5 Fashion resolutions

Dec 11, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. ET

As the New Year comes upon us, many of us are itching for a new look. This is a great time to reinvent ourselves, but unless we are prepared, we may end up repeating the same bad style decisions. Here are a few fashion resolutions to help you update your wardrobe and get a new look.

Woman looking in clothing closet

Style expert Marla Tomazin says she teaches her clients to look fabulous by combining their "inner glow" with the way they dress. "It's a well-known fact that 80 percent of communication is non-verbal," she says, "That means that the way you dress speaks much louder than anything you actually say. People don't realize how much of their confidence and personal success is tied to the image they are portraying, so they don't take the time to take care of themselves like they should."

Creating a new image for yourself in 2010 is easier than you may think. And you don't have to break the bank or hire a famous designer to do so.

My Style
  1. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Find someone whose style you admire – and adapt it to your own life!
  2. Ready to wear, not ready to strut. Runway styles are not, but don't assume if they look great on models, they are destined for your own closet.
  3. Find wardrobe staples. If you have duds that work from day to night, those are the keepers.
  4. A picture says a 1,000 words: As in creating a photo album of your outfit ideals will make wardrobing a lot easier to plan!
  5. Clean out your closet! If it doesn't fit, or is out of style, why are you letting it take up space?

Solicit your personal style icon

It can be easy to get into a personal style rut. And if leaving the house wearing a clean shirt and socks that match constitutes a good style day for you, then Tomazin says that it may be time to ask for some help. Think of a friend whose style you admire and whose opinion you trust.

"We all know someone who looks great all the time," says Tomazin. "That friend who always seems to look so put together, from her hair style right down to her accessories. You may not be the best judge of how you appear to other people, so it's a good idea to ask for some outside help."

Don't fall victim to the runway

Don't be so quick to buy clothes that look great on the runway or the mannequin in the store. Not all styles of clothing are suited for all body types, and certain colors just don't complement every complexion. Just because green is the "it" color of the moment, or because those skinny jeans looked great on that model in the sales ad, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to be right for you.

"It can be tricky to know what styles and colors are best suited for you, but once you figure it out, it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your wardrobe," Tomazin explains.

Resolve to buy quality over quantity

If your wardrobe seems lacking, but your budget is small, then it can be tempting to buy trendy pieces at bargain prices to get you through the season. The problem, says Tomazin, is that you'll find yourself back to square one when the next season rolls around. Instead, invest in foundation pieces. You will wear these clothes more than once per week and the money you spend is worth it.

"These items should be made of quality fabrics and should be a base color that works for you," asserts Tomazin. "Black is easiest to find, but it does not flatter everybody.  Consider other options such as navy, chocolate brown or a darker grey."

Get more bang for your buck

One of the best ways to get more for your money is to find ways to make your work clothes go the extra mile. Having wardrobe staples that can transition from the conference room to cocktail hour will make your life easier and your wallet happier. Tomazin says that the key to dressing up your work clothes for a cocktail party or dinner out on the town is having the right accessories and a few playful pieces to mix and match.

"A lacy camisole or a sheer blouse paired with long dangling earrings or a necklace to dress up an outfit are the perfect way to transition from day to evening," says Tomazin. "And something as simple as open-toe shoes can change the look of an entire suit. Invest in pieces like a leather jacket that can work with a skirt at the office or a pair of jeans when you go out."

"The same rule applies to men," she adds. "They can wear a suit with a turtleneck or shirt sans tie for an after-work party. That functional navy blazer will go great with trousers for a day at the office, and will look just as distinguished with a sweater and jeans on the weekend."

Take a picture (It will last longer!)

If there's one thing we could use more of, it's time. And rushing through your morning routine, including dressing yourself, can mean spending your day looking as harried and frazzled as your feel. A great way to eliminate the stress and guarantee you'll look great on a daily basis is to plan ahead. Take the time to try on! Try on an assortment of outfits: Put it all together -- the clothes and accessories right down to the undergarments that particular outfits require. Come up with five looks you like and take a photo of each. When the alarm clock rings, you'll already be one step ahead of your morning routine, and you'll feel good the rest of the day, knowing you look great.

"Place the photos somewhere handy -- on your home computer or on your wardrobe closet," Tomazin says. "You can refer to your 'looks' and choose your outfit in no time. I've used this process, which I call Picture-U-Perfect®,  with my own clients and they love it. It's a great time-saver, and you can rest assured knowing that each look has been carefully put together instead of thrown on at the last minute."

And a bonus suggestion…

Get rid of the Ghost of Wardrobes Past

Admit it: You're still hanging onto that little black dress you wore in college and that perfect pair of jeans that fit like a glove -- five years ago. If an item has become too tight, don't hang onto it for when you "lose 10 pounds." Clean out your closet and make space for clothes that fit who you are right now. Having a wardrobe that complements your body will do wonders for your self-esteem and your image.