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HOW TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD: 8 steps to head-turning style


Fitting in while standing apart is an important element of personal style. In this era of fast fashion, social media style celebrities, and trends with a short shelf life it can be hard to know how to turn heads and stand apart for the right reasons.

To avoid the fashion victim trap or the too-basic/too-routine conundrum, it’s worth doing some sartorial introspection and self-evaluation. Start by considering your likes, dislikes, lifestyle, favorite pieces, favorite eras of fashion, etc. All these factors will come into play when determining the styles that suit you. It may take some time to get your entire fashion game dialed in, but it’s worth your while. 

Get to the root of what it is that makes your style tick, dig in and trust your intuition, discover which pieces and/or colors you absolutely love and how you like to wear them. Nobody ever admires contrived or derivative style; true style is all about revealing yourself and letting your light shine. This may seem like a tall order or it might seem intimidating but don’t fret. As you go through my eight steps don’t feel pressured to tick every single one off your list, try a couple and see what amazing changes it can bring you. Style doesn’t mean lavish outfits costing lots of money or a look that needs a stylist to keep you on track. Style means expressing yourself as a authentic and unique being. Oh, and, while you read my tips please consider this process an evolution not revolution – it takes a little time but it will happen . 

1. Be a Leader

  • It’s not always about what’s in fashion. If you are confident in your personal style choices, you can wear what you like. Own it. Love it. Live it. More often than not, it’s the unexpected that will get you noticed. Making bold fashion choices and risks every now and then shows off  your vibrant personality, which is definitely a good thing. So yeah, go ahead and wear that vintage psychedelic print scarf.
  • Pre-loved, vintage stores, etsy.com as well as new designer marketplaces, are all great places to find pieces for a look that’s all yours. Straying away from establish brands and mall fashion staples will ensure that your pieces aren’t mass produced and are more limited in its public exposure.
  • Be inspired. Blazing a style trail can be daunting. There’s nothing wrong with gaining a little style inspiration from fabulous women who have created their own fashion niche and undeniable signature. 

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2. Engage in Fashion with Add A Twist

  • Mix items and add accessories that uphold and express your personal style expression. Whether it’s a frame bag from the 50s from your grandma that you love or an incredibly avant-garde artistic piece, wear it with pride. Throwing these pieces in with staples like ripped denim, leggings, or sundresses is a genius styling trick.
  • Go for the unexpected. The items and accessories you use to express your style will have more impact when worn with items it wouldn’t be typically worn with. A Chanel bag brings more pow and gravitas to a sporty off-duty look of sneakers and oversized cardigan. A pair of patent white oxfords is a refreshing pairing with a tropical print summer frock.

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3. Mix Patterns

  • Go beyond the everyday and look for combinations that are pleasing and different. Print on print has become a major trend as of late. But more than a trend, it is an interesting and clever way to get dressed. Print on print will outlast the test of time and trends given its stylishness when done right.
  • When doing print on print, it is the easiest to attempt it with monochromatic styling. Choosing two colors in different prints creates a visual and graphic interest that can be offset with the smart addition of an accessory in a striking complementary color.
  • If you’re feeling a bit apprehensive to don two bold prints, pick an understated print to match with your bolder one. Take Sarah Jessica Parker’s ensemble for examples, she coordinates her leopard print top with muted pinstripes.
  • Stripes and florals are an easy pick for print on print. For an extra feminine flourish (and something novel too!), try your hand at floral on floral.

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4. Think Statement

  • Look for items that stand out, this includes the shape or style of your garments to your accessories. A statement accessory, may it be jewelry, a bag, a shoe, or a piece of clothing, does wonders in establishing what your style is. These pieces are not for everyday, and these items are as far from basic as you can get. These are attention grabbers, scene-stealers, and jaw droppers. Invest in these and watch your fashionistas credibility go up a thousand percent every single time you bring it out.
  • Things to look for in statement pieces are bright color, embellishment, eclectic prints, and oversized scale.
  • When sporting your statement pieces, keep the rest of your look simple to allow the piece to shine.

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5. Layer Creatively

  • Experiment with ways to layer your clothes and accessories that are slightly different to the commonplace layering style techniques.
  • Instead of layering a white collared shirt under a sweater (a classic fall/winter styling trick), why don’t you let a striped or printed shirt peek out from underneath your turtleneck?
  • Never let seasons stop you from layering. You can layer in the spring and summer too! Layer chiffon underneath a mini dress and/or keep a lightweight cardigan on hand for a quick style pick-me-up that works on even the most casual looks.
  • Break up a neutral palette when layering. Try a bright tote or an eye-catching red lip.
  • Play with silhouettes and texture when layering. Topping off your look with an oversized scarf or a cropped sweater is great. And so is, wearing different finishes in similar colors (satin, knit, metallic, etc.) in one ensemble.

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6. Make the Most of Your Age and Shape

  • Great style always starts with discovering and then mastering the styles that best suit your shape and age. When you realize what style works for your shape and age, embrace it. While change is great, sometimes having a signature style that you always come back to is the sign of true style icon status.
  • Invest in shapewear and alterations to ensure that you look your best in whatever outfit for whatever occasion. When it comes to alterations, a little goes a long way. Taking in the waist or adjusting the hem can make the world of a difference in making you look more polished and pulled together. 

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7. Be a Head of the Rest

  • Lookie Here. Anything around your head, hair, makeup and eyewear, will be noticed first so make them count. These are three things that are worth spending on to get high-quality results.
  • Cheap eyewear isn’t just sartorially disappointing. It may end up damaging your eyes too. Opt for high quality lenses with UV protection. Take your time in selecting frames that are both chic and fits properly with your face shape.
  • We all can’t afford a blow out everyday. Make a routine for hair to make sure that it stays healthy and lustrous, even on days that you’re too busy to head to the salon. A good dry shampoo is a great addition to your beauty loot, as it can certainly boost your roots and give your locks extra volume the day after your wash.
  • Good skin care is paramount. Even the most expert application and the best makeup products cannot conceal bad skin. Your skin is everything. So remember, always remove your makeup at the end of the day and never ever leave the house without sunblock on.
  • As for makeup, choose a feature you love to highlight and stick with that as your signature. For days when you’re hectic, frame the face. Curl your lashes, fill in your brows, and add a little color to your lips, it’s a less-than-5-minute routine that can significantly affect how you look and your confidence for the day.

Great SkinSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

8. Think Body Language

  • Complete your new found style with the attitude to match. Walk, sit and gesture with confidence. No outfit is complete without the confidence and bravado of the woman wearing it. Even the chicest outfit will go to waste if one looks grouchy or acts like a wallflower. So hold your head high ladies, you now have the outer beauty to perfectly match your inner glow. Take these simple tips from TED on how to subtly convey confidence in your posture everyday.

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  • connie mccool says:

    thanks for all your articles, i read and try to understand and remember. re: your article on prints, i read part one, what would you recommend for a petite who is well endowed on top – prints on top and solids on lower half? or the reverse?
    re: on making a statement, how does one decide what to pick? jewelry? scarf? shoes? does it matter?

    i like it when you give a description then follow up with an example – it helps me understand it better.
    many thanks,

    • Style Clinic says:

      Hi Connie,
      Part 2 will be on how to wear prints.
      Since you are petite and well endowed, I suggest you wear prints on top half of your body but only those that are either small or if medium not too high contrast.
      Regard making a statement, accessories worn high on your body are noticed more and bring attention to your face and brain. Lower placed accessories highlight places like you waist or legs which are fine but best not work work.

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