Although everyone does every day, getting dressed or putting together an outfit can be the most difficult and frustrating part of your morning. There has been a time when you looked at your closet and realized that there was nothing to wear. This is a common problem. We consulted top designers, style consultants and retail professionals to help us understand the art of dressing. You can finally get dressed.

1 Balance proportions.

How to do it: You want to be proud of what you have, such as toned arms and a slim waist. It’s not the downplaying parts you don’t love that is difficult. One strategy? To offset the volume of a larger upper body wearing something fitted, wear wide-leg trousers. Designer Nicole Miller says, “The goal is to even yourself out.” Avoid anything too large, or you will look larger. Another option: Distraction. Another idea: Distraction.

2 Treat yourself in the most age-appropriate fashion.

How to do it: There’s probably a grown-up version. Cropped tops are a good choice. A crop top should not show too much skin. “It gives you a similar look,” promises designer Rebecca Minkoff. 

3 The right bra will make you appear slimmer

How to do it: “Where your breasts are on your chest will make a huge difference in how clothes fit,” Vazquez says. According to Vazquez, a bra that fits well will not cause bulging or sagging, which will result in a slimmer silhouette. Your elbows should be in the middle of your shoulders and elbows. Kristen Supulski is the director of merchandising at Vanity Fair brands lingerie. She says that a bra’s front panel should be flat and have no wrinkling. The bra shouldn’t create bulges or raise. The perfect fit is when you can get just two fingers under it, and it still feels snug.

4 Do not be too matchy-matchy.

How to do it: Wear colours that complement each other, not “match” as in the traditional sense. Minkoff suggests using a simple colour wheel to make it easy. The opposite colours on the wheel complement each other. Think of non-obvious but striking combinations like orange and navy, purple and saffron. Another way to diversify your accessories is to change their texture and colour. (From Betty Halbreich’s vault, Betty is a personal shopper at New York City Bergdorf Goodman. She also wrote a style memoir. “A black dress, navy shoes and a burgundy bag. You should never wear a set of jewellery. Vazquez says, “Anything that is sold as a set looks really out of date.”

5 Show skin only.

How to do it: Halbreich says, “Don’t give people too much to look at once.” If you are wearing a low-cut gown, pay attention to the cleavage. You don’t need to show off your arms or legs. This principle applies to fitting as well. A body-hugging gown should have a more sensible neckline. A skirt that falls just slightly above the knee will not raise eyebrows.

6 Spend as little as possible on staples

How it works: A disclaimer. You don’t have to spend a lot on basics like tees and button-downs. There are many quality options at a low price. Spend more on quality items that aren’t necessarily stolen. A $100 bargain cashmere sweater, for example, will still cost you $100. However, the sweater will wear out quickly, so you’ll need to spend another $100 to replace it. Minkoff says that classics like a black blazer are best bought in high-quality fabrics, such as wool. They will last longer. To avoid sticker shock, calculate the cost per wear.

7 Develop your signature style.

How to do it: Designer Nanette says, “Figure out your go-to, foolproof look,” and then search for variations. Stumped? Picture the clothes you feel most comfortable wearing. Ask your friends and family what they like best. After you have narrowed down what looks best, try different styles. Minkoff says, “I gravitate towards jackets, so I’ll do the bomber style, then the silk version or a denim jacket, with leather sleeves.” Minkoff says that if you feel the need or desire to convince yourself, it’s a sign that you shouldn’t purchase them. Aerin Lauder is the creative director and founder of the lifestyle brand Aerin. It’s more accurate than looking into the mirror.

8 Everybody should have a white shirt.

What to do: Choose pure white instead of ivory which can make your teeth look yellower. Florence Thomas, creative director of Thomas pink, suggests that you wear bold lipstick with a bright blue undertone to make your teeth stand out. Are you unsure which cut is right for you? A button-up with darting around the waist or curved princess seams will create a feminine hourglass shape. Make sure your shoulders are aligned with yours, and there is no pulling at the back or front. Thomas says that anything else can be tailored. Dry-cleaning all-cotton shirts will prevent them from discolouring. They should be washed and pressed the same way as men’s shirts.

9 Mix patterns and prints

How to do it: Using multiple patterns can make you appear confident and stylish, or as if you were wearing dark clothes. These guidelines will help you achieve the latter. Use the same colour family, and preferably the same background colour. Some pairings work like PB &J–they work. Minkoff says that “polka dots with florals or stripes usually go well together.” The same applies to leopard prints with non-critter patterns or paisleys with squares and checks. It is forbidden to use near matches. Vazquez says that plaid and houndstooth are too similar to be considered simpatico. Two large-scale prints can compete for dominance and cause headaches. Accessorize the look with neutral accessories. Cautions Roe: “Don’t add another colour to the mix.”

Your features should be highlighted by 10Jewelry

What you need to do: The perfect pair of earrings can flatter any face shape. According to Lizzie Fortunato, long earrings can make your face appear more skinned if your face is rounder. If you have a long face, then chunky earrings like studs will draw attention to your eyes and make your face appear wider. A necklace should be at least an inch higher than your cleavage if you have a large bust. Longer pendants and strands that are too long will make your body look sloppy and draw attention to every contour. Opt for earrings in lighter colours such as white stone or pearls to make your face radiant.