Posts Tagged: fashion

Reader Request: How to Avoid Looking Dated

avoid looking dated

In a comment on this post about clothing details that read as young or old, reader Jane asked for some tips on how to avoid looking dated. Datedness is a social construct, of course, reinforced by a fashion industry that sells us new clothing based on our desire to look “current.” This means it is, in essence, bunk. But the same could be said of any dressing mores: They allow us to be expressive and visually communicative, but they’re all rooted in capitalism. It shouldn’t matter one whit if you’re wearing a blazer that was made 20 years ago, so long as it fits and is in good condition … but because of the value we place on youth and staying up-to-date on everything, it does matter. In some cases, it matters several whits.

So I’m definitely not saying that concern over looking dated is inconsequential. I think about it, as do most of my clients. Keeping your looks contemporary is a great way to feel stylish even if actual trends mean nothing to you. I just couldn’t resist pointing out that datedness is of manufactured importance.

And, sadly, avoiding dated looks will take some work. Here are some steps you can take.

Consume fashion media

Since you are a reader of this blog, you are likely doing this already. But consider focusing some of your consumption on studying shapes and design details on new iterations of wardrobe staples like dress pants, jeans, and blouses. Also pay attention to how they are worn and styled. Fashion magazines will be of limited use since most editorials focus on designer items styled in unwearable ways. The exception would be People StyleWatch, which showcases casual celebrity style alongside advice on re-creating those looks on a budget. Otherwise it’s helpful to follow a few style blogs run by women whose aesthetics are close to your own, and note shapes, design details, and styling choices. It can also be helpful receive catalogs from brands you buy and wear, since retail styling is generally more accessible than editorial. On a related note …

Window shop

Most of us window shop to gather information about items we might want to purchase and wear, but this activity can serve as contemporary styling reconnaissance. Just as you do with online and printed media, cruise through the mall and note shapes and design details. How do the dresses differ from the ones in your closet, if at all? Are you seeing different types or sizes of prints than you’re used to wearing? Do the blouse collars look large or small to your eye? Don’t forget to scope out the mannequins for styling choices: Merchandisers generally keep abreast of trends, and get additional input from corporate offices about how to group new items. What do the layers look like? How is jewelry used? Where are belts placed? Are tops tucked or untucked? How are colors combined within outfits, and more specifically how are neutrals utilized and distributed? You don’t need to spend a dime to get a lesson in modern style from retail stores.

Know which items date quickly

Both this post and the post on clothing that reads as young or old feature photos of blazers. Suiting and blazers are common culprits when it comes to datedness, mainly because they are fairly durable pieces that don’t need frequent replacement. Black blazers are also on a bajillion “must-have” lists, and many of us think, “Totally have a black blazer. I’m set,” even if said black blazer was made in the late 80s. Here are a few dated items I’ve noticed lurking in client closets:

  • Pumps and boots: Toebox shape and heel shape are the main details to watch. If your nude-to-your-skintone pumps have a square toe and block heel, they won’t look modern.
  • Blazers and suiting: Note stance, number of buttons, length, lapel shape, shoulder shape, and overall fitted-ness in blazers and suit jackets. Note leg shape, leg width, pocket placement, and hem length in suit pants. Note shape and hem length in suit skirts.
  • Leather jackets: The classic moto will always be around, but leather blazers and styles with quilting and/or gobs of hardware will look dated within the next five years. Pay attention to collar shape, zipper placement, and shoulder design.
  • Actually, all jackets: Both outerwear and items like utility and denim jackets that can be worn in place of blazers.
  • Jeans: Not as crucial as it once was in terms of design and construction, since various rises and shapes are always available now. (BLESS.) Do note hem length, leg style, and wash, especially on fashionable women whose style/aesthetic is similar to your own. Also pay attention to styling – cuffs, tucking, shoe pairings. etc.

Follow trends in dressing, skip trendy items

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Trendy items will date you, but trends in dressing can help you look your best. So, for instance, maybe don’t buy a pair of culottes or a fringed suede jacket, but consider incorporating trendy colors like yellow and marsala. Create your own interpretation of sporty minimalism or incorporate more black and white prints into your outfits.

I have to say that I find the typical “stick to the classics” advice to be relatively useless. Most classic items undergo design transformations if enough years go by, so although a classic item will date more slowly, it will eventually date. Naturally, items that are labeled as trendy right out of the gate will date faster, but you can’t build a date-proof wardrobe by keeping to button-fronts, bootcut jeans, and v-necked sweaters. Subtle shifts in shapes, design details, and styling will seep in over time, and those pieces will need to be updated, too.

I say “need” somewhat tongue-in-cheek, since wearing an outdated shirt or sweater will absolutely never cause you to break out in an itchy rash.

