6 Simple Ways to Elevate Your Style

Have you ever seen a girl wearing an outfit that just has a certain special something to it? You can’t always pinpoint why it looks so great on her, but her style has an undeniable appeal. It might seem like magic, but there is always a science behind the art of wearing clothes well.

Here, I’m breaking down the art of style and distilling it into six simple tips that can help you achieve that same magic with your outfits.

1. Choose Colors that Suit You

When I’m wearing a color that looks good on me, my skin tone looks better, my eyes sparkle, and my hair looks dazzling and glossy. At least this is what I imagine and hope for! But seriously, the right clothing colors make a huge difference. When you wear the right colors, your features are emphasized and YOU are wearing the CLOTHES. When you don’t wear flattering colors, this is often when the clothes start to wear you — people might notice that your top is a cute style, but it won’t be the same as that inexplicable lift in your appearance that the correct colors will provide.

Try this video: Which colors work for your skin tone: method & tips explained | by Justine Leconte

2. Pay Attention to Fabric and Texture

It’s true in both interior design and with your clothing – texture is an important dimension of your style. When you consider fabric texture and not just the style and color, everything gets elevated. Consider adding interest with lace, velvet, denim, and knits.

3. Pay Attention to Fit

One of my style pet peeves is stretch marks around the crotch area or clothing that clings to every little curve (like the curve of your stomach or inner thighs). Wear clothing that skims your curves without clinging to them. Often, this might mean going up a size. Going up a size can feel frustrating, but remember that no one sees the number on your tag — they only see the end result. If going up a size means it no longer fits (for example, the bigger pair of jeans fits your derriere but not your waist), consider a tailor or hunt for a brand that fits your shape better.

4. Flatter Your Figure

Besides knowing your figure and what cuts are flattering on you (I’m not going to write about this because so and so already has here), it’s important to know your body and how to work with your unique features and quirks.

For example, I am bowlegged, so when I choose boots I select them with a looser fit because it helps de-emphasize the fact that my legs aren’t perfectly straight. Another trick: I have long femur bones and short calves, and I know that heels elongate my lower legs and create more visual balance. For this reason, you’ll rarely see me in flats. You will often find me in shoes with a short (3-4 inch) block heel. Still wearable, but much more flattering on my legs. Yet another tip: curvier legs look best with a thicker and less delicate heel.

Try this video: How to determine your body type | by Justine Leconte

5. Experiment with a Variety of Silhouettes and Styles

When you consider someone’s style, it’s more than just one outfit that they wear on a given day. Style takes into consideration how you present yourself to the world every day. I find that people who really know how to mix it up have the most intriguing style. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a uniform – it can make getting ready for the day much easier. But if your goal is to keep things interesting, mix it up!

6. Use Style as a Creative Outlet

This, for me, has become a huge canvas for creativity. It’s fun and challenging to build an expansive and colorful wardrobe that is both practical and beautiful. I love expanding my horizons by trying new styles and combinations, and I find myself energized to do this regularly because of the positive and excited attitude I have about clothing.

Things I Didn’t Know About Motherhood

Motherhood is an experience that is both challenging and rewarding. Despite having many friends who became mothers before me, and despite listening to them tell me about their experiences, there was absolutely nothing that could have prepared me for the reality of motherhood. There were parts that were way more difficult than I anticipated, but there are also parts that are so much better than I could ever have imagined.

I’ve only been a mother to baby Alexa for just under two short months, but in this brief time period I’ve experienced so many highs and lows. Here are some of the challenges I’ve encountered in this journey so far!

Postpartum recovery can be lengthy and difficult.

I knew going into my pregnancy that there would be a recovery process after giving birth, but I didn’t realize how challenging that would be. After giving birth, the bleeding can last for several weeks, and everything hurts down there. It’s difficult to move around. Specifically, if I was seated and holding the baby, I had to ask someone to take her so that I could stand up. I couldn’t stand up and hold the baby at the same time.

Trying to keep up with things while I was recovering was incredibly difficult and overwhelming. The first night I came home from the hospital I started crying hysterically. I was sore, exhausted from the lack of sleep in the hospital, and I felt like my husband, Juan, was doing a much better job than I was of taking care of the baby. Fortunately, I had some great friends and family members that came over during this time to help clean, bring food, and hold the baby. I have no idea how I would have gotten through this without Juan’s paternity leave – and I have a newfound admiration for single mothers, because this was challenging, even with all the help.

Once I had fully recovered, taking care of things got a lot easier and I began to find my groove. Parenting still has its difficult moments, but it’s much easier now that my body has healed.

