The Art of Style is purely subjective, and the beauty of subjectivity is quite liberating. I lead with that statement because I want you to remember that practicing the Art of Style means you MUST dress for yourself. And only you because you will not and can not ever please everyone. So, while this article is about Style mistakes we all make, honestly, when we talk about Style and Fashion “rules” or “mistakes,” there is no hard line.
I always have and still do believe that with Style or Fashion, most rules are meant to be shattered. Shattering those rules is the only way to figure out your true Style. But there are, beyond a doubt, characteristics that all fabulous outfits share. And when done right, you will not only look well put together, but chic, and sophisticated. So being armed with the knowledge to identify these checks and faux pas will leave you with a fabulous and universally flattering wardrobe.
In the Art of Style, apart from remembering that you MUST dress for yourself. I want to emphasize the importance of wearing what makes you feel good and happy because that matters the most. We are unique individuals, constantly evolving, with different tastes, preferences, and physical attributes influencing our Style. As we evolve or change, so does our Style. Sometimes we seamlessly transition to the next level of our Style.
Other times we can get stuck in a place where. what you do next becomes the question. Like my trip to fumpyville, I was caught at the crossroad of my Style. I gained some weight and opted for clothes that did not fit or flatter my body. So do not be too hard on yourself if you are a repeat offender of these Style mistakes. Our [personal] Style is such a fickle thing. And so is the Fashion culture, but developing your sense of Style, and being aware, and knowledgeable, will keep you feeling and looking your absolute best.
When I think of Style and Fashion, I think of Art. They are both creative expressions of individuals, providing the experimental freedom to make them your own. The beautiful thing about clothing and accessories is that it is your decision on how you wear them to express yourself and how you impact those around you.
52 Style mistakes we all make
Even though I believe this is self-explanatory, I would like to start here—hygiene is the beginning of exemplary Style. Unfortunately, I have to include personal hygiene here because it is sometimes overlooked. I have encountered well-dressed women with lousy hygiene. Therefore, make this the first step.
Being Afraid to Explore your Style.
The only way to develop your Style is by exploring and experimenting. And while you will have to experiment a lot to hone your Style, it is worth the effort. Because once you get a keen grip on your Style, it will make a difference in your world.
Not experimenting with a variety of Styles.
Someone said variety is the spice of life. But you must experiment in order to find what fits and flatters your body. Black and white are my go-to colors. A splash of red for my power moments, but I was afraid to try other colors beyond those. But I soon realized different colors made me feel and look good. I can not tell you how many times my mom gifted me something I would have never purchased for myself. And it ended up fitting and flattering my body well. So do not be afraid to try different styles and colors. It is the only way to know what makes you feel and look good.
Telling ourselves stories.
We all tell ourselves outrageous stories; many are unkind. For example, you tell yourself you will wear this or that when you lose ten pounds or have money or this or that. Those are all stories we tell ourselves, which are not valid, but I would like to assure you that you can look fabulous and ultimately put together at any age or size. It is about figuring out what looks good on you and what makes you feel amazing.
Not Investing in Timeless pieces.
All well-edited and flattering wardrobes start with basic or classic pieces [I like to call them my Style foundation]. Timeless pieces serve as the foundation on which our Style is built. The fail-safe plan is that it is best to invest in your classics or basic pieces—why waste money on something you will not wear once or will not wear six or twelve months from now? When you have built a solid foundation, you can then interject seasonal trends. A well-built foundation will give you a wardrobe that you can wear every week and always look fabulous and completely put together.
Saving a piece of clothing for a special occasion.
I know someone who gets dressed and almost always takes the outfit off to save it for another occasion. And someone who slept on the sofa because she did not want to mess up their newly redesigned bedroom. It is understandable when you have invested a significant amount of money in a new wardrobe addition. Or home renovations or accessories, your initial response is to savor and save them. But, unfortunately, it usually becomes a waste of something beautiful. Nine out of ten times, you will never wear or enjoy those things. And honestly, what is the point of not indulging and enjoying when you have added something fabulous to your wardrobe or home?
When there is something you want, and the investment is significant, ask yourself: will I wear it or enjoy it, or will I want to save it? If you know within your heart that you would want to save it, then move on and buy something else that is gorgeous. Something you will utilize and get your investment worth.
Shopping when you feel emotional or stressed [Impulse purchases].
