No one likes to feel stuck in a rut. But if you’re still rooted to the same old clothing, hair and makeup styles you’ve worn for years, you could be robbing yourself of the opportunity to look your best. “Change is uncomfortable for most people,” says Sam Saboura, stylist and host of TLC’s Something Borrowed, Something New. “We become set in routines. But once you change, you think, ‘Wow, I never thought I could look this pretty!’ You look younger and boost your spirit — and confidence.” So shake loose and check out these tips from top pros:
Weed out your closet once to twice yearly. “You may discover pieces you love but forgot,” Saboura says. “And once you free up space, you can buy guilt-free.”
Get opinions. Find out what your family thinks of your current look. “Men and kids are honest; even if they don’t know trends, they know something’s off,” says Saboura. And when you shop, bring a stylish friend along to make suggestions, “You may be pleasantly surprised!”
Just do it. Waiting to shop until you shed those last five pounds does nothing for your look or your self-esteem. “Buy pretty clothes in your correct size and look your best — today,” says Stella Kae, Cloutier Remix celebrity makeup stylist for Alyssa Milano and Toni Braxton.
Take selfies. Use your cell phone to capture an image of yourself going to work or a dinner out. “You’re more likely to see whether something’s dingy, out of proportion or needs alterations,” says Saboura.
Start with shirts. “Tops are your statement-makers,” Saboura says, so they are ideal for expressing your personal flair. If hemlines or silhouettes change drastically one season, you can buy one or two new skirts or pants. For work, get well-tailored jackets. And for an instant update, pick up seasonal accessories like shoes or a handbag from your favorite discount retailers.
Act your age. If you’re the oldest person browsing the juniors department, take a hint. “You’re only fooling yourself — and looking older,” Saboura says. Look to fashion magazines for inspiration, or check out Pinterest.
Take baby steps. If you’re not ready for a huge change, go for a subtle shift in your color and cut twice a year: highlights around the face in the spring, lowlights or a darker base in winter.
Know when to go bold. Stylists recommend making a major style or color switch after a significant life event like a new job, divorce or baby. “Getting a whole new look helps you close one life chapter and move on,” says Lindsay Yamashita, hair stylist and bridal hair expert on TLC’s Randy to the Rescue.
Help your hairdresser. Bring magazine photos showing the look you’re going for. But if your stylist seems reluctant to help you update your ‘do, go to someone new. “We get complacent, too,” says Yamashita.
Get annual updates. Skin changes over time, so don’t wait until you run out of foundation or moisturizer to get new products. Stop by your favorite brands’ store counters at least once a year for free makeup applications and advice.
Take advantage of occasions. Getting your makeup done for a wedding or other special event? Pepper the artist with questions and show her your makeup and skin care products to see what she recommends.
Be yourself. “Be open, but don’t force yourself to be something you’re not,” says Kae, also executive producer of web beauty tutorial #PRETTYRAD.