Taking care of a baby is incredible, but it can also be isolating.

During my maternity leave, I got to experience what it would be like to be a stay-at-home mother. Juan’s paternity leave was shorter than my leave, so I had about three weeks of taking care of Alexa on my own during the day. I had some absolutely incredible moments, but I can definitely see that taking care of a baby is isolating. It’s easy to get sucked into the baby vortex and fail to spend time with family and friends. It’s easy to get stuck in the house all day, as taking the baby with you can turn even a simple outing into an event.

I definitely recommend scheduling visits with friends and family and taking your baby out of the house, even if it’s challenging. Being able to spend time with others and go places is an important part of self-care. Don’t neglect your self-care just because of the baby. And make sure that you take some time away from your child to do some of the things you used to do for yourself. For me, that means leaving Alexa with my husband on Saturday for a few hours so I can go thrifting and grocery shopping on my own. It also looks like taking the time to write and journal in the morning before she has woken up for the day.

Breastfeeding can be incredibly hard.

In the hospital, I had a difficult time getting Alexa to latch. The nurses had me waking her up for feedings, and she was so tired that she had no interest in eating. She latched exactly two times, and both of those were times when the lactation consulting helped her do it. I wasn’t able to get her to latch myself, which led me to decide that I wanted to pump and feed her through a bottle.

I was advised to pump every three hours around the clock. This alone proved to be a difficult struggle – who wants to sit there with a breast pump all day, especially when no milk is coming out yet?

At the pediatrician’s office, I started crying when he asked me how I planned to feed her. We talked and it became clear that I didn’t really want to give up breastfeeding just yet. Since Alexa was over 9 pounds, he told me to take her home and for the next two days offer her nothing but breastmilk, even if she cried and refused to eat. We would check in two days later to see how she did.

Fast forward to later that night – Alexa is crying uncontrollably and refusing to breastfeed. I’m falling apart because I feel guilty letting her starve. Juan wanted to cave in and give her formula. Finally, my mom came over to help and with the aid of a nipple shield, we finally got her to latch.

Once she latched, there were still many challenges. The first challenge is cluster feeding. She tends to sleep pretty well at night, but that means that during the day she is making up for it with extra feedings. She can feed for 45 minutes and then half an hour later she’ll be ready to feed again. Making this even more challenging is her love of using me as her pacifier – she loves to comfort feed, and she could do this for hours on end. All of this leaves me feeling like a human milk machine.

Since I’m planning to go back to work, I had to figure out how to pump as well. To make pumping less of a hassle, I invested in a hands-free portable pump, which was a game changer. I hated pumping, but with this pump I am able to get some chores done at the same time. The only challenge is that I’m supposed to pump after each feed, but Alexa is often awake and requiring attention. The one thing I can’t do while pumping is hold my baby, so right now my pumping is a bit sporadic. When I return to work and she is in daycare, I’ll be able to adhere to a consistent pumping schedule.

I’ve grown to love breastfeeding her – especially since I learned to how to feed her while lying down in bed. I often will lie down in bed the afternoon with a tv show on and allow her to comfort feed a bit, which helps her fall asleep for a late afternoon nap. This has become one of my favorite parts of the day.

Leaving your child at daycare is super emotional

As of this writing, I have one week of maternity leave left. I am dreading having to drop off baby Alexa at daycare next week. We really love the daycare we selected, but I still feel the dread. I’m going to miss the long hours spent with her during the day, and I don’t want to pass her off to someone else who will get to enjoy her while I’m at work all day. Before giving birth, I didn’t think this was going to be difficult for me to do — I thought I might enjoy the break. But now that I’ve met my child, I have no idea how I’m going to be able to be apart from her during the week. Since I work from home, my plan is to prepare dinner during my lunch break so that I have the entire evening to savor my time with her.

Your Motherhood Journey

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your journey with motherhood? Do you identify with any of the ones I shared? Let me know in the comments!

On Weight Gain and Body Acceptance

Over the past few years, I’ve put on a lot of weight. It actually started with a medication that I had to take for bipolar disorder. One of the side effects was that I put on a few pounds. But it wasn’t until recently, when I got pregnant with my first child, that the weight really started to pile on. During my pregnancy, I was a bit overwhelmed at the rate at which I was gaining weight, and it was hard to prevent it from happening. I was constantly hungry, and as my pregnancy progressed, I replaced going to the gym with more leisurely walks because I was constantly winded and tired from my workouts.