Many of us have probably spent a lot of time in our sweatpants so far this year — our outside clothes gathered dust in our closets and our fashion sense atrophied right along with our social skills. Even those of us who haven't let our bodies forget what dressing up feels like might occasionally get stymied by the sheer number of options out there, not to mention how to incorporate new pieces into your wardrobe once they make it home. Getting dressed doesn't have to be a chore. We asked Good Housekeeping's Chief Fashion Director Kristen Saladino, as well as a few other pro stylists, for their best fashion tips to help us get out of a wardrobe rut.
1. Go monochrome
Eliminate the pressure of matching hues by dressing head-to-toe in one color. It's chic for spring and might encourage you to try existing favs in a fresh, new way. Saladino especially loves gray, pink or white. If you've got a lot of denim in your stash, try the age-old "Canadian tuxedo." A denim jacket with a jean skirt will help turn your staples into a trendy look.
2. Incorporate these three key pieces
If you hate complicated fashion trends or just want to pull together your look, you just need three items, according to The Ambitionista's Heidi Nazarudin. A face-flattering pair of classic sunglasses, a gorgeous everyday leather handbag and a smart pair of shoes you can easily walk in will instantly level up any outfit.
3. Try bright-colored lipstick or accessories
We get it; black and neutrals are easy and endlessly versatile. But if you're looking to test the waters with loud patterns or bright colors, Nazarudin recommends wearing them as an accessory before you invest in a clothing item. "Instead of trying on a bright citron-colored blouse, you can go for a cuff or bracelet or even a lipstick," she suggests.
5. Try a vintage cardigan
Give those graphic tees you have in the back of your closet new life by topping with a granny cardigan. Hit the thrift store for one that looks like it knows its way around a cedar chest and pair it with cropped denim and loafers for an up-to-the-minute look that won't break the bank.
6. Take your sneakers out of the gym
Running shoes aren't just for the treadmill anymore. Saladino suggests pairing eye-catching kicks with a dress or a skirt for a trendy 'fit that's also comfortable enough for running around town. We love a look that goes the distance.
7. Pop on a belt
Consider belts an essential part of your outfit arsenal. Adding a textured, embellished or colorful belt is the fastest way to pull together the most basic pieces or quickly elevate a casual outfit, says Yraola.
9. Use a tape measure for online shopping
Especially when buying online, knowing your measurements can help prevent disappointing sizing mishaps. "I'm a big fan of online shopping," says Nazarudin. "But I find that sizes vary across brands and even cuts, so memorize your shoulder, bust, waist, hip and inseam measurements."
10. Try track pants or trousers
After a year of lounging in sweats, yoga pants and other soft clothes, the idea of pulling on a pair of structured pants might feel restrictive. Instead, Saladino recommends going for a trouser. Dressing up track pants with a cute jacket, blouse and pair of statement shoes can also take you from the office to out on the town.
11. Remember the rule of two
If you're stressed about pairing patterns, stick by Yraola's rule of thumb. "Two is the max amount of prints or brights to mismatch, like stripes with florals or lavenders with grays," she says. "Don't add a third."
12. String on some pearls
Toss on a pearl necklace or accessories like pearl hair clips with everything from t-shirts to work wear to give your outfit a little polish, says Saladino. Layer a string with other jewelry for a vintage-inspired grandma chic look, or to add a pop of unexpected elegance to otherwise casual attire.
13. Strut out in loafers
Loafers are a big shoe trend right now and for good reason. The menswear staple has broken out of the boardroom to add grounding to dresses and skirts, get flirty with feminine lace socks or walk on the funky side with patterned socks, says Saladino. Wear loafers with just about everything in your closet to update your old standbys.
14. One word: Blazer
A good blazer can elevate just about any look, Saladino adds. Express your personality with your choice of style. Try crushed velvet, leather, brocade or a tailored traditional version to top it off with polish.
15. Match your mask
Masks aren't going anywhere, so make yours part of your look. Go for cute prints or fabrics and match the color family to your outfit to pull it all together. Just make sure yours fits current COVID-19 face mask safety standards, of course.
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