Effortless Style: The Truth
Monday May 16, 2016

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“Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it.”

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #103

Over the past weekend, I took on the task of doing a major edit of my closet. The tossing was easy, what to keep quite simpler than I had expected, but even after all of these years of curating a capsule wardrobe, I saw gaps. Gaps where my lifestyle didn’t align with my wardrobe offerings. What this realization told me was (1) I am ever-evolving as an individual – “Yeah! I’m growing!” and (2) with each passing year, I become more aware of what my true style is.

Initially, frustration may set in because we want to look effortlessly style now, each day, all of the time. But it takes time as I will dive into further in #1.

Because new fashions are available on the rack every season, purchasing these items is easy, it’s what we do with it as the quote states above, that is hard, that takes time. And the taking time part involves just as much knowing what works together as taking the time to get to know ourselves and what we need and feel our best in.

Therefore, effortless style while not a total and complete myth, is something that does require effort leading up to the desired result. Let’s take a look at the five truths of effortless style.

1. It Takes Time

In an interview with Elle magazine in 2014 former Chanel model Inès de la Fressange shared something that should bring a great relief to us all, “‘I just woke up like this’ is a lie.” When I read this interview, I did relax a bit more. Phew! But the reality is knowing what works well together, knowing what works well for you and knowing where to find it, takes conscious effort, patience and time as we evolve into our most authentic selves.

As I mentioned in this Spring season’s TSLL Shopping Guide, listening to the third episode of Garance Doré podcast Pardon My French in which two Parisiennes are being interviewed, they admit freely that acquiring effortless style took years, many, many years as they became more acquainted with who they were.

However, on the flip side, it is important to note, we must make a conscientious choice to notice what works, be willing to try something new, invest in quality clothing as well as tailoring and ask questions of those who know how to do it well how they have mastered the skill. Check out this post from the archives to discover how to do the necessary homework of cultivating your very own effortless style.

2. It Gets Easier

The good news is, as with most endeavors we invest time into, it does become easier. Over time you refrain from buying items that will never complement your skin tone or body’s shape. Over time you discover which outfits make you both feel the best and garner sincere compliments on a regular basis. And so it is, over time your style becomes more and more effortless.

3. Regular Editing

As we are ever-evolving creatures, continually learning as we follow our curiosities and progressing as individuals, our wardrobes must evolve as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you toss and get something entirely new, but wear and tear does occur, colors do fade and subtle updates and improved quality can be added to improve your wardrobe with simple changes.

With each edit that I do, which is approximately twice a year, fewer and fewer items are removed which is a good sign. Perhaps I am learning and perhaps I am not purchasing unnecessary and unwearable clothing.

When we edit, we also are reminded what needs repaired, what can work well with other items and how far we’ve come.

4. Begins with a healthy physique

Aside from the clothes we wear, they will always look their best if they are sized to fit our physique. And so long as we tend to our health, eat well and get our blood pumping on a regular basis, our wardrobe sizing shouldn’t vary too much which means the clothes we love and invest in can be worn for many years. Here are 15 Habits for Timeless Style that go further into all of the details of both clothing choices and style decisions.

5. Don’t forget to invest in your footwear

Similar to the person and their personality who wears the clothes, which is paramount, the shoes we choose to wear will either weigh the look down or take it to new heights. Investing in shoes is a worthwhile decision. Find a local cobbler in town to spruce up your chausseures when they need a bit of maintenance, and you will be happy you spent the extra cash.

So the big question remains, is style ever truly “effortless” if we’re always having to edit and tend to it? Effort in the terms of attaining effortless style is to strain, is to look forced, and so in this case, yes, effortless is possible when it comes to style. The closer you get to knowing yourself, knowing what you shine in and knowing what works with your lifestyle, the decisions are easy. Simply keep your eyes open, update items before they need to swapped out and don’t be afraid to wear the same thing throughout the week because if it works it works!

When we can view what we wear as a pleasure, the clothes we wear become an extension of ourselves and help to enliven our confidence, mood and carefree, worrisome attitude so we can be fully present in the moment. Too many times in my past I have been tugging constantly or pulling frequently during an outing, so much so, I couldn’t fully enjoy where or with whom I was out with. Clothes shouldn’t be the barrier, but rather a minor detail that with time and patience enable you to revel in your amazing life.


~15 Habits for Timeless Style (podcast 69)

~Style Inspiration: Smart Style

~Why Not . . . Have Effortless Style?

~The Francophile’s Style Guide: The 14 Essentials (podcast 32)

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3 thoughts on “Effortless Style: The Truth

  1. Great outline of the effort that underpins ease! As someone who is a bit sartorially-challenged*, it’s been crucial to invest time in cultivating a wardrobe that let’s me get on with life without worrying about how I look.

    As Yves St Laurent said “isn’t elegance forgetting what you are wearing?”

    * it’s a ‘thing’. Really! I wrote a whole blog post on it : )

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