Just as your body’s systems can become gradually clogged and sluggish through bad diet and lack of exercise, so your sense of fashion and personal style can become bogged down through neglect, lack of knowledge and lack of time – all leading to bad habits that become a way of life.
Left unchecked, these bad habits can become so ingrained that they blind you to the possibilities of just how great you could look. The start of a New Year is the perfect time to establish a new code of dress conduct and banish your fashion bad habits for ever.
1. The Wretched Wardrobe
It’s crammed with things that don’t fit, you can’t stand and you never wear. Have a good clean-out. Sort into five different piles: for the charity shop, dry-cleaning, alterations, favorites and possibles. Bin anything past its sell-by: i.e. anything faded, moth-eaten, ripped or stained. Decide on the basics that will refresh the pieces you intend to keep: a crisp white shirt? A great black T-shirt? A new pair of boots? A fabulous belt?
2. The Bad Bra
Research has shown that nearly 80 per cent of women are wearing the wrong size – either a cup size too small or a back size too big, or a combination of both. Nearly half of all B-cup-wearers, it seems, should be wearing a D-cup or above. Get fitted – and make the best of your shape, silhouette and posture. Remember, the “new you” starts with the very first layer of clothing.
3. The Clone Queen
Are you a label victim? Do you wear one designer from head to foot, like Victoria Beckham who is Dolce & Gabbana one minute, Roberto Cavalli the next? Don’t be afraid to inject a little of your own personality into what you buy. Make the look your own.
4. Same-old, Same-old Syndrome
Have you fallen into the trap of always wearing identikit outfits, like Elizabeth Hurley in her utterly predictable white jeans or split-to-the-thigh, cleavage dresses, Sienna Miller in her boho shifts and boots or any one of a horde of C-List celebs who can always be relied upon to turn up in minis and middy tops. If so, take inspiration from the likes of Emma Thompson and Helen Mirren, who are bold enough to reinvent themselves. Remember, vive le difference.
5. Buried in Boring
Too tired to change? Rather be safe than sorry? Do yourself a favor. Break open the mold and spring a surprise. Use the January sales to experiment. Promise yourself once a week to try on at least three things you would never have considered wearing before. If necessary close your eyes and pluck from the rails at random.
6. Color Coward
If your shelves resemble the inside of a Benetton shop, except every single item is navy, beige or black, it is time for shock treatment. Force yourself to buy at least three different colored things. Experiment with an orange scarf, a pair of purple shoes, a green cardigan, a fuschia belt, or even a pair of fishnet tights in color.
7. Stuck in a Groove
You have looked exactly the same for 20 years: same hair, same lipstick, same skirts, same shirts, same shoes. What are you trying to do? Set a record? Perhaps you think it makes you look youthful to wear, at 50, the clothes you wore at 25. Wrong! You don’t just need a change of clothes, you need an overhaul. Throw out everything and start from scratch.
© 2007 Hilary Alexander