Being chic is about being fashionable and about setting trends. You want to stand out from the crowd and have people notice you. Don’t worry! You don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to look chic!
Finding the Right Clothing
Go to second-hand stores in high-class areas. Being chic and fashionable doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money. There are definite ways to be chic on a small budget and finding second-hand stores in high-class areas is one of the biggest ones.
You’ll find designer brands and elegant clothes for much cheaper. People who are rich often buy clothes and then send it off to a second-hand shop without ever wearing it, or wearing it only a few times.
The prices will be good, because these types of stores are catering to people who don’t have a ton of money, but who love quality, classy clothes. The prices will be much better than those clothes would fetch first-hand.
Find one of a kind clothing. People who set trends, who are chic and fashionable, are people who find clothes that others don’t have. This means avoiding the big stores and going looking for clothes. You might have to spend a little more than you would on something at Kmart, but it will last longer and be unique.
Artist bazaars are a great place to find unique and fashionable clothing. You can find printed shirts, skirts and dresses, tailored clothes, as well as lots of different kinds of accessories: jewelry, bags, belts, scarves, etc.
Vintage shops are great places to find elegant and chic clothing. A lot of older clothing is also sturdier and tends to last longer (which is why you can find it in these types of stores).
Get inspiration from unusual places. You will want to stand out. Chic is about being fashionable and fashionable means that you’re not following every single trend. You’re blazing your own trails. You’re setting trends. Look into history to find inspiration. Of course there’s the typical 40sand 50s inspired outfits, but look to places like the Victorian era (some gorgeous jackets) or wear jewelry and hair ornaments inspired by the 20s.
You could even look into your own cultural background. Avoid appropriating other people’s culture for your fashion ends (if you’re not Hindu, for example, don’t wear a bindi; or if you’re not a decorated Chief of the Plains Indians, don’t wear a War Bonnet), but you could see what your culture has to offer in terms of fashion opportunities.
Look at the people you see around you. You can incorporate outfits or ideas that you like into your own style. It doesn’t mean you need to copy someone else, but you might see something that looks cool and try it out yourself. For example: you see a woman wearing a jewel-toned maxi dress and pearls, you might try out the maxi dress off yourself, but add your own ideas to it.
Make your own clothes. Making your own clothes is a great, if somewhat time consuming, way to have a unique look. You can also look at old fashioned patterns and use those as part of your look.
Remember that making clothes, especially sewing your clothes, takes some time. You’ll need to practice and start small before you want work your way up to more complicated outfits.
If you do decide to make your own patterns you can incorporate all kinds of ideas from various eras in time and various styles you might see in magazines or on the internet.
Pick clothes that appeal to you. Part of being chic is about being confident in your style and in what you wear. This means that you need to pick clothes that you feel comfortable in. If you don’t feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, other people will pick up on that and not see you as a chic trendsetter.
Wear clothes that fit you properly. Make sure that you know your dresssize, so you know what clothes will fit you the best. When clothes don’t fit, when they’re too tight or too loose, you don’t look fashionable, you tend to look uncomfortable.
Wear clothes you feel comfortable in. If heels make you uncomfortable,don’t wear them. Instead, find fun flats or tennis shoes that you like and that work with your outfits.
Stay abreast of current trends. While part of being chic is setting your own trends, it’s also good to know what other people are wearing. Sometimes you can incorporate these looks into your own style.
The internet is a great resource for keeping on top of the fashion world. There are lots of great fashion blogs, especially ones that exhibit awesome street fashion from around the world. You can also look at photos from fashion debuts.
Look at what’s selling in magazines. You won’t always agree with the looks, but they can offer interesting perspective on what’s considered fashionable.
Putting Together Outfits
Come up with a “uniform.” Try and have two or three basic outfits that you like to wear. These will be the bases of your look. You can rotate through them and build on them, but these will be what you go for. Have a couple alternating outfits based around your “uniform” look. For example: you might build your look around dresses. Now you can cycle between your floral dresses (wearing heels or flats to change it up), throwing in the occasional maxi dress or little black dress.
