Fashion Starter Pack: 5 Essential Tips for a Fashion Newbie

I’ve heard from so many people that fashion just “isn’t for them” or “they hate shopping,” and that’s totally fair! But often people give up on something because they’re overwhelmed when it doesn’t click for them, so I’m here to offer a bit of demystification into what makes an outfit work. Here are my five essential tips to make getting dressed easier, faster and hopefully more fun!

1) Proportion

Don’t worry; I’m not giving you a math lesson. I’m simply discussing how to balance an outfit so you look put together intentionally, minus the effort. In my opinion, proportion is the number one rule for determining a good outfit, and it’s pretty simple! If you’re wearing something form fitting on top, balance it out with something flowier on bottom, and vice versa. 

Some examples: a tight crop top with wide leg jeans, an oversized button down with bike shorts, a chunky sweater with skinny jeans or an oversized t-shirt with denim cutoffs. 

Once you get confident with these proportions, you can start playing with layers as well, such as a tight crop top and leggings with an oversized blazer. When in doubt, just look to find contrast somewhere in your outfit and you should be good to go. 

If you only follow one of these five tips, make it this one. 

2) High and Low 

Prioritize your spend. My fashion philosophy is if I’m gonna pick one thing to splurge on, make it accessories. Of course, if you can afford and want to buy everything at a higher quality/price point, be my guest! But this is not the reality for most people and you definitely don’t need to let that stand in the way of creating a sophisticated look.  

Personally, I don’t see a huge difference between Zara trousers and, let’s say The Row. Let me be clear: I am absolutely not minimizing the craftsmanship (should be craftsperson ship, right?) that goes into making beautiful, high quality clothing. I just feel that if you want to get the most bang for your fashion buck, better to budget on the basics, and spend on the accessories, which go a long way towards elevating the entire outfit, thus adding more value. 

As a bonus, this can provide another point of contrast (yep, my favorite thing again), as not only can you mix affordable with expensive items, but also casual with dressy items to add an extra pop. For example: an affordable floral dress with a vintage Chanel chain belt (affordable with expensive) OR t-shirt and denim cutoffs with a Chanel bag (casual with dressy). Yes I used Chanel twice; what can I say? Also it of course doesn’t have to be as expensive as Chanel, just using them to illustrate the principle because they are the height of luxury. 

Note: this can also work for clothing items. You can take one investment piece that is harder to find/more unique and build the rest of the outfit with more affordable options. Examples: Zara trousers and top with a vintage YSL leather blazer, or affordable jeans with a more luxurious Orseund Iris top.

3) Logo Logic

Ah logos, so controversial. I personally am of the opinion that if a logo has earned its way to being canonized in fashion history (Chanel and Fendi come to mind), it’s fair game. Just don’t overdo it.

Best to try to limit to one logo per outfit if possible. Of course, there are exceptions; just use your best judgement. My personal favorite kind of logos are the ones that make patterns, such as Fendi. To me, this acts as more of a print than a logo itself. 

I also typically prefer to wear logos on my accessories (bags, shoes, earrings) than on clothing. And if it is on clothing, I tend to prefer vintage, such as a vintage YSL sweatshirt or Fendi logo print pants. 

Again, there are exceptions. But as a general rule: logos as prints are best; try to stick to the brands that have ascended to fashion legend; and make sure you’re wearing it for the #rightreasons–the art of fashion as opposed to the art of being flashy.  

4) When in doubt, go neutral

This one’s pretty simple. If you want to look put together and professional in a flash, pair neutral tones. Balanced proportions + neutral tones = instantly chic. 

The great thing about neutral tones is that they almost always match, but if you’re struggling with whether you can pair certain tones together, just go monochromatic! 

This works for more professional outfits, like beige trousers with a beige top, as well as more “fun” outfits, such as blue jeans with a blue top. 

5) Soft and Edgy

A variation on high and low. Think floral dress with a leather jacket and/or sneakers, trousers with a frilly crop top or flowy skirt with combat boots. This is just another way of playing with adding balance to your outfit to really make it pop. 

Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to feeling more confident and creative when getting dressed, whether it’s for a date, for the gram, or, most importantly, for yourself.