We know we’re smart, sassy, evolved, experienced, adventurous and sexy, but even we get stuck in a beauty and style rut sometimes. Suddenly our clothes feel wrong, our usual nail polish color or hair looks dated, or the perfume we used to love is not doing it for us anymore. The change in seasons is a perfect time to shake things up. Here are 10 things you can do to help your looks turn over a new leaf.
- 1. Switch from black to navy blueSeriously, I know you feel slim, cool and edgy in black, though there’s a downside. Black drains radiance and healthy rosy tones from mature skin of every color. It also accents undereye shadows, lines, dryness and pigmentation issues. You can compensate, of course, with more makeup, but why not switch to navy blue? It has the same benefits without being harsh on the complexion. Navy looks classy, and it’s easy to find in everything from sweaters to dresses and workout gear. Wear navy tonally by combining it with other rich blues such as sapphire, indigo, lapis, royal and sky, and with all your blue denim pieces. And navy pairs easily with every other color, from gray to olive green, red to brown.
- PHOTO BY: MONICA SCHIPPER/GETTY IMAGES; RODIN ECKENROTH/GETTY IMAGES; JACOPO RAULE/GC IMAGES(Left to right) Uma Thurman, Mary Steenburgen and Helen Mirren2. Give your cardigans a tweakWe’re not tossing our classic cardigans just because some chunky and long styles are trending. They’re perfect chill chasers over any dress or tee. Yet why stop there? Grab any classic cardigan you already own (don’t be afraid to separate your old twinsets to do this) and get ready to change it up. Give it a new A-line shape by fastening only the top button, to define arms and shoulders. Create an instant blouson sweater by buttoning only the bottom three buttons and pulling up the hem to sit at the top of your hips. Reverse the same cardigan so the buttons go up the back (leave the bottom two buttons open for ease). Or give a cardigan a waist by adding a narrow belt, to cinch the middle.
- PHOTO BY: DAVID LIVINGSTON/GETTY IMAGES; PARAS GRIFFIN/GETTY IMAGES FOR OWN TV; ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES(Left to right) Garcelle Beauvais, Ava DuVernay and Octavia Spencer3. Find the best midi for your legs
Midis are always stylish, but be sure to tailor them to flatter your legs. Moving a hem even 1 inch up or down can make a big difference. Check out your legs (especially your lower legs) in a full-length mirror. Find the point where they indent or narrow. This might be just below the knees, right before the calves start to swell or below the calves where your legs start to meet your ankles. It’s definitely not going to be at the widest part of your calves, and unfortunately that’s where many midis hover. Volume counts, too. A pleated or A-line midi is always preferable to a pencil style, especially if you have heavy legs or chunky calves. The extra volume and length are on your side to create the illusion of slimmer legs.
- PHOTO BY: ULTA BEAUTY (2); SEPHORA(Left to right) Valentino Donna Born in Roma Eau de Parfum Travel Spray; Yves Saint Laurent Libre Eau de Parfum Travel Spray; Armani Beauty My Way Eau de Parfum Travel Spray4. Try a mood-soothing perfumeWhile not a visual “look,” the scent you wear is as much a part of your style as your lipstick — especially now with masks and social distancing. If your usual fragrance feels dated or boring, or it’s time for a refill, now is a good time to choose something different. After months at home (trying to stay calm) with aromatherapy candles and room diffusers, we know for sure that certain scents, like lavender, vanilla, jasmine and rose, are soothers. They have the same effect in a perfume. Opt for a travel-spray size — such as Valentino Donna Born in Roma Eau de Parfum Travel Spray ($30, ulta.com), with jasmine and vanilla; Yves Saint Laurent Libre Eau de Parfum Travel Spray ($30, ulta.com), with orange blossom and lavender; and Armani Beauty My Way Eau de Parfum Travel Spray ($29, sephora.com), with orange blossom, lavender and ylang-ylang — for a calming but delicious new experience that just might become your new signature scent.
- PHOTO BY: THAWATPONG/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES5. Wear your bra on the right hookEven if you have the correct bra — one that holds and hoists your breasts up and off your middle — unless you’re wearing it on the right “setting,” it won’t do the job. Make sure you’re fastening new or newish bras on the loosest hook. Most women don’t. The only reason there are three hooks is to allow you to gradually tighten the bra band as it stretches with repeated wear and washings. The bra band and that hook really do 80 to 90 percent of the support work — not the cups or straps. If your bra is riding up in back, you need a smaller band size. It has to fit low and level on your back to keep your breasts lifted. Get it right and your front, back and side views in all your fall tops will look smoother and firmer.
