Before I start, I would like to give credit where credit is due. The inspiration for this article was 100% Fiona Leah, who began a TikTok series of the same nature that you can find here. Her Tiktoks and Pinterest boards gave me a vision for this article, so if you like this, check her out!
Now onto the actual article. I am, and forever will be, a timeless-fashion supporter. I have tried my hardest to get people to eliminate their fast fashion consumption, but a lot of people feel that 'timeless' can be synonymous with boring.
On-trend, aesthetic clothing items are often the ones that end up lying in the dump. However, there are so many ways to look cooler in a sustainable fashion. In this article, I'll give you my favorite ways to elevate an outfit and 'glow up.'
Accessories, accessories, accessories. They are easily the most important part of an outfit. A basic outfit can be improved dramatically with the right pieces.
But not all accessories are created equal. Some fall victim to the trend cycles, while some remain perfect throughout the decades.
The Right Bag
I'll be honest, I have only recently appreciated a good bag. I was always a practical-over-appearance person when it came to holding my items, often having overflowing pockets or several cheap tote bags. Finding a versatile bag is essential to getting cooler.
Above is my favorite: the Paloma Wool Bean Bag. The thick strap keeps the functionality and the shape is classic.
Of course, not everybody can afford to shell out a couple hundred on an accessory, but if you are able, try and invest in a sustainable brand (like Paloma Wool!!) with good quality materials. This is especially the case if you're opting for leather.
Remember, a black bag does not have to be boring. You don't need one in every color to add intrigue to your outfit. My favorite example of this is Jane Birkin and her accessorized bag. You don't need a Birkin to do this, trust me, I don't have one.
Throw some beads, some ribbons, some charms, whatever, onto your bag. Make it yours. Don't put it in a glass case. Bags are meant to be worn and loved.
Whatever style of bag you use, try and think about how many outfits it could work with. If the answer is 'almost all of them,' then you've found a good bag.
Sunglasses are such an underrated accessory. And I'm not just talking about a summer accessory, sunglasses should be worn year-round. Unless you live in an exceptionally dark country, the sun is bright all year, and you should do your eyes a favor and protect them!
Even if pushed back on top of your head, these glasses can serve as a hair piece. They're versatile and synonymous with 'cool.'
When choosing your shades, opt for a more classic look. You can find endless vintage pairs on sites like eBay, some designer and cheap! Most of the time, sunglasses are made of plastic and, therefore, can do some damage when thrown out. So, once again, if you have the resources, please pick out a good quality pair that will last for a long time.
Okay, hear me out. I never used to care about my socks, but they can really tie together an outfit. Even the style of a plain white sock can change the vibe of a look.
Above, green socks contrast a patent gold heel for an unexpected pop of color. You don't have to like the outfit to see how much of an emphasis the socks have. Or maybe I'm just obsessed with Mina Le.
On the other hand, here is an outfit sporting white socks and Mary Janes. The white socks make the outfit flow. Picture the same outfit with black socks, or none at all. It just doesn't work.
Hair is most definitely an accessory if you wear it right. There are a million ways to style your hair, and many of them will make you look pretty chic. However, I compiled a list of some of the more trendy hairstyles right now.
A great thing about hair is it doesn't have to be timeless! While we may strive for a classier look, there's no harm in following trends.
Tiny braids have been huge this summer, with a cute and effortless beach look. But when styled right, they can work just as well for a night out, like above. They'll elevate your outfit just enough to make it more intriguing, without taking away from your clothes.
Another great look is a curly messy bun. I've never been a big fan of the tight slickback or the overly chaotic bun, so I think that this combines the best of both worlds. It's easy, chic, and has the potential to make you look just a little more put together.
Another great trend I've been seeing is hair ribbons. Popular on Pinterest and at Gracie Abrams concerts, bows add texture. There isn't really a way to do a hair ribbon wrong and they look amazing in bright colors. Try and match the color of the ribbon to the logo on your shirt, your bag, your shoes, whatever.
Lastly, my favorite hair accessory to make you look a little cooler: hair clips. They keep your hair out of your face, take roughly two seconds, and are so comfortable you forget that they are there. Silver is the metal this year and I think these clips are just so cute.
Anything you do with your hair can make you look at least marginally more stylish. Take elements from your outfit and incorporate them into your hair. Have fun with it!
I love shoes. A lot. I think that they're such an underrated way to change a look completely.
They can be a staple, they can blend, they can do whatever you need them to. I think it's essential to have three types of shoes for a completely fashionable wardrobe.
The first is a sneaker. For my inspiration picture I chose the popular Adidas Sambas, which I love. However, be careful not to buy something trendy that you will hate in a few months.
If you long for the sambas, get them in neutral colors, like the classic white and navy. Stay away from the popular dupe, the neon yellow Onitsuka Tigers (sorry not sorry).
Any flat-footed sneaker can be paired with jeans to make a street-style look worthy of Vogue. However, don't shy away from a dad shoe. New Balance and Nike have some great chunky sneakers suitable for the gym or the city.
Boots. Knee high boots. I can never get enough of them, and neither can the runway.
That's for a reason. They're ever popular because they're so versatile. You can wear them with a skirt or even under jeans.
Right now, fashion cycles are leaning towards pointed-toed shoes, like cowboy boots or 2000s-style kitten heels. While I wouldn't worry too much about staying away from that trend, as it will never go fully out of style, I would generally advise to opt for a more classic look. Round-toe with a square heel is usually the way to go.
I know I sound like a broken record, but as always, invest! Go for quality leather, not what's cheapest on Amazon. Your feet and long-term bank account will thank you.
A good leather shoe is essential for a cool wardrobe. A loafer is trendy right now, but timeless always. You'll have your choice of options online, with retailers picking up on the surge in popularity.
