A Former Fashion Editor Shares 5 Brutally Honest Style Tips

There are perfectly stylish girls and then there are those who just always look effortlessly chic. I’ve always admired the latter more—those who look like they never try too hard. How do they do it? It’s easier than you think. Below, some tips I’ve learned throughout the years.

1. COMFORT IS KEY, NOT PERFECTION.

I think this is the most important factor of all. Be comfortable in your clothes, your hair, your makeup, and who you are. It’s the nonchalance and the quiet celebration of themselves that make all chic women look so good. They’re comfortable and it always shows. It’s the comfort and ease with which they approach fashion that sets the effortlessly chic apart from those who strive for boring perfection. Tiis ganda just doesn’t work. Your obvious discomfort with your gorgeous but ill-fitting shoes will ruin your otherwise beautiful ensemble, and your constant need to pull down your overly tight top will only make you look uptight and unhappy.

2. GET THE PROPER FIT, WHATEVER YOU DO.

Related to being comfortable, your clothes need to fit well to look good and feel good. We all have white shirts and pants, but why is it that when Olivia Palermo wears hers, they just look so much better? That’s because her clothes fit perfectly.

Everything you wear needs to be in proportion to your body. Research about body shapes and check what kind of clothes look best on your frame. If the clothes you bought don’t fit well, have your friendly neighborhood tailor or seamstress adjust them for you. Well-made and well-cut clothes will flatter your frame and make dressing up and looking stylish so much easier.

3. ALWAYS LEAVE SOMETHING UNDONE.

Perfection is boring, and women who dress well always seem to do so effortlessly. Casually rolled-up sleeves, folded jeans, a half-tuck—these little tweaks can refresh your outfit and inject an air of easy glamour to your look.

Even a glam outfit can look relaxed if you style it unexpectedly. For this dress, I chose to tie a casual knot at the waist instead of a perfect, symmetrical bow for a more subdued yet still chic look.

4. CAREFUL WITH THOSE COLOR COMBINATIONS.

Certain colors look much more sophisticated than others. For instance, whenever I want to look effortlessly chic without going monochromatic, I wear dove gray, white, and beige. Those three colors always look good together. An all-white ensemble always looks fresh, and black is forever chic. Wearing several colors of the rainbow all at one time will probably not flatter everyone, so choose wisely. Take note of your skin tone, too: certain colors on certain skin tones (like khaki on olive skin) can make one look ashen and gray—not a pretty sight.

For summer, don’t be afraid to experiment with bright colors, but make sure to ground them with neutrals. I paired this yellow mustard crop top with cream high-waisted bottoms for a fun but sleek outfit.

5. WHEN IN DOUBT, KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Uncluttered outfits always look so much more fashionable and are also a much more practical way to dress up every day. If you really want to make a statement by accessorizing, do so with restraint: you can incorporate a chunky ring, stacked bangles, or a delicate necklace to personalize your look. Keep the attention on you, not on your accessories.

Alexa Olson