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12 Basics Every Woman Should Know : Fashion Mistakes You May Be Making

The twelve basics every woman should know about fashion. Link here. I talked to the writer, Sally, a few months back when she was working on this piece for MSN. She was putting together
   Fashion Mistakes You May Be Making woman
Photos of celebrities making fashion faux pas are a staple of the weekly gossips magazines. And television shows—like What Not to Wear—that help ordinary women overhaul their wardrobes draw millions of viewers each week. So in other words, we’re obsessed with how we dress. But that doesn’t mean we necessarily always get it right. In fact, there are several common style missteps that many women routinely make. And with a few simple fixes, you can take your wardrobe from so-so to spectacular!

1. Being a slouch.Technically your posture has nothing to do with your clothes, but it turns out that Mom was right: You really do look better when you stand up straight. “I swear it makes you look like you’ve lost five pounds instantly,” says style coach Rachael Shayne. You don’t have to walk around as if you’re trying to balance a book on your head, but by simply pulling your stomach in a bit, and pulling your shoulders back a little, your clothes will hang better on your frame.

2. Ignoring what’s underneath.
Visible panty lines are an obvious fashion no-no, yet even the most careful dressers are sometimes caught off guard sporting the dreaded VPL. The easiest fix is to ditch your standard panties for a thong, but if you can’t stand thongs, you do have other options. You could try a seamless boy short or shapewear (like Spanx or the more budget-friendly Assets, sold at Target) under your clingy clothes. And don’t forget your upper half. “I see so many women in ill-fitting, stretched-out bras that aren’t doing their figures any favors,” says Shayne. Invest some money in a few good bras (and have a professional measure and fit you) and your clothes will thank you.

3. Buying clothes that don’t fit.
Do you have several pieces hanging in the closets with the tags still attached because you bought them hoping you were going to lose 10 pounds? “Dress for now, not five or 10 pounds from now,” says Shayne. “Otherwise, going into your closet every morning is torture!” Buying things that are too big is also an unflattering option. But keep in mind that it’s not always reasonable to assume that clothes will fit like a glove right off the rack, and that’s where a good tailor becomes essential. Take jeans for example: you need to buy the pair that fits and flatters your curves, then you should get the length and the waist tailored to fit you perfectly.

4. Sticking to set “outfits.”
While you don’t want your wardrobe to be a complete mishmash of pieces that don’t work well together, you also don’t want to limit your choices by never mixing it up. Don’t be afraid to go shopping in your closet and try on new combinations—the suit jacket with jeans and some fun necklaces, a tank dress worn as a jumper with boots for fall. “There’s fashion and then there’s style,” says Shayne. “Fashion is what you buy at the store, but style is what happens when you take those clothes and make them your own.”

5. Becoming a fashion victim.
While getting stuck in a style rut (like still wearing power suits circa the 1980s) is never a good thing, neither is slavishly following every trend that designers send down the fashion runways. You need to select carefully from the season’s trends and find ways to wear them that suit your body, your age and your lifestyle. And it’s okay to sit out the trends that totally don’t work for you. Rather than being a victim, you can wear trends selectively and still look completely current.

6. Wearing the wrong length skirt.
Not every skirt will flatter every body. And even if you’ve got amazing legs, you still want to be careful about where your hemlines hit. The most universally flattering length for skirts—whether they’re straight or A-line—is just above or just below the knee. Which you choose mostly depends on whether or not you like your knees enough to reveal them. The absolute worst skirt length is one that ends at mid calf—that length will make even the best-looking legs appear shorter and thicker.

7. Confusing sloppy with casual.
Dressing down has become a national pastime with many workplaces moving from “casual Fridays” to casual every day. But it’s easy to get carried away with such relaxed dress codes. You can be informal in your attire, but still look pulled together and chic. Even a simple pair of khakis and a tee shirt no longer looks sloppy if you put on a great pair of shoes (maybe a fun animal-print ballet flat), add an interesting necklace and make sure you’ve paid a little attention to your hair and makeup (a neat ponytail, a little lip gloss).

8. Trying to wear the same jeans with different height heels.
There’s really no way around it: Unless you always wear the same shoes with your jeans, you’re probably going to need two pairs of denim. That way you can hem one pair of jeans to the right length for flats and another to wear when you put on a higher heel. According to Shayne, a jean with a slight flare at the bottom (the most universally flattering jeans shape) should hit no less than half an inch off the ground. “Any shorter than that and the proportion is thrown off, making you look more hippy,” she says. For flats, a straighter leg style—also hemmed just about half an inch off the floor—looks neater. To make sure the length doesn’t change after you’ve had them hemmed, wash and dry your jeans before you take them to the tailor.

9. Carrying a bag that’s too big.
Fashion is all about proportion, and carrying a suitcase-size purse is a quick way to overwhelm your look. This is a case in which you want to take the trend—the giant handbag—and find a way to tweak it to suit you. You don’t have to stick with an outdated delicate little handbag, but also you don’t need to succumb to the trend of a back-breaking bag big enough to take for a weekend getaway. Pare down what you need to carry and find a mid-size bag that can haul it all, still looks chic and stylish, and won’t send you to the chiropractor!

10. Overdoing the accessories.
There’s an old-fashioned adage that before you walk out the door, you should look in the mirror and remove one accessory. And there’s still some truth to that. Layering on too much jewelry—plus a scarf and maybe a bold belt—will overshadow your clothes, and you! A much better approach is to let one special piece take center stage. It could be a fun, bold-colored purse, the great vintage bracelet you inherited from your mother or the dramatic necklace that makes the whole outfit.

11. Selecting shoes that don’t suit your outfit.
Once again, proportion is important. Chunky, clunky shoes simply don’t work with a feminine little dress. A very delicate shoe can sometimes look too unsubstantial to anchor a more tailored look. And your gym shoes are never a good match for your work clothes—even if you change the minute you hit the office. Instead, find a chic pair of flats that are comfortable enough for your commute.

12. Saving your nicest clothes and jewelry only for special occasions.
Maybe you think it’s too fancy for every day. Or it was so expensive that you feel like it should be reserved only for a big night out. But that’s a very old-fashioned approach to fashion. Dresses, embellished tops, fabulous high heels and great jewelry can—and should—be worked into your everyday wardrobe. You don’t need to look as if you’re on your way to a cocktail party, however. Pair the dressy piece with something more casual (the embellished top with jeans, the dress with boots) for a modern daytime mix. “Fashion is supposed to fun!” says Shayne. “And there’s nothing fun about having great clothes in your closet that you rarely wear.”
and wanted some expert input into the basic things women can do, some of which don't cost a thing. If you're eyeing Pre-Fall's luxurious layers and Fall's jewel tones then be sure you have these bases covered first.

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