Have you ever wondered what makes a woman stylish?  Do you feel like you are missing something or that you just can’t get it together no matter how hard you try?  Having spent nearly 14 years dressing women for a living, I am sharing some behind the scenes tips I have learned about what it takes to be a well dressed woman.

#1- A well dressed woman is a ruthless editor

A well dressed woman is really discriminatory with her wardrobe, both in her closet and when she goes shopping.  I was thinking about this when I was shopping with a client last week.  She had plenty of choices that were absolutely stunning that we wound up letting go of.  You may be wondering, “why would anyone let go of clothing that is perfect?”   Yet, as we talked through some of these seemingly perfect selections, we could both identify she didn’t have a reason to buy or anywhere to wear these things, or that she already owned something that filled the role in her closet.  Sure, it was hard to let go, but it would be even harder for my client to look at these beautiful things in the closet and have nowhere to wear them.

A well dressed woman also has this same ruthless attitude with her closet.   There is a saying, how you do one thing you do all things.  Therefore, the idea that you don’t have to hang on to anything that doesn’t serve you applies to a well dressed woman’s closet.  Just like she wouldn’t tolerate a non-committal partner who doesn’t give her what she needs, or eat food that doesn’t nourish her, this approach applies to a well dressed woman’s wardrobe.

Having a hard time being ruthless with your wardrobe?  Here are some tips.

#2- A well dressed woman respects her clothing

I remember watching an episode of Oprah with financial wizard Suze Orman.  During the episode, Suze visited a family who was struggling financially.  What she noticed was how chaotic their lives were.  Their home was a mess and order was totally missing.  Suze then went to visit another family who was in great shape financially.  Their home was in order, there was a sense of peace in their lives and they looked like they were in control in all areas.  What Suze pointed out was in order to have money we have to respect it along with ourselves.

What I have found time and time again is a total connection to being well dressed and maintaining a well organized closet.  Even if they need some style help, my clients have beautifully organized closets, with good hangers (typically Huggable Hangers), there is a sense of order and they set up their closets in a way that works for them.  There is no one way to organize clothing in a closet, of course, you have to figure out what works best for you.  Here are some tips. 

#3- A well dressed woman asks for help

If you wonder how that well dressed woman you know always manages to look so good, have you ever considered that she doesn’t do it alone and she asks for help?  It’s so easy to just assume we lack some skills instead of thinking that maybe the person who seems to know more than you is getting help from an outside source.

We all can’t be good at everything and there are some things we accept we’ll never be good at, like my shortcomings with math.  And, undoubtedly, some people do have natural skills with style.  However, if there were only a few women out there who weren’t naturally skilled at dressing themselves I’d be out of a job.

A well dressed woman knows her limitations and isn’t shy to ask for help.  This can be in the way of hiring a professional, like myself, reading up and learning from blogs, getting a stylish friend to assist or looking to others for an objective opinion.  Instead of giving up on the idea that being a well dressed woman is possible, consider that you might need some assistance.

#4- A Well dressed woman invests

When you see a well dressed woman and wonder how she has the budget for such fine clothing and accessories and just assume that her paycheck is more than triple yours, think again.  A well dressed woman invests in her clothing because she knows that this will ultimately save her money in the long run.

What I have noticed in clients who buy the best they can afford is that they often have small wardrobes and, back to my first point, are incredibly ruthless with their wardrobe editing.  They can invest because they don’t waste.  A well dressed woman will buy something and expect it to last for years and years.  She tends to spend on classics that will stand the test of time and then have fun with less expensive trendier pieces they will use to make their classic investment wardrobe pieces look fresh season after season.

#5- A well dress woman has some style shortcuts up her sleeve

A well dressed woman is crafty.  The reason why she makes looking stylish so simple is because she has her own set of shortcuts up her sleeve to make it appear that way.  An example of this is the woman who has expensive shoes in nude.  While they may look and are  expensive, the well dressed woman knows that this one pair will work with everything, hence making all of her outfits look polished without a lot of work or spending a lot of money.

A well dressed woman will use shortcuts like limiting the color palette in her wardrobe to make getting dressed easier, will keep her wardrobe small and repeat her outfits more often in order to make getting dressed in the morning quicker, or will buy one bag that will universally complement her entire wardrobe.  The well dressed woman will create these shortcuts to give off the illusion of a lot going on in her closet when really it’s quite simple and strategic.

If you wan to be a well dressed woman, it’s not about buying a ton of clothes or creating a sea of options that you will never wear, it’s about distilling it all down to something that is simple, manageable and, most importantly, supports you.