You are currently viewing 71 of the Best Kept Secrets of Great Personal Style

This post provides a listical wof the best kept secrets of great personal style. Read to adopt at least a couple of them, and you are half-way there.

    1. What Gives an Outfit Its Je ne sais quoi?
    2. What’s the Difference between Effortlessly Chic and Personal Style?
    3. What Are the Secrets to Great Personal Style?
    4. How to Know that an Outfit Works?
    5. How Do You Know When an Outfit May Not Be So You?
    6. Where to Get Help to Create Your Signature Style Online


Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. You don’t pay more when you purchase a product through my links. These links just make it easier for you to find something, and I get a few cents when you purchase it. I so appreciate your support of High Latitude Style. Thank you!


What Gives an Outfit Its Je ne sais quoi?

It is hard to define, as it is an ensemble of things, plus one odd, weird out of place twist. And of course, there is not just one recipe to great style. There are many ways to dress for success.  Here are 71 tips to get started including tips for additional help. Of course, not every outfit has all these elements, but all great looks have a combination of them. And the one that you have to always follow is

Take care of yourself to look your best no matter what you wear. #agelessstyle Click To Tweet

In other words, the most expensive and/or most beautiful clothes accessories, bag and shoes won’t give you a great look when you are not groomed. Groomed includes that your shoes are brushed, your clothes fit and are clean, your hair, fingernails and skin look neat.


personal stylist in casual outfit with dress and flat mules
Blush pink flat horse-bite mules, Spense dress, Dooney and Bourke tote, dagwood multi-strands necklace



What’s the Difference between Effortlessly Chic and Personal Style?

There is a big difference between the secrets to look effortlessly chic and the secrets of great personal style. Just think about models on and off duty, for instance, Karlie Kloss, Kate Moss or Claudia Schiffer. Or what about the First Ladies prior and when being FLOTUS and thereafter, for instance, Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama, or Melania Trump? She looked effortlessly chic as First Lady, but later as Jackie O. she donned great personal style. You get the idea.


What Are the Secrets of Great Personal Style?

Below see 71 of my many secrets how a woman can achieve great personal style. Note that these area the easiest ones to work on. Despite some of them may already need help by a stylist. There is nothing wrong to seek this help. For instance, many women struggle with interpretation of their own inspirational boards which serves to get your personal style in sync with your lifestyle and likes.

  1. Have an inspiration board. This “board” can be an actual board in your closet or a folder on your digital device. Add things you like and visit the board for inspiration. Analyze what the non-outfit items tell you about your style preferences.
  2. Create a lookbook to have outfits ready that work when you are in a hurry in the morning. Best is to have one for each month. See for example my lookbooks for January to December.
  3. Dress for the life you live, not the life you dream of. #agelessstyle Click To Tweet
  4. Layer strategically,  e.g., a coat over a scarf, an oversize scarf belted over a coat.
  5. Accessorize in different ways with scarves for style . For a how-to see the post at the link.
  6. Add at least one unexpected or surprising accessory, e.g., killer heels,  cool watch, bold bag, statement necklace.
  7. Buy only items that you can't wait to wear. #personalstyle Click To Tweet
  8. Never buy an item just because it is a high-end brand and/or on sale. If it is not your style or doesn’t fit, it will just take up real estate in your closet. In other words, these will be some of the pieces in your closet you will never wear. Learn more in the post at the link.
  9. Know your body shape and choose your clothes accordingly. If you don’t know your body’s horizontal and vertical shape characteristics or are not quite sure about them (especially when your body is changing during menopause), take this body shape type detector quiz.
  10. Always buy for the body you have, not the body you want to have in half a year from now after loosing weight. #budgettip #styletip Click To Tweet
  11. Before you buy an item, think of at least three outfits that you can create with the potential item with what you have already in your closet.
  12. Know what works for you and stick to it. #personal style Click To Tweet Don’t know your primary style? Find it out with this free personal style finder app.
  13. Know which colors flatter you, and stick to them when buying clothes.
    accessories for ageless style with belt, bangles, unique wood watch, underskirt and mix of floral and stripes
    Zoom-in on outfit with Spense dress styled with a Chanel belt underneath the sheer embroidered layer, Coach striped summer bag, DIY underskirt, statement necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and Jord bamboo watch (all own). This example uses accessories for ageless style with belt, bangles, unique wood watch, underskirt, and mix of floral and stripes


