Growing up, just like we developed complexes from the friend who ditched us to hang out with the cooler girl, we all developed some complexes about clothes. Our grandmas told us that all-black outfits were the most flattering thing you can wear, our mom told us that one type of shirt makes our shoulders look wide… the list goes on.
In the meantime, some of that unsolicited advice probably stuck around a little too long. And not only can some of the style habits we have keep us in a shell of a completely un-fun comfort zone, but it can lead us to a closet full of clothes that make us look older—which I’m confident enough to bet isn’t any of our goal (or at least hasn’t been since we were 16).
It’s time to go out with the old and welcome the new, all in the form of ridding ourselves of the style habits that make us look older saying hello to never feeling frumpy again.
Stop: Pairing too many trends together at once
You’d think that trendy pieces would always would make you look youthful and in-the-know, but nothing can make the reverse look more true than trying to pair too many super-trendy items together at once.
Deciding which trends to invest in can be overwhelming, so when you’re adding things to your cart, think about what you can pair with things you already own without too much thought. Not only will you get more use out of it, but wearing it will feel natural to your style.
Start: Wearing only one or two trendier pieces at a time
Rather than throwing on every piece you got for the season in one outfit, mix them in with your classic go-tos. Stick to one or two trendier items at a time (for example, a newer bag with a shirt in a color that’s in for the season) to eliminate looking like you’re doing too much at once.
Don’t know where to start? Invest in one trendy accessory, and mix it into the outfits you feel most comfortable in to give them an updated look without trying too much.
Stop: Only wearing all black
It feels like at one point or another, every woman was told that the chicest thing they could possibly wear was an all-black ensemble. While, there’s definitely a time and a place for that, only wearing all black, all the time isn’t the answer—and can age you in the meantime.
Start: Making the most of color
Do you need to start wearing bright hues all the time if it doesn’t feel natural to you? Absolutely not; in fact, if you’re totally color-averse, even mixing in neutrals that aren’t black can do wonders to mix up your look. But if you do like having color in your wardrobe, or you’re just used to wearing black, try mixing in some pieces in colors you already know you feel confident in. The result will not only be more flattering, but we’d bet it’ll brighten your overall mood too.
Stop: Wearing clothes that are ill-fitting
Trust me, I know: I’m the queen of keeping things in my closet for far longer than their expiration date. But wearing clothes that just don’t fit right is never flattering, no matter how much you like the concept of the piece itself. Whether it’s too small or too big, it’s a one-way street to looking frumpy and leading you to feel self-conscious in the meantime—something we don’t have time for around here.
Start: Consistently cleaning out your closet
If you’re a once-a-year closet purger, good for you—you’re ahead of most of us. But if doing a closet clear-out in one fell swoop intimidates you, start evaluating what’s in your wardrobe on a more consistent basis. If you wear something you felt was falling off of you all day, instead of throwing it in the hamper only to be washed and hung back up later, put it in a bag that you keep of items to donate. Remember: never keep pieces around in hope they’ll fit again one day. Not only is it toxic to your mindset, but it’s taking up space for things that could make you feel great now.
Stop: Wearing ill-fitting bras
Another thing I’m endlessly guilty of: wearing bras that no longer fit (or that have seen better days). A bra being too big or too small both serve as equal issues, since either way, it’ll show in how your clothes hang on your body.
Start: Taking the time to make sure your bras fit right
If there’s one thing that’s worth purging at once, it’s your bra collection. Let go of the ones you never reach for because they’re too uncomfortable, toss the ones that are stretched out and have an underwire poking out, and donate the ones that just don’t fit you anymore. All it takes is one really good bra that fits juuuuuuust right to completely change your life.
Stop: Wearing jeans with too much stretch
We’ve all been there: you get a super-comfortable pair of jeans, wear them to the office feeling like a 10, but then have a saggy butt by the time your lunch break rolls around. Comfortable jeans are a necessity, but if you go too far into the realm of stretchiness, it can mean that they hang baggy on you—something nobody can pull off.
Start: Finding jeans that are comfortable, but flattering
No, this doesn’t mean you have to buy jeans that are so rigid they make you feel claustrophobic; a sweet spot of jeans does exist, and they’re a hybrid between an ultra-rigid and super-stretchy option. It might mean it takes a few hours for them to form to your body, but once they do, they stay like that constantly—no baggage included.