendy update piece. I consider investment pieces anything over $100 and I prefer to spend under $50 for trendy pieces. Having these price points in mind really helps me when considering a purchase. I might say Oh, I love these shoes but they're $120 so I take a minute to ask myself do I honestly see myself wearing them long term or do I love them because they're "in" right now. This helps me be smart with my limited budget each month.
4. Have staple pieces in neutral colors - black, gray, tan, white, navy (yes, navy is a great neutral) and one signature color. I consider staple pieces classic cut dresses, non printed skirts, pants, button down or other classic style blouses and cardigans. You don't have to have one of each in every color right now but it's a good goal towards building your wardrobe. You can make a capsule wardrobe just out of these pieces. I'm terrible about buying classic style blouses because I'm always seeing fun trendy tops I love instead but my goal is to get better on this one. For my signature color I've gone with pink - this is shocking to you I'm sure.
5. Although classic staple pieces are worthy of being "investment pieces" they don't have to be. I'm loving the tan skirt I got at target earlier this year for $22.99! If you know what classic pieces are missing in your wardrobe you'll know what you're looking for and be ready to snap up a good buy when it comes available vs telling yourself oh I must buy X right now. I make a list each year of the 10 pieces I want to add to my wardrobe for the year - obviously I buy more throughout the year but these are items I see myself wearing for years. This is an entire outfit of what I would call staple pieces and non cost me over $50, I didn't plan that I just got lucky on some good finds.
6. 90% of your closet should be wearable for your everyday life. There's nothing wrong with a great cocktail dress or two but unless you're an event planner you really don't need 10. There's also nothing more frustrating than going into your closet and having nothing to wear because the majority of items aren't suitable for your lifestyle. For me this means having classic skirts and pants and lots of tops I can mix and match with, jeans, and casual knee length dresses. I love blazers and have a few but my job has a very casual environment so I just don't need very many. I also think cocktail dresses are the most fun items to buy so I have to give myself a pep talk every time I see one I think is pretty and remind myself that if I bought it it will sit in my closet going no where.
7. A dressy skirt will provide more versatility than a cocktail dress. I go to a few dressier events a year and I'll admit that I don't want to wear the same cocktail dress to each event. Sometimes I'll dress up my LBD with jewelry and a wrap but typically I like to wear a sequin skirt - I can wear the same skirt with different tops and feel like I'm wearing a "new" outfit to each event without buying anything.
8. Find shapes that you feel fabulous in - for me that's circle skirts, A-line dresses and tops that hit at the hips rather than the waist. There's nothing wrong with straying from these shapes from time to time but these are the pieces you know you will feel fabulous is and should be your go to pieces. Keep this in mind if you find "a good deal" on sale and want to make an impulse purchase. Buying something you will wear over and over again on sale is a great deal, buying something on sale that really just isn't you and you'll wear once not so much. I got the yellow skirt I constantly wear last year at target for $13.98 - quite the good deal!
9. Only buy something for full price if you absolutely love it and would be heart broken if it sold out - for anything you like wait for it to go on sale, in the meantime you might find something you like a little more. For me, when Eloquii announced their collaboration with Draper James I knew I wanted to get some items from the collection - my first purchase was this pink hibiscus print dress. It's a classic shape, pink (my signature color) and a print that will be in style every spring (floral). Meanwhile, there are a lot of things I like in the collection but I waited for them to go on sale to buy.
10. Leggings are not pants. Sorry not sorry - if you've been following with me for awhile I think you knew I was going to slip that in here. I have nothing against and wear skinny jeans and pants but leggings do not have the structure or substance to carry half an ensemble. Leggings are a substitute for tights. I love leggings with a dress and boots for fall and winter, I'll even tolerate them with longer sweaters and tunics (ie butt covering), but pairing with a top that hits above the crotch come on, you look like you forgot to finish getting dressed before leaving the house.
11. The darker the denim the dressier you can get away with. When I worked in a corporate setting I only wore trouser style dark jeans on jean Fridays. Now I can wear whatever and jeans anyday but I still find myself favoring darker styles.
12. Dress with balance - circle skirts should be paired with form fitting tops tucked in, statement sleeve tops pair better with pencil skirts and non wide leg pants and peplum tops like this one go well with skinny pants (not leggings).
13. The items that fits will always look better than only buying "your size". I typically wear a 20 or 22 and xxl but sometimes I go up and occasionally go down. There was a time where I never would have told y'all my size but I'm over it. I also have never met anyone who has reached into my clothing and pulled out the tag to see what I'm wearing so if you need to size up unless you're blogging and sharing fit details no one needs to know. At Old Navy for example I typically wear xxl in tops - which is with the straight sizes but in the linen blend pants I get a 2x and jeans 20 - these are plus sizes I have to buy online.
14. Metallic shoes make great neutrals - I always have at least one pair of gold and one silver. No frills or other embellishments - just a classic shape metallic. You can pair them with anything!
15. You don't have to follow every trend. Every fall when camo comes back I just shrug my shoulders say nope, and look at the next item. There's nothing wrong if you like it but it's just not me. I do however love statement sleeve, ruffles and all the feminine embellishments that are in style right now. If you do want to try something new keep the tag on and keep the receipt - try it on at home with a few items you already own and see how you feel about it before committing to the purchase.
16. Challenge yourself to style every piece in your closet 3 different ways. You should be able to do this with everything except cocktail dresses. Start with your LBD if you're not used to mixing and matching your closet. I've really been challenging myself a lot with this lately and now I'll do it in my head before I even buy something and pass on items I can't think of what to mix with.
17. It's always better to be over dressed than under dressed. Some people live in fear of over dressing for an event - I assure you when you show up dressed for an event the host will be flattered that you thought so much of their event to dress up. Unless you're going to a wedding - don't be extra and upstage the bride with your ball gown at her afternoon garden ceremony. When in doubt go up one level of dress or you know, ask. Dressy casual seems to confuse people the most - something you could get away with dark jeans and a dressy top at an event with this dress code but I'll always go for a dress or skirt and top.
18. Always keep the occasion and surroundings in mind when dressing. I don't care how fabulous you look in your white summer dress - you do NOT wear that to someone else's wedding. Likewise, a funeral is not the place for my yellow statement skirt (unless cheerful colors are specifically requested). If I'm familiar with where I'm going I will wear colors or pieces that complement the interior (I'm all about that good pic for the gram). People won't even be able to pin point why but they will notice your outfit just looks "right" for the occasion for example, wear chandelier earrings to a place that has beautiful chandeliers or glam accents.
19. I love pink as much as the next girl but keep your pink to one statement piece or pops of color. As much as I'm excited about the next sequel life is not the set of Legally Blonde and you are not Elle Woods so keep the costumes to Halloween.
20, I tend to be attracted to very femine looks - which is fine on occasion but I also want to look like a grown woman not a little girl playing dress up. If I ever think something might be too much I find throwing on a denim or moto jacket does the trick. Sometimes though I just embrace it, because doesn't woman deserve to just feel like a pretty pretty princess sometimes? Not at work though folk, princessing is for the weekends.
I didn't want to make this post too pic heavy but here's just a few of my favorite items in my closet currently:
***This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own***