• 1. Wear Pattern Wisely
  • Every outfit can use a little pattern, but if you’re using it as a shortcut to showing how FUN you are, it’s easy to go overboard. You know what I’m talking about: super-bold prints, crazy combinations of colors, or a whole outfit of mismatched patterns. Scale back! Stick to one patterned piece and wear it on a part of your body you’d like to draw attention to—say, on a blouse to show off nice shoulders. Quirky patterns that are grounded in neutral colors (like navy, grey or black), will feel more grown-up, but still fun. And if you want to mix prints, be sure to vary the scale and type of pattern, as with a small-scale stripe with a large-scale floral.

MORE: How to Mix Prints

  • 2. Color Your World
  • I love color! But if you’ve got on a purple sweater, green pants and red glasses, you’re going to look like you got dressed when you were 4. In general, stick to a neutral and two colors—more than that and you start to look like a color explosion. A jewel-tone blouse paired with a black pant still delivers a strong color message. You can also try wearing an unexpected accessory, like a shoe, jacket or bag. Since most people play it safe here, yours will have a bigger impact.
  • 3. Wear Grownup Textures
  • There may be a time and place for shiny, rainbow-print spandex, but it is not on a grown-ass woman in 2015. Varying texture—meaning wearing fabrics in different weaves and materials—is a key element in any good outfit. But you need to strike a balance: If a garment’s texture is a little out there (shiny, stretchy, rubbery, super-nubby, etc), wear it in a toned-down color or subtle pattern. If the texture is more subdued (silk, tweed, cable-knit), make it more fun with a bolder color or pattern.
  • 4. Pick a Style Icon
  • If you tend to dress to the extreme, then maybe you need to find a good example of how you SHOULD dress. Copying celebrity style is a great way to do that—after all, they pay stylists like me good money to help them look that way. Home in on a celebrity or two whose distinctive style you like, then Google Image them. Pin all your favorite outfits. See a pattern? Maybe it’s Zooey Deschanel’s retro silhouettes or Solange Knowles’ fabulous jewel tones. Channel them! It’s okay to copy great style until you learn it for yourself.

MORE: Clinton's Style School: Fashion, Fit & Style

  • 5. Don’t Try so Hard
  • Everyone’s got quirks, it’s what makes us unique and lovable—and you don’t need to go out of your way to show them. Especially in an online dating profile, things that you think are cute and quirky—knock-knock jokes, funny photo props, racy puns, wacky facial expressions—often come off as strange. Same with clothes: Don’t buy something because it’s “so wild and crazy!!” buy it because it looks great on YOU. The confidence you feel and the way you accessorize it will give any outfit personality.
How to Dress Quirky Not Kooky

Coyote urine. It’s the reason my hydrangeas actually bloomed this year. (Deer repellent.) And after her thorough sweep of the gardens for chipmunks, it’s what Mary smells like right now. #bathtime Happy Saturday!

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