when in doubt, wear black

Author: angiem, 11 15th, 2011

This is my recipe for dressing well and looking good. With the holidays coming and parties galore, I’m often tempted to go shopping for things to wear. However, I do have a smallish problem: I have very little fashion sense. But there are some things I’ve learned through the years from my super stylish friends, and from the mistakes I’ve made. I hope this post saves at least one of us, from looking like we belong in the wrong decade, or looking a decade older.


1.)   Know the weaknesses and strengths of your body and work to emphasize or de-emphasize as needed. Be honest with yourself about this. Have the discipline to say ‘NO’ to the wrong skirt, pant, shirt, sweater, shoe.

2.)   Buy the best shoes and handbag you can afford. If they are made well, they will last for years and years.

3.)   Avoid trends. I read somewhere that trends are like fast food. So true. And if you’re like me and you wear what you have until it goes to pieces, remember this: nothing will date a look faster (or bring attention to a sagging bottom) than the velour sweatpants with ’sexy’ written on the backside.

4.)   Ditto cheap, synthetic fabrics.

5.)   Bulky pants or skirts do not go with bulky tops, unless you’re super tall and super slim.

6.)   Smile. Blind everyone with your pearly whites and they won’t notice what you’re wearing. Haha.

7.)   Stand up straight. Look people in the eye. And if you don’t know what to do with your hands, grab a drink, or put them in your pockets where they should stay without clenching and unclenching.

8.)   Be well groomed. Hello…

9.)   Develop your own style: classic, cutting edge, bohemian, glamorous, the list goes on.

10.) Boring=safe. And safe does not equal fashion disaster. So when in doubt, wear black.

11.) No scratching, no chewing gum, no yawning with your mouth wide open. Because if you’re already a fashion disaster, why bring more attention to yourself?

Since this is a recipe which takes kindly to adjustments and the addition of other ingredients, what do you all recommend?


17 Responses to “when in doubt, wear black”

  1. Mwa (Lost in Translation) Says:

    When in doubt, wear black - I see that. And I do the same. But the world is much cheerier if we wear colour… Perhaps playing it safe is not always the best option?

  2. Lori Says:

    I agree with all these rules, Angie. I do go for “boring” (black, neutrals) many times, when I want to go unnoticed, which is almost always. Another rule that I have is the following: If a garment makes you feel self-conscious, take it off. If a garment makes you feel like yourself at your best, if it makes you walk invulnerable and confident into the world, wear it even if it breaks any of the other rules.” Because it is all about attitude and confidence, right?

  3. Mary Moon Says:

    If I am comfortable, if I feel reasonably pretty, then whatever I am wearing is right.
    That’s my theory, anyway!

  4. Ava Says:

    Is that your baby? She’s soooooooo adorable!!!! Lol!!!This post is hilarious!!! I get the feeling that your pretty stylish. :D

  5. Ruth Says:

    I agree with your points! There’s a handy old book called A Guide to Elegance, and while some of the tips are dated (gloves!?) the classic basics are emphasized as a must have foundation. My color is black. No matter how casual the top is, if its black it dresses up the outfit (plus it has magical minimizing and smoothing powers for my large top half). And… If you have to walk the dog, trade the velours for black yoga pants…much more stylish!

  6. Jena Says:

    Ugh #3! I see too much of that in my neighborhood, and thongs or what my ex used to call “butt floss”…and midriffs…. It’s pretty gross. I’ll just add to dress your age people.

  7. Joyce Says:

    Thanks for the great post! I am such a fan of black in the winter and white in the summer. xo

  8. Diane Says:

    I do not believe this one bit. Every time I see a picture of you, you look FABULOUS!!! I am still trying to discover my fashion style because in my head I am probably a 16 year old surfer girl…. oh well. :O)

  9. Susan R. Mills Says:

    Black is definitely the way to go. It is timeless and classy.

  10. Susan Tiner Says:

    Great advice Angie. At this point in my style quest I’m having fun adding some color and jewelry details, but I agree, when in doubt wear black.

    Your little one is so pretty and sweet.

  11. Bonnie Says:

    these are great tips ! thanks.

    this is my first visit to your blog. i came over from francesca’s …

    i like what i see. i’ll be back.

  12. Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita Says:

    Some great advice here. I hope many “sexy”-adorned tushes will take heed! ;)

  13. Francesca Says:

    She (your girl) has a great sense of style! The only other ingredient I would add to your recipe for looking good, is that the hairstyle/do is just as important as the clothing - the face, after all, is what people look at.

  14. Julie Says:

    Hi Angie
    I must be in doubt a lot!! Perhaps I wear a little too much black!!.. I’m sure you always look as elegant as you write..

    Have a great weekend. ciao xxx Julie

  15. Vicki Archer Says:

    Love this Angie… xv

  16. angiem Says:

    Mwa - In my dreary part of the year, color is an instant boost in mood. So yes, color!
    Lori and Ms. Moon - Nothing beats confidence.
    Ava - Yes. And thanks.
    Ruth - Oh yes. I love yoga pants.
    Jena - Nothing sadder than seeing a 40 year old dressed as if she was 18.
    Joyce - Yes. Me too. I also like to add the color tan. Black, white and tan. My three favorite colors.
    Diane - Believe it.
    Susan Mills- Right?
    Susan Tiner - I agree. I love accessories, but I’m too much of a minimalist to accessorize with much.
    Bonnie - Thanks. I’ll stop by for a visit.
    Stephanie - I hope so too.
    Francesca - You are right. Hair is very important. I think about mine every day.
    Julie - Ha. Me too.
    Vicki - Thank you!

  17. Relyn Says:

    Fantastic advice!
    The meal has been eaten.
    The kitchen is clean.
    The leftovers are stashed.
    The walk has been taken.
    Everyone is happy and fed and blessed.
    Now I have the time to stop by.
    On this Thanksgiving Day, I wanted to tell you that I am thankful for you; for this blog; for inspiration and connection. Sending you much love, Relyn

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