In today’s advice column, Candice Watters tackles an interesting tension: How can I dress well without becoming superficial in the process? I appreciate her advice: “What we wear should not distract people from who we are or Whose we are, whether it’s because they’re too flashy, too expensive, too disheveled, too worn, too faddish, too whatever.” It seems like a lot of how we dress has to do with our motivation and being aware of what our clothing communicates about ourselves and the God we represent to the world.
I know that as a single, I struggled with the balance between wanting to look cute and fashionable when I wanted a certain guy to notice me, and knowing that my true beauty was more about my character and the traits I cultivated on the inside. I don’t think it has to be an either/or situation. Looking attractive on the outside goes hand in hand with being attractive on the inside.
If you need a little help with the practical side of looking good on the outside, let me share some tips I’ve found helpful.
For the ladies:
1. Pinterest is a great tool to see new ways to wear clothes you already have. Say you have a pink cardigan that you love, but you always wear it over a plain black shirt. Search for pink cardigans on Pinterest, and you’ll see tons of pictures of how everyone from fashion bloggers to the average woman might wear it differently. Get creative and try on combinations you might not have thought of.
2. If shopping isn’t your thing, try a subscription service like StitchFix. You take a survey to determine your style, give your sizes, and then a personal shopper handpicks five to eight items for you and ships them to you as often as you specify. You keep and pay for what you like. You can even tell your shopper if you have a special occasion coming up, and they’ll send you something to fit the occasion. There are lots of different companies for different budgets, so do a little research.
For the gents:
1. If the thought of updating your wardrobe seems overwhelming, take someone with you! Ask your sister or your mom, or invite your roommate and his girlfriend to come along. Someone who has an eye for fashion can be a great asset to help you find what is most flattering.
2. If you’re usually a jeans and hoody kind of guy, then let me tell you that the easiest way to spruce up your look is to wear a collared shirt, jeans that fit (they don’t have to be skinny jeans, but shouldn’t be too baggy) and a nice pair of shoes. It doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard, but it’s a universally flattering look that is appropriate for a first date, a Sunday morning worship service, or your small group.
For guys and gals:
1. As Candice mentioned, quality is key. When you’re on a budget, it’s tempting to buy everything from the sale rack at Target. I love Target, but just because it’s on sale, doesn’t mean you should buy it. If it doesn’t fit well or isn’t made well, you won’t wear it. Shop sales with discernment.
2. Dressing better or updating your wardrobe doesn’t have to mean you only buy or wear what’s trendy at the moment. Find colors and styles that are still you. I love jewelry, so I always wear earrings and a necklace. It’s part of my signature look, and I get a lot of jewelry as gifts, because my friends notice how I dress. Pay attention to what you naturally gravitate toward when you’re shopping, and find something that is “you” that you can wear for any occasion.
3. Consider thrift stores for unique items. You have to be really discriminating when buying from a thrift store, but you can find some great deals if you are willing to dig through all the racks. Look for expensive name brands in timeless pieces for an inexpensive way to add variety to your wardrobe.