We have all been there; I know I have. But impulsive purchases are only temporary distractions from the moment. And it is the most significant contributor to Style mistakes and buyer’s remorse. Furthermore, it is an expensive habit and can quickly spiral out of control. So if you are tempted to make a purchase while you are stressed or emotional, pause, and tell yourself, if I still want to buy it in 48 hours, then I will. But right now, I will not.
Not considering your cost per wear.
I am known for purchasing affordable pieces, but I opt for something of quality. Buying a hundred-dollar blouse that you will wear one hundred times versus one that costs twenty dollars that will become unwearable after one wash is a no-brainer. Do the math, and consider your cost per wear with every purchase—it is worth the time.
Spending outside your budget.
Do not go broke or put yourself in unnecessary debt to purchase clothing. Instead, save for the pieces you want to invest in or find new ways to wear the pieces you already own. For example, years ago, I wanted a pair of Alaïa sandals. At the time, they were fifteen hundred dollars. So I saved my disposable income for eighteen months to make that purchase. I remember telling a friend that story to make a point on budget, and that friend tried to shame me for saving for such a long time. Those sandals were a want, not a need, and I would do it again.
Overlooking hair and makeup
Style and Fashion go hand in hand with beauty and need equal attention. I have noticed as of late the importance of having my hair and makeup done—it completes what I am wearing. So now, instead of planning only the outfit, I think about makeup looks, hair, and fragrance to complement each other. Hair and makeup are thirty to fifty percent of your look.
Wearing clothing that does not make you feel good.
I am guilty of this, I have made purchases that were way too expensive, but instead of admitting that I made the wrong purchase, I would hold on to that item for far too long. When something does not make you feel your best—let it go. Please give it to someone who would get value out of it and enjoy it the way you can not. Sometimes what makes another person feel good will not do the same for you. Plus life is too short to wear clothing that does not make you feel your absolute best.
When your clothes fit and flatter your body—you feel good. A tailor is your best friend because the fit is the difference between feeling good, fabulous, and confident versus looking bad. Dress for your body right now. I wrote about beginning a love affair with your body because I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life, and so I am adjusting my Style to fit the body I have now. Wearing jeans, you are busting out of or hiding in a huge sweater heeds the same unflattering results. So unless you intend to wear a purposefully oversized piece, wear clothing that flatters the body you have now.
Sticking to one size of clothing
Each brand’s size six tends to fit my body differently. So do not get hung up on a specific size, even if you are a size six or sixteen. Instead, focus your purchase on what fits you well, not the size. It does take a mindset adjustment to shop this way, but you can do it.
Wearing the same clothing combinations.
We are creatures of comfort and habit. You put together a gorgeous look—seven out of ten times, you will recreate that look repeatedly. So, mix it up and explore other options. Remember what I said about variety?
Wearing your favorite clothes so much that they start to fall apart.
When I was five or six years old, I had this pretty pink maxi dress that I loved. I loved it so much that I wore it almost daily as a dress or skirt. After a while, it started to fall apart, and my dad threatened to burn it. I know a bit extreme, but that dress meant so much to me that I stopped wearing it. He was kidding of course but I did not want him to burn my dress [at that time, I was protecting my dress]. I made a purse out of my beloved dress in my teens and enjoyed it for many years. Build a foundation that you love and add to it so that all of your pieces are your favorites.
Not wearing occasion-Appropriate clothing.
Every time I have plans with anyone, it never fails. I get a phone call within days of the plan. And the conversation ends with “don’t dress up too much.” I am team #overdressed. My rule of thumb is that overdressing is better than underdressing and looking out of place.
Keeping items you do not love.
You should love every item in your wardrobe; they should make you feel good and bring you joy. So if there is something you do not love, pass it along to someone who will love and care for it the way you will not it.
I know many people think no one notices when they do not iron their clothes before wearing them. But, it is noticeable—you look like you have just rolled out of bed. I appreciate ironing [not so much] just as much as wrinkled clothes, but I take the time to iron my clothes. So if you dislike ironing, invest in a steamer, but please do not leave home in wrinkled clothing. Some fabrics naturally wrinkle, such as linen and some kinds of cotton but are still meant to be ironed or steamed.
Overdoing [and under-doing] colors and patterns.
Getting colors and patterns wrong is very easy, but getting them right is powerful. A good rule of thumb is to keep colors in the same family and patterns of a similar variety. An excellent tool to have if you want to play around and have fun with colors is a color wheel. Look for fun and refreshing to play with colors—be careful not to dive into overkill.
