The 50 Best Fashion Tips of All Time

Blake Lively
Photo: Raymond Hall/GC Images

A sloppily cuffed jean. An ill-fitting blazer. A dress that shows just a little too much to be referred to as "tastefully sheer." These are the things that fashion editors and stylists can spot from a million miles away. To those in the biz, the proper proportions of a crop top may be obvious, but for those seeing the trends in a magazine or online, it can be a little trickier to know exactly how to wear everything.

"How can I tell if my jeans fit properly?" "What's the most flattering shoe?" Both totally reasonable questions. With. Answers.

Ahead, you'll find advice from celebrity stylists who have been solving fashion conundrums for years. And we've taken notes from a few of our favorite iconic style stars—Jackie O, Bianca Jagger—and made some inferences ourselves. Here, 50 fashion tips that have withstood the test of time.

01 of 49

Show Skin Strategically

Angelina Jolie Fashion Tips
Michael Tran/Getty Images
Buy Now

Looking truly sexy involves knowing what to bare-and what to keep under wraps. Otherwise, where's the mystery? "Choose one-only one-body part and show it off," advises Jen Rade, stylist to Angelina Jolie. "If it's cleavage, don't show your legs. If it's your legs, stay covered on top."

02 of 49

Round Up White Button-Downs

Marilyn Monroe Fashion Tip
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty Images
Buy Now

Take a classic cue from Marilyn Monroe! They elevate jeans and keep ball skirts from drifting into fantasy-land. But all that mileage comes at a cost: a short shelf life. So buy three, don't overbleach (which can cause yellowing), and refresh regularly.

03 of 49

Accessorize With Brights

Fashion Tips
Steve Granitz/WireImage
Buy Now

If you've got a closet full of neutrals-be they navy, black, camel, or gray-add energy with boldly hued shoes and bags. Not only is a ruby red satchel more lively than ho-hum black, but it's also surprisingly versatile. Feeling really brave? Wear a neutral base with shoes and a bag in two different complementary colors.

04 of 49

Hem Your Pants for a Shoe Height

Fashion Tips
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Buy Now

"The biggest mistake women make is wearing pants that aren't the right length for their shoes," says stylist Kate Young. To fix this, hem to either flats or heels like Dakota Johnson—no going back. Generally, hems should just graze the tops of your shoes and be from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch off the floor.

05 of 49

Go Hands-Free for Evening

Fashion Tips
Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Buy Now

A dressy bag with a chain helps you hold crudités and a cocktail-plus, it lends a cool edge to evening wear, says stylist Cher Coulter. Wear the chain diagonally across your body for the best effect.

06 of 49

Know Your Stretch

Fashion Tip
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
Buy Now

The secret formula for a soft but formfitting T? 95% cotton, 5% Lycra spandex. For jeans to hold their shape, they need at least 2% Lycra.

07 of 49

Throw on a Scarf

Alessandra Ambrosio Fashion Tips
Timur Emek/GC Images
Buy Now

It's the ultimate accessory according to a host of the best-dressed women we interviewed. Stash one in your purse or carry-on to transform simple Ts in the time it takes to make a knot.

08 of 49

Consider the Wear and Care

Consider the Wear and Care
Philip Ramey/Corbis/Getty
Buy Now

Before you buy, try to gauge how a piece might hold up after a few washings. And don't shell out for clothes you can't, or won't, take to the dry cleaners. If you know you'll never hand-wash that embellished sweater or fancy bra, walk away.

09 of 49

Embrace Your Shape

Fashion Tips for Petites
J. Almasi/GC Images
Buy Now

"Once you know which silhouettes flatter you, filter trends ruthlessly," says designer Shoshanna Gruss. For instance, if you're petite and shapely, it's best to avoid tall columns and billowy maxis even if you love them. Go for a dress with a defined waist and just-above-the-knee hem.

