12 Simple Styling Tips To Transform Your Entire Look

... and make you love your clothes again.

When I first started shopping vintage, I was let down way too often by something that was really lovely, but not quite right. The pattern was great, the cut was almost perfect—but there was something weird or oddly out of sorts.

That was, until I learned to use these 12 tips that take less than 10 seconds, but have the power to totally change the look of your outfit.


Old sweater and shirt, Levi’s 501’s.

1. The Casual Cuff

So often, there’s just too much fabric. A sleeve that’s longer than your wrist can make you look short, or cut you in the wrong place.

Just one simple, messy cuff to cut a shirt at your wrist can accentuate the length of your arms and instil a gracefulness to your outfit that you had no idea could be there.


Brass Clothing Crossover Blouse, Levi’s Wedgies, Kotn Cropped Sweatshirt, locally made linen trousers.

2. Foolproof ¾ Sleeve

Same idea as no. 1—but a little more.

Don’t be afraid to take those long sleeves up, especially in transitional seasons or warmer months. Again, it leaves the slimmest part of your arms outside bulky sleeves, and can add a feminine touch to the more boxy or masculine garments you find in the flea market.


Kotn Essential Crew, Levi’s 501’s.

3. The Folded Short-Sleeve

Ever pop a shirt on and feel sloppy without knowing why? Well, chances are the sleeves are a tiny bit too long.

It took me a while to figure this out, but when I was with a friend at a vintage booth, she tried on a shoulder-padded button-down. She loved the shirt, but felt boxy and man-like.

I instantly folded both sleeves up (easy to stitch there permanently if you get sick of adjusting), and BAM! The shirt looked wonderful.


Tradlands North Coast Solstice Flannel, Vintage Levi’s 505’s, old blazer, old boots.

4. The Full Tuck

Especially for you petite ladies (like me)—when you don’t have a lot of height, a full tuck in high-waisted jeans is one of the most foolproof ways to look pulled together with little effort.

I’ve often gone into work with a tee tucked into jeans, and a simple blazer (with a nice relaxed sleeve cuff of course), and voila! An office-appropriate outfit with hardly any effort.

This can also work wonders with shirts that are too big, feel overpowering to your figure, or have no structure.


Locally made alpaca sweater, Vintage Levi’s 505’s, Alice + Whittles Minimalist Rubber Boots.

5. The French Tuck

Not a fan of the full-tuck look? A little French Tuck right in the front can help to add interest to an otherwise overwhelming or unstructured shirt. I’ll even try a half-tuck with the right button-down some days. It’s a way to still feel comfortable and put-together.

The key to this one? Do it with a more relaxed top, otherwise it’ll look a bit forced. Fitted tops are best tucked in.


Old chambray top & pants, Vintage Levi’s 505’s, Tradlands Goodall Poplin, vintage shoes & scarf.

6. The Simple Tie

I love tying anything at the waist. It ads a little more fun and flirtiness to your outfit, instead of just a basic tuck.

The great thing about knowing all these waist-accentuating style tips is that you can switch them up (even with the same shirt) to create so many different looks!


Old long cardigans (check out PetraAlexandra story highlights for ethical recommendations!), Brass Clothing Crossover Blouse, old shoes, Kotn Fitted Turtleneck.

7. A Long Cardigan

I didn’t realize this’d be a game changer until I owned one.

I always struggled with which cardigan to choose, which length, the style… and was never satisfied. Once I welcomed a couple long cardigans into my wardrobe, I realized that they’re total workhorses. They go with dresses, skirts, jeans, anything.

And you can easily cuff the sleeves and let your bottom layer poke through to tie it all together.


Levi’s 501s, old shoes & blouse, old denim.

8. Cropped Denim

Same philosophy as my shirtsleeves—let those wrists and ankles be seen! It gives a nice visual break between your pants and shoes, and allows for a tapered look instead of short legs being swallowed by fabric.

I’ve been cuffing or cropping my jeans for years, and find it keeps me from looking too short!


Kotn Cropped Sweatshirt, Kotn Fitted Turtleneck, Vintage Levi’s 505s.

9. Bring In The Waist

I’ve thrifted and bought too many skirts or pants that don’t quite fit my waist properly.

We tell ourselves it’s ok, but when something cuts at an awkward part of you instead of accentuating the actual waist, it’s hiding your best feature! I have more of a straight figure, so having something brought in at the waist can make the difference between looking rectangular or a bit more hourglass.

A simple quick trick is to belt it!


Hutchison Cardigan, old dress, Timberland Glancy 6″ Boots, Brass Clothing Nonstop Top, old shirt.

10. Skirt Length Is Everything

As someone who’s a bit on the shorter side, I’ve had so many pencil skirts or other skirts cut at weird places—making otherwise cute styles a little odd.

The best foolproof philosophy? Make sure it cuts at a slim part, not at the widest part. So that skirt that cuts at the widest part of your calves? Cut it to the knee, and you’re golden!

Or find a skirt that crops just above your ankles  For me? Either just above the ankles, or halfway up my thigh is the holy grail of lengths.


Matisse Pointed Toe Shoes, handmade camisole, vintage cardigan, old culottes.

11. Pop On a Pointed Toe

When in doubt, a heel or pointed toe can instantly bring class to even the frumpiest of outfits.

I love oversized outfits, and some of these little tricks can help you pull it off, even if you think you may not be able to. Adding a pointed toe can class it up in a pinch!


Kotn Fitted Turtleneck, Levi’s 501’s, vintage shoes & scarf, Artisan + Fox Woven Bag.

12. Bandana This, Baby!

Bandanas are everything. So easy, always a magnet for compliments, and adds personality to an ordinary minimalist outfit.

Those are all the key things I do when I find an outfit isn’t working! 99% of the time, it works right away—and helps me stay excited about the clothes I do have.


Do you have any styling tips that help you stay in love with your clothes? Pop them in the comments below!

xo
PetraAlexandra

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