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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

4 Simple Ways to Always Look Chic

In a world where fashion options are endless, it can be easy to get overwhelmed when deciding what to wear. Most likely, your closet is a hodgepodge of patterns, colors, textures, and trends—which can be pretty daunting morning after morning when you're heading to work (or anywhere, for that matter).

But the truth is, there are a few secrets to looking great every day, while also building a cohesive and functional wardrobe that will stand the test of time (and trends). Here are four rules I’ve learned from one of my favorite bloggers—Geneva from A Pair and a Spare—that will make sure you always look chic.

1. Dress in Three Colors at a Time

Geneva got the tri-colored idea from spending time with her friend Sarah (of Harper and Harley), who uses this simple method when she gets dressed. The idea is—even if you're mixing textures, patterns, or prints—as long you keep everything to no more than three colors, the other mixing will look intentional (not like you got dressed in the dark). Not only does this tip help make you look effortlessly chic, it also helps narrow down your options when you’re picking out outfits in a rush. Not to mention, it makes packing a breeze!

There are a few pointers to remember when implementing this rule. First of all, white doesn't necessarily have to count as one of your colors. So, if you’re wearing black pants, a red blazer, and a white shirt you could potentially add one more color without ruining the overall aesthetic. Also, busy prints (with more than three colors) only count as one color. Just keep the rest of your outfit super simple and only incorporate colors that are in the print.

This tip may seem almost too easy, but once I started putting it into practice, I realized that it really does make all the difference. Read Geneva's post here, and check out Sarah’s blog as well to get some serious inspiration.

2. Invest in Timeless Pieces, Not Trendy Items

If you live in a city where H&M is readily available to you, you know how hard this rule can be. You go in to buy “just one t-shirt”—and the next thing you know, you’ve purchased a pile of clothes that will withstand exactly one season’s worth of trends. (I know, “But they were having a huge sale!”)

As fun as impulse buying can be, you could save that money you spent on eight neon statement necklaces (that everyone and their mom will be wearing) and put it towards a classic leather jacket or black sheath dress. And to get your neon necklace fix? Find a used necklace at a thrift store (or grab one of yours that you don’t wear anymore), spray paint it neon, and voilà: a cheap statement piece that is uniquely yours (and probably better quality). Geneva has amazing DIY projects on her blog that always look flawlessly ripped from the runway and not at all kitschy.

3. Learn How to Thrift Well

One of the greatest gifts my mother has ever given me was teaching me how to sift through racks of clothes at a thrift store or flea market efficiently. It takes time and practice, but it often pays off in a big way. Your eye becomes trained to pick out treasures among a lot of potential trash, and eventually you’re able to quickly sort out the silks from the synthetics.

As Geneva points out, older clothes—if they’re in good condition—are generally made with much better construction and quality than a lot of the cheaper clothes that are made today. You can also usually find some vintage designer gems if you get lucky and look hard: A few weeks ago a friends of mine found a red vintage Dior blazer for me—for $2.99!

And remember—the dry cleaner and tailor are your best friends. If you find a treasure with a salvageable stain or perhaps a hem that’s too long, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. And if you find something that’s way too big or too small but has a fabulous print or fabric, there’s always DIY to reclaim it!

4. Take Time to Go Through Wardrobe Rehab

Geneva has devised the perfect way to curate your closet so that everything you have in your wardrobe has purpose and is something you actually wear and love. It’s a six-step program: culling, re-organizing, defining your style, identifying wardrobe essentials, reviewing colors and trends, and focusing your shopping.

Read her guide immediately, then do yourself a favor and take an entire day to cull and re-organize. You won’t be sorry—clearing the clutter and only keeping what you need and love will only make you more stylish and less overwhelmed when you get dressed everyday.

Photos courtesy of apairandaspare.