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Admit it: More than once, you’ve walked down the street, done a double take when you eyed a girl with some killer style and thought, “Wow, I wish I could look and dress like her!” Well, you can. And now’s the perfect time to go for it. With a new year just around the corner, make a resolution to revamp your personal style – and start turning some heads yourself.
One of the most empowering things is being stylish.
- Monica Diaz, founder of Monica Diaz Mode
Why Change Is Great
Sure, keeping the same old style can make getting ready simple -- whether you’re dressing for work or for an evening out with the girls. But getting stuck in a rut can be a real drag, both for your look and your self-esteem.
“As women, we tend to get into ruts with many areas of our lives, and when it comes to our wardrobes, it’s no different,” said Shari Braendel, author of “Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad.” “We tend to buy the same types of wardrobe pieces over and over because it’s what we’re used to.”
The good news is that you can break your old buying habits -- and stop wearing the same wardrobe standbys over and over again. A new look can make you feel fresh, reinvigorated and most important, like a brand-new, beautiful you. Even the slightest change in your go-to style can rack up attention and compliments from friends, family and co-workers -- causing your self-confidence to soar.
“One of the most empowering things is being stylish," explained Monica Diaz, founder of fashion and image consultancy Monica Diaz Mode. "A stylish woman is one who understands what looks good on her -- and loves her body and herself the way she is."
Get the (Style) Ball Rolling
So just how do you break out of that everyday style you’ve had for years? First, take an inventory of the clothes hanging in your closet that make up your current style, Braendel suggested. “Examine whether or not you’re buying the same thing time after time.”
Once you’ve figured out what your style “norm” is, brainstorm a few simple ways that you can take what you already own and transform it into something new, different and exciting. For example, if you have a closet packed full of dark hues, find pieces -- like blouses, shoes and handbags -- with bold pops of color that will drown out the sea of black.
Having trouble coming up with ideas for changing up your wardrobe? Look for some inspiration. “Go through fashion magazines and cut out pictures of styles and looks you admire,” Braendel advised.
One of the key things to remember is to start small. Most girls, no matter how fabulous their styles, don’t have unlimited shopping budgets. When you're reworking your look, starting with little changes -- like buying one new piece a month -- can get you on your way to a new personal style without breaking the bank.
Playing with accessories is a great way to update your style without spending a fortune. “The right shoe, handbag or jewelry can change any little black dress from classic to trendy,” Diaz said. “Think about it: You can have a simple sheath dress and pair it with platform booties, and it will look totally different than if you did a pointy leopard pump.”
You can also change up your everyday makeup routine for a whole new you. “Schedule an appointment for a makeover at a cosmetics counter or with an individual makeup consultant,” Braendel suggested. “Ask her to show you how to apply makeup the way she did.”
If you’re more of an au naturel gal, go with a smoky eye and a nude lip for a sleek, modern look, or add a bold lip for some Hollywood glam. If your normal routine is to wear a full face of makeup every day, tone it down with a soft eye and lip, or go eyeliner free.
Top Styles for 2012
Even though your personal style should be just that -- personal -- there are some great looks that are poised to be hot, hot, hot in 2012.
First, you’re going to see a classic '20s style, thanks to the film remake of “The Great Gatsby” and the resurgence of all things '20s. “Bring back the [decade] with the addition of pearls, slip-like dresses and textured hose to your wardrobe,” Braendel advised. But be careful not to go too over-the-top -- it can be hard to pull off an all-fringe dress without looking downright costumey.
Feminine and flirty will be all the rage as the new year rolls in -- and you can have fun with this sweet style, too. Think dresses with cutesy bows, skirts lined with delicate lace and beautiful blouses in flowing chiffon; the girly look will have your style right on point.
Be the ultimate fashionista in the new year by adopting the hottest trends and keeping up with the ever-evolving fads as soon as they hit the street. That’s right, don’t let your fashion guard down. Keep your eyes open and follow the media for the latest trends that will work for you.
“Make an entrance in colorful skinny jeans that are all the rage in 2012,” Braendel suggested. “And add a pair of leopard flats and a neon watch to complete this fun look."
Finally, incorporate what Braendel calls the “classic modern” look, which includes lots of maritime styles and shades of navy, into your wardrobe. “Make a blazer modern by adding metallic edges and a big satchel bag to finish an outfit,” she advised.