Style Question: I currently find myself dressing like my style inspiration is Adam Brody on The OC, with Chuck Taylors, jeans, and crazy t-shirts as my staples. I’m still constantly mistaken for a college student, even though I graduated 5 years ago! How can I make my look a little more grown up and feminine but keep it casual? – Kerstin
Style Advice: Finding a new style approach without losing your personality is the KEY when trying to adapt a new style. Anyone could easily tell you a million different things to wear (“Oh, just plop on a cashmere sweater and some channel earrings!), but I doubt you’d be happy in them. That’s why this is an interesting question. The world may make you feel like you have to automatically start wearing certain kinds of clothing to define yourself, but that isn’t true. And at the same time it’s natural to feel like if you’re wearing fun cotton t-shirts every day, that you’re a bit stalled style-wise. We’re just not going to give you a lobotomy, is all. You need to retain what it is you like.
One of the things I’d suggest is an easy fix to updating the outfit you already described. That’s right – chucks, jeans and a silly cartoon t-shirt can stay. But add to that two elements: a statement necklace (not one that overpowers the look, but one that you can see from a few feet away) and a fitted blazer. The necklaces I like would be one of those multi-layered chain kinds, which are a bit funky and also in a lot of shops right now. A nice fitted blazer instantly makes you look sophisticated. You can always pair that later with black pants and a different solid blouse later on if you really need to dress up, so it’s a piece that will work a lot.
Less expensive combination:
More expensive combination:
Chain Necklace Argento Vivo Long Strand Lace Station Necklace @ nordstrom.com $100 (Something super nice like this can become your everyday statement necklace – wear it for a year until you pick a new one.)
Blazer Black Ponte Boyfriend Jacket @ Miss Selfridge $73 (45 GBP)
If you’re willing to get a bit more invested, I spotted two looks at Ann Taylor Online. And yes, sometimes it helps by just shopping in the ‘right’ store – as this is a store catered for professional women. Of course, we’re not just going to steal the style from their page because it’s boring and not ‘you’.
Consider: A nice, long cardigan (in a punchy color) with a funky belt. You can find those elements at Ann Taylor, but at many other stores as well.
Consider: Flannel pants that have polished appeal. Or maybe modern pinstripe pants? You can always, ALWAYS pair these pants with a 100% cotton, striped, fitted blouse. But you can also take that fitted blouse and pair it with your jeans and chucks, and it’ll still look a bit more adult.
You might even pair a long cardigan with the pants and end up with a stylish look. If you’re worried that clothing gets boring as you get older – don’t. Prints, patterns, and color will always be your saving grace. I hope this has provided you with some fashion ideas to incorporate and/or shop for!
If you have a style question, e-mail me at Jessica@shessmart (dot com)