Style is more than the way you look in clothes. It's about how you feel in clothes, too. If you don't stretch yourself occasionally and try new things, you'll have a hard time ever feeling comfortable with fashion. New styles, materials and accessories can be exciting or intimidating depending on your perspective. If you peel off your comfy jeans, sweats or yoga pants with trepidation every time you're forced to go shopping, your forays into this year's latest styles could seem more like trying on costumes than treating yourself to a new look.
Here's a tip that will help: Go shopping before you absolutely have to -- that means before you need a new suit for that business trip or dress for the company Christmas party. Shop for experience and for fun. Visit a medium- to large-sized mall and look in the dress and accessory shop windows. Visit a few shops that are somewhat upscale for your lifestyle. Get comfortable with the process of looking around, asking questions and trying things on. Think of it as recon.
In a couple of hours, you'll learn a lot, like: what's available, what appeals to you, what colors are in and what shops have an atmosphere and price range you're comfortable with. That's a great deal of insight for a casual stroll around the mall.
Now, stop at the food court, and take a break. Write down some notes about the places you want to revisit. Of the garments you think you may want to look at again, choose at least one that's a style renegade -- nice but not quite you. It may be a color or cut that's more feminine, trendy or flirty than you've worn before. It may be tighter or have a slightly shorter skirt. If it made your short list of memorable items, consider giving it a try. Buy it if you can -- and wear it. It's a painless way to change your look and hone your fashion sense in a few easy lessons.