Written in collaboration with Catelyn Isley
Have you ever hit a fashion rut in which your go-to clothing styles are no longer bringing you the same satisfaction? One of the most freeing conclusions you can come to is that it’s time to experiment and be a little daring with your personal aesthetic.
For many people, however, the decision to dress a little more boldly can also be quite scary. You may be feeling the same way about trying new clothing cuts, incorporating louder colors or prints into your outfits, or wearing more form-fitting garments.
During your first forays into a bolder, newer fashion style, you’re likely to ask yourself a lot of questions from a place of self-doubt. What if your clothes don’t jive with each other? What if people can tell that you feel awkward in the clothes you’re wearing? And what if your new style seems forced or inauthentic instead of what you want it to be—that is, a good reflection of who you are at this current point in your life?
Worry not, because there are several things you can do to get more comfortable in your own skin and eventually settle into a style that’s a little more adventurous. Below are five helpful tips for developing a gutsy new personal aesthetic that’s true to who you want to be.
Try bolder variations of your current style
There’s no harm in beginning from your comfort zone and simply changing one or two elements of your outfit to be a little more daring. For example, if your favorite everyday ensemble consists of a wide-neck top, distressed denim shorts, and sneakers, wear that same outfit with a pair of Great Shapes hosiery for some extra spice and finish it with some combat boots instead of your usual lace-ups. You’ll still feel like yourself, but that slight variation on your favorite outfit can motivate you to gradually push the envelope a little further.
See how the clothes look on someone similar to you
Another thing you can do to boost your confidence about trying a fearless new clothing style is to see how it looks on someone with a build or complexion that’s similar to yours. Look for inspiration in fashion magazines, fashion blogs, or even just out on the street.
If you see someone similar to you rock a bold, colorful, or edgy style that you want to try for yourself, study the way they carry themselves and how they mix and match their clothing to achieve their desired effect. Take their example when you experiment with your own fashion.
Add or subtract from your look for extra safety
If you’re extra nervous about debuting a bold new top, dress, or accessories on your next outing, make sure that it’s easy for you to add or subtract from your outfit so that you can be discreet whenever you like.
You can, for example, bring a shawl or jacket to cover a garment with a plunging neckline. For situations where you feel large earrings or a statement necklace are too eye-catching, don’t feel bad about putting them away in a jewelry case for now. You can make a simple alterations to your outfit when you’re ready to come out of your shell, and you will likely feel better about doing so at the right place and at the right time.
Get proper underwear and hosiery for your new clothes
Don’t forget that changing up your personal style to be a little more audacious also means getting better basics to accompany your new clothes. Shop for underwear and hosiery that can blend in seamlessly with the fits, cuts, and fabrics that you choose. Doing so will make you feel less conscious about fashion faux pas like your underwear peeking out, thus helping you stay poised and self-assured.
Practice wearing your new outfits at home
You always have the option to practice wearing new outfits at home, and that may be the smarter thing to do when you’re experimenting with a daring new style. Start by putting on a whole outfit—complete with accessories, underwear, and footwear—and then checking yourself out in the mirror to see how you look. You can also walk around your room and up and down the stairs of your house to gauge how comfortable your outfit is, which will count for a lot if you’re trying out a form-fitting dress or a new pair of killer heels.
If you feel like anything is “off” or that other clothes or accessories might go better with your bold new choices, you can immediately reconfigure your outfit until you come up with a look that you’re satisfied with. You’ll be thankful that you took the extra time to decide on your ensemble and affirm for yourself that that was really what you wanted to wear.
Everyone has different ideas of what constitutes a more daring personal style compared to what they’re used to. Dressing more boldly can mean making small changes to what you already like to wear, or it can mean revamping your style in a huge way.
In truth, both are A-OK. The important thing is coming to a new personal aesthetic on your own terms. Soon enough, you’ll be sure of how you want to look—and you won’t be afraid to show off your new fashion sensibility to the rest of the world.