I observe students as they enter the classroom: everyone, every time, studying their clothes, shoes, and accessories. It’s a habit that occupies me during moments of boredom. Does her scarf go with her outfit? Are his shoes right for his body type? Where did she buy that skirt? What fabric is that blouse made out of? It’s not a critique of what’s trendy but rather a matter of aesthetics. I admire guys and girls with a sense of style, not those who are slaves to fashion.
Admittedly, it’s a superficial pastime and occasionally even cruel to my specimens, but viewing other dressers helps me better develop my own sense of style. I can immediately decide what cuts, colors, and fabrics are right for me and which ones are wrong just by scouting out people with features similar to mine: tall average for a girl (I’m not quite 5’8’’) with medium brown curly hair, hazel eyes, light olive skin, proportionately very long legs, and the classic Coke bottle shape.)
These little study sessions have taught me that my favorite style is artsy or bohemian so I usually wear a combination of at least two or more of the following elements: velvet, fitted jeans, peasant tops, jackets, cardigans, flats, boots, beads, faux fur, embroidery, baby doll tops, paisley, exotic patterns, prairie skirts, scarves, hoop earrings, and chokers. My three favorite color palettes are earth tones, jewel tones, and berry tones. The stores that best exemplify my look (to some degree, in some mix of the five) are Anthroplogie, Fossil, Free People, Urban Outfitters, and Heritage 1981. I’ve learned, though, that I can glean the looks I love from these stores and find more affordable versions at thrift shops and Target. But my shopping mantras are the subject for another musing all of its own.
Observing people who are completely different from me also teaches me about the art of fashion. I can pass the knowledge on to friends with features similar to the ones I see in strangers. Every now and then, I envy woman with different features from my own just a little because something that would seem so drab on me would be lovely on them because of the color of their hair or the shade of their complexion. For a second I wonder how I can wear what they have on even though I just told myself I couldn’t wear it the previous second. In general, though, I am happy with my appearance because my natural tones and body type allow me to wear a wide variety of things while still looking good.
After observing people in this way for the past few years, this is probably my most important advice to anyone who is the least bit curious: dress in what looks nice on you. Guys and girls alike should stay updated on recent trends to keep their wardrobes fresh but that doesn’t mean buying every single season must-have. Unless you’re completely revamping your wardrobe, you should really limit yourself to adding one trend per season to your closet. Otherwise, you might come off as a little obsessed. Adopt the trends that suit you best and ignore the ones that don’t match your style or work well with your body type. Never get so caught up about what’s ‘in’ that you forget what actually looks good on you. The main goal is to look presentable, not necessarily “cool” according to the latest trends. Because if you have your own unique and flattering way of dressing, you’ll look cool regardless.