Another great option is a good platform oxford. I wear my Doc Marten 1461 platforms all the time. As I've said a million times, go for quality even if it means spending some extra cash.
When I say belt, take it lightly. I'm talking about anything that loosely resembles a belt, practical or not.
Belts are such an easy way to add interest in an outfit. Most of the time, we see metals hanging from the neck, ears, and wrists. All of a sudden, you see a chain around the waist or hips and you're drawn to the outfit.
It's as easy as that. To 'look cool' you have to look interesting. A good belt is such a simple tool that can be used to add shape or color.
Impractical, statement belts aren't the only ones out there, though. Use your belt to break up the outfit, yet again, while tying it into your shoes.
There are so many ways to style a good belt, so find the one for you.
Yes, I know it's July, but let's talk scarves. Anything around your neck is great to balance out the rest of your outfit, but sometimes a statement necklace is a little too out there.
A flowy, thinner scarf is perfect all year-round. Wrapped around your neck once and then lying loose past your shoulders is the most popular way to style it right now.
An ascot is another great way to make an outfit look cooler. No, you won't look like Fred from Scooby Doo if you do it right. Choose a pattern that ties into other aspects of the look. You can pair an ascot with just about anything, from a sundress to a leather jacket.
While I do genuinely think that accessories are the best way to make yourself look cooler, there are clothing pieces that can help with this too. These tips can work with any style, and many of them are made up of things you already have.
Don't go out and buy a new wardrobe so that you can achieve these looks, just play with what you already have!
Elevated basics have been huge these past few years. It's honestly such a great place to start when it comes to changing up your look. Get a couple of staple basics, and go from there.
Try a classic white tank and add some accessories, you can change up the vibe of an outfit like that. I would recommend taking some old, boring clothes you have in your wardrobe and taking them underneath the needle. Learn how to sew with a few YouTube videos and save a few dollars.
I mentioned texture earlier, so let me expand. Using different or unique textures is one of the best ways to bring intrigue into an outfit. Above, the model is wearing a leather (or pleather) jacket and bag, paired with what looks like cotton slacks, and a ruched elastic top.
The different materials keep the outfit from looking boring. While I love a good denim-on-denim look, if you're wearing only one material, all the time, your wardrobe is going to start to look drab. In addition, understanding different textures and how they fit can help you to have your clothing lay on you the way you intended.
Not to endorse Pamola Wool again, but I can't help it. This brand is one of the best at creating looks that embrace various textures. Just in the look we can see leather, mesh, and wool.
Don't shy away from unique surfaces when it comes to your outfits. Experiment and keep an open mind! Don't just stick to the comfort of cotton, get some leather pants or a denim top. Have fun with it.
I've already talked about hair and accessories, but the small details that fall under the radar during your beauty routine are important too! There are a couple things you can do to level up the minor aspects of a look that have nothing to do with clothes.
A manicure makes you look so much more put together. No matter what you get done, whether it's nail art or a basic gloss, it will just improve your appearance.
Right now, I'm a huge fan of star designs on nails, and they're really trendy right now. Just like hair, there is no harm in following a nail trend! There isn't anything wasteful about it.
If you're thinking you can't get a manicure for whatever reason ("I play a sport, instrument, etc..."), think again. I never thought I could get my nails done because I'm a bassist. Only recently have I had the epiphany of short nails. They don't impact my playing, and I get to have the experience of such a simple luxury.
Plus, nails have gotten expensive. Acrylics inch closer (or past) the 100 dollar mark, and it's a burden on the bank account. Short nails cost significantly less. While I'm not saying they're cheap, they might save you some cash.
As much as I love short nails and nail art, a classic French tip will never go out of style. Even a nude finish looks great. It can be in whatever style you want, whatever color, whatever length. No matter your favorite look, you will always look and feel a little better with your nails done.
Makeup is so personal, and will alternate by aesthetic or season. However, some looks that I've been loving recently involve sparkles.
Let's say your outfit is maybe a little simpler than you would like, or your hair is kind of a mess; a cute makeup look can distract and make you feel a million times better.
This smokey eye is something I've also been seeing a lot. Even though natural makeup is 'in,' sometimes heavy eyeshadow can just add something to the outfit.
There really isn't a wrong way to do your makeup, including not doing it at all.
Perfume is another incredibly individual thing. Some have signature scents, while others practically never wear the same smell twice. Whatever you decide on, I think perfume can really just make you cooler.
I have never met an intriguing person who smells bad. Bad hygiene is never cool. Even if you don't love strong perfumes, try something neutral. You can get perfumes that just smell 'clean.'
Understand Your Proportions
Proportions are something that everybody subconsciously dissects, but I feel like not enough people outwardly discuss them. They are the make or break of an outfit, so it's essential to understand yours.
Someone who understands her proportions amazingly is Sabrina Carpenter and her stylist, James Bolden. Sabrina stands at only 5'0 tall (152cm), which is often an area of frustration when it comes to dressing for your body.
You can see her in very large, platform heels that not only give her some height, but elongate her legs. She often is wearing a sheer mini skirt with a slit that helps lengthen her lower half more.
You may be asking, "how do I style for my body type?"
Just as there is no correct body type, there is no correct styling. Play with different lengths, volumes, and styles of clothes to find what you feel best in. Some things that you may love on other people, you might not love on yourself, and vice versa. That is okay!
It really is about you, so find what you like most.
There are a million ways to dress, to smell, to accessorize. I'm aware of that, and I'm sure you are too. However, no matter how you like to present yourself, there are ways to make you look just a little cooler.
Embrace what you love, don't use what you don't. Hopefully, this list gave you some ideas on how to spice up your closet and make you feel better in your own skin.