Fact: Anyone with a credit card can be fashionable. Another fact: Very few people—credit cards or not—can be considered women of genuine style.
Sure, draping yourself in the coolest labels and “It” items might give you a boost of instant sartorial gratification, but in six months those pieces will be obsolete, you’ll be out a month’s rent, and you’ll feel compelled to keep up with the cycle of buying the next round of coveted pieces. Exhausting!
Yet, so many women seem to be falling victim to this cycle. Blame it on today’s street style-obsessed world. Years ago, most young women working outside fashion wouldn’t have necessarily been aware of what the big ‘It’ items were within the industry, unless they truly loved and followed fashion.
Today, all they need to do is take a quick peek at Pinterest, or visit any one of the gazillion personal style blogs that exist, and they’ll be inundated with up-to-the-minute images of Céline, Proenza Schouler, Givenchy, Chanel, and other top-level labels, which can often create a bit of FOMO. And that, in turn, can result in scores of young women looking, well, exactly like everyone else and going broke in the process.
Then, however, there are those images you’ll see on blogs or street style sites of women who look so amazingly chic, cool, or interesting who aren’t covered in head-to-toe labels, but rather know how to take nondescript pieces and style them in such a way that their whole look is completely enviable and covetable.
These, friends, are the truly stylish women we all should aim to take our fashion inspiration from. To that end, we’ve compiled the 7 habits of highly stylish people to get you started.
1. They don’t surf street style blogs and copy exactly what they see, label for label.
In this day and age, street style photos are a bona fide source of fashion inspiration. In fact, we spend a pretty hefty portion of our day stalking Pinterest and culling various galleries to offer our readers (and ourselves) great ideas when it comes to seasonal outfits.
However, just because you saw Taylor Tomasi Hill, Miroslava Duma, or Anya Zirhouva draped in Kenzo, Chanel, or Céline—or because you’ll be in New York during Fashion Week and want to get snapped by Phil Oh—isn’t a great reason to go out and splurge on the same stuff.
Don’t forget: Several big street-fashion players, editors, and bloggers get sent designer stuff for free to entice folks like us to go out and buy it. Others are, well, richer than us and it’s their day job to flit around the world in the latest designer clothes, which is fun to admire but not necessarily healthy to emulate.
That’s why truly stylish girls will see a look they’re drawn to and seek out lesser-priced pieces that have the same vibe. Plenty of affordable stores and sites offer items that feature similar aspects to designer pieces.
2. They aren’t afraid of any store—and can find something almost anywhere.
Legitimately stylish women will troll any—and we mean any—store with zero snob factor, yet they stay true to their aesthetic.
For example, she won’t be afraid to pop into a cheesy-seeming teen store at the mall, but that doesn’t mean she’ll leave with the same things her 12-year-old cousin would. She might find some killer black leggings, a shrunken blazer, the perfect pair of skinny jeans, or some great costume jewelry.
Same goes for fast-fashion haunts like Forever 21, dusty old thrift stores, and off-price havens like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Century 21, which are consistently packed with great stuff at non-sucker prices.
3. They know how to style themselves according to their own taste.
Isn’t it always the case that the most stylish girls will say “This blouse? It’s from Goodwill like 100 years ago” and actually mean it?
Yeah, the blouse itself is probably pretty cool, but it’s really the way she styled it—maybe she tucked into great-fitting jeans, unbuttoned one extra button, rolled up the sleeves, and added some cool necklaces—that made everyone comment on it.
The trick is to go with what your style is. More into menswear? Find a similar blouse, button it all the way up, and add a tailored blazer to put your own spin on it.
4. They always look a littles less “done” than everyone else.
Highly stylish people are often in the habit of always appearing a teeny tiny bit too cool for every scenario they’re in.
This might mean wearing a pair of slip-on sneakers when every other girl is teetering on heels, wearing a chic skinny pantsuit when every other woman is rocking glittery party dresses, or chopping her hair into a messy bob when everyone else has long beachy waves. Small things that always make them look a little less “done.”
5. They understand labels don’t make them cooler.
It sounds cliché, but the most stylish women—and men, for that matter—in the world are ones who have confidence, and who know they don’t need the $700 sweatshirt or $2,000 handbag to make themselves appear cool.
These folks can step out in a faded gray tee and jeans and still look like the coolest person in the room all because they have confidence (okay fine, and probably a killer haircut, too.)
6. They aren’t especially trendy.
Some of the most stylish people are the ones who rarely shift from a basic overarching aesthetic, whether that aesthetic is made up of minimalist staples, or colorful flashy pieces. As time goes on, they’ll replace items with newer, more modern-looking ones, but they’ll never fall victim to fly-by-night trends.
7. They don’t dress to be considered stylish.
Before blogs, before street style, and before Fashion Week became a competition for who has the most attention-grabbing clothing, young women dressed for themselves, their lifestyle, and what looked good on them.
Believe us: It doesn’t matter if those heels are Alexander Wang—if you can’t walk in them, you won’t be considered stylish. Throw on a pair of comfortable ankle boots with that mini dress, you’ll look much cooler.
Photo via Camille Over the Rainbow