We all know that confidence and looking great comes from feeling great—and aligning the two is a lesson in both thinking and dressing for yourself. But how do you ensure that your appearance reflects your personal style? We consulted Miami-based model Emily Nolan Joseph —also a body and lifestyle expert—for her insight on how to look and feel your best in any situation.
1. Be kind to yourself. Take note of your your self-talk when getting ready in the morning. “As soon as you judge yourself, you’re empowering someone else to judge you,” explains Nolan Joseph. “That comes off as an insecurity, and it doesn’t look attractive to other people.” And confidence—without fail—is one of the only attributes that looks good on every woman.
2. Have a style go-to. One signature outfit that can go from the office to a date night, and makes you feel great in both situations, is more reliable than an impulse buy. Nolan Joseph says that your attitude should be: “I don’t care if people see me wear that outfit 500 times, because it looks great on me!”
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3. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t make it better. How you feel in an outfit is more important than the label it bears. As Nolan Joseph explains, when you feel confident in yourself, “that comes out when you take a picture or get dressed.” That’s what people will remember most about you.
4. Develop your own style. “The people that I can associate style with are people that are very confident with who they are, even if they’re just wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt,” says Nolan Joseph. It may take a while to hone your personal style, but eventually you’ll be able to discern which pieces best suit your personality and body type from key trends each season.
5. Give it away now. We all have that no-man’s-land section in our closet filled with pieces that we never wear or have outgrown, and yet we refuse to part with them just in case. Clear it out—either by donating the pieces to a charity or giving them to a friend.
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6. Put luxury items up for consignment. “If I have an old Valentino dress that I’ve worn to everyone’s wedding, I’ll consign it,” says Nolan Joseph. “I’ll take that money and spend it somewhere else.” Win-win.
7. Shop for the size that you are now. The fact that women would avoid buying a dress that fits them rather than going up a size is what led to many brands offering vanity sizing: when the number on the tag reads smaller than what the size actually is. “Numbers are just numbers,” Nolan Joseph insists. Go with what looks great on you—as you are right now.
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8. Have a plan. “Whether you’re shopping for an event or because you’re treating yourself, go in to the store with the intention of finding what you want,” says Nolan Joseph. Visualize as precisely as you can what style you’re looking for and the purpose of the outfit—for a job interview or night out? Starting with a plan, will mean that you “don’t get bummed out with the impulse items that you throw in the dressing room and don’t fit right.”
9. Buy what you absolutely love. “Think about who you are when shopping,” says Nolan Joseph. If you’re not one for short dresses, then you’re never going to feel comfortable wearing it, regardless of the style or what you paid for it. “Wait for that perfect piece to come along.” And when shopping online, always read the reviews. “It’s the most helpful thing and way better than going into a store and trying on eight million things, then being disappointed.”
10. Engage your stylish friends. “Take them shopping because they will hold you accountable to your sizing and budget,” Nolan Joseph says. A good friend will give you honest advice on what would look good on you, and help you avoid buying something that you’ll never end up wearing. “It’s nice to have friends who know your style that can help you, because an outfit always looks different on camera or in someone else’s eyes than when you look in the mirror.”
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