Imani Smith


   Thanks for joining me again for another installment of Elements of Style. As I’ve discussed in EOS parts I & II the importance of personal style is immense. Self-expression via your physical appearance can be liberating. Personally speaking, if I’m confident in each and every piece of my look, I feel untouchable. One hard learned lesson for me was learning how to eliminate the stress from my wardrobe. This meant the removal of ill- fitting items that would make me feel self-conscious and those ‘someday’ pieces that I held onto ‘just in case’ but I would never actually wear. Once I eliminated those stressors, the process of getting dressed became less anxiety inducing and way more fun.  Ask yourself, if you purge your wardrobe of those stressors (yours may be completely different), what are you left with?

   Once you complete a sufficient purge of the needless pieces taking up space in your wardrobe, it’s time to shop! Some find shopping to be irritating or stressful, while others find it addictive. Wherever you find yourself on this spectrum, it can’t be denied that shopping is an experience that unites us all. Realistically, shopping is something that can’t be avoided, so make it easier on yourself and try focusing on the positive aspects of the experience.  Finding something that you truly love, whether the hunt was strenuous or effortless, is always a bit exhilarating. The next three Elements of Style that I’m detailing today are imperative to the development and maintenance of a wardrobe that is both visually appealing and effective: Fit, Flattery & Fascination.

  • FIT

   Having a concise understanding of what fits your body properly is the key to looking great. Fits can range from oversized, true-to-size, and miniature or shrunken. The most classic fit of any garment is one that is true-to-size. This means that all of the proportions of the clothing are designed to accommodate the proportions of your body without too much or too little room for movement. As I’ve mentioned in previous EOS, this is not always something that can be achieved without alterations. Partnering with a trusted tailor can maximize the strength of your wardrobe tremendously. Nothing looks more expensive or luxurious than a garment that appears to have been made just for you (bespoke). A suit, a denim jacket or a white T shirt that fits you perfectly have the versatility to exist in and enrich your wardrobe FOREVER.

  When it comes to forecasting fashion, the only thing that one can be certain of is change. Trends in fits of clothing items come and go, and that’s an inevitable fact. For example, if/when oversized suits fall back into favor there is absolutely nothing wrong with partaking in that trend, if it piques your interest. Trying new trends is a fun way to express yourself and being an early adopter can be a great feeling. Whether you like to play it safe or you’re always on the cutting edge, keep in mind that all trends, although cyclical, are fleeting. Some trends in fit have staying power (think ‘skinny jeans’ for the last decade) while others fizzle out quickly (think extremely oversized T shirts circa 2003). Regardless of the fit trends you decide to incorporate into your wardrobe, it is wise to keep a foundation of true-to-size and timeless classics that will assure you preparedness for any occasion.


   Although I’m a person who strives for body positivity for both myself and my clients, I understand that some of us have those little ‘problem areas’ that we may want to distract from others. No two bodies are the same, that’s a part of the beauty of the human experience. When it comes to flattery, I’m choosing to shift my focus to speaking on accentuating your favorite parts of your body. A good stylist knows how to conceal what the client feels is undesirable about their body, while simultaneously showcasing the features that the client wants to flaunt. I find that the best looks create symmetry and balance. For example, if you’re heavier on top, selecting bottoms that are more voluminous will help to even out your proportions.

   When it comes to flattery, well-fitting pieces are the way to go. Trying to conceal your ‘problem areas’ with tent-like, oversized garments isn’t fooling anyone. Everyone looks their best when they’re confident, so trying to hide behind your clothes is simply a waste of your time. As I’ve expressed in previous installments of EOS, no look is complete without the confidence to pull it off. A quick way to boost your confidence is to select your favorite part of yourself and accentuate it! Take some time and find something specific to start loving about your body if you haven’t already, be it your neck, wrist or waistline. Conceal and reveal accordingly in order to make sure that you’re looking and feeling your best at all times.


   If you’ve ever heard the term ‘conversation piece’ or ‘statement’ anything, you’re familiar with this Element of Style. I wholeheartedly believe that life is too short for boring looks. Be it a thin gold anklet or a blue floor length fur, the greatest looks contain at least one fascinating component. Pieces that are bold, unique or even sentimental can do the trick. I have spent many years curating a wardrobe full of fascinating pieces that I love to wear. Almost every item in my closet has a story. The term ‘conversation piece’ is not used in vain when I recount the numerous compliments I’ve received on some of my most beloved pieces. Whether I found it at the bottom of a pile at a thrift store, hanging on a rack at Nordstrom or folded on a table at Old Navy, there will always be a rhyme or reason behind the selection of my piece. 

   Clothing, shoes and accessories are so much more than what meets the eye. These things protect you, they communicate on your behalf and they have the capacity to be an extension of your personality. Why would you haphazardly present yourself in a manner that wasn’t completely true to who you really are? For these reasons I urge my clients to connect with their wardrobe on a deeper level. An item doesn’t have to be gaudy or shiny to be fascinating. It has to be important enough to be thought provoking for YOU. If someone else is fascinated by said piece, that’s a plus!

   Ultimately, building a strong wardrobe is about what is best suited for YOU, no pun intended. When you’re shopping, ask yourself: Does it fit, flatter or fascinate me? Ideally, it should do all three! If you’re having trouble implementing these Elements of Style, you may want to consider partnering with a stylist to assist with streamlining your process.

Imani Smith



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