Today’s piece is by Imogen of Inside Out Style. An internationally certified image consultant, Imogen created both her image consulting business Bespoke Image and this blog Inside Out Style with a clear mission – to help people look amazing every day without stress and confusion.
Dressing the American Way or Why You Should Only Wear Your Yoga Pants for Doing Yoga (or Working Out)
When Candice asked me to write an American themed blog post the first thing I did was ask my American readers what they thought I should write about and what they all told me is that they are sick and tired of seeing so many badly dressed Americans out and about each day.
For example from Pamela in New Mexico commented:
Baseball caps. Sweatpants with words on the seat. People wearing lounge pants/pajama pants to the grocery. Bra straps proudly showing. These are some of the fashion misfires Americans should be ashamed of, but don’t have the sense to be.
Stephanie from California said
You do not even want to see how the women in my area dress, it is so bad, ways that nearly make me wish I could not see, yes, that bad, like tights, not leggings, but tights worn as pants with short tops that do not cover their bottoms
And Jane from Michigan said
We seem to have an issue with confusing comfort with all out sloppy, or looking like they don’t own a mirror to check the fit, tears, snags, inappropriate messages etc. Perhaps this is everywhere?
Now I know this is not just an American problem as today I spent an hour talking with a corporate client about why they need me to come and speak to all their staff about why presenting themselves well is an important part of the business brand. They mentioned poor grooming, sloppy clothing, bad fit and wearing to work fabrics and styles designed for the beach or a BBQ not the boardroom.
What stuns me, as I travel to the USA most years and do some serious shopping (as I like to help the American economy get back on its feet) is that there is no reason to be badly dressed in America, as it’s so easy to find really stylish, well made clothes at bargain prices if you take the time to look. From fabulous consignment and thrift stores, to the likes of Marshalls and TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and all those other outlet stores, amazing consignments stores, as well as the sales that go on at every shop in the mall. There are plenty of places to shop on a budget, but then it’s also a matter of putting it together. These days you don’t even have to leave your house, you can shop on the internet and have it sent to your door to try on. The options are abundant and you don’t have to look far at all!
So how can you look stylish while still being comfortable but not sloppy? This seems to be the biggest issue.
Firstly, in the words of the great American Writer Fran Lebowitz
“All these clothes that you see people wearing, the yoga clothes—even men wear them!—it’s just another way of being in pajamas. You need more natural beauty to get away with things like that. What’s so great thing about clothes is that they’re artificial—you can lie, you can choose the way you look, which is not true of natural beauty. So if you’re naturally beautiful, wear what you want, but that’s .01% of people. Most people just aren’t good looking enough to wear what they have on. They should change. They should get some slacks and a nice overcoat”
What Fran Lebowitch is saying as far as style goes, is that adding a little structure to your outfit and choosing a better quality fabric will help to smarten your whole outfit up. But structure doesn’t have to be uncomfortable, there are so many great comfortable clothes these days as elastane has been added to many fabrics to allow them to stretch and move with your body, from trousers to shirts and jackets, stretch is available in more garments than just track pants and ill-fitting t-shirts!
Not as many of us need to wear corporate styles to work anymore, as more casual dress codes abounded with the dot.com boom (and bust). We no longer have to put a hat on to leave the house, that went back in the early 60s! Sure it’s a more comfortable existence, but there is no need to take comfort to the level of pajama. You may be die-hard vintage fans, and love to wear vintage clothes and corsets daily, but sadly many don’t bother to take the time or make any effort at all.
The normcore trend is one that suits the very young and beautiful, the rest of us just look dull and sloppy in it sadly.
Secondly, it does take a few more minutes than just pulling on your yoga pants, but I can tell you from my experiences from participants of my Evolve Your Style challenge, it’s well worth it! The boost in self-esteem and confidence when you plan an outfit and then receive a compliment or two is well worth the small amount of time it takes to smarten up your outfits.
To look and feel great your clothes need to:
• Express who you are in an authentic manner as an expression of your personality traits, this makes you feel more confident as the clothes are “you”
• Suit your body shape, proportions and unique variations
• Flatter your colouring
• Fit your amazing body, sometimes this means you need to get an alteration or two!
Plus the last, but not least point of looking stylish is good grooming. Grooming is the first thing that goes when we are sick or tired, we just can’t be bothered. So not taking a few minutes a day for a basic grooming routine will make people think that you aren’t feeling well, don’t care, are sloppy or just plain lazy. Not sure if that’s something you’re keen on expressing to all you meet?
Take a few moments to surf the web and look at all the amazing options for styling outfits if you need some inspiration. I know that you love Candice’s style, which is why you come here. I love that there are so many over 30, over 40, and over 50 bloggers who share their daily style so you are no longer just fed young model images as what to wear from fashion magazines. There are women of all shapes, sizes, colours and ages who put together great outfits that you can discover and use as inspiration for your own wardrobe with a simple google search or two.
If you have fallen into the yoga pant habit, why not challenge yourself to wear something different every day for a week from your wardrobe. Maybe take some inspiration from those amazing style bloggers you find. Try some new combinations as you shop your wardrobe and even rediscover some old favourites. Make sure you accessorise too as a necklace, scarf, bracelet or funky shoe can be the icing on your sartorial cake, and who wants cake without icing?
Sloppy is a habit, and a lazy one at that. If you don’t want people perceiving you as lazy it’s time to get out of that rut. Keep the yoga pants for doing yoga or working out. Dress to impress yourself. Dress to express your creativity (and we are all creative). Dress to let the world know you matter and that you care about yourself. You will be making the world a more beautiful place to be!