Great style is many things. It's knowing who you are and what you want to say, feeling comfortable in your skin, and a deep understanding of what you feel good in. But often, what makes the difference are the details.
By Sascha Camilli: writer, speaker, activist, and vegan fashion expert.
Once the basics – fit, shape, colour combinations – are in place, it's the little things that take an outfit from okay to head-turning. If you love all the items you've chosen for your look, but for some reason can't get them to combine into that “wow” factor, read on: you might be in need of a few small tweaks to elevate your look.
Get the fit right.
This isn't a detail – but it will mean everything when it comes to perfecting your outfits. Without the right fit, it won't matter much what you do, your style will never hit that perfect note. “The most important thing to start with is truly dressing for your size,” says stylist, writer and slow-fashion advocate Meg Pirie. “Ignore the number on the tag and pick items that work for you and your body. If something is too short or too long, make sure you hit up a tailor. Clothes that fit properly are my number one recommendation.”
A crisp blazer over a relaxed hoodie. A floaty dress over jeans. Or fashion's favourite – the preppy jumper thrown carelessly over your shoulders. There is a reason why layering keeps coming back in style, and it's not just all about the weather: this style skill can add dimension and uniqueness to an outfit. It lends itself especially well to a bohemian-inspired vibe, but can work well with more classic styles too. Explore tailored jackets, long coats over dresses, and other ways to add layers.
Accessorise like a pro.
In many cases, accessories are what really sets a look apart – they have the power to truly transform. Meg Pirie says: “Once you have the foundation, you can elevate your style with simple accessories – a vintage scarf, a chic bag, or a pair of heels. Invest in these items as they are timeless.” A well-placed clutch bag can add interest to an evening look. A belt can toughen up a simple jeans-and-t-shirt outfit. And the right pair of shoes? Here, we're talking pure style magic.
Experiment with colour clashes.
Style rules are made to be broken, so if you grew up learning that red and pink don't go together, that black and navy is a no-no, or that you shouldn't mix more than three colours when getting dressed, it's time to toss that rule book out of the window. Fashion stylist (and vegan!) Rebekah Roy says: “For summer we’re seeing lots of bright orange, lime green, and hot pink. We under-estimate the power of colour. Don’t be afraid of dressing head to toe in a bold colour. Not only will you feel great dopamine dressing, but those around you will too. Colour blocking can be an instant way to inject energy into your outfits – alternatively, just adding pops of clashing hues can really make your look stand out from the crowd. For a beginner's intro to colour, try a hit of citrus from Alkeme Atelier, slip into paprika-hued ballerinas in pineapple leather from Bohema, or go green with Baukjen.
Wear it the “wrong” way.
A cardigan worn backwards, with the buttons on your back, can be a refreshing way to see things differently. A jumper thrown over your shoulders – but on top of your coat? Same: it's an unexpected take that keeps things interesting. Hook a scarf through the belt loops of your jeans, or pull up a maxi skirt to create a strapless dress for summer. No need to go full Viktor & Rolf, but keep in mind that it can be fun to try wearing things in a way that's not quite how it was intended.
Wear heels you can actually walk in.
Nothing ruins the picture like a Bambi-on-ice scenario of hobbling and stumbling. Heels are meant to add allure, but if you can't quite master the rather complicated art of walking in a sky-high pair, not only will your overall impression suffer but you'll also be in pain all day (or night). Not worth it. And don't beat yourself up because you're not a pro at heels: even supermodels fall from their stilettos. Instead, look for a pair that offers that extra height, but retains the comfort – like these pumps from Allkind, these wooden block heels from Urbanima, or these ankle boots from Bohema.
When it doubt, just add red.
“Red lipstick is always a plus!” says Meg Pirie.
By Sascha Camilli
Sascha Camilli is a vegan fashion writer, speaker and activist. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books. For more about Sascha, you can read our interview with her. You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Cover image by Ava Carrington
For more great content like this in your inbox, sign up to our newsletter, and save 10% off your next purchase, plus great savings throughout the year.