Fishing for Answers is a weekly advice column on BAZAAR.com. From fashion conundrums (what in the world does one wear to a 'business casual' event?) to relationship struggles (how do I get one of those?), to getting ahead in your career and beyond, I’ll tackle your most burning questions with the truthful (and loving) sarcasm you won’t get from your therapist or mom.
Up this week: finding your personal style, escaping an outfit rut, and dressing "for your body."
"If I have loose skin under my arms, is it still acceptable for me to bare them in sleeveless dresses?"
Pull out the nearest calendar, whether it’s your iCal or one of those pretty planner notebooks you bought but don't actually use. Now look closely at the date. What year do you see? 2019? Good. That means it’s “acceptable” to wear whatever the hell you want to wear, no matter what your body looks like. Mark it down if you need a reminder.
Spring and summer can bring out the worst of our body insecurities, so I totally understand your uncertainty. But whether you have loose skin, cellulite, wrinkles, an embarrassing tattoo you got in college, or whatever, you should wear the sleeveless dress and own it. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Your body doesn’t have to look a certain way in order to wear sleeveless cut styles. We have to undo decades, if not centuries, of women being told they have to be a certain size or age in order to show skin. The best way forward is to know there are no rules of what you can and can’t wear based on your body size or type—and uplift other women in your life to believe the same.
"How can I find the fashion style that best suits my personality?"
Well, let me fill you in on the secret to how chic French girls do it. To start, you're going to need one striped Breton shirt, a ribbon to tie around your hair, an impractical basket bag, and one large baguette. Totally kidding. There's no crazy secret code to crack, it's really just as simple as wearing what you want and what makes you feel good. If you love being comfortable and casual, wear what makes you feel that way–whether it's sneakers, flats, or an effortless pair of wide-leg pants. If you like pretending you're a rich Upper East Side housewife, invest in luxe outerwear and designer handbags that look like they were purchased with the money from your first divorce settlement.
Don't overthink it, wear what you like and what feels true to who you are. More importantly, don't try trends or certain styles just because they're "in." Go for the pieces that feel like they fit your own style and personality—and whichever ones make you feel good.
"When is it a 'fashion rut' vs. 'signature style?'"—Nothing to Wear
There's signature style (think Iris Apfel's oversized eyewear and colorful, eccentric jewelry) and then there are serial outfit repeaters (think Spongebob’s same exact square pants day in and day out). Are you leaning towards similar types of silhouettes and pieces or have you worn the same exact outfit enough times for the Seamless delivery guy to draw a missing persons sketch of you while blindfolded? If the answer is the latter and your name is not Steve Jobs, you may be stuck in a fashion rut.
An easy way to switch up your go-to style uniform is by adding a few new accessories into the mix. Think some of spring’s more fun trends—hair accessories, bucket hats, or a statement bag. If you’re still feeling uninspired, give your closet a Marie Kondo-worthy edit and cleanout, follow some new stylish Instagrammers, and venture out of your comfort zone a bit. It’s just fashun, honey! It's okay to have fun with it.
Need some advice? Submit all your questions to [email protected] Read more Fishing for Answers here.