Tips for Simple, Refined Outfits
The following is an excerpt from my book "The Simple Guide to Building a Lifetime Wardrobe", coming out later this fall... it'll be a beautiful workbook with tonnes of guidance and spaces to journal and make lists. I can't wait to share it you! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be he first to know when it comes out.
Style should be personal. I could give you rules or a how to guide or formulas for creating outfits, but then I'm just adding to the pile of "shoulds” already forced upon you. Instead, here are some general tips for putting together outfits when you’re feeling stuck.
How to Work with Colour
For a refined look, either keep all colours within the same tone or pair them with a neutral.
- Cool tones like white, blue, and grey go well with other cool tones
- Warm tones like cream, red and brown work well together
- Neutrals like white, black, and gold (yes, gold) pair well with either tone
Like in life, you want a balance of light and dark.
- If an outfit feels overwhelmingly one or the other, add a jacket, sweater or scarf in the opposite
- Pay attention to how your body feels in each colour. It can have an impact on your mood – often people feel lighter & softer while wearing light colours
When featuring a pattern, look at the colours in the small details, and choose your other pieces to emphasize those details.
- Pair the patterned piece with something neutral for a refined, minimalist look, or with different, complementary colours for a more bohemian feel
- Try mixing patterns – if the second pattern is in the same colour tone and has at least one similar colour it doesn’t feel so overwhelming
You can also use colour to manipulate the shape of an outfit. If an outfit feels overwhelmingly shapeless, try adding an accessory or top layer in a lighter colour.
How to Work with Shapes
Pairing loose, oversized pieces with each other is one of my favourite outfits, but sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming. If you want a different silhouette, try some different combinations.
- Pair loose, wide leg bottoms with a shorter or cropped wide top and half tuck it
- Try a tight or slim top with bottoms that are tapered with loose in the hips
- Pair an oversized top with tapered bottoms, half tuck it into wide bottoms, or belt it
Playing with the neckline can change the entire look of an outfit.
- Wear a camisole or v-neck top to make it look like there is less fabric – it can help an oversized outfit feel less overwhelming
Cinching the waist, whether on a dress or a jumpsuit, takes in the lines of the silhouette and can have a more tailored feel.
- Try using a leather belt, linen string, or even a belted robe around your natural waist to add shape to an oversized outfit
High quality neutral jackets, dusters and sweaters are a wardrobe mainstay.
- Pairs perfectly with anything, whether it’s a jumpsuit, dress or pants
- Tones down a pattern when inn a neutral, solid colour
- Helps you feel more confident when you’re feeling bloated or self-conscious as they hide things from the side and create a slimmer line from the front
- Makes your wardrobe pieces work year-round – they work as warm layer over lighter pieces in the winter, or as a light coat on summer nights
Changing shoes will change an outfit
- Add a heel to an oversized, floaty outfit to make any outfit dressier
- Wear a flat, mule or clog to keep an outfit refined, comfortable and casual
If you want to buy something online but aren’t sure how it will fit on you, try searching Instagram, pinterest or google images.
- Google them, and check the images, as many smaller brands have different bloggers reviewing them
- Check the “pictures of section” on the brands Instagram account to see if people have posted pics of themselves wearing it
- Try looking up the brand on pinterest; it’s designed to be a photo based search engine so odds are something will come up