Want to have your most fashionable year ever? These are the resolutions I’m making right now. Follow ‘em with me for a seriously stylish 2014.
1. Don't save your "good stuff."
Really! If you love it, wear it. I constantly hear people say that they basically have two closets: the everyday, ho-hum stuff that doesn't excite them, and the only-for-special-occasion pieces that they break out every once in a while (I call this 'Wedding Wear'). Why wait? Wear your favorite cocktail frock to work, but dress it down with a turtleneck underneath or an oversized sweater layered on top. If you've got a job with a stricter dress code, then break out your favorite pieces on the weekend. Really: Your fanciest fancy-pants heels look awesome with distressed jeans. Trust me.
2. Be uncomfortable.
Not physically, of course. But challenge yourself to wear something that's out of your comfort zone. Wear it around for a few hours, and chances are you'll start to love it—or at least feel less like a wolf in sheep's clothing. And, hey, if you still hate it? Take it off and don't wear it again. Easy-peasy! Personal style should be a growing, ever-changing thing, and if you work on mixing things up, you'll never end up in that dreaded Style Rut.
3. Learn to layer.
This can be a tough one, but mixing up and piling on different pieces can work really well—and you can squeeze even more mileage out of each item in your closet. Some tips: Start light and form-fitting with your foundation (i.e.: a thin turtleneck); add a sweater or button-down (or both!); invest in a vest (I wear this 3.1 Phillip Lim one over everything, even other coats!); and pile on the jewelry. Layering is crucial, and practice makes perfect.
4. Pare it down.
Lots of people feel paralyzed by all the choices in their closets. So keep it simple: Get rid of what you don't wear, so all you're left with is a solid, capsule-like wardrobe you absolutely adore. Ditch your "skinny clothes" (I finally got rid of a skirt that I've been trying to shimmy into for five years; I looked at it with fresh eyes a few weeks ago and realized that I don't even like it anymore) and your "Maybe I'll wear this someday" stuff. If you haven't worn it already, you won't. Donate it all, and you'll find that choosing your outfit each day is much, much easier. I promise.
5. Buy smart (and local!).
Confession: I love a prime Zara find as much as the next girl. Still, I think of Zara (and H&M, and all other 'fast-fashion' retailers) as "fashion candy": It's like a sugar fix, and the crash afterwards can come quickly, in the form of unraveling seams, stretching, pilling and fading. Invest in classic pieces that are made well. While you might dish out more dough at first, you'll end up saving money in the long run and you won't be stuck with a closet of too-trendy, worn-out pieces. Last year, I recorded every single piece of clothing or accessory I bought. I wanted to understand where I was spending my money, what I was buying, and how many of my purchases were smart investments (a cropped leather Carven jacket that will get better with age: smart) versus fashion candy (three stacks of cheap gold knuckle rings that tarnished almost immediately and ended up in the trash within a month: Isn't it obvious?). This year, aim for a 30/70 mix: 30 percent impulse-buy, quick-fix candy, and 70 percent smart investment pieces—even if it means that you only buy a few things. Repeat after me: Quality over quantity.
6. Embrace vintage.
I've been wearing vintage for as long as I can remember, and even as trends wax and wane, these pieces still remain my faves. Incorporating at least one vintage piece into every outfit (whether it's a cool rhinestone necklace, a boxy Lucite clutch, or a 1960s swing coat) adds a layer of interest to your look. Still not totally comfortable blazing about in vintage finds? Pick up a gorgeous vintage silk dressing gown and wear it at home. You'll feel ultra-glam. My favorite haunts: Vintage in Doylestown (awesome costume jewelry and bags), 1600 Below in Queen Village (impeccably organized clothes), Sazz in Old City, stadler-Kahn in Rittenhouse (sunnies, jewelry and—if you're lucky—caftans!), and Philadelphia Vintage and Consignment Shop in Midtown Village (the mother of them all). For the men, here are your best bets.
Now, Shoppists, go forth and have your most stylish year yet.