Before the inevitable war breaks out in the comments section about what the term “basic” really means, allow me to define it within the context of this piece. We’re using this word to mean predictable, average, ordinary, non-memorable — basically all of the descriptions that we don’t want to apply to our personal style! But with the corporatization of fashion in America, it’s true that we often find ourselves shopping from the same 3 or 4 big retailers as all of our friends. So how can you break out of the “basic” cycle when you’re ordering off the same menu as everyone else? The good news is that it’s easier than you think. You don’t need a pay raise or even a bunch of new items in your closet to do it. Read on to see how you can “un-basic” your wardrobe in six easy steps:

featured image from doen

image by the manrepeller

Change your approach to combining pieces.

You can take your sophistication up a notch instantly just by changing the way you’re combining the items you already own. Try pairing a more formal piece with something super casual. Mix something fitted and sexy with a more structured piece. Formality, color, texture, shape, even seasonality — all of these are elements you can play with in terms of creating unexpected new looks. Most of us fall into strong habits when it comes to building outfits. We tend to take the most obvious solution that mirrors what the people around us are doing. But if you’re going to become “unbasic”, you’re gonna need to shake things up a bit. Take some time one night and play dress up in your closet — try combining pieces you would NEVER wear together and see what happens. You never know, it just might look cool.

image by bldg 25

Break out of the big box.

I love my Free People finds as much as the next girl, but an un-basic wardrobe is always enhanced by a few great vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces. Shop Etsy, your local vintage shop, or even Goodwill for those special finds. Maybe it’s a great pair of costume earrings, a vintage straw handbag, or a silk kimono… but those one-of-a-kind pieces can take an outfit from basic to badass.

image by style and designs

Stop heat styling your hair.

Hair is powerful, y’all. The exact same outfit can be interpreted in two entirely different ways depending on the way you’re wearing your hair. I’m going to risk getting pretty specific here and say that obviously heat styled hair leans well, a little more basic. So if you want to up your “it girl” game, experiment with wearing your hair natural. In that same vein, ditch the heavy powder and foundation. Go with either a bold lip or bold eyes, but not both. The key is to never, ever ever look like you’re trying too hard.

image by vienna wedekind

Mix up your shoe game.

When stage actors are in early rehearsals, they usually wear the style of shoe their character would wear. That’s because out of everything you put on each day, nothing defines your posture and the way you carry yourself as much as your shoes do. If you always default to heels, try rocking a pair of sneakers or flat boots with one of your favorite outfits. You’ll instantly feel sportier, cooler, and up for anything.

image from free people

Invest in a pair of unexpected jeans.

If there’s one thing every un-basic closet needs, it’s an unexpected pair of jeans. They can be high-waisted, vintage button fly 501s, or really wide leg sailor style jeans. But they can’t be intentionally torn, super low rise, bedazzled, or (heaven forbid) all three. Just one pair of good jeans can be the foundation for dozens of new outfits using the tops and shoes you already own. I recommend Levi’s for quality jeans at a fair price.

image from doen

Have more than you show.

I think a lot of young women fall into the trap of feeling like they need to show their entire figure, all the time in order to look sexy. Like skinny jeans paired with stiletto heels and a clingy top. But I think girls with the best style know how to balance mystery with revelation. It takes confidence to forego the norm, and confidence is ALWAYS sexy. Try pairing your skinny jeans with a boxy trucker jacket, or rocking a long sleeved turtleneck dress with some great statement jewelry. I promise you’ll find that these outfits attract an entirely different sort of attention.

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