Here's something to smile about in 2013: the ability to look younger and better put-together without trading in your whole closet - or emptying your bank account. Lois Joy Johnson, celebrity stylist and author of the new book, The Wardrobe Wakeup: Your Guide to Looking Fabulous at Any Age, tells you how. By Holly Corbett, REDBOOK.
Be bold with color
"I think we've all taken a lesson from Michele Obama that color really makes you stand out in a crowd," says Johnson. "Black can be draining, but the right colors can be energizing." Those colors that work with your complexion can make skin glow, soften lines and shadows, up your approachability, and boost your mood. If you want a non-scary alternative to black, pale neutrals like sand, ivory, and camel tend to work with everything. For more of a splash, find inspiration from your makeup colors (corals, cobalt, reds) and incorporate those shades into accessories like jewelry, bags, or scarves. The colors you feel good in are most likely the ones that look best on you.
Layer like a stylist
When done right, layering casual clothes can make you look more put-together. To keep the look from appearing sloppy rather than stylish, pay attention to the weight of the fabric and length of each item. When it comes to your top half, Johnson suggests wearing the thinnest, longest piece on the inside, and getting thicker and shorter with each subsequent layer. This means starting with a long tank, adding a V-neck tee, and topping with a shorter jacket or cardigan to expose the different lengths. Balance the look with leggings or fitted jeans.
Related: The Best Celeb Hairstyles for Every Length
Bring back dresses
"Dresses are a no-brainer because you don't have to worry about putting a look together by having to pair separate pieces," says Johnson. "They work for any situation as they can be dressed up and down, and worn with boots, flats, or heels." Prints and ruching camouflage flaws, and make cheaper fabrics appear fancier. "One of the great secrets of celebrity stylists is that even a tiny bit of tailoring makes a difference and helps an inexpensive piece look expensive," says Johnson. Have old dresses taken in or out a smidge to flatter your current shape, and create a more flattering line.
Create a longer, leaner silhouette
"Pull out the wardrobe pieces that expose your neck and legs," says Johnson. The idea isn't to go for plunging necklines that reveal tons of cleavage, but to choose boat- or V-necks, or to leave a few buttons of your blouse undone. Pair tops with a skirt that falls at your knees and nude pumps that blend with your skin tone to add inches to your legs. "This creates the illusion of a swan-like neck and lanky legs by stretching your body at opposite ends," says Johnson.
Related: 50 Simple Little Ways to Feel Sexy
While a white top and black pants may be your go-to outfit, breaking the line of your body at the waist or hips isn't the most slimming option. Instead, try to stay within the same color group for a sleeker vertical line, says Johnson. Shades don't have to be an exact match to work. For instance, a navy sweater paired with dark-washed jeans or a charcoal cotton top with gray cords would be gorgeous.
Smooth lines with shapewear
"Having just one piece of shapewear in your closet, such as nude Spanx bike shorts, makes you feel like you can wear anything because it improves the fit of your clothes and prevents pulling," says Johnson. "It's a simple way to get a firmer, smoother look that'll give you a sense of confidence." Also essential is a seamless bra that hikes up your girls and is smooth enough to wear under sheerer fabrics, says Johnson. Avoid bras with trim that shows through tees or creates bulges. To find the right bra, try options on under a thin, white tee. "It's a winner if it improves your look from the front, the side, and the back," she says.
Related: 40 No-Fail Beauty Shortcuts
Add definition with skinny belts
"A belt gives your body just enough definition to enhance curves, which can make the difference between looking frumpy and looking chic," says Johnson. Skinny belts are better than thicker belts for most women (anywhere from 1/4-inch to one inch) because they keep the length of the torso, whereas thicker belts make you lose that sense of space between your bust and hips. Just be sure to wear belts at the narrowest part of your waist rather than at your hips.
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