In our continuing exploration of what it means to be an elegant woman, let’s look at how your wardrobe plays an important part in how you are perceived and how you see yourself.

You’ve probably heard the expression that you should dress for the job you want. Well, I say dress for the life you want.

When curating your elegant wardrobe, start by doing some soul searching to find the woman you want to be. How does she dress? How does she accessorize her clothes. How does she feel in her clothes? What does she wear when she is home alone and no one is there to see her? What does she wear to work, on a date, or at brunch with the girls?

You should be able to visualize the answers to these questions. And how do you get there? You become that elegant woman by showing up as that woman now.

There is not only one way to dress elegantly. Your style choices are your own. Dress to suit the lifestyle you want. Whatever style you adopt, the most important thing is that you dress to please yourself. Only you know what feels comfortable on your body and what styles and colors illustrate who you are as a woman.

Here are some guidelines for dressing elegantly, no matter what style you adopt.

  • Buy clothes that you love so you’ll take care of them and feel good when wearing them. Keep your clothing clean and well pressed.
  • Choose quality pieces that will last a lifetime. I love to invest in high quality jackets and blazers. You can elevate any outfit from casual to business to formal by just slipping on the right jacket.
  • Quality doesn’t have to mean expensive and designer. There are plenty of good quality clothes on the market. But you have to know where to look. You’re not going to find them at Target. You may get lucky at a department store like Macy’s or Nordstrom. Seek out boutiques in your area. Or try vintage shops for beautiful unique pieces that have already survived the test of time.
  • Have your clothes tailored to fit you. The sleeves should hit at just the right place on your arm. The waist should not be too tight or baggy. Clothes that are fitted to your shape will look more elegant and expensive. Don’t hide behind baggy tops and bulky coats. Dare to be seen.
  • Don’t wait until you lose the weight to start investing in your wardrobe. Wear good quality clothing now. If you lose weight, you can always take the clothes to the tailor and have them altered for the new you. Or you can sell them and invest in new pieces. If they are good quality, you should be able to resell them if needed.
  • Wear clothes that show off your best assets. I’ve always had a tiny waist, and I like to show that off with fitted jackets or dresses with belts. Maybe you like your legs, or arms, or neck. Choose pieces that show off your favorite parts.
  • Accessories can change the mood of an outfit. Think of a basic black dress and how differently you would feel wearing a rope of pearls, as opposed to a colorful scarf, or a bold baroque cross necklace. These accessories evoke very different feelings for different occasions.
  • Look for inspiration everywhere. I take inspiration from old Hollywood movies, fashion magazines, history books, paintings, my mother, and other women I admire.
  • Have fun with it. This is your life. Celebrate it in style. Tie a colorful scarf to your handbag. Wear bold sunglasses. Try a pair of chandelier earrings or a playful brooch. Express yourself through design.

Curate your elegant wardrobe to suit the woman you want to be, and start living like her right now.

Click here to read the entire Elegance Series.