When people find out that I’m a fashion designer, aside from the cliche assumption that I design and make my clothes (which I don’t!), they usually presume that I have a particular clothing style and that I spend a lot of money when I shop for clothes. In reality, neither of these misconceptions is true. I don’t have a defined fashion style. The way I dress depends greatly on occasion, location, season, current trends, time of the day, and my mood. Many times, I’ll actually use fashion styling to get myself in a certain mood. When I’m asked for styling advice, I’ll reply with “How do you want to feel?” I think fashion and styling posses a power that can make you feel a certain way. In this article, I’ll share a few “Designer Tips” on fashion styling. I’ll start with some very important fashion advice- how to shop for clothes.
Since my outfits usually turn a few heads, people assume they are really expensive- yet another false impression. Not to say that I won’t occasionally splurge on something expensive; I just appreciate a good bargain when I see one. The only time I’ll overpay for an item is when I LOVE it and I know I won’t be able to find it anywhere else. Like the Diesel jacket I bought for $165. It was exactly what I was looking for and I knew that no one else would make something even remotely similar. Casual, but chic; sporty, but girly – I knew it would last for a few seasons. That’s actually one of my fashion shopping rules: if I pay more than $150 for something, it has to last for a few seasons. If I’m shopping for something very trendy that will probably be “in” for only one season, I won’t spend more than $100, better yet, no more than $50.
So how do I manage to look expensive? Designer tip number one is good fit. If something doesn’t fit right, no matter how cheap it is – I won’t buy it. Why would I wear something that pulls and gathers in the wrong places and looks awkward on me? It doesn’t matter how much salespeople try to “help”, and say it’s not noticeable. I notice, and others will too. They might not be able to pinpoint exactly what bothers them, but they’ll notice something’s off. The same concept goes for details and accents – many people think they don’t notice little details, but they do. Some details may not stand out on their own, but they definitely contribute to overall appearance.
Once I went on a blind date wearing a plain black jersey skirt slightly below the knee that I bought for $20. I paired it with a black tank that had a touch of lace ($15), and killer looking shoes. They were pointy high heels in faded metallic pink, which created a vintage look ($55, a lucky bargain buy!). Two men accused me of trying to cause a traffic accident as I crossed the street! Men and (more remarkably) women were turning their heads. Needless to say, my blind date was more then relieved! His first remark to me was that he “loved stylish women”. Bottom line: my outfit was totally chic- and all under $100.
Another shopping tip: to make an ordinary outfit look chic, I’ll throw in something expensive, such as an accessory. I went to a party wearing a black jersey dress with bishop sleeves ($25), and accented it with a hip shaped beaded belt I bought in London for almost $250. I know it sounds overpriced, but that belt breathed new life into a lot of older outdated garments that I loved dearly. I had this gorgeous chiffon dress that I bought 7 years ago. I loved the mysterious color effect created by layers of different color fabrics and the way the skirt flared. Even after the silhouette went out of style, I couldn’t bear to part with that dress! By adding my beaded belt, I successfully reshaped the dress creating a low waist retro kind of look, and wore it to my best friend’s wedding- with complements!
The truth is that I love fashion, and I love women. It makes me happy when I can make a difference in their often complicated, yet extraordinary lives. Ladies, keep in mind when it comes to fashion, nothing is written in stone. What is a fashion disaster today may be on the runway tomorrow, and vice versa.
As a NYC fashion designer, Natalie Nizhny has traveled to Europe and Asia for shopping, researching trends, and manufacturing. In her 14 year career, she has gained a lot of insight in the fashion industry, and has trained other designers with her extensive knowledge of the global trend market. Due to popular demand in response to her advice and design training, she partnered with Kristin Cruz to form first http://www.FashionFrog.com and then a free fashion resource center at DesignersNexus.com Through their site, Natalie can share her experiences with a larger audience, helping aspiring designers learn from her mistakes and successes to create their own successful career in fashion.
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