When it comes to the way you dress, it’s easy to fall into your comfort zone. Over the years, we come to know the styles that suit us, and often have favoured brands and materials – but nonetheless, anyone with their finger on the fashion pulse makes it their business to know how to dress to impress. The past year though, it seems, has changed all that, and for many of us, throwing on some comfortable loungewear for a day of working at home is something we’ve gotten a little too, well, comfortable with. With few reasons to get dressed up to the nines due to the ongoing social distancing rules that have punctuated the pandemic, it’s been a long while since most of us last felt like a million dollars – but with restaurants, bars and shops now well and truly back open again and events slowly making a return to our social calendars, it’s time to shake things up a bit and get out of that dressed-down rut
In the past, you might have selected a “safe” look because it was easy or because you were scared to try something new – but 2021 is about more than getting back to the way we used to dress, and going one step further. This is the year of reclaiming our style status and taking greater risks in the fashion stakes, putting the fun and glamour back into dressing like never before. As the reasons to get dressed up again just keep on coming, if you’re ready to throw caution to the mind and overhaul your look for the better, then you’re not alone; in fact, it seems to be a trend that is sweeping the globe.
Miami based designer Donna Leah, founder of Donna Leah Designs, understands why people have a passion for wearing what makes us feel great. “We want to plan our looks for each occasion and crave attention after being isolated for so long,” she says.
“No longer are we satisfied with the little black dress; now, we crave colour, movement, and the happiness that comes with taking a fashion risk. It’s about letting go after so many months of holding back.” So, when it comes to revamping your look and creating a dramatic style statement that will impress you just as much as it will everyone else, Donna Leah has a few ideas to share.
Focus on the fun
Fashion should be fun, and taking a fashion risk should be, too. There is no hard and fast rule to achieving a playful look, but it should be something that instantly makes you smile. Often, a fun look will include the kind of bold and vibrant statement accessories or shoes that you have been saving for a special occasion. Mix and match textures, styles, and play with layers to create a unique and stand-out look. Donna says that she will often take out a few outfits, bags, shoes, and other accessories and place them on the bed or floor to assess. Sometimes, coordinating looks will come together on their own just by seeing it spread out, and you can mix or match between them until you find something you’re happy with, and that will make just the kind of statement you desire.
Being inspired by Miami means that Donna Leah Designs is known for shine and color. This season’s style will include metallic shine in gold and silver in evening wear and loungewear – so even for those days when you’re staying on the sofa, you can still get a slice of the glamour. One of Donna’s most iconic looks are her gold dresses with embellishments. These can help to create a dramatic and powerful look that requires a bit of risk taking – and while you might be wondering if you could pull such a thing off yourself, she believes that the uncertainty is all part of the point.
She says: “When I wear what I love, it gives me confidence, and sometimes that means getting outside of my comfort zone. The positive response, particularly at the recent Fashion Show at the Carillon Hotel, to my daring designs reinforced my belief that women desire something new that makes a statement.”
Colour me happy
Something else that Donna Leah Designs is known for is its daring use of bold colour. Pinks, greens, and blues in bright hues are exciting and energetic, and incorporated into modern fabrics make for a way to say, “I’m here! Look at me!” If you’re feeling a little shy about embracing something a little bit edgier, then don’t. It’s okay to make mistakes or regret a fashion choice later, but if you don’t try out new things, you’ll never know what you love. Plus, those mistakes will help you to grow and define your personal look in the long-run.
The bottom line
Often, people think that what they wear doesn’t matter – that it’s inconsequential and perhaps frivolous. But the reality is that the way you approach your personal style has a ripple effect on other parts of your life. Trying new things can give you a renewed sense of confidence, act as a starting point for new conversations that might not have otherwise happened, and allow you to express how you’re feeling on any given day.
“It’s important to take risks in your personal life and that extends to what you want to wear. Without taking a fashion risk, especially after being in sweats and pyjamas for so many months, we are actually risking losing our personality, passion, and desire to discover new brands,” says Donna.
All imagery used in this article credit: Donna Leah Designs