Beauty is in the details.
One of my beauty/style obsessions is detail. A plain white button-down can be worn a thousand different ways—and that’s before we even get to whether or not we’re going to leave the top buttons unbuttoned or roll the sleeves a little. I guess what I’m talking about is accessorizing—but that sounds a little banal. More specifically, it’s the thoughtful combination of disparate elements (your watch, your lip color, your perfume…) to create a certain sartorial experience, an experience you inhabit with uncomplicated joy because it’s just so you.
Some days these things fall together naturally, and often those unplanned combinations have that “effortless” charm we’d all like to have a little more of. You don’t have to entirely rely on the muses of the morning, though. You can cultivate style details that instantly elevate your look, and more importantly, your experience of that look.
How to Cultivate Your Beauty and Style Details
Consider playful touches. Some things in life are boring, and it’s hard to change that no matter what are attitudes. Your wardrobe never has to be boring, however! Even if you must dress in fairly traditional, professional clothes, there remain ways to add a bit of yourself to the ensemble. Think color—lavender tights, a night-sky manicure, rose quartz earrings, a slender red belt tied (not buckled) around your waist…
Go for picks that inspire sentiment. Sometimes we develop a sentimental connection to an accessory or a beauty product after wearing it during an important experience (like wedding day perfume) or simply after owning it for a while. These items are no doubt special, but you can add to your collection by pursuing sentiment in completely new things as well. Let’s say you’re looking for new lip color. You’re aware that Kylie-Jenner-matte-mauve is totally on trend, so you think you might pick up something like that. But then you see a tube of shimmery, cinnamon gloss, and your heart skips a beat. Which one do you choose? Your heart’s choice. Always.
Stock up on what works for you. For years, I had strictly worn sterling silver jewelry. It wasn’t until a jeweler suggested that I try gold and rose gold that I really found my jewelry happy place. Now, I have a little collection of gold-plated or gold-filled rings that I mix and match every day. They feel very “me,” and I can always rely on them to go well with my complexion.
Don’t be afraid to mix high and low—or old and new. Combine that sapphire pendant necklace you inherited from your grandmother with embroidery floss friendship bracelet your niece made you. Pair your finest pea coat with a cheap little hair bauble from the drug store, and own your look.
The uniform blazer I wore in high school still fits, and it’s in decent condition—even though it’s coming up on 10 years old! Paired with a lace tank and some delicate, layered necklaces, it will look more party-prepped than prep school.
Be your own style guru. Whether or not you read up on the latest sartorial and beauty trends, you can still be your own style guru. In other words, be an expert on you! Once you’ve found things that generally work for you, experiment with them to find the best ways to show them off. Create a collection of “classics.” Your version of “classic” doesn’t have to match anybody else’s. For example, I have a pale pink scarf with a black lace print. It’s kind of a unique piece that was never expressly on trend or out of style, but it’s nonetheless a “Mary classic” Mix in contemporary trends as you desire.
What are some of your signature style details?
Related: Finding Your Style Statement Words
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Photos: Beryl Chan via Flicker, Mary Hood Luttrell