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Taylor’d with Style April’s Foolish Fashion

By JeanAnn Taylor

Woman sits in the middle of a sidewalk her hair flying around her head

What a fun holiday to dress foolishly, haphazardly, and mis-matched. I once attended an “April Fool’s Tacky Dance” where everyone was encouraged to wear his or her tackiest outfit. I won first place with an ensemble of leopard print, hot pink lace, black fishnet hose, pink flamingo accessories, and way too much makeup.

It was a night of laughter, dancing, and poking fun at our lack of fashion sense. Unfortunately, I see many people who seem unconcerned with what they wear on a daily basis—not just on April Fool’s Day. However, being well dressed can change your life.

There are many reasons to dress well every day. People will take you more seriously—it shows that you care and respect who you are. You’ll appear more capable and trustworthy—if you look like you don’t take care of yourself, why should you be trusted to care for someone or something else?

I believe in the power of a great outfit. There is no reason to be an April, May, June, or anytime fashion fool. It’s not indulgent or self-absorbed to dress well.

On a personal level, you’ll be more motivated to stay healthy and fit—so you can wear those nice clothes. Your self-confidence will increase—you’ll stand taller and sit straighter. Your standards will rise—you’ll be more likely to take care of your possessions such as keeping your car and home clean. All this being said, what does “well dressed” mean?

The dictionary definition is: “Attired in clothing that is of good quality, is properly fitted, and is appropriate and becoming.” Of course, this meaning is subjective. Being well dressed depends on the particular society, culture, and occasion.

There are, however, a few guidelines that can keep your well-dressed wishes from turning into foolish fashion faux pas.

Sleeves continue to be a popular fashion element, and I love it! They add detail and interest, and they keep me warm. What I don’t understand is the long sleeve trend that hangs lower than the wrist—even past the fingers.

Obviously, the sleeve would get in the way of everything you tried to do, and imagine the filth from them dragging around.

Showing too much cleavage is a risky expression. The eye will always go to the spot where fabric meets skin. If that is the point where you want attention, go for it. But if not, skip the skimpy top.

Too-tight button-up shirts that pull at the buttons across the chest are one of the most distracting—and uncomfortable— fashion blunders you can make. If your shirt doesn’t lay flat when buttoned, consider wearing a tank top under the shirt and leave it unbuttoned.

When it comes to pants, there are several styles that will take your fashion sense down a notch or two. Number one: gauchos. This fashion flop is unflattering on everyone. If you are thin, they make you look frumpy. If you are large, they make you look larger.

In addition, this shapeless garment falls at the widest part of your leg which emphasizes the width. Remember, the eye will always go to the spot where fabric meets skin. On the flip side of shapelessness are leggings. These body-hugging garments were once considered appropriate only for the gym. Now, they are perfectly acceptable for practically every occasion.

The problem comes when tops are too short and show too much bottom. Anyone past the age of three should avoid this fashion gaffe by taking care that the top adequately covers the derriere. Also, consider the color. Wearing leggings in the color of your skin tone may appear as if you forgot your pants! Taking this trend one step lower is wearing tights as pants.

Ladies, tights are made to be worn under a dress or skirt when the goal is to look elegant or professional. They are also great for an added layer of warmth under pants—but they are not pants.

I understand the desire to look trendy, however, a current fad that can lower your look is distressed jeans. As someone who loves fabric, it’s hard to wrap my mind around taking a perfectly good piece of material and destroying it.

Some of these garments are more “distressed” than “jean.” The ripped and torn statement is one to choose carefully. In the animal world, a shabby coat is a sign of easy prey. On an environmental note, making slashed and worn-out jeans requires sandblasting and tons of extra water. Sturdy denim, woven to last for years, will last only one season when abused and shredded.

woman dressed well walking along the street wearing heels

Distressed jeans, along with the scraps that are cut out, end up in landfills long before regular jeans. Adding insult to injury, distressed jeans have a price tag that can triple regular styles. This foolish trend not only looks crude, it’s bad for our pocketbook and our Earth.

Accessories are items that can enhance or diminish your overall look. Oversized chokers or scarves wrapped tightly around your neck may look like a neck brace. Too many large accessories may appear as if you are playing dress-up with your grandmother’s jewelry collection.

Bright, bold, and funky costume jewelry is fun to wear but can easily look tacky. Just be selective; find an accent piece that expresses your individual style but doesn’t overpower your look.

Dressing well doesn’t have to be stressful. Don’t force yourself to wear something that doesn’t fit your body or your personality. Authenticity is attractive, artificial is awkward. Pay attention to fit. Ill-fitting clothes that are too-tight or too-baggy look careless and sloppy.

Wear clean clothes that have no pills, tears, or stains. Many fabrics are wash and wear, but if your shirt needs ironing, take a few minutes for this task. Well dressed in wrinkles is an oxymoron.

Choose quality over quantity. Having an excess of ill-fitting, out-dated, or low-quality clothes will not increase your sense of style.

We all need a little fashion help from time to time, and there are many reasons as to why some choose to dress poorly: economics, not caring, or trying to hide behind too-big clothes.

Remember, everything we wear sends a message. Every thing. Every day. Today’s women have mostly lost the art of dressing well.

Many give little thought, effort, or attention to what they wear, and our society supports this ultra-casual mindset. The misconception is that what we wear doesn’t—or shouldn’t—affect how we are treated. The truth is that it does.

I believe in the power of a great outfit. There is no reason to be an April, May, June, or anytime fashion fool. It’s not indulgent or self-absorbed to dress well.

It affects the way we think, feel, act, and how others react to us. Dressing well shows respect for others, the event, and the day. And, as Coco Chanel famously said, “Being well dressed is a beautiful form of politeness.”


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