As another example: your uniform might be jeans and a shirt. You couldcycle through jeans and a nice button down, jeans and a sweater, jeans and a t-shirt. You could roll up your cuffs or wear flats or heels, but the uniform stays mostly the same.
This doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up from time to time. It just means that you know what works for you and what you like and you focus on that.
Choose one body part to enhance. It’s a good idea to focus on enhancing one part of your body so that you don’t overwhelm yourself trying to show off everything. Pick one part that you want people to notice and plan your outfit around that one part.
For example: if you’re showing off your cleavage, don’t show off your legs too. Wear a tight-fitting, scoop-necked top, but then a long flowing skirt.
Flatter your body’s shape. Certain looks sit better on certain body types than on others. While these are only guidelines for what you might wear given your body type they can give you a flattering edge when you’re picking out clothing.
Pear shaped means basically that your lower body is wider than your upper body (hips wider than shoulders). Your bottom half tends to be rounded, although your waist is defined. Go for a-line skirts and skirts and trousers with a wide base to balance out your lovely proportions. Boat neck tops, square and cowl necklines are great for showing off your upper body.
Wedge shaped means that your body conforms to an inverted triangle, typically with a broader chest and wider shoulders compared to your narrower waist and hips. You want looks that emphasize your legs. Full skirts, high-waisted styles, and thick belts are all good looks for you.
Rectangle shaped folks tend to have an athletic body type. You waist, hip, and your shoulder widths tend to be similar and are usually on the slim side. Wear scoop necks and sweetheart tops to emphasize your chest area. Long jackets are great for emphasizing your lean look. Get dresses that show off your arms and your legs.
Apple shaped means that your weight tends to accumulate above your hips.You might feel that you are wider than the other body types since your back, ribs, and shoulders tend to be broad. Try out v-necks, and belts. The empire cut, in tops and dresses, is a great look for you and you’ll want to be sure that you show off those lovely legs!
Hourglass shapes tend to have a similar proportion with their shoulders and their hips, with a waist that tends to be smaller. Fitted and wrap dresses, as well as belts, are good for showing off your waist. You want to show off your curves!
Play with contrasts. This way you won’t be over-doing anything. A tight top, with a tight bottom tends to be a bit too much. You want to leave a little something to the imagination. On the other hand, having everything be really loose doesn’t give you any nice shape. You can wear these if you want, but they probably won’t look very chic.
Small top with loose skirt or trousers can be a great look. It emphasizes the top part of your body while balancing it with a loose bottom.
Contrasting colors can also be a good thing to play around with. You might not want to go overboard with this, but wearing a blue top and some fun bright orange earrings, for example, can be a good use of contrasts.
You can also play around with elegant versus casual. For example you might pair an elegant top with a pair of jeans and maybe some pearls.
Glam up your outfit. There are a couple of things that you can do to instantly add a bit more glam to your outfit. These can give you an edge that puts you into the realm of chic, rather than boring.
Motorcycle or black leather jacket can basically go with any outfit. It can be worn over a fancy dress to give you a bit of an edge or over a basic jeans and a t-shirt outfit (especially if you pair it with something girly, like floral print flats).
Mix it up with a bit of male attire: a man’s blazer, basketball shorts, a tie, a man’s 1920s hat. All of these can be a great fashion addition for a girl. Think of Janelle Monae, if you want an example.
A white button-down blouse is a great addition to the fashionable wardrobe. It can dress up jeans, or dress down a poofy skirt.
Accessorizing Your Look
Pick the right accessories. You want these to enhance your look with your accessories. Try and avoid overwhelming your look. For example, if you tend to wear more neutral colored outfits, try and pick vivid, jewel-toned accessories.
Jewelry is a great accessory! It can liven up a less colorful outfit, or it can be the understated finish to your elegant outfit. For example: you might pair some chunky, geometric jewelry with a brightly colored, geometric print dress.
Bags should be decorative as well as functional. It’s good to have a main bag, one that goes with most of your outfits (typically in a more neutral tone), and then have some that are more fun and brighter.
Belts are great for enhancing your waist and adding a bit of color. You can pick ones that match your shoes so that the colors come together. For example, if you’re wearing a red dress, you might wear a black belt, black shoes, and golden and black jewelry.
