I've recently been asked some advice on how to go from a cotton t-shirt and workout pants/jeans uniform to a more updated look. It's hard to know where to start! While I am no expert, I'm confident my advice will help anyone who needs a little "boost" in the fashion department.
1- painted nails will put you on the fast track to feel more stylish. check out OPI's website and look at their blues and greens. the bottom 3 rows (minus the two marbled ones) are all great fall colors - normally I head straight for purples and grays, but I'm really loving "Ski Teal We Drop" and "Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow." If bold colors aren't for you, a pale pink (or clear!) works any time of year.
2- try EVERYTHING on - in front of a mirror - before you take off the price tag. sounds obvious, but it really makes a difference. don't purchase anything that's super sheer or looks funky over your bras. wear a nude colored bra and seamless panties when you go shopping if you can remember - and I also recommend wearing your favorite jeans and a shirt that is easy to take off and put back on. also, wear your hair like you normally wear it. I HATE it when I can't really tell how things will look at home b/c I'm not wearing the right things underneath and my hair is in a messy ponytail.
3- I recommend having several soft, solid tees (scooped or v-neck) in your closet. You can never go wrong with white and black, but the top I get the most compliments on is a slate gray one from Loft. For this fall, look for a dark teal or a feminine, light purple. I almost bought this top in weathered blue and light lavender, but I decided I don't really need them. Look for materials that are dressy enough for work but casual enough to wear with jeans. Pair the top with your favorite jewelry, and you're good to go.
4- Don't be afraid to try on something that you're not sure about - last year I gave dolman-sleeved tops a chance and they are my FAVORITE. They're everywhere now, so I'm glad I jumped on board!
5- Invest in at least one black and one brown belt - skinny or wide, braided or snakeskin - find something that suits your personality AND works with one more than outfit.
6- Every girl should own a quality pair of dark wash jeans (they go with everything, they're slimming and they instantly dress up a simple top). And a white and black camisole/tank that is long enough to be tucked in under a blouse. AND a pair of black shoes. I'm a flats girl myself.
7. Try to add a little color to your outfit, whether it's through your shoes, purse, cardigan, wherever.
8. Get your jewelry on! I've always feel more put together when I wear earrings. If you don't have your ears pierced, think about purchasing a necklace that you can wear with a variety of your clothes. While it's fun to get crazy with jewelry, it never hurts to have a few simple pieces that you can rely on.
9. Toss (or better, donate) everything in your closet that you either never wear, or you do wear but you hate wearing it. Then take inventory of what you're missing and get shopping! (In my case, I was missing a couple of comfy button-down shirts, so I got on that right away.)
10. If skinny jeans or dolman sleeves or chunky cardigans or whatever don't look good on you - don't fret. You will look LESS fashionable if you wear something that doesn't fit your body type or your personality. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and happy.
and one bonus tip - don't buy a fashion magazine if you're not super into fashion. just google fashion trends or browse through an InStyle at a bookstore, and try to incorporate at least one new trend into your wardrobe.