We are all good at different things in life. Some people have a natural talent for decorating a home, others are fantastic cooks, others still have an artistic flair, are great leaders, fabulous gardeners or are a whizz with words or numbers. The list of talents are endless.
One of the things I absolutely love to do is to help people to put outfits together. I’m a disaster in the kitchen, as any of my friends will testify, but being let loose in someone’s wardrobe, being able to play with their clothes and accessories to create multiple outfits, is me in my ‘happy place’.
If you’re someone who looks at others and wishes they had the knack of being able to look effortlessly stylish or put together, don’t despair. As with any skill, it can be learned, and often times is simply a matter of really understanding your unique style and a bit of experimentation.
So how do you put outfits together?
- Understand your style preferences
The first thing I would say is that you need to know your style preferences. You need to have a clear idea of what you like and what you don’t like. It’s no good learning to put outfits together in a way that ultimately won’t feel like ‘you’. So as a starter for ten, why not take a look at your wardrobe and pull out the outfits that you enjoy wearing. Take a good hard look at them to work out what it is about them that you like.
Is it their colour?
Is it the feel of the fabrics? (Do you always touch things before you buy them and dislike anything scratchy or rigid?)
Is it that the outfit looks co-ordinated? Or, at the other end of the scale, mis-matched and creative?
Is it that it makes a statement?
Is it that it’s ‘on trend’?
Is it that you feel comfortable in it, probably because the fabric is fluid not crisp?
Is it that it’s a sleek, minimal look?
Is it that you like it because of the accessories you’ve chosen? (eg you like outfits with belts? or a scarf? or with matching shoes etc).
Try to note down everything you like about your favourite outfits.
Next think about people whose style you admire, maybe friends or celebrities, for example. Or maybe you like the styling feel of particular brands of clothing (e.g the dressed down styling of brands like White Stuff or Fat Face, versus the dressier styling of brands like Reiss or say, Hobbs). Again think about what it is that you like about the style or brand and note it down.
The more you can work out what feels right for you the better as this is your style personality coming through, and all good outfits portray the wearers style personality in my view.
Keep these notes to hand, as they will guide in putting together outfits that also appeal to you.
- Think about colour themes
As with interior design, outfits created around a colour theme often appear more ‘put together’. Unless you’re really creative, and/or are tall and have the length of body that can take lots of different colours ‘chopping up’ your frame, keeping to 2 or 3 colours often works best. How much of each colour you wear in one outfit is up to you. You might just want to wear one neutral colour with an accent colour or you might want to have an equal mix of say three (or more) colours.
As it’s simplest, it could be that you wear a skirt or pair of trousers in one of the colours in a patterned top, for example. Everything will immediately look like it goes together because the colours flow from one garment to the other.
Or you could simply wear a pair of shoes in the accent colour within your outfit. So if you have a navy and white top which has a red heart motif, for example, and you wear a navy skirt or trousers, a pair of red shoes will look great. Red is simply the accent colour in the otherwise navy and white outfit.
Once you’ve had your colours analysed and know which colours suit you and which work well together as combinations, this all becomes very easy. When you buy something new, you then only buy something in one or a mix of these colours. You’ll find you have plentiful outfits options by doing this. As someone with Bright+Warm colouring my wardrobe is full of bright reds, bright greens, cobalt blues, and bright turquoise with neutral colours of white, navy, dark grey, black. I then simply mix and match these colours to create my capsule wardrobes. Now and again I throw in an accent colour like bright yellow or orange just to spice it up a bit.
- Use accessories to pull outfits together
A scarf, bag, shoes or piece of jewellery can make all the difference to how an outfit looks. Taking the previous example, you can be wearing a navy skirt and let’s say a green top this time, and by simply adding a necklace or scarf with navy in it, you will automatically look more co-ordinated.
Or you could simply wear co-ordinating accessories in a neutral colour regardless of the outfit. (I do this in one of the pleated skirt outfits I create in the video (see below) – I wear tan wedges, a tan belt, tan bag and jewellery with a tan thread, with my turquoise pleated skirt and cream top). The accessories are all the same colour.
When it comes to jewellery it doesn’t need to be costume jewellery as a silver, gold, pearl or gemstone necklace will equally add something to any outfit. Here are two pictures of me, one without and one with a necklace to show what a difference it can make.
If you don’t like scarves or jewellery, then you can just as easily think about using your bag and shoes to bring everything together.
The best way to create outfits is to have a play, by trying them on and switching tops and bottoms and accessories to create multiple looks. Have your accessories to hand (shoes, bags, scarves, jewellery) as this makes it easy to spot possible outfit combinations.
Lay things out on your bed or floor and take photographs of the outfits you like, complete with accessories in the picture, so that you can easily recreate them on a day when you’re lacking inspiration. Do remember to try them on though to make sure that the length of skirt works with the footwear you’ve chosen, for example. Or that you haven’t paired a voluminous top with a very voluminous skirt, which in many cases may not be very flattering. Or that the necklace you’ve chosen isn’t too long for the jacket or whatever.
- Enjoy putting your new skill into practice!
Enjoy the feeling of confidence and happiness you get when you wear the outfits you’ve created … and wait for the compliments that follow!
- Some inspiration – styling videos
I’ve been having fun creating outfits during lockdown, so have filmed them to share. (Excuse the quality of the videos, I’m no videographer, so they are just videos taken on my phone).
Videos: Simply click the images to watch.
How to style a navy/white dress
How how to style a plain dress
How to style a patterned dress
How to style a pleated skirt.
It goes without saying that if you’d like help, I’d absolutely love to be let loose in your wardrobe and help you to discover the multiple outfits waiting to be found! Click here for more information: Wardrobe Edit & Capsule Wardrobe services.