I'd rather buy books.
However, I do like to keep a modest, feminine, and attractive-to-my-husband look about me.
I have some friends who are very talented in the way they put clothes together, and I've learned a few things from them as well as developed my own sense of style.
I apologize right now for the deplorable lack of pictures. My camera and my computer have not been friends for some time, and thus I've been unable to upload any. If and when the day comes that the electronics reconcile, you will be rewarded by photo-laden blog posts.
Nevertheless, I can describe in words what some of my favorite fashion tips are!
1) Be creative. Think outside the box. Look for new ways to put clothes together that you might not have considered.
For example: Any button-up blouse, long or short-sleeved, can be layered over a t-shirt or tank top. Unbuttoned, you can gather up the two sides of the shirt just below your bustline and tie the two tails together, 50's-style. This is great for button-up shirts that are too short because length isn't an issue as long as you have a nice, long tank top underneath. Wearing button-up blouses this way also works over sundresses, to cover up your shoulders and add a whole new look!
2) Go shopping in your own closet. Before you head out to the store to add to your wardrobe, take an afternoon and pull out ALL your clothes and put them on your bed, so you can see most of them. Then start rearranging. Take a skirt and hold it next to all your shirts and blouses, even the ones you never wear it with. There's a good chance it will look nice with something you haven't ever worn it with. Do this with all your clothes--I can guarantee you'll come up with a few new outfits this way, and it won't cost you a thing!
3) When you do shop, start second-hand. Not only is this the most frugal way to shop for clothes, it can help foster your creativity because you'll see things in a second-hand store that won't be in a department store or any other clothing store. A lot of items from the 80's and 90's are coming back in style, and second-hand stores are the best places to find those things. Plus, if you find a cute skirt or sweater that you really like, think about the rest of your clothes and mentally figure out outfits before you buy it. You may well be able to add several new outfits to your wardrobe with just one "new" item, and will hardly cost you anything. Look for Goodwill (and especially keep an eye out for their sales and special deals!), St. Vincent de Paul stores, and other independently-owned second-hand stores in your town. Especially see if there are any that benefit a charity or organization--then you can be contributing to a good cause! Another option are consignment stores, and there you can sell your old things for a profit as well as finding new things for low prices.
4) Layer. I have a collection of eight or so tank tops in different colors, and several different white ones. These are probably my favorite things in my wardrobe. Not only can I wear them on their own (usually I layer two together for extra coverage), but they work to raise the neckline of a lower shirt, add coverage to a shirt that's too short, provide a cool layer under a warm cardigan (that's handy for winter, if a classroom or building I'm in is overly warm; then I can just take off my sweater and still be modest), and add color and a new look to a blouse. My tanks are all getting pretty worn out; I've had some of them for quite a few years now. I recommend Old Navy, especially if you can find their shirts at a second-hand store. Walmart's brand is also good: they're cheap if you get them on sale, and they fit very nicely. Of course, there is always a nice collection of tanks at my local second-hand shop. :)
Layering also works with skirts and dresses. I sometimes put tanks under sundresses for added coverage. A cardigan or light sweater can go over a summer dress to make it wearable for spring and fall. And I have a pair of "skinny" (not really) jeans that I sometimes put under my sundresses, with a blouse tied over the dress (see #1), for a really cute winter outfit with a summery look. Last year I also started wearing tights under my skirts and dresses, for added warmth mostly, but it looked really cute too! This allowed me to keep wearing dresses through the winter, because my legs weren't freezing. Tights aren't just for little girls! I plan to get new pairs in a few different colors this winter, instead of just plain white. (Also, if you have a pair of form-fitting long underwear, you can put tights on over the long underwear and keep extra-toasty!)
5) Accessorize. When you're going through your closet, look for scarves, belts, sashes, shawls and other little things of that nature. Then go through your jewelry and find necklaces, bracelets, brooches and other decorative items. Hold up these things to the outfits you've put together, and see how a necklace makes a boring blouse or shirt much more interesting. A belt, sash, or folded-the-long-way scarf can give a waistline to an otherwise formless dress. A wide scarf or shawl can turn an immodest dress perfectly acceptable. And belts do not have to only go through belt loops. If you want to define your waistline, put any belt there over any shirt. Not every shirt or blouse will look good this way, but many will (AND you can find lots of belts inexpensively at second-hand stores!).
6) Don't bring attention to your less-favorite features. I firmly believe that every woman, as a creation of our wonderful God, is beautiful. However, some of us have features we would rather not have noticed. For example, you might have a larger-than-average chest. If so, don't wear very form-fitting or low-necked tops. Button blouses higher rather than lower. Don't buy things that are too small for you. Wear less patterned tops and more solid colors. Don't wear big necklaces that draw attention to your chest.
If you have a waist that has held in multiple children over the years, don't fret. But don't wear bright belts or sashes, either. Wear shirts that you can leave untucked over your pants or skirt. Draw attention to your face with shirt that have collars, or pretty necklaces.
If your legs are very long (like mine!), don't wear jeans that have a flare at the bottom (these make your legs look longer). Try not to wear high-waisted pants or skirts, either, unless you like the look (sometimes it's okay for your legs to look miles long!). Wear skirts and dresses that hit mid-calf or lower so your knees are hidden.
If you're short, try wearing all the same color from head to toe. Don't wear anything that's at all too big for you. Wear skirts and pants that flare at the bottom. Wear high heels if you can and you like them. If you like stripes, wear them vertical.
7) Modesty is always the best policy. Let's say you have a dress that you just LOVE, but it's a little short and the neckline is a little low. You really don't want to get rid of the dress, but you just can't bring yourself to wear it as is! Here's what you do: find a tank top that coordinates or matches the dress and put it underneath the top to raise the neckline. Find tights, leggings (which are NOT meant to be worn alone!!), or a fitted pair of jeans and wear them under the dress. You have a new outfit which is not only cute, but modest.
Do you have a skirt that's too short? Either pass it on to a daughter or younger sister, or if you're a seamstress (which I am not, unfortunately) you can do one of two things: find a top that goes with the skirt that's nice and long, and sew them together to make a dress; or sew material to the bottom of the skirt, on the underside (a slip with a pretty bottom edge might work for this!) to lengthen the skirt (or dress) and keep it looking pretty. I do not, sadly, remember where I read these two ideas, but I think several bloggers have written about them.
These are my favorite tips and tricks for dressing prettily and modestly. I hope I've included in each section a few ideas that are practical for you.
What about you? Do you have any fashion ideas or tips that work well for you? Share in the comments!