10 of 49

Make a List

Fashion Tips
Team GT/GC Images
Buy Now

Not of what you want to buy, but of the 10 fave items in your closet. This will help you zero in on pieces that mesh with what you own (or remind you that you never actually wear big floral prints).

11 of 49

Hit the Dressing Room Prepared

Fashion Tips
Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

If you're shopping for that ultra-important dress, get a true feel for the fit by bringing your Spanx with you. And while you're at it, bring heels, lipstick, and a hairbrush. These will help you get a better sense of the final result.

12 of 49

Round Down in Denim

Fashion Tips
Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/Getty
Buy Now

When in doubt, go with the smaller size in jeans. They always stretch, and nothing's more unflattering than the unintentionally baggy derrière.

13 of 49

Edit Your Closet

Fashion Tips
Getty Images

Clothes need breathing room! You should be able to see every item without rummaging. Consider donating anything you haven't worn in the past year.

14 of 49

Always Check Out the Rear View

Fashion Tips
Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

And don't leave the house until you like what you see in the mirror. Every angle matters. Trust us.

15 of 49

Layer Your Necklaces

Fashion Tips
Mireya Acierto/Getty Images
Buy Now

Coco Chanel's more-is-more approach still makes a statement today. You can do multiples of the same material, or better yet, go for contrast: Try a femme piece with edgy chains, feathers with beads, or pearls with diamantés.

16 of 49

Check the Inside

Fashion Tips
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
Buy Now

A garment's lining is often a designer's calling card, and a good way to judge quality. A well-crafted lining is a sign that the whole piece has been sewn with care.

17 of 49

Open Your Mind

Olivia Palermo Fashion Tips
Will Ragozzino/Getty Images
Buy Now

Always take one "it's cute but so not me" thing into the fitting room. You never know!

18 of 49

Show Some Loyalty

Kate Middleton Fashion Tips
Heathcliff O'Malley/WPA Pool/Getty; Parveen Negi/India Today Group/Getty
Buy Now

A great-fitting dress or pair of pants from a line one season may mean similar success the next, as shown by Kate Middleton. Designers, especially higher-end ones like Middleton's fave Temerley London, tend to size their clothes based on a regular fit model.

19 of 49

When in Doubt, Wear Nude Pumps

Yara Shahidi Fashion Tips
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images
Buy Now

Matched to your skin tone, they're a pretty safe bet. (And they make legs look longer.)

20 of 49

Wearing white? Seek out light.

Jennifer Lawrence Fashion Tips
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Buy Now

Keep in mind: White clothes always look more see-through in daylight. Check yourself out in a bright setting to be safe, like Jennifer Lawrence must have done.

21 of 49

Stripe It Up

Fashion Tips
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
Buy Now

"Striped pieces are a nice, classic way to pull yourself together for the weekend," says stylist Tina Chai. A red- or navy-and-white bateau neck, for instance, has presence and versatility.

22 of 49

Upgrade Your Buttons

Fashion Tips
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
Buy Now

Sometimes, the only giveaway that your cute jacket cost less than lunch money is its cheap hardware. Swap in nicer buttons, or have a tailor do it.

23 of 49

Never Buy a Boring Coat

Never Buy a Boring Coat
Gotham/GC Images
Buy Now

"Outerwear should never be an afterthought," says Holmes amp Yang co-designer Jeanne Yang. "So many people only see you in your coat—if you're not wearing something great underneath your trench, they'll never even know!" Look for a stylish coat, like Olivia Culpo's here.

24 of 49

Own Something Leopard

Fashion Tips
Alessio Botticelli/GC Images
Buy Now

Make the print "a staple in your accessories wardrobe," says stylist Rob Zangardi. It's timeless, racy enough, and always glamorous.

25 of 49

Mix Your Prints

Gabrielle Union Fashion Tips
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Buy Now

Combining colors, scale, and patterns in a way that looks dynamic takes practice, but there are some basic tricks to getting it right. You can wear two prints that repeat the same colors or mix a large-scale pattern with a smaller one. What's even easier is to use the second motif as an accent (like Gabrielle Union left).

