Nikki’s Inbox: Goodbye, Emo. Hello, Feminine!

Hello Nikki! For a very long time, I’ve been stuck in one of those “emo phases” when I wore exclusively dark colors (mainly black) and more baggy sort of clothing. However, since I’m moving past that, I want a more feminine approach to my wardrobe. Also, I’m currently on a pretty tight budget. For reference, I’m 5’1.5 (about 157-ish cm) and 99 lbs. (45 kg, I think). I have pale skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. Thank you, and have a lovely day!

Alex, 21/USA

Hello, Alex. Thanks for writing to me. Change is good but often it’s the hardest thing to accomplish, right? That said, I do wish you at least mentioned your body measurements, like do you have wide hips? Have muscular arms or legs? Mentioning your proportions also helps so I can avoid suggesting garments that might prove unsuitable for you.

Start Slow

Ducklings don’t change into swans overnight so take your time with your style makeover. One thing I always suggest to people who have the same question is to sort their current wardrobe first. There might be something in there that will help you with your style transition. Go Marie Kondo-esque with each piece — does it still fit, will it work with other pieces, etc. Resist the urge to just throw or donate everything away all at once.

HOTPING - Dip-Back Striped Shirt

Fit and Feminine

More than just changing your color palette and silhouette, you really have to pay attention to how your clothes fit you. This is why I’m not a fan of oversized clothing — it makes one look bigger regardless of body shape by drowning you in excess fabric. Get used to wearing garments that are your actual size. Of course, you may have to size up or down occasionally since there are no universal standards for sizing. Add some detail like contrast trim or tipping, color-blocking in various shades and tones, plus lace, cutouts and self-tie necklines, to name a few. You’d be surprised at how different you’ll look especially in blouses, shirts and even T-shirts.

Easy and Casual

If you’re just getting used to wearing skirts and dresses, you don’t have to go overboard. Start with a classic denim skirt — perfect for spring and summer! Pick one in the length that suits your height and tastes. A deconstructed style with unfinished hemlines and distressing gives the skirt some texture and character. For dresses, I highly recommend beginning with T-shirt dresses and polo dresses. They’re just longer versions of tees and polo shirts, and thus feel comfortable and so easy to wear. Wear a skinny belt at the waist to define your shape better.

Play and Experiment

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to fashion, Alex, so it’s perfectly fine to make mistakes. Once you’re used to wearing different types of clothing, you can play with lengths, textures, colors and fabrics. This is why I also want you to give your old clothes a second chance (plus recycling and upcycling is always good for the environment!) by mixing and matching them with your new wardrobe. You can contrast baggy tops with fitted bottoms like skinny jeans. For more voluminous bottoms like wide-leg or gaucho pants and maxi skirts, go for tops that hug your upper half (but aren’t tight) like camisoles or just simple blouses. If you’re not too confident yet, you can always wear a lightweight open-front cardigan or denim jacket for coverage.

I’m excited for the new you, Alex, and I’m very confident you’ll ace this!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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