10 Fashion Resolutions We Should All Make in 2014

New Year's Eve traditionally inspires in us a sense of hopeful optimism mixed with a dose of lofty expectations. This year, try something that goes beyond vowing to look like Kim Kardashian in a bikini or learn a new language for the vacation you're taking in July.

Think of 2014 as your very own episode of What Not To Wear; get rid of the old and outmoded, take a few fashion risks, and vow never to fall back on your old hoarding habits. As for the rules? Leave it to us; you're in good hands.

Stop Pretending Exercise Gear is Real Clothing

We’ve all been guilty of this at least once, even if it’s just a quick stop into Organic Avenue after a spin class, or picking up the dry cleaning on the way to the gym. If a garment is more than 50 percent spandex, it should stay relegated to the gym. If the decision of what to wear in the morning keeping is you from dressing like a refined person, try this quick equation: colorful shift dress + classic belt + nude heels = done.

Theory Half-Sleeve Shift Dress, $255, Check It Out

Gucci Interlocking G Leather Belt, $290, Check It Out

Manolo Blahnik BB Patent Pump, $595, Check It Out

Image: Fotolia

Try One of 2014's Favorite Colors

Radiant Orchid isn’t going to be everyone’s shade of choice, but the Fall/Winter 2013 and Spring 2014 runways were bursting with innovative new shades to shake up your wardrobe. Even if your comfort zone is oatmeal or black and gray, a pop of color here and there won’t hurt you — and might even grant you a few double-takes from friends and colleagues. Pantone informs us that Dazzling Blue and the warm, peach-adjacent Cayenne are also hot for 2014, along with softer shades like the light gray Paloma. Instead of a Little Black Dress, try a Little Gray Dress. And if a red blouse is on your wish list but just out of your comfort zone, try one in the less ostentatious Cayenne shade.

Parker Embellished Halter Dress, $179.10, Check It Out

Joie High-Neck Silk Dress, $348, Check It Out

BCBG Max Azria Draped Front Blouse, $158, Check It Out

Joie Gingham Shirt, $59.99, Check It Out

Image: Fotolia

Stop Confusing Leggings and Jeans

Leggings are a wonderful little branch of the pant family, but are equally related to workout gear and tights. Therefore, exercise your right to wear them with caution: they’re not fooling anyone even if they’re made to look like denim. In other words: Making them part of your daily uniform is dangerous territory, as leggings can read lazy if used too frequently. Should you find yourself going through withdrawal after stopping the use of leggings cold turkey, try finding a thick pair in an opaque, deep color, and wearing them with long sweaters, tunics, or shirt dresses and a pair of boots.

Theory Pull-On Stretch Leggings, $200, Check It Out

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings, $98, Check It Out

Splendid Long Cardigan, $238, Check It Out

Aqua Cashmere Color Block Tunic, $74.50, Check It Out

Hudson Denim Shirt Dress, $189.99, Check It Out

Tory Burch Mid Heel Dress Booties, $297.50, Check It Out

Image: Shandi-Lee/Flickr

Retire Anything That Makes You Feel Way Too Young or Too Old

This should be easier than it is. However, we tend to hold onto pieces that remind us of particular experiences or events in our lives, or cower in frumpy, lumpy items that would only work on one of the Golden Girls. If your beaded Haute Hippie miniskirt is going to have you fussing over it and worrying all night that you resemble a college student at a club, toss it. It will only bring you strife. By the same token, all oversized, shapeless, oddly-colored sweaters in similarly perplexing shades should go in the bin as well. Clothing should add a twinkle to your smile and an extra boost of confidence instead of making you feel juvenile or outdated.

Cusp by Neiman Marcus Beaded & Sequined Mini Skirt, $65, Check It Out

Image: Gareth1953/Flickr

Do Pick a Decade to Inspire Your Style (But Don't Overdo It)

The ’90s are in vogue this season, and Baz Luhrmann’s remake of The Great Gatsby inspired a full-on ’20s revival, so why not draw inspiration from your favorite cultural era? Perhaps the ’70s with its bohemian, rocker style caught your eye the first time you saw Almost Famous; or film noir makes the pencil skirts and glossy waves of the ’40s worth emulating. Trends come and go, and your style may not necessarily align with whatever the runways are showing at present. However, if you begin to look like you’re wearing a Halloween costume instead of incorporating a few key elements into your wardrobe, remember that subtlety is key.

