Sunday, July 29, 2012

10 Key Concepts to a Stylish Outfit

I get asked how I put together outfits a lot so I decided to write a post discussing 10 key concepts to a stylish and put together outfit. Fashion and styling includes a lot of experimentation and in a lot of ways it really can be an art form. So, though there are basics, they are just that- basics. These concepts are meant to be a starting point. I hope they help! :)

1. Proportions + Balance: Wearing a stylish yet sophisticated outfit is a balancing act. If you are wearing itty-bitty shorts you should wear a less revealing top. If you are wearing tight skinny pants, wear a flowy top or sweater. The reverse is also just as true. Tight shirt? Flowy skirt. Itty-bitty corset top? High-waisted maxi skirt. Something structured paired with something relaxed. Balance.
source: une maison de la mode
2. Play with textures: Using multiple types of fabrics and textures in an outfit helps create more visual interest. So, while you can have a perfectly acceptable all-cotton outfit, mixing in some lace, leather, velvet, etc. can be so much more exciting.
source: the clothes horse
3. Play with patterns: Now, don't get me wrong...monochromatic outfits can be really beautiful. An all blue outfit from head to toe? Not seen very often, so it can be really interesting to look at when you do. However, outfits that include various patterns can be so much more intriguing. Polka dots with stripes? Love. Floral prints with a cute little heart print? I dig it.
source: the clothes horse
4. Contrast + Complimentary colors: Use a color wheel! Take it with you when you shop if you need to! Looking at a color wheel will help you understand the basics of how to mix + match colors. The color directly across from another color is a complimentary color. These combinations are always vibrant and eye-catching. Colors that are adjacent to to each other on the color wheel are called analogous colors. These color combinations are always very pleasing to the eye because there isn't a high amount of contrast. The other color option you have is to take one of the colors and pair it with a light shade of the same color. Done right this can look very soft and beautiful. All three ways ensure a great outfit, though :)

source: m loves m
5. Accessorize, accesorize, accessorize: Jewelry, purses, scarves, headbands, belts, sunglasses, watches, hats, etc. They all help make an outfit visually interesting. Obviously you may not need everything just listed all with the same outfit. It really does depend on the outfit, but my motto is start simple. Add a necklace and bag and see how it looks. If it looks good, add a couple bracelets. Stop. Observe again. I'm not really huge into accessories because honestly I usually end up feeling really annoyed with having something on my head or too many things around my neck. But, a few simple pieces really can go a long way to making you look more put together.
source: fashion hippie loves
6. Go the extra mile: Putting a little effort into how your hair looks can take an outfit very far ( a good way). Sometimes I feel like the right hair can make almost any outfit look at least decent. In general, for us girls, doing our hair, slapping on a little makeup, and maybe even doing our nails can instantly take our whole image up a couple notches. Take a look at a couple of your favorite fashion bloggers. Do they wear makeup and do something with their hair? Now, imagine them with no makeup and unbrushed locks. While I'm sure they would still be beautiful, as we all are naturally, there isn't that pop, that wow effect.

7. Know your colors: Everybody has colors and shades that flatter them best. Some look best in pastels, some in brights, and others in warm hues. There are tons of free online quizzes that can help you figure out which colors will look best on you. A great one can be found The Chic Fashionista. I'm a "light Summer." I'll always look worse in raspberry/wine colors or anything that is too warm. Knowing this helps me automatically narrow down my choices. Good colors will bring out your eyes, enhance the quality of your skin, and help you shine just a little bit brighter when you walk into a room :)

8. Know your body: There's nothing worse than seeing a beautiful girl (no matter the size!) wearing something that is just so unfortunate and unflattering. Whether you have an hourglass, apple, pear, triangle, or rectangle shaped body, there is a flattering outfit out there for you! Wearing clothes that fit your body not only makes you look more stylish and polished, but they also make you look thinner! The Chic Fashionista has some really great tips to discovering your body type and ways to accentuate what God gave ya!
source: girl with curves
9. Figure out what you like, whats your style?: Experiment! Figure out what styles fit your personality best and move in that direction! Do you like grunge looks? Preppy looks? Rock n' Roll? Hipster (I know no one wants to think of themselves as this, but lets be honest with ourselves, mkay?)? Casual chic (think Gap)? Sophisticated jet-setter (think Victoria Beckham)? 1950's/1960's Ms. Adorkable (yes, that was a New Girl reference)? Take your favorite aspects from each style and combine them to make up your own personal, unique style. Not only will this make for a more unique look, but it will also make your outfit look much more stylish. Not everyone spends the time to combine looks; people will notice the extra time you spent, trust me :)
source: fashion hippie loves
10. Cheap and less cheap: You don't have to have a lot of money to have great style! Go to your local thrift stores to get fun, novelty pieces such as skirts or dresses in wacky, playful prints. For the basics of your wardrobe (a post I will write at some point)...invest! You will be happy you did this! Investing the basics is important because these are the pieces that can become the foundation of many outfits and will be worn over and over. Some foundation pieces include: a pair of nice jeans, a trench coat, a little black dress.

Above all remember to have confidence in whatever you decide to wear! A confident woman radiates in a room! Take pride in your appearance and have fun! Also, know that having good style takes tons of practice, practice which eventually turns into experimentation. Most people who have admirable style have practiced steps 1-10 for years. There are so many outfits that I look back on and cringe. I do not, however, regret a single one because I needed that time to practice and I'm still practicing.


  1. What a great post! I'm terribly bad at matching clothes :/. My sister's in the fashion business so when we lived together (before I moved to the US) she used to look at me before leaving home and said things like, "You have to be kidding me! You've managed to wear all the wrong patterns, textures and colors at the same time!" Hahaha :p.

    Ok, I believe it's time to start following your blog! ;)


  2. Thank you!! Haha yes I've had my fashion crisis moments as well. It took a lotttttt of experimenting :) Where are you from originally?


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