Dress for energy

Five ways to break out of your fashion rut and look alive

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Although I’m a fashion editor, there are still days when I find myself in a fashion rut. Whether it’s because I’m too busy to pay attention or just plain lazy, I end up wearing the same jacket-and-pant combinations or even sporting the same neutral colour palette for several days in a row. That’s why I’ve learned how to perk up my wardrobe with just a few easy pieces. Here are five ways to get rid of the fashion doldrums. Try…

…wearing a bright colour

Not only will you trick innocent bystanders into thinking that you’re having a fantastic day (bright colours tend to give this illusion), but wearing a lively shade can double the lifespan of your wardrobe. Even if your clothing palette is more Morticia Addams than Rainbow Brite, injecting a shot of colour into a neutral wardrobe can make that three-year-old black blazer look brand new. Another bonus: shades of pink, red and orange will help liven up sallow or dull skin.

…a new pair of shoes

If only this could be the solution to all our problems. There’s no denying the immense feeling of happiness I experience after purchasing a pair of sexy shoes. Whether it’s out of necessity or just because they make your size-10 feet look like a petite size 6, new shoes can be a wardrobe saver. Shoes breathe new life into last year’s tweed pants (especially if the shoes are in a sexy style, rich shade or fabric). This spring, look for feminine flats, round-toed styles or lace-up wedges.

…experimenting with bold accessories

Perking up your wardrobe doesn’t mean you have to splurge on a whole new outfit or an expensive pair of pants. A statement-making necklace, ring or bracelet is a valuable investment and will boost your look without breaking the bank. Seen on the international fashion runways of Miu Miu, Sportmax and Roberto Cavalli, big, bold jewelry maximizes even the most basic white shirt. Check out the variety at large stores such as Wal-Mart, Winners and the Bay, or search your favourite vintage store for cool baubles.

…something sparkly

Adding some shine can make your old standbys look like new. The key is to avoid too much of a good thing: pass on totally sequined shirts and opt for a sparkly belt or skinny scarf instead. The newest way to wear it? A scarf worn around your neck with a blazer, or as a belt with your trusty jeans.

…a flattering dress

A dress is simple and easy to wear and you don’t have to worry about which bottom to match with it. This spring, designers are making dresses with more drape, folds and patterns in figure-flattering and forgiving fabrics. (And isn’t it about time?) Check out designs by Canadians Joeffer Caoc (gathered jersey dresses) and David Dixon (bias-cut floral silks). Banana Republic also offers ’50s-style floaty chiffon frocks, while Toronto dress label Damzels in This Dress has a number of empire-waist and wrap-front styles.