- PHOTO BY: WALGREENS; CVS (2); TARGET (2); ULTA BEAUTY(Left to right) OPI You Don’t Know Jacques! Nail Lacquer; Sally Hansen Mega Strength Nail Polish in Sheriously Strong; Revlon Nail Enamel in Totally Toffee; Essie Fall 2020 Heart of the Jungle Nail Polish; Essie Fall 2020 Waterfall in Love Nail Polish; Zoya Nail Lacquer in Elliott6. Change your nail polish and ring habitsOur hands are an ideal place to experiment and make a fashion statement without splurging. For an update, change your nail polish from classic sheer pink, beige or red to a trendier hue. Try a warm, creamy taupe like OPI You Don’t Know Jacques! Nail Lacquer ($10, walgreens.com), a modern brown such as Sally Hansen Mega Strength Nail Polish in Sheriously Strong ($6, cvs.com) or Revlon Nail Enamel in Totally Toffee ($6, cvs.com), or even an earthy khaki like Essie Fall 2020 Heart of the Jungle Nail Polish ($9, target.com). Or go for a trendy blue such as Essie Fall 2020 Waterfall in Love Nail Polish ($9, target.com) or Zoya Nail Lacquer in Elliott ($11, ulta.com) for more impact.
- PHOTO BY: JENS KALAENE/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES; TAYLOR HILL/FILMMAGICCloseups of the hands and rings of actresses Salma Hayek (left) and Jane Krakowski (right).Also try wearing your favorite rings differently. You can put a bold ring on your thumb or forefinger, or stack rings of different widths, stones and metals to give everyday rings — even wedding and engagement rings — something extra.
- PHOTO BY: OLD NAVY; JEAN BAPTISTE LACROIX/GETTY IMAGES; BG023/BAUER-GRIFFIN/GC IMAGES; TARGET(Left to right) Old Navy Faux-Suede Tall Boots for Women in Light Taupe Brown; Courteney Cox; Melanie Griffith; Universal Thread Lainee Heeled Scrunch Fashion Boots in Taupe7. Bring back your knee-high bootsDig out your knee-high boots. After years of booties and ankle boots being popular, tall boots are in again. Wear them over skinny jeans (I know you still have them) and leggings for fashion and warmth; pair them with your midi skirts and dresses for a seasonal twist. Any style tall boot works, from sleek leather equestrian to scrunchy suede boho. If you’ve already donated your oldies, a pair in go-with-everything taupe suede, like Old Navy Faux-Suede Tall Boots for Women in Light Taupe Brown ($55, oldnavy.com) or Universal Thread Lainee Heeled Scrunch Fashion Boots in Taupe ($40, target.com), is a good choice. It will work with all your neutrals but, unlike black or brown, won’t look as dense mixed with light, bright clothes, for the nonseasonal way we all dress now.
- PHOTO BY: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC; DIDIER LEBRUN/PHOTO NEWS VIA GETTY IMAGESJennifer Grey (left) and Monica Bellucci8. Mess up your hairYou don’t need a designer bag or a flashy pair of sneakers to look up to date. All you need is hair that looks piece-y and undone. This means your short, medium or long hair has some texture, movement and separation, either of the ends, bangs or layers. Whether you have a pixie, bob or shag cut, don’t overdo using the flat iron or blow-drying, or aim for every hair in place. If this sounds super-easy, it is! A good tousle, shake, scrunch or run through with your fingers — not a brush — is the key to looking modern and new. Use a styling mist or dry shampoo on dry hair to help thicken and add bulk to the hair shaft.
- PHOTO BY: RICH FURY/GETTY IMAGES; TRISTAR MEDIA/WIREIMAGEMichelle Yeoh (left) and Patricia Arquette9. Rely on glasses as eye makeupWhile some women use mask wearing as an excuse to get into some serious shadow and mascara wielding, the quickest way to define your eyes is to put on your glasses. They need to be the right ones, of course. Black or tortoise frames deliver the most effective results. Angular styles will add structure to eyes that are recessed and a face that is saggy, round or soft. Rounded glasses or those with a rounded bottom half soften the effect of deep nasolabial folds or down-turned lips. Modern cat-eye frames with an upward tilt will lift saggy brows and lids and give your face an alert look. And if you tint the lenses slightly (any optician can do this) to a 10 percent blue hue, all bags and undereye shadows vanish, but your glasses will still be appropriate for indoor wear.
- PHOTO BY: CORINA MARIE HOWELL/IMAGE SOURCE/GETTY IMAGES10. Show your neckIt’s the game changer move that elongates your body visually and makes you look elegant no matter what your size and shape. Instead of buttoning up blouses and shirts, turn them into neck-stretching V’s by unbuttoning them to just above your bra. Choose V-neck tops and sweaters, or open necklines such as scoops and cowls. They make us all look longer and leaner. If you wear a scarf, drape on a long supple one and hang it loosely around your neck, rock-star style. (Save the muffler effect for outdoors.) And if you must wear black, opt for a form-fitting turtleneck in a clingy spandex blend that hugs your neck and torso to show your shape — without exposing any skin. It makes a scarf unnecessary and keeps you looking nerdy-cool-sexy day or night.