Alicia + Olivia Suede Bell-Bottom Pants, $998, Check It Out

Carmen Marc Valvo Ponte Pencil Skirt, $95, Check It Out

Image: Tori Telfer/Bustle

Embrace Belts

No matter your figure or style, a belt is a fashion essential. Several years ago, I discovered that although shapeless shift dresses do nothing for me, the addition of a belt turns them into flattering statements of personal style. Essentially, two belts are needed to complement any outfit; one which sits at the natural waist, and one at the hips. After you have the basics covered, it’s all a matter of creative preference. Belts are a relatively inexpensive means of jazzing up an old outfit, whether you love yours vintage or straight off the runway.

Rag & Bone Boyfriend Belt, $160, Check It Out

Valentino Butterfly Belt, $595, Check It Out

Lanvin Rhinestone Buckle Belt, $747, Check It Out

Image: HiStyley/Flickr

Invest in a Great (and Distinctive) Pair of Black Pants

I’m ashamed to say I once thought black pants were boring. Until I met the likes of Helmut Lang, Alexander Wang, Rag and Bone, and AllSaints. Black pants don’t have to be basic, and they should add a little insouciance to an outfit if you’re going to invest in them. Accents of suede, leather, or silk add a kick to the staple, and extra-wide leg or cigarette styles give you something novel compared to the straight leg trouser.

Helmut Lang Skinny Mid-Rise Ankle Jeans, $390, Check It Out

Alexander Wang Tapered Satin Trousers, $172.50, Check It Out

Rag + Bone Distressed Skinny Jeans, $220, Check It Out

AllSaints Junia Pants, $115, Check It Out

Rag + Bone Cropped Leather Pants, $990, Check It Out

Lafayette 148 Flare-Leg Pants, $378, Check It Out

Paige Denim Cropped Skinny Jeans, $169, Check It Out

Image: tinaleggio/Flickr

Try a New Designer For Everyday Staples

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If looking through a J.Crew catalog is no different than sorting through your closet, it’s time for a change. With the CFDA Awards and Project Runway constantly introducing new design talent to the industry, the choices have never been broader. Tip: Many online retailers offer suggestions based on your established preferences, so open up your browser and start clicking.

Try Subtle Allure Instead of Straight-Up Sexy

Yes, this has been the year of Miley Cyrus’ nearly-naked body on display everywhere, and extremely naked models meandering about in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video, but there is something to be said for a more demure approach to fashion. Spring 2014 is all about the hint of skin, whether it be a slight slit in a skirt or a just-transparent blouse paired with a chaste camisole. After all, isn’t highlighting one of your favorite features just so much more enchanting than putting it all on display?

ABS Crepe Crop Top, $38.40, Check It Out

Nicholas Midi Pencil Skirt with Double Slit, $235, Check It Out

Helmut Lang Poet Sheer Long-Sleeve Blouse, $133, Check It Out

Image: Fashionista’s/Flickr

Start Buying Things Because You Love Them, Not Because You Think You Should Have Them

Nothing is more tedious than a shopping expedition for items you feel you probably should have but really couldn’t care less about. Even the flats you use to commute to and from work can be an expression of your taste. While a sequined mini dress may not be proper work attire, this does not mean you need to relegate your obsession with glitter to after-hours activities; try a blouse with a beaded collar, or a belt embellished with gems. Fashion should be fun above all else, and if it’s not, you may need to reevaluate your sartorial state.

Frye Seamed Leather Ballet Flat, $178, Check It Out

Parker Sequined Bodycon Mini Dress, $418, Check It Out

Alice + Olivia Embellished Wool Sweater, $398, Check It Out

Gucci Crystal Interlocking G Buckle Belt, $420, Check It Out

Image: Fotolia