Gretchen Bell

I have been styling for 17 years professionally for all shapes, sizes, ages, budgets and styles. There are some basic tips I think make getting dressed everyday a little easier and a lot more fun.

1. Know your style and be able to put it into words. Even if you don't have a style yet, you can't get it if you can't describe it. Maybe it is modern conservative, feminine with an edge, rocker preppy. Being able to describe your style will help you to shop for pieces you love and will actually wear.

2. Add interest. When you get dressed in the morning, look at your outfit. add something with texture, color, sparkle or shine. Maybe a sparkly bracelet, a red patent shoe or a textured scarf. It goes a long way in helping you look put together, even if you only have on jeans and a t-shirt.

3. Don't get too obsessed with matching. This is the most difficult thing for people to grasp. A black and white pattern top may look like a navy blue and white top if you are wearing navy blue pants. Just because you are wearing a black dress, don't feel like you have to wear black shoes, try tan boots. The eye is easily deceived. You will be amazed how much more possibility is in your closet when you aren't trying to match everything.

4. Ditch the belt. Many people get caught up in wearing those matching cheap belts that come on dresses, pants and skirts at the store. By changing the belt, you often change the whole outfit.

5. Accessorize. Accessories are the cheapest and easiest way to get more mileage out of your clothes. Invest in a big, bold amazing necklace, a colorful scarf or a fabulous pair of boots and try them on with everything. It can change your look completely. Choose something over the top.

6. Fit is everything. Never, ever underestimate the power of alterations. Very rarely does someone buy clothing off the rack that fits perfectly. Why do celebrities always look so amazing in their clothes? Because they have fittings, lots of them to make sure clothes fit just right. I often times can give people an entirely new wardrobe just by getting alterations. You can take bows of jackets, nip in waists, shorten sleeve and pant lengths, even put in colored linings. I know one woman who lines all her jackets in hot pink.

7. Get a second opinion. We often see our clothes in just one way. By bringing in a friend or a professional stylist to give you a fresh perspective on your closet and your clothes, you might find outfits you never knew you had without buying a thing.

8. Try it on. My rule for all my clients is "try it on." When you are shopping, always take 2-3 things in the dressing room with you that you would never ever try on. It is a great habit and you might be shocked what you learn about your style.

9. Great style is not expensive. I shop for people with all kinds of budgets. You can look just as great shopping at Neiman Marcus as you can shopping at Target. Buy the best quality you can afford and make sure the fit is great, the rest is how you put it together.

10. Trends are trends. Just because a trend is popular doesn't mean you should wear it. It goes back to defining your style. Know your style and stick with it. No matter what the current trend might be.

Gretchen Bell, a Bismarck native, now resides in Seattle, Washington. Bell works as a stylist and can be found at