Real World Fashion, Trends and Style for 2008

By eLIZ HOLLIS, Contributing Writer and MIRANDA ENZOR,Managing Editor

SELF STYLE: The first step to establishing a life-long wardrobe is figuring out personal style. Like Mary Jane shoes? Throw some flair into your closet with a pair in your favorite color or a modernized style. Jewelry is a simple way to establish personal style while following trends at a lower price. Beaded necklaces and bracelets add interest to a basic grey skirt while making a statement about who you are.

MIRANDA ENZOR for GTR Newspapers

Attractiveness is accessible to everyone, regardless of age, looks or income. It’s a matter of finding a unique style. The rewards of external self-expression are plentiful: there is an inner calmness with being comfortable in your own skin. Just as style affects people’s perception of a person, it will constantly enrich your own straight forward approach to those you influence.

Even the busiest, most budget-conscious individuals can use tips on fashion, hair, skin care and clothing. The reality is we aren’t always thin, beautiful, rich or lucky in love. Nevertheless, life can be lived with flair and genuine style. Learning to combine fabrics and styles in dramatic, innovative ways makes last year’s closet appear to have been transformed into a wardrobe with panache. Dressing “in style” is more a matter of wearing one’s “self” than wearing what the fashion press dictates. Certainly age, financial circumstances and even the body changes with time, but the essential “you” that is communicated through clothing choices changes only in small degrees through life. Don’t forget to say something about who you are inside, your own eclectic individuality.

Sometimes the messages given off in clothing choices are absolutely inaccurate in the expressions of you. That is why it is important to face up to your dress style. Dress style has something to do with what’s currently fashionable, but a lot more to do with what looks good on a person and what he/she really want to say about him/herself.

There are the truly chic, stylish friends who know their own personalities and have translated them into clothing. Being stylish in clothes doesn’t mean imitating, but you can learn by being observant. Knowing what kinds of fabrics, colors and cuts flatter your particular coloring and body structure, as well as your life style and personality, are the key to a consistent overall appearance.

Start with a long objective look at yourself. Then, even if your confidence is irretrievably buried, determine the “look” you are striving for and nurture it. Projecting that confidence through appearance, environment and relationships with others is a developed, eminently learnable talent.

The best approach to look and feel great in 2008 is learning to be an educated consumer.

It may seem contradictory but also be knowledgeable regarding fashion trends. You don’t have to slavishly follow the dictates of designers. It means puffy shoulders created with massive shoulder pads might look pretentious if a natural shoulder line is the “last word” in fashion magazines. Read up on fashion trends. Be selective and choose what’s terrific for you, discarding the styles that don’t give the message you wish to send out.

Keep an eye on people you think always look wonderful. Don’t copy someone else’s personal style; just observe it, adopt what is good for you, discard what’s not. They will never know they have been a “mentor” to someone’s fashion development. Imitation is blind; style is accomplished with careful study.

By checking out the choices of people whose clothes sense you admire, learn to modify and choose what is fine for yourself. Train the eye to observe the “rich at play.” Money doesn’t buy taste or style, but often money can buy the services of professionals who do have taste and whose style may be an expression of one’s instincts. It takes time, observation and practice for a fashion voice to emerge. Remember to be consistent and invest in a wardrobe by buying well-constructed items of quality fabrics.

Updated 01-28-2008

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