  14. Learn how to make great color combinations. For instance, look to Phantome color palettes, great paintings, celebrities, etc. for inspiration of great color combinations in you best colors. You can exercise your color coordination with my Fashion Color Pages e-book.PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
  15. Embrace to wear color to be visible.
  16. Don’t wear a color just because it is the Pantone color of the year. Substitute It colors with look-alikes from your best colors.
  17. Focus every outfit around one key item.
  18. Don’t wear too many trends at once. Too many trends in one outfit are the road to look like a fashion victim.
  19. Be selective on which trends you adopt in a season. Ask yourself whether the trend will look plain ridiculous in a decade from now. If you would be embarrassed, skip the trend. Recall facebook sometimes shows photos from years ago!
  20. Aim for a natural makeup look like the Duchess of Sussex.
  21. Pay attention to grooming: Nails, hair, roots, facial hair, armpits, legs, eyebrows, skin, makeup, … .
  22. Never buy complete outfits. They may work only that way. Not to mention that they are not personal, i.e. not so you at all.
  23. Be unpredictable, never wear the same outfit twice. #styleicon Click To Tweet
    personal fashion stylist looking ageless in a leather jacket with embroidered dress
    L.K. Bennett wedge patent leather pumps, Spense dress styled with a Chanel belt underneath the sheer embroidered layer (similar dress here), Coach striped summer bag, statement necklace, Graham & Spencer motorcycle leather jacket, Jord bamboo watch (all own)


  24. Show skin strategically. #advancedstyle Click To Tweet
  25. Go for functional cuts and designs that don’t add awkward bumps and bulks.
  26. Wear skirts slightly above the knee when you have great legs, around the knees otherwise.
  27. Know where your hems should end, i.e. no cap sleeves for heavy arms or arms with bingo wings, no midi skirt hem for big thighs or wide hips with thin thighs. No capris or boots ending at the widest part of your calves.
  28. Use colors strategically to flaunt a waist, downplay big boobs, or wide hips.
  29. Invest in cashmere turtlenecks, shirt dresses, pea-, car- or trench coat for ageless style. This means buy the best quality you can afford.
  30. Know the 45 undeniable truths of wearing pants.
    fashion advice blogger in a trendy A-line floral dress accessorized with sunglasses and floral statement necklace
    Fur and horse-bite mules, Spense floral embroidered V-neck dress, Dooney and Bourke bag, flower statement necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and arm party (all own)


  31. Have a crisp tailored white button-down shirt and replace it each year.
  32. Finish every outfit with a great pair of shoes.
  33. Make sure your shoes are polished and have intact heels.
  34. Think of your outerwear as an outfit as well and style it accordingly.
  35. Go for fit, not for the smaller size tag. #styleadvice Click To Tweet
  36. Have a great tailor on speed dial.
  37. Befriend with a sales person to know when new merchandise comes in that you may like or when they will have sales.
  38. Know what to wear at which dressing occasion. If you need help with this – admittedly difficult point, you can find help in my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife that provides outfit recipes and photo inspirations for all kind of dressing situations in modern midlife. Buy the book now.
  39. Avoid over-bling with jewelry. There is no need to compete with the Christmas tree.
    style advice blogger in A-line dress with mixed patterns
    Back view of stylish weekend look with horse-bite slides, Spense A-line dress, Dooney and Bourke purse, arm party of silver bangles, jade and pearl ear studs, and Ray Ban aviator sunglasses (all own). This look has high and low price items, mix of pattern, covers upper arms


  40. Mix silver and gold in one outfit. So chic.
  41. Mix expansive with cheap items. #styletip Click To Tweet
  42. Never wear one designer head-to-toe. #agelessstyle Click To Tweet
  43. Forget the old-fashioned rules: Wear black with brown, navy with black, so chic.
  44. Wear white in winter and black in summer. So chic.
  45. Add a pop of color to an all neutral outfit with a scarf, necklace, watch, belt or the shoes.
  46. Stay away from neon colors for clothes.
  47. Don’t be a Copycat. It is great practice to adopt outfit and styling ideas, but wear it your way, not one to one. Every copy machine can do that better. An outfit that looks great on your friend, may be so wrong for you for various reasons: It is not so you, you have a different body shape, skin undertone, lifestyle, character, etc. Only adopt what works for you and add your own twist. In other words, take great looks as inspirations and re-do them with your own clothes. Think of a great look as a recipe for great style and re-make it with your own clothes and accessories. Remember to Be yourself, all others are already taken! #personalstyle #selfconfidence Click To Tweet
    over 50 tears old fashion blogger wearing a mini dress with underskirt and patent leather pumps
    L.K. Bennett wedge patent leather pumps, Spense dress, lace underskirt, Chanel belt, Coach tote, statement necklace, Graham & Spencer motorcycle leather jacket, Jord bamboo watch (all own)


