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How to Dress Casually and Still Feel Like a Million Bucks

Most people tend to associate style with elegance, heavy accessorizing, and a big budget. However, this is not, and should not, be the default. You do not, by any means, need to spend fortunes on fashion garments in order to “look good.” I’m not saying you can’t splurge every once in a while. There is, after all, substantial evidence to back up the effectiveness of responsible retail therapy. What I’m proposing is that we shift our perspective in order to appreciate the garments we already own or that we can acquire sustainablyーand make them work on a simple, minimalist basis. The key idea here is that you don’t need to wear fancy to feel fancy. Instead of focusing on looking good with elaborate outfits, it’s incredibly important for us to focus on wearing what makes us feel good. So let’s get into a couple of easy strategies that are bound to make you feel like a million bucks, regardless of the garment or the price tag.

Get thrifty

Nowadays, with increasing concerns over the environmental damage of global warming and the fast fashion industry’s massive clothing waste, it’s especially important for us to be mindful of our habits as consumers and how they affect both the environment and other human beings. Other than being a great eco-friendly alternative, thrift shopping can also do wonders for achieving unique and stylish looks; gone are the days where shopping secondhand was considered to be trashy or cheap. With today’s access to sources like YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram, there are a myriad of possibilities in which to revamp and combine secondhand items. On the other hand, many of these thrift stores offer vintage items and pieces that you will most likely fail to encounter anywhere else. Plus, most of these items are very affordable, so keep this in mind the next time you’re thinking of buying secondhand. 

Because we’re in quarantine, it’s completely understandable for people to opt for making purchases at home. In this case, there is a wide variety of online Puerto Rican thrift shops that sell their merchandise via Instagram. Some of my favorites include: @themagicclosetpr, @conciencia_thrift, and @esencia_verde_pr. After purchasing, just make sure to wash the garments and read the laundry instructions before using.

Mix and match

This strategy is fairly easy and simple! All you have to do is dive deep into your drawers and closet, and play around with color coordinations and combinations. Don’t feel scared to put things together that, at first glance, might seem weird or odd. Instead, try on your favorite staples and mix them around as many times as you’d like! Remember: some of the best discoveries are made by accident, so it’s time for you let loose and get creative. For even better and more timeless looks, I suggest you start by picking out a couple of your favorite casualwear pieces, and look around for other accessories or layers that can add some depth to each look, however casual it may be. You can even create your own Pinterest mood boards and base your looks off of them!

Fuel your self-confidence by wearing clothes that actually fit you

One of the biggest problems young women face when choosing their clothes is the issue of feeling insecure due to low, or altogether poor, body image. As somebody who has experienced the ups and downs of size fluctuations, I understand how frustrating it can be to want to wear cute garments that might’ve worked for you in the past, but that are actually quite ill-fitting nowadays (be them oversized or undersized). While it’s fairly common for people to grow clingy to high-quality clothes that bring to mind nice memories every time they are seen hanging in the closet, the truth of the matter is that confidence is bound to knock at your door when you decide to wear clothes that actually fit you. Otherwise, you might be left looking awkward and feeling insecure because of how uncomfortable the clothing item might be for you. So, the next time you come across an ill-fitting garment that you have decided to keep, think about maybe donating it or swapping it with a friend, and consider substituting it with a garment that is actually appropriate for your current size. 

Another effective way to increase your confidence consists of looking at yourself and identifying your very own favorite physical traits. After choosing your picks (it can be hair or eye color, complexion, body shape, etc.), brainstorm or research ways to complement these features. The goal here is for you to feel absolutely gorgeous and comfortable at the same time.

Do your hair and makeup, and use perfume

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

– John Wooden, Basketball Coach

This quote actually exemplifies my point. Whether you wanna feel like a million bucks at home, or you’re thinking about how to make a lasting impression on a family gathering, a class reunion or a first date, a key component of feeling confident usually implies pampering yourself. Instead of viewing it as a selfish or superficial act, consider taking care of yourself as a form of self-compassion. By doing something as simple as brushing your hair, painting your nails, or accessorizing your look with your favorite jewelry, your self-confidence is bound to skyrocket. There’s no shame in feeling classy, even when you don’t have any particular excuse to justify it. Remember: your end goal, when it comes to dressing nicely, should always include making you feel good about yourself. When you decide to look a certain way for a certain someone without considering how you, personally, feel about yourself or the insecurities surrounding these choices, you’re actually damaging your self-expression and identity.

On another note, prepping your hair (in whichever method you prefer), doing your makeup, or accessorizing can add a much-needed oomph to your outfit, especially if you’re wearing something casual or minimalist.

By now, you must know that dressing up casual can, in fact, be synonymous to feeling confident and sophisticated. In these trying pandemic-filled times it’s especially important for us to make ourselves feel good in whatever way we can; even if fashion may seem like one of the most obvious ways to do so. Instead of lounging about feeling totally unmotivated to make an effort in your personal appearance (I know that COVID-19 has taken a huge toll in our overall emotional wellbeing), I invite you to try dressing up casually every once in a while and do what you can to feel good, satisfied, and positive with the way you look.

Hello! My name is Andrea Capllonch and I am a Marketing Undergraduate and Fashion Design student at the University of Puerto Rico. When I'm not sewing/designing clothes, I enjoy spending time outdoors doing yoga, reading good books, writing about fashion, and spending time with my friends and family. I'm also a self-love advocate, introverted Ravenclaw, and a fan of all things lavender!
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