How To: Make Your Style Stand Out (Even If You're A Wallflower)
I think all of us would like to think that we dress well. And I think a lot of us, even if it's just somewhere in the very depths of our minds, would like to think that we could be something of a *style icon* - even if that's just to a girl on the bus who admires the shoes you've got on, or your coat.
But actually working on your style and making it something to show off about is tricky, especially if you're of a shyer nature. Putting together attention-grabbing outfits is, by nature, an extrovert activity, and if you're a bit of a wallflower, it's perfectly understandable that you wouldn't want people goggling at you in the street and subtly snapping you for social media. But, dear reader, that doesn't mean you have to shy away and hide yourself in baggy jumpers, boring jeans and a plain colour palette. Style doesn't have to be outrageous, and you can still create head-turning outfits, without going crazy on colours, textures or prints...
Do your research
We all have girls who spring to mind whenever we think about style - those girls who always look amazing, in any combination of pieces. Be it Alexa Chung or your best friend, we're all inspired by somebody when it comes to our wardrobes. Have a think about whose style you really admire and what it is you love about their look, and jot it down to come back to whenever you're feeling a lack of inspiration, or pondering whether to be brave with a look.
Obvious, I know, but it's amazing how many people forget to use Pinterest for fashion inspiration - we're all too busy planning our interior decor these days! I find that whenever I'm lacking outfit inspiration, or I'm unsure of how to wear a new or unusual piece, Pinterest is the best place to turn. Whether it's dungarees, bright boots or a new colour, one quick search will help you find dozens of ways to wear it, and give you lots of ideas for how to style it within your own wardrobe. I think fashion has a lot to do with confidence, and it might really help to give you a little boost if you see how many fabulous women are wearing the same thing you're holding in your hands.
Be kind to yourself, and start small! It's very easy to get carried away with buying a whole new look, filled with bright colours, intricate prints or different textures, but the last thing you want is to be standing in front of your wardrobe, packed with new things but feeling like you have nothing to wear. Start with the little things - so if you're guilty of reaching for the same jeans, tee and trainers combo every day, start switching things out. Go for the jeans and tee, but pair them with some leopard print boots or chic loafers - or swap your jeans for some cool culottes or tailored trousers, and wear them with your trusty tee and trainers. Choose a blouse with an interesting collar instead of something plain and simple. Just switching out one of your basic pieces for something a little more interesting will make the world of difference to your look, without you having to step entirely outside of your comfort zone.
Shop your own wardrobe
You might need a very honest pal for this one! Empty out your wardrobe, and work on creating new outfit combinations from the pieces you already own. Be brave - you already know that these pieces work for you, and they're items that you can feel comfortable in, so it's just about finding fresh new ways to wear them, that you might not have thought of before. Try on your new combinations to assess what you like and what works for you, and get your friend to take pics (or just get some mirror selfies if you're riding solo) - then you can keep them and build up a personal moodboard to revert back to.
Add colour and prints gradually
Lots of fashion bloggers, celebrities and Instagram style icons heavily embrace colour or prints - it's one of the easiest ways to ensure your look stands out. But we're not necessarily looking to stand out and blind onlookers with a dazzling rainbow of colours; what you want your style to do is to feel elegant but to have an element of surprise too. So add flashes of colour gradually - a red scarf here, a pair of patterned shoes there... even in an otherwise entirely monochromatic outfit, a small burst of brightness or an unexpected pop of pattern can really elevate your look and give your outfit a sharp twist. You can start even smaller than accessories if the idea of colour scares you; try a swipe of red lipstick, or a bright manicure if you don't want to commit. But go gradual, and don't try to incorporate everything all at once - one of my favourite everyday outfits is a plain white tee, black skinnies and leopard print ankle boots, which looks dressed-up but feels super casual to wear, so you don't need to fret about any aspect being 'too much'.
Head to the shops
Yes, to buy new pieces for your cool new wardrobe - but also to get inspiration. Pinterest is a great tool, but the one problem can be is that it's nigh-on impossible to find the pieces that people are wearing in street-style snaps etc. So head to your local high street, and take a long hard look at the window displays and the mannequins, to check out how they're styled up and to take inspiration from the combinations used. The pieces will likely all be available in the store, so if there's anything you like the look of, you can try it all out in an instant, safe in the knowledge that it's a tried-and-tested look, and it won't be anything too ostentatious. Also be sure to check out the sales assistants - shop workers often have to wear new-season items during their shifts, so you can get lots of ideas for how they wear certain pieces too.
Adjusting your style to take it to the next step might seem daunting, but breaking it down into these smaller steps is a much easier way to look at it. Just assess each aspect individually and work with what feels comfortable to you, whilst pushing yourself to try something new and exciting every now and again. Happy shopping!