Image Focus: No Ifs, Ands or Buts … Just Kick Your Fashion Rut

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Confession time… I’m in a fashion rut. To be sure, I’m confident with my sense of style, know what I like and which cuts work for my body type. I often brag that I probably have less clothes than anyone I know because my closet is chocked full of wearable items. Research shows that most of us wear 20 percent of our garments 80 percent of the time. I’d venture to guess that my percentages are closer to 60 percent of my clothes 80 percent of the time. What I’ve noticed lately, however, is that I have a closet full of very similar things. My go-to color is black and you’ll be hard pressed not to find me wearing it. Fortunately, I have the coloring to pull it off (despite what you’ve heard — black is not for everyone). My current daily “uniform” looks something like this — black modern cardigan over a black shirt and/or black turtleneck, with a black skirt, black trousers or black leggings.  I do sometimes switch this look up and substitute a black sheath dress underneath, but you get my point. There is a lot of variety the shoes I wear (hello …  In Her Shoes Radio with Tiffany Dowling and Shelley Davis Mielock — I have a reputation to consider) and absolutely love to have fun with my accessories. Still, my goal for this season is to break out of my predictable routine and try something different. If you find yourself in a similar position, try these tips:

Know your colors

People are often shocked when I tell them that everyone can’t wear black. The colors you wear should be a natural extension of you and not all colors will fit that bill. As a certified image consultant a service I offer to my clients is a custom color analysis. This process takes about two hours, but is something that benefits them for a very long time and boost their wearable clothing percentage. My advice to those who’ve never had a custom analysis is to think about what colors they wear when they get the most compliments.  When others compliment a color you have on, they are telling you that it visually makes sense to them on a very primal level. Remember, our minds search for symmetrical balance and color harmony instinctively.

Get out of your comfort zone

This is a literal statement for me — a major factor in my clothing purchases is how comfortable the fabric is and whether or not I can “feel” the clothes throughout the day. Whatever your comfort zone is, try to take baby steps to go outside of it. Oftentimes we have hang-ups in our head about our personal “flaws” and we try hard to find clothes to cover it up. No one has a perfect body (please feel free to repeat that statement as many times as necessary) and frequently our attempt to conceal actually ends up drawing more attention to that very area of concern. If you’re apprehensive about wearing a sleeveless dress to a black tie or cocktail party this season, try wearing it with a wonderful shawl or wrap. Perhaps your tummy is an area of concern — try a pair of Spanks to give you a smooth silhouette. The truth of the matter is that most people spend their energy and anxiety worrying about their own “imperfections”— when you try something new, consider that extremely liberating.

Try a fad

You don’t have to be a slave to fashion — who has the time or resources for that? But if you’re in a fashion funk, the latest craze may be just the remedy you need to spice up your look. Faux fur is in this season —whether you make it a statement such as a vest or simply as a collar or trimming on your accessories, it’s sure to bring the perception of your fashion savoir-faire up a level. The military look is hot right now — what a great way to show your American pride and fashion sense. You can do camouflage prints, lace-up boots or military-style coats and buttons to mix up your standard look. Long skirts are on trend too, which is great for those of us in this cold Mid-western climate. I caution you to be mindful where your hemline hits. The goal is for it to end at one of the smallest parts of your leg to create a long, lean and symmetrically balanced look (think just above or below the calf). Give yourself the gift of adventure this season — style wise, that is. I’m confident it will make your season a bit brighter. Happy Holidays!
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Tags: Image Focus, mieshel image consulting, shelley davis mielock

Shelley Davis Mielock

Shelley Davis Mielock is a certified business image coach and the founder of Mieshel Image Consulting, a Lansing-based firm that specializes in image development for individuals and businesses. She is also a co-host of In Her Shoes, a a weekly women’s talk radio show. To ask Shelley an image question, please e-mail her.