Stuck in a Style Rut? Just Head for the Elevator
Fashion, hair styles and makeup are ever-evolving things that change from year to year and season to season, like an elevator moving up an endless skyscraper of style.
We’ve all seen it – those people who never abandoned their Farrah Fawcett “wings” or Pretty in Pink padded shoulders. What happened? Well, they simply stepped off the Fashion Elevator and forgot to get back on.
When we’re younger we move eagerly with the elevator, pushing buttons and jumping from floor to floor with enthusiasm as trends emerge and fashion evolves. We move fluidly from mini to maxi to midi; one piece to bikini to boy shorts.
Then it happens. We hit a certain floor . It’s our heyday – life is full of adventure. It’s comfortable – all our friends are there, and our favorite music is playing in the background.
We get cozy on the couch, and we forget to get back on the elevator. Some of us maybe forget where the elevator is. Others may even take the elevator going down – to that bargain basement of nondescript clothing.
Here’s a quiz to help you determine if you’ve gotten off the fashion elevator:
- Are you wearing a hairstyle that was a trend from a movie, TV or music celebrity in a previous decade?
- Is your make-up routine the same as it was 10 years ago? 5 years ago? 2 years ago?
- Are you hanging on to wardrobe pieces because they remind you of Annie Hall, The Breakfast Club, or any other movie from the previous millennium?
- Do the shoulder pads on your jacket make you look like you’re wearing the hanger?
- Do you have any of the following in your closet:
- Patterned tights?
- Sweater vest?
- Leg warmers?
- Velour tracksuit?
- Anything Madonna would have worn in the 80’s?
If so, it may be time to GPS your way back to the elevator. Here’s a map to get you started.
Hair and makeup
This is so important! Not only do styles change over time, but so do we. That haircut that looked amazing on you a few years ago may not be the best, most flattering style for you now.
If you’re ready for a change, or even curious about what change you would make, your best bet is to consult a good stylist. Most stylists are happy to book a consultation; it only takes about 15 minutes, and it’s usually free (just call and ask). Get their opinion on what hairstyle would be best suited to you, taking into consideration not only your age, face and body, but also your ability to keep it maintained. Go with a mind for adventure and be willing to consider new options.
Knowing when it’s time to make a change in your makeup routine can be a little tougher, because the change from one day to the next is so subtle. Sure, you can keep putting on the same look as you did in your 20’s or 30’s, but tailoring your makeup to how you look right now could give you a much more youthful appearance, and may even be easier than what you’re currently doing. You just never know until you try.
Fortunately, we live in an age of abundant information, so if you’re serious about looking your best just head over to Pinterest or YouTube and search for “Makeup for [your decade] year old”. You’ll get more great ideas to try than you can shake a mascara wand at. Or book at appointment at MAC and tell them what you’re going for. Sure, the consultants there wear a lot of makeup, but I’ve found them to be extremely helpful and knowledgeable – just tell them what you’re going for.
You don’t need to be trendy, but you should be current – and recognize the difference between a trend, which should stay behind when the elevator departs for the next floor, and a classic, which can ride the elevator forever.
What defines a classic
Classic wardrobe pieces are those that have value and quality, and have stood the test of time. These would include things like:
- The trench coat, developed by Thomas Burberry in the 1850’s
- A crisp, white, button up shirt
- A simple and well-fitting little black dress, hemmed just above or just below the knee (universally the most flattering length)
- A Breton striped shirt, introduced in 1858 as the uniform for French navy seamen
- Slim, ankle length pants (think Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face)
- A leather motorcycle jacket, introduced in 1928
- Cashmere sweaters
- The wrap dress, introduced by Diane Von Furstenberg in 1972 and flattering on just about every body type
- Perfectly fitting jeans
- A plain white V-neck T shirt
- Silk scarves to change the look of any outfit
- A well-fitting blazer
- Black heels, black loafers
These items are worth investing in because they are timeless and will last (except for the white T-shirt, which should be replaced when it’s looking a little whi-vory).
What defines trendy
Trendy is here today and gone tomorrow. It appears from out of the blue (often because it’s been seen on some celebrity), become ubiquitous, then completely disappears, for the most part, as it should be. Colors and patterns also go in trends. Examples of this are the paisley phase of the 60’s and neon color craze of the 80’s. But black is forever.
It’s fine to wear trends if they appeal to you and look good, but unless you’ve got cash to burn you should buy them cheaply and get rid of them as soon as they’ve run their course, which is often not more than a season.
Use my closet organizing guide to do a full-blown closet purge once a year, trying things on to see what still works and what doesn’t. Remove anything from previous trends whose time has come and gone.
There’s no need to hang on to things because you think they will “come back around”. They will, but they’ll be just slightly different enough that you can’t use what you’ve got.
And while you’re at it, remove anything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t flatter, or needs repair (either send it to get fixed or bite the bullet and get rid of it).
Ok girl, you got this. Now get back on that elevator and ride it all the way up to the penthouse!
Bonjour! Je suis Kelley
Hi, I’m Kelley – thrower of parties, drinker of wine, and lover of all things French. I hope you enjoy my Lessons in Becoming French!