Completely avoiding color.
Colors can be intimidating especially if it is not your thing. I learned at a very young age that red made me feel good. Really good, even powerful so it has always been a part of my Color palette. I have always loved black but I was not allowed to until I was old enough [it was a parents’ thing] But as soon as I was old enough to purchase my clothes I chose black or white. Colors are fun, they allow me to be expressive. I never go overboard but it refreshes my wardrobe and I feel playful. Play with colors and have fun. Visit the Instagram of one of my favorite influencers, Color Me Courtney—she is always having so much fun.
Wearing your pajamas outside your home.
Three words—JUST STOP IT.
Wearing your house T-shirts outside your home
I am from South America and was taught at a very young age that there are distinct differences between house versus work clothes and going out versus weekend clothing, just as there is for day versus night dressing.
The lines for dressing are somewhat blurred—people no longer get dressed, but I believe there are distinctive differences in getting dressed. The goal is to have a well-equipped wardrobe for any occasion and well-edited to feel good each time you get dressed.
Trends are the perfect way to experiment, and a fun way to modernize your Style. I was afraid of trends because I did not want to look like I was trying too hard so I started small, pairing one trendy piece with my foundation [classics|basics] pieces and it worked now I am confident enough to include two or three trendy pieces. Often a trendy piece of clothing with two trendy accessories but it modernizes my look and brings a bit of sexiness to what I am wearing.
Accessorizing is easy to get wrong but like hair and makeup, it completes the outfit. For example, daytime-appropriate bags are backpacks, satchels, and totes. While evening appropriate are beaded, glittering, and minis.
Not creating balance.
I could write an article of a thousand words on creating balance when you dress. For example, if you wear something tight on top, then wear something loose on the bottom and vice versa. And if you are wearing all-around loose, accessorize with a belt to cinch your waist.
Showing too much skin.
Sometimes you feel so good in your body that you want to bare it all. A good rule to keep in mind is exposing one area of skin at a time. There are exceptions, of course, for special occasions or bare all days, but the one area of skin rule keeps your look classy and fabulous.
Visible bra straps.
This one is self-explanatory. Do not ignore the little things. Use double-sided tape or wear clothing with broader straps to avoid visible bra straps.
The Art of Preparation is essential to look your best and do your best. So if there is a special occasion on your calendar—it is best to prepare. Know the look you would like to achieve and plan ahead. Waiting until the last minute means you will not allow time to pick the best pieces and it will result in impulse purchases.
Too many trends within one outfit
Wearing too many trends in one outfit looks like you are trying too hard. A good rule of thumb is one to three trends and they should not all be clothing.
Only wearing trendy clothes
Wearing trendy clothes can be fun but there are several downsides to doing so. For example, it is a very costly Lifestyle, you have to constantly buy new clothes to keep up with trends. A while ago I read an article on the Pros and Cons of Following Fashion Trends and it was very insightful.
There are times I hang on to uncomfortable clothing because I do not want to admit to making a bad purchase. But honestly, it is no fun wearing that itchy sweater or those pants that ride up between your legs. Just donate it.
Wearing the same shoes every day.
It is never a good idea to wear the same shoes every day. I am not saying this to shame anyone—of course, if you only have one pair, you have to wear what you have. But if you have two or more pairs of shoes, please switch them up.
Not investing in proper workout wear.
Good quality workout wear is a MUST. Investing in quality workout wear is not frivolous—it beats people seeing your entire a$&.
Twenty-Four | seven Athleisure
Athleisure has its time and place and should not be worn twenty-four hours, seven days a week. I know it is comfortable and minimizes your decision making but do not wear them daily.
Visible panty lines [VPL]
Honestly, visible panty lines are quite unattractive. It looks like you have four butts. Please wear a thong or seamless underwear or wear looser style pants or dress.
Wearing the wrong undergarments.
Investing in the proper undergarments is just as important as being best friends with a tailor. Appropriate undergarments are a MUST for the best fit. Comfort is important but also think lift, smooth, and support. Nudes and thongs are your best friends when it comes to undies. And having a bra that lifts, smooths, and supports makes you feel comfortable and confident in your clothes.
Spending a lot of money on cheap clothes
Investing in quality or the best pieces you can afford will save you money in the long run. Fast fashion is like a shiny new object but often not worth the investment. Calculate your cost per wear before making a purchase.