  48. Have the right attitude.
  49. Tie your shirt, cardigan, denim jacket around your waist or neck.
  50. Try an arm party.
  51. Roll up your sleeves, or boyfriend jeans.
  52. Try a half tuck.
  53. Untuck your shirt when you are short waisted. See the post at the link for more tips on what to wear when you are short-waisted.
  54. Go for vertical lines to look slim and tall.
  55. Master the proportions: Try long-over-short, or short-over-long.
  56. Go for unexpected combinations like leather pants with a crisp white shirt, blazer and pumps, or an embroidered dress with a leather jacket like shown in this post.
  57. Think of your wardrobe as a collection. Curate your clothes, accessories, bags and shoes. This means you have to update your wardrobe for fit, trends and style on a regular basis.
  58. Get a signature piece that you wear everyday. In my case, it’s the Hermes collier de chien bangle, a gift from my husband.
  59. Learn how to mix prints and patterns.
  60. Go for a monochromatic look to look lean and tall. See this post for a how to create an interesting monochromatic look.
  61. Learn how to turn fashion into style. #turningfashionintostyle Click To Tweet
  62. Get more wear out of your wardrobe by wearing pieces beyond their original purpose.
    over 50 years old stylist looking ageless in cheap trendy dress and more expensive accessories
    Front view of summer work outfit with trendy A-line embroidered dress with classic pieces. L.K. Bennett wedges, Spense dress, Chanel belt, lace hem underskirt, Coach summer purse, statement necklace, Jord bamboo watch (all own)


  63. Be up-to-date on the current trends to not look Old Lady or yesterdecade.
  64. When shopping for clothes have someone take photos of you wearing the piece. Only this way you know how the piece looks from other sides. Selfies won’t work as you have to twist or raise your arms to make them. See this post for more clothes shopping tips.
  65. Commit to Dress for Success. This means only wear clothes you feel confident in and that make you feel great about how you look.
  66. Always buy the highest quality you can afford.
  67. Be aware that expensive doesn’t equal style. Recall how great the Duchess of Cambridge looks in a French Connection dress?
    mature woman in printed sheath
    Shein blue China print sheath, Tissot watch, engraved bangle gift from my mom, Hermes collier de chien bangle,  Liz Claiborne pumps (all own), and wooden sunglasses c/o Winkwood


    mature woman looking simple, but stylish in a summer work outfit
    Side view of embroidered trendy Spense A-line dress with L.K. Bennett wedge pumps, Coach bag, statement necklace, Jord bamboo watch, and Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own). The necklace picks up colors of the bag and floral embellishment. The patent leather adds polish


  68. Never buy a statement piece, when you need a workhorse.
  69. Have some fool proof style recipes you can go-to when you are uninspired or in a hurry.
  70. Borrow from the guys: Oversize blazer, oversize cardigan/grandpa cardigan, boyfriend jeans, brogues, oxfords, tie, fedora, etc.
  71. Be happy with who you have become.



How to Know that an Outfit Works?

Compliments, ladies!

“You look gorgeous/stunning/great/healthy today!”

“I love your outfit/style/look!”

are compliments to pay attention to. Take a photo of each look you get compliments like that. Analyze what makes these outfits different from the others you wore that week. Is it the color that flatters you? Then stock up on pieces in that shade. Is it the cut that gives you a killer shape? Keep an eye out for similar cuts. You get the idea. 😉


stylist in denim-on-denim with leather jacket
Side view of look described below


fashion blogger over 50 in posh casual in denim-on-denim with leather
Lookbook store motorcycle leather jacket, Great Northwest denim push button shirt, London Jean boyfriends, GNW luxe sweater, Harley Davidson booties, and Jord bamboo watch (all own), and leather pearl necklace c/o Wendy Mignot



How Do You Know When an Outfit May Not be So You?

Hints may be that when you wear an outfit someone says something like “great dress, pants, sweater,coat.” Such statement may or may not mean the item is wrong for you. If you get a compliment like this whenever you wear an outfit with that piece and never get one of the former compliments, it is a red flag. Take photos and try to find out why the item steals you the show instead of helping you to make an entrance.


Where to Get Help to Create Your Signature Style Online

You want the fast track to great style? Then start with my outfit recipes for all kind of dressing situation in midlife. Buy my book.

For more free information, inquiry of costs, timeline of an online style makeover, and availability (I only work with one client at a time) fill out the form at the link.

Get the inspiration, support, motivation, and tips to look to your best in life. Subscribe to the High Latitude Style newsletter for extra-tips. The newsletter is published every 1-2 weeks. Deep inside you know, when I can do it you can do it too.

Photos: G. Kramm

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