26 of 49

Conquer Your Fear of Color

Fashion Tips
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Buy Now

To play it safe, combine a neutral, like flax, with something bolder, like yellow. But think twice about pairing intense hues with black, which "can look dated," says designer Chris Benz. For something punchier, try two colors that are beside each other on the color wheel, such as coral and orange. Not sure where to begin? "Notice what colors you love and respond to in your decor," says Benz.

27 of 49

Go For the Knockout Accent

Grace Kelly Fashion Tip
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Buy Now

If your evening dress is a stark stunner (or has a lot of embellishment), one single showstopping accessory, like Grace Kelly's earrings, is all you need.

28 of 49

Vet Your Vintage

Fashion Tips
Samir Hussein/WireImage; Ron Galella/WireImage
Buy Now

Nothing comes back the same way, and the jumpsuit of 2017 is not necessarily the same as a version from the '70s. Check out the difference in Raquel Welch's and Tilda Swinton's jumpsuits. There are subtle design tweaks that make any revival slightly different from the original. Does that piece from your "archive" really work now? Ask a trusted friend for a second opinion.

29 of 49

Only Buy a Bargain if You Love It

Only Buy a Bargain if You Love It
Richard Levine/Corbis/Getty
Buy Now

Be dubious of that voice that tells you you've got to buy because it's "only" $39 or that if you don't scoop it up now, you'll never find it again.

30 of 49

Try a Thicker Waistband

Ashley Graham Fashion Tips
Pierre Suu/GC Images
Buy Now

It will accentuate your waist and also help show off your curves. Take a note from Ashley Graham, left.

31 of 49

Go Beyond the Blazer

Chrissy Teigen Fashion Tip
SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images
Buy Now

You should already have your go-to tailored jacket. But a wardrobe of less formal toppers will help you look pulled together even on casual days. Opt for a leather jacket with wool trousers, a jean version over a silk shirt, or-stylists' favorite!-an army jacket over just about anything.

32 of 49

Master Menswear

Bianca Jagger Fashion Tip
Syndication International/Getty Images
Buy Now

Don a pantsuit a la Bianca Jagger and you'll immediately stand up straighter. Anna Johnson, author of Savvy Chic, says "a waistcoat, a crisp pin-striped shirt, or a really big watch or cravat telegraphs power." Don't forget to balance it out with lipstick and taller shoes.

33 of 49

Make Friends With a Good Tailor

Fashion Tips Tailor
Getty Images
Buy Now

Nothing raises the quality of moderately priced clothes more than having them altered to suit your shape. Build a relationship with a tailor or dressmaker who knows your body and your taste and you'll never look back.

34 of 49

Look for Twists on Classics

Priyanka Chopra Fashion Tipis
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Buy Now

The right tweak can turn a staple into a statement. Try tuxedo pants in a graphic print, a trench in silk—like Priyanka Chopra, or the classic L.L. Bean tote in camouflage.

35 of 49

Don't Skimp On a T-Shirt Bra

Victoria Beckham Fashion Tip
JP Yim/Getty Images
Buy Now

The right one will give you confidence and shape under those unforgiving tissue-thin tees.

36 of 49

Add an Element of Surprise

Kerry Washington Fashion Tips
James Devaney/GC Images
Buy Now

Whether it's grosgrain with sequins, a motorcycle jacket over a formal gown, an oversize choker with an easy white T, or a vivid shoe like Kerry Washington's, a touch of contrast makes good outfits great.

37 of 49

Recast Your Jewelry

Kate Bosworth Fashion Tips
starzfly/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Buy Now
  • Loop a chain through the clasp of a brooch. Suddenly, it's a necklace!
  • Use the same jewel to add a touch of sparkle to your handbag.
  • Wrap your chains or lariat around your wrist for a tough luxe bracelet.
  • Snap clipon earrings onto flats for an instant evening shoe.
38 of 49

Spend Your Budget on Accessories

Rihanna Fashion Tip
Team GT/GC Images

"Cool shoes, interesting jewelry—those can really elevate your look," says stylist Isabel Dupré, who notes that a wardrobe of the right little extras lets you be more relaxed about the rest of your outfit.