What are your feelings about dated clothing and looks? Do you worry about looking dated yourself? What tests or points of comparison do you use? Other tips for making sure your wardrobe and outfits look contemporary and modern?

Images courtesy Macy’s left | right

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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This Week I Love …


… Grechen’s series titled The Minimal Closet.

We’re living in a polarized world, friends. Congress is the most visible example, but it seems like people are glomming on to extremes everywhere and in relation to issues both big and small. It’s been utterly fascinating to see polarization creep into the fashion blogging world: In terms of readership and definitely in the Instagram world, excess is celebrated. People love to see the pretty, the glamorous, the Louboutins on a white table next to some peonies and macarons. But in terms of discussion, minimalism is the buzzy topic. From Un-fancy to Into Mind, we’re all fascinated by downsizing and capsules.

But my absolute favorite minimalism-related read is The Minimal Closet series over on Grechen’s Closet. While other sources are urging you to discard absolutely everything that doesn’t “spark joy” or pare down until you have exactly 15 gorgeous items that will hang, perfectly spaced, on a single closet bar, Grechen is exploring the contradictions and challenges involved in moving toward minimalism. Buy what you love? But what if you only buy things you love and still end up with too much stuff? Is it really possible to populate your wardrobe with “perfect” items? She is a stylish woman who loves fashion and shopping and makes her living writing about those topics. She is also someone who came to the realization that she just owned way too much stuff and needed to make a change. She is not moving toward minimalism because it’s trendy, she’s doing it because she craves simplicity. But she’s refreshingly honest about her journey, and talks openly about how hard she has to work to make this change possible.

And perhaps more importantly, she doesn’t put parameters around minimalism – hers or anyone else’s. She doesn’t proclaim that she now has three pairs of jeans and will not buy jeans again until those three pairs are threadbare to the point of indecency. She still shops, and talks about shopping as being both risky and a natural part of her process. She has tinkered with capsules, but doesn’t limit herself to a set number of items. She says, and truly believes, that there’s no one right way to do minimalism.

Which is so refreshing for someone like me who ALSO loves fashion and shopping and makes her living writing about those topics. And who ALSO felt like she was drowning in choices but feared the systems and maxims handed down by self-proclaimed minimalists. Grechen has great insights, helpful tips, and a completely judgment-free tone. If you’re interested in an earthy, honest take on moving away from the collector mentality and toward simplicity, take a peek at The Minimal Closet.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Spring Wardrobe Capsule: My Run In Pastels

The Pastel Capsule Wardrobe

Joi’s Pastel Capsule Wardrobe

Hey Style Lovers! So, I recently took my very first try at creating a wardrobe capsule, and let me tell you, it truly was a challenge for me.



Why? Well, for one thing, I love variety. Switching up my style genres depending on my mood is a part of who I am (see examples here, here, and here). Yet, I also enjoy stepping outside of my box, especially on my own terms.  The idea of maximizing a minimal wardrobe fascinates me. To be sure, a wardrobe capsule can be considered somewhat confining: One usually mixes and matches similar pieces to create cohesive looks for multiple days and or events. But, those confinements also come with fringe benefits!


The Pastel Capsule Wardrobe: Take 1 of 4

Since this was my very first time I decided to take things slow:

2 main tops + 2 main bottoms = 4 different looks.

Spring is in the air, and what says springtime better than pastels?!

The Pastel Capsule: Take 2 of 4

The Pastel Capsule Wardrobe: Take 2

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Staying within the same color family is a simple way to go for beginners
  2. Don’t be afraid to switch up pieces and wear them in a way that you normally don’t. For example, I’m wearing one of my tops backwards. I’ve since discovered that I like it better that way :)
  3. Having a capsule wardrobe on hand makes getting dressed easy. It could be quite the ideal “go-to” for trips and work weeks.
  4. Don’t be afraid to challenge or limit yourself. You might actually enjoy it! The challenge for me was to limit my options, which in turn helped me to look at my clothes in a different way. This was a win/win for me!
The Pastel Capsule Wardrobe: Take 3 of 4

The Pastel Capsule Wardrobe: Take 3

For more details about what I’m wearing, visit my blog, here.

I’m curious: Have you tried creating your very own capsule wardrobe, or are you content with perusing them on Pinterest/ admiring them from afar? Which look is your favorite from my Spring Wardrobe Capsule?

Until next time!



I’m Joi and I blog my personal style via In My Joi. I’ve always enjoyed dressing up, yet notably, my personal style took on new dimensions when I hit my 30’s. You’ll find me saturated in bright colors, draped in vintage, and topped in hats. Occasionally I venture off to black and white combinations or take a playful dabble in mixed prints. It has been said that style is a way to express who you are, without having to speak. I wholeheartedly concur. Each day of life offers up a blank canvas, a fresh opportunity to use style to express different dimensions of my authentic self. Join my style adventures via Instagram, Tumblr, or Facebook!

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