Personal style is one of the main content pillars of The Modern Jetsetter…but, confession: my idea of style evolved dramatically since I first launched.
I absolutely believe in sharing my favorite high-quality seasonal items and inspiring destination-appropriate looks that induce wanderlust for travel and city. An outfit in the right destination can elevate the experience, and I’m a believer in always being slightly overdressed.
But truth: Style is much more than a product roundup. It’s an intimate expression of your lifestyle. It shouldn’t be exhausting to create, and it should never compel us to pine beyond our genuine desires. It has created a carousal of unhealthy body image among millennial women and an insidious pattern of comparison on social media. It’s time to stop, reflect on yourself and remember what style is in the first place.
The way I see style inspiration presented on our Instagram feeds, blog posts and the fierce competitiveness I’ve personally experienced among bloggers…it has transformed online platforms and social media feeds into the graveyard for authenticity. I don’t want a single reader in my audience to ever feel like they are less stylish because they can’t afford one of the products I wear. I don’t want them to look in the mirror and criticize themselves because they saw someone else wear it better on Instagram. I don’t want them to look at me and I think I need a Louis Vuitton purse to feel confident. No, style isn’t a rat race of scheduled posts, new products, sponsorships and affiliate links; style is a pure expression of you – my job as an influencer is only to showcase the handpicked beauty I find in this world and inspire you to elevate your lifestyle (on your own terms).
Beyond the labels, clothes and price tags…it’s more important than ever to remind readers that style starts way before you get dressed. It takes years to figure out who you are from a fashion standpoint and develop an instinct for making smart purchases.
Straight out of college, I would buy pieces completely ad hoc without any stylistic rhythm or palate. Sometimes Kate Middleton would wear something moderately within a peasant budget and I would buy it, but I obviously wasn’t a Kensington Palace sort of girl. Today, I know who I am – romantic, feminine, whimsical, completely American and in a constant state of wanderlust – and my style reflects that. I never wear black and my wardrobe is slowly turning into 90% dresses (with the exception of a few wonderful pairs of blue jeans). On the days where I’m feeling cozy, I wear oversized sweaters and yoga pants – and yes, as a freelancer and globetrotter, I consider active wear totally acceptable most days of the week. Style comes from within and once you develop it, you have it all. it isn’t replicable and it can’t be bought, and it’s about time we talk about it.
I want to share with you the 10 style rules that no other blogger is going to tell you. No affiliate links, no products to buy, no commission on me here – just pure heart-to-heart style advice to every woman who wants to reinvent her style to reflect the most authentic and dazzling version of her.
Feeling Good Dressed Starts Feeling Good Naked
I can’t say this enough – feeling healthy and confident naked is the key to feeling fabulous clothed. For every one dollar you spend shopping, spend five minutes in your favorite yoga or spin class. Embrace your body, work to make it one you love and suddenly everything you buy (regardless of what budget you are on) will look and feel like a million bucks. If you aren’t happy with your body and every beautiful pound of it, there is no amount of money or luxurious new product that will make you exude confidence.
In the famous words of Oscar De La Renta, “I always say: To be well dressed you must be well naked.”
Use the 80/20 Rule when Shopping for New Clothes
Deciding where to shop and allocate shopping budget can be confusing at first, especially in the saturated world of e-commerce, email marketing, blogs and other sources of inspiration. When planning your wardrobe or gathering ideas, create two lists – one with low to mid-range priced items (the 80%) and another with investment pieces (the 20%).
A healthy wardrobe is a mixture of high and low budget but as young millennial women, we have tons of other places to invest our money (travel, real estate, travel, savings, travel, investments). Be smart and never overspend.
Embrace Seasons and Destinations, Not Trends
Trends are short-lived and are never to be invested too heavily into. Find your evergreen style (one that is identifiable season after season) and dress and purchase according to the changing seasons and, for travel girls, the destinations on your itinerary. Unless a new trend aligns with your overall style, ignore it (really, it’s OK).
Shop with Cash, Not Credit Card
There is nothing less stylish then draining your bank account to keep up your wardrobe. A healthy style means having a healthy bank account, one complete with savings and a growing travel fund. Withdraw money for your shopping budget or use your debit card when online shopping. If you are accumulating travel points on a credit card, be sure to pay it off in full when the bill arrives.
My rule: For every $100 I spend on shopping, I put $100 into savings, $100 into my travel fund and donate $10 to a good cause. If you can’t afford all that, hold back on shopping until your more financially balanced.
Determine Your Go-To CTFB Formula (Colors, Texture, Fit and Brands)
Once you know your evergreen style, suddenly Instagram, shopping days and Cyber Monday don’t seem so overwhelming – it cancels out 90% of consumer noise and helps you identify the pieces that speak to you. It simplifies shopping and suddenly the hunt for new pieces is sans stress and avec much satisfaction. I’ll share mine with you to give you an idea:
Color – I don’t wear black. I’m a fiend for blushes, pinks, crisp whites, rich blues and feminine patterns.
Texture – My heart leaps for 100% cotton (especially for summer) and in colder months, cashmere, wool and tweed. Polyester is not my thing.
Fit – I don’t like tight-fitting clothing and rather wear a flawlessly fitted dress or midi-skirt I can get lost in (but still highlights my waistline). I love when clothes tell stories, and for me there is nothing more elegant than a whimsical dress to take me somewhere far far away. I loved tailored pieces that look structured yet feminine, and when budget pieces don’t come that way, a tailor is a phone call away (it’s every stylish girl’s secret).
Brands – I have a set of brands that I go to for both budget pieces and more high-end investments. A few of the go-to trusted brands I always scout first: Zara, Anthropologie, J.Crew, Madewell, Club Monoco, Tory Burch, Kate Spade. For accessories, I always look for investment opportunities with Salvatore Ferragamo, Chanel and Prada.
Don’t Leave Home Without Gratitude and Smiles
Being genuinely happy and exuding gratitude for the blessings you have in life can’t be bought, but trust me, it lights up the room way before your outfit does.
Don’t Forget Lingerie
Investing into lacy lingerie and silky undergarments that make you feel luxurious and sexy underneath (for you in the first place, not for anyone else) goes a long way.
Power is in Accessories, Heels and Dresses
Identify the items that always make you feel good and ditch the idea that they are meant for special occasions. My style transformed when I started wearing heels daily and spending the majority of my shopping budget on flirty romantic dresses and structured bags.
When identifying the publications and bloggers you want to absorb style inspiration from, less is more. Subscribe to one magazine you love, identify two fashion icons (one old, one modern) and follow a dozen bloggers that speak to your style and lifestyle aspirations. Seek authentic voices and not ones that only push products at every opportunity – there should be some degree of editorial value.
Having a weekly beauty ritual during which you pamper you and you alone is one way to maintain the “put together” feeling.
My beauty day is on Sundays, where I take a hot yoga class then go home and soak in a bubble bath, do a manicure, wax, exfoliate, clay mask and everything in between. I play trashy reality TV, light candles, bask in gratitude and it grounds me.
I have one shopping weekend per month – one day in-store and one day online. Before tackling I do my research and identify the items on my wish list and go hunting. I also keep in account the destinations and events on my radar for the coming month. While it works for many people, my style is rarely spontaneous – I am a type-A and don’t like overspending on items that aren’t the best out there for me. I have a special place in my iPhone notes where I keep links to styles and products I love.