39 of 49

Have a Stylist Emergency Kit

Stylist Emergency Kit
Getty Images
Buy Now
  • Doublestick tape for loose hems or a gaping bodice
  • Tide To Go eraser pen for getting wine off whites, fast
  • Safety pins for allover damage control
  • Bra clip to control peekaboo straps
  • Lint brush or roller to run over your coat or woolens
  • Makeup sponge for removing deodorant stains
40 of 49

Pair Loose With Tight

Charlize Theron Fashion Tip
CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images
Buy Now

Few mortals can pull off head-to-toe baggy. So take a cue from Charlize Theron and team your billowing pieces with something body-conscious. (Hint: This is what leggings were made for.)

41 of 49

Jazz Up Your LBD

Mandy Moore Fashion Tips
Brad Barket/Getty Images
Buy Now

Simpler shapes cry out for styling. Try dressy jackets or a slip-on shrug, colored shoes and bags like Mandy Moore, or tinted sheers plus booties.

42 of 49

Dress for First Class

Rosie Huntington Whiteley Fashion Tip
Han Myung-Gu/WireImage
Buy Now

You want to be comfy, sure, but also chic enough to be tapped for an upgrade. A sharp blazer and scarf or a leather jacket is the unofficial uniform of jet-setters worldwide, as shown by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. To complete the outfit, just throw on jeans or leggings, then add flats, heels, or riding boots.

43 of 49

Get Studs

Get Studs
Mike Marsland/WireImage
Buy Now

"Fake or real, big or small, they will go with any color, fabric, or style of cocktail dress and will never compete with other jewelry," says stylist Rob Zangardi, who works with Rachel McAdams.

44 of 49

Check the Rise

Check the Rise
Marc Piasecki/GC Images
Buy Now

On trousers, the distance between the crotch and the waistband is critical to the fit. It's also not something that's easily altered, so make sure pants are neither too snug nor droopy in this area before you buy them. Joan Smalls shows off the perfect fit.

45 of 49

Do a Cashmere Quality Test

Selena Gomez Fashion Tip
Gotham/GC Images
Buy Now
  • The thicker the knit, the denser its gauge, which means there is more cashmere in it.
  • Gently stretch the body of the sweater to test if it snaps back. A lowerquality cashmere won't.
  • While some great cashmere is milled in the U.S. and in China, a label that says "Made in Scotland" or "Made in Italy" often indicates a superior weave.
46 of 49

Create Your Own Lookbook

Adrianna Lima Fashion Tip
Ray Tamarra/GC Images
Buy Now

Got compliments on your outfit today? Snap a photo of it with your phone. You'll have a quick reminder of what to wear the next time you're in a rush.

47 of 49

Think in Multiples

Jackie O Style Tips
National Archive/Newsmakers
Buy Now

Take a cue from Jackie O, who had a closet full of sheath dresses. If you find an especially flattering fit right off the rack, go ahead and buy doubles. When it works, why question it?

48 of 49

Can You Say D'Orsay?

Kristen Stewart Fashion Tips
Jacopo Raule/GC Images
Buy Now

This style pump will always slim down a thick ankle because the vamp is cut close to the toe box and the sides are cut away. Super-flattering.

49 of 49

Dress for Your Body, Not Age

Julianne Moore Fashion Tips
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Buy Now
  • Arms svelte enough for a sleeveless sheath? Legs toned enough for shorts? Take a note from Julianne Moore and show off what you've got-while you've still got it.
  • 50. ...But Watch Out for the Matronly Tipping Point
  • The pleated silk skirt or little pastel jacket that looked so cute on you at 25 can start turning frumpy at 40.
Was this page helpful?
Related Articles