Definitely add some scarves! Scarves, especially flowing, chiffon ones, can add some instant class to your outfit. Pair them with jeans and a t-shirt, or wrap it around your head ala Audrey Hepburn.
Wear the right shoes. Shoes can give an outfit that little bit of extra flare. They can dress up an outfit that might have been very plain, or can dress down an outfit that you don’t want to go overboard with. Make sure you’re wearing shoes that you feel comfortable in!
Flats go well with most outfits and can look just as dressy as a pair of high heels (bonus: they’re easier to walk in). Depending on the sparkles on them, how flashy they are, and what pattern they have, you can pair them with jewelry to accent your outfit, or you can make them stand out as the focal point of your outfit.
Boots are also wonderfully versatile. Depending on the colors you tend to use in your outfits grab boots that are black, grey, or brown. Have at least one pair that doesn’t distract from the rest of the outfit. You can also go for some more exciting kinds like midnight blue boots or bright purple.
High heels can be fabulous, as long as you feel comfortable walking inthem. There’s nothing more terrifying than watching someone totter down the street and hope they don’t break their ankle. You can dress up a pair of jeans, or enliven a skirt with a fabulous pair of heels.
Sandals are also good, especially if you live in a hot climate. They’recute with jeans, or shorts, or skirts, or maxi dresses. The fancier ones are good for evening wear and the less fancy are good for wearing during the day.
Try out make-up. Make-up can be great for enhancing your natural attractiveness. It can add that extra touch of style. Again, you’ll want to try out different looks to see what works best for you and what you like best with your clothing style.
Enhance your natural features by adding definition to your eyes with eyeliner. You can do this in a subtle shade (like brown), and then brush on a pale, natural shape of eyeshadow. A little mascara can open up your lashes, making them look longer. With a little bronzer you can contour your face to bring out your cheekbones. With blush you can widen or lengthen your face depending on what you want (apply in a horizontal line to widen or across temples and jaw to lengthen).
Create the stylish smokey-eye look. Put a little nude eyeshadow over your entire eyelid. Put on some shimmering eyeshadow from the base to the brow of your eyelid. Next, you’ll line your top and bottom lash line with dark eyeliner (in brown or in black). Smudge the eye-liner with a Q-tip. You’ll sweep a darker eyeshadow over your eyelid and into the crease of your eye. Blend that color up and out. Apply the highlighting color under your brow bone and tear duct. Line your inner lash line with eyeliner to intensify the effect. Give your lashes a couple coats of mascara and curl them upward.
Find some quirky make-up looks. Use bright colors that bring out your natural eye color, or find a make-up style that is unusual.
Pick the right hairstyle. You want to do something unusual and stylish with your hair so that people notice it and you. Hair is a great way to draw attention to your look. It can help enhance your attractive features, as well.
Find unusual inspiration. Again, look through history to see whathairstyles people were using and incorporate that into your look. Experiment with different looks to see what works best with your hair and your outfits.
Wavy hair looks good with looks like a messy updo that has soft, face-framing tendrils, or pulling up the sides of your hair and securing them in the back while letting the ends curl.
Straight hair looks good with a side part that leaves your hair down, or a pony-tail that given some volume at the crown of your head with a little hairspray, or french braiding your hair on either side of your part and securing in back.
Curly hair looks fantastic in a short cut, or you could let it loose with a little product to keep the frizz down. You could also try grabbing small sections of your hair in the back and pinning them up.
A few key bags of different types, functions and colours, as you can lift an outfit with a bag.
One black dress can be given lots of different styles with different colored belts and necklaces. Every woman should have a LBD (little black dress) that fits her perfectly.
Messy buns are the best if you curl your hair.
Don’t be afraid to layer on your accessories, but if you’re wearing a stack of bangles, for instance, don’t wear huge earrings AND brooches AND heaps of necklaces AND rings at once. Less is more.
How to Get a Glamorous Style
How to Be Colorful Chic
How to Be a Chic Punk
How to Do Simple and Cute Hairstyles
Sources and Citations
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