Wearing heels, you can not walk in
Ladies, there is no excuse for this. I am sorry. You must give your shoes a test run by practicing at home. And if you can not walk in them comfortably, then get a pair that you can walk in. I do not care if it is the most trendy heels or the most expensive—if you can not comfortably walk in them, it defeats the purpose and takes away from your Style. If you are barefoot at the end of the night, you have chosen the wrong shoes.
A few years ago, I had an early dinner at a restaurant on Long Island, and a group of thirteen beautiful young women walked in. Some were Fashionable, others were Stylish, and they all wore beautiful designer shoes. But not one of them could walk in their shoes. It was comical and embarrassing to see them wobbling around and such a distraction. It distracts from your look when you can not or does not know how to walk in the heels you are wearing.
Flats hurt my feet, and I would not say I like kitten heels, but I love high heels. Each new shoe purchase gets immediate attention, especially if purchased for a specific occasion. I practice in my house to ensure I look and feel comfortable, I even do my household chores in them and I dance around for fun.
Purchasing things just because they are on sale
We all fall into the sale trap, the affordability of sale items often leads to poor choices in Style and fit. A sale rack is very attractive to me but I am often left disappointed or I force myself to wear something that compromises my Style because of a so call a good deal. The solution for not falling into the sale trap is to have a list of what I need [I also keep a few wants], this has helped me to be strategic and intentional with purchases. So whenever I encounter a sale rack I always ask myself if I am purchasing the item out of a need|want [from my list] or the price tag.
Wearing sneakers after dark
For a very long time, my budget for sneakers was twenty dollars, and those purchases were for working out only. While my opinion may be unpopular, I maintain my position on sneakers—they have a time and place. But that time is not after dark, and that place is not outside the gym or running errands.
I think a nice pair of flat sandals or ballerinas gives you Style and comfort.
Too Much Fragrance
There is nothing sexier than a woman who smells amazing. When I smell amazing and look amazing I feel unstoppable. So let us go back to hygiene here, if you are in the habit of keeping up with good hygiene [including those lady parts] then adding a complimenting scent is a bonus addition. A subtle scent in just the right amount is all that is needed. Maybe soon I will share the right way to apply your scent.
Seeing a well-dressed woman in dirty shoes is such a distraction, it shows she neglected the little details. Honestly, I have seen this way too many times. The best way to ensure you do not fall into the trap of dirty shoes is to clean your shoes after every wear and store them in a protective bag or box.
Wearing Uggs everywhere
I am not too fond of the Uggs boot but it is because I see them everywhere. I do not hate the brand but some ladies wear it everywhere and at any time and although I am told they are comfortable that has diluted the value for me. Uggs, like sneakers, have a time and place. I know it has gained popularity over recent years because of its comfort. But I have seen Uggs inappropriately worn to a wedding and at a nice upscale dinner party. That is a hard NO; there is a time and place for Uggs.
Take a complete 360 view of yourself before you leave home or use the bathroom.
Before you leave your home or the restroom, please ensure you get a good view of the rear and front of your body. I think I have seen it all when it comes to this mistake. From toilet paper spilling out of someone’s pants or skirts, dresses tucked into underwear, and visible panty lines, to sales tags, garment loops peeking out, and toilet paper veil.
Invest in no-show socks—they are budget friendly and look neat and tidy.
Putting on odd socks.
I know you have some—get rid of them.
Not removing stitching
The stitching at the back of your jacket and pockets are meant to be removed after purchase but before you wear the piece.
Sunglasses with Scratches on Them
Eyewear that Does not Suit your Face or Outfit
Not Paying Attention to The Fabric Quality
Supporting Unethical Brands
I hope you enjoyed this Style-led guide to dressing as much as I enjoyed putting it together was fun for me, with loads of smiles and should I include these moments? It is important to say we are all guilty of Style mistakes that can make or break our overall look. But in the end, the one thing we have control over is ourselves, and paying more attention to specific details can and will transform your Style for the better.
I believe in having an arsenal of Style Foundation pieces that are flattering and makes me feel good but it does not happen overnight, it may take you a while to build that foundation. But when you get there it is so satisfying. A good hack to use while getting dressed as you build your foundation is to think about your Lifestyle, dress for your surroundings always, and consider where you are going and what events you are attending.
Which one of these style mistakes are you guilty of, please share in the comments below.