Outfit Construction, Pt. 1

Outfit Construction, Pt. 1


Here are a few tips and tricks for putting together an outfit – I’ll be using the outfits above as reference.  I find it’s helpful to have a strategy, because the time I get dressed (morning), is also the time when I have the hardest time making decisions (because morning).
Start with the item of clothing you like most.  I like dresses, but dresses are so easy, they are almost cheating for this exercise….so I’ll do tops.  I like tops.  Notice, I’ve used the same top for Outfit No. 1 and Outfit No. 2.  It’s a cool top.  It has a lot of colors I like, the floral print reminds me of Liberty of London, and the high neck is nice.  So that’s where I’ll start.
Okay.  We’ve got the shirt.  It’s navy, so I wouldn’t wear dark wash jeans with it.  I have reasons for this.  Either the dark jeans will match the navy top (head-to-toe navy) or the jeans will be slightly lighter or darker (and it will look like the top and jeans were supposed to match, but somebody miscalculated and now it’s awkward).  Contrasting is easier than matching.  Always.  
I like to keep things streamlined for the bottom half of my outfit.  In Outfit 1, I’ve picked a gray a-line skirt – nice and basic, a contrast to the navy, and not too full and not too restricting.  For extra flattery, choose a skirt with a waistband that fits at the natural waist, then tuck your shirt in.  If the idea of tucking your shirt in makes you hyperventilate a little bit, breathe.  It’s okay.  Pick a cardigan or a jacket, button at the waist, and you’ll be able to tell time by your hourglass figure.
For Outfit 2, I’ve picked trousers that are simple and fitted, in a nice military green color to provide that color contrast.
To finish this outfit off, pick a cardigan or a jacket that isn’t bulky, but has some drape and movement.  This softens up the look and makes it more comfy and casual.  I do love a colorful cardigan – it just brightens up the day.  My chartreuse cardigan gets thrown on over everything – it’s one of my most-worn pieces.
Outfit 1 = Floral Top + Fitted Skirt (in contrasting color) + Bright Cardigan
Outfit 2 = Floral Top + Tailored Trousers (in contrasting color) + Draped Jacket
Now here’s the fun part – we can generalize this equation and it can be really flexible and useful.  Like fashion algebra.
(piece you like) + (fitted piece) + (softer piece) = your fashion decision for the day
Here’s an example, starting with something different – you have this polka dot skirt and it’s making you happy. GRAB IT.  The skirt has a little more volume, so choose a knit shirt in a contrasting color, then elevate the look with a fitted jacket.
Polka Dot Skirt (happy) + Structured Jacket (fitted) + Knit Shirt (soft + contrast) = YAY!
Play around with it.  It’s fun.
Do you have any fashion decisions that seem especially difficult?  Any concerns about what will look good on you?  Feel free to leave a question in the comments section, because I’d love to help out.  My goal is to make getting dressed a happy part of your morning.  Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Outfit Construction, Pt. 1

  1. So: I wanted to do this, but you rely on a jacket or outerwear to make a 3rd piece for this equation. What do you suggest when one lives in warmer climates where a jacket or cardigan is really unnecessary?


    1. It’s all about balance. Start with the piece you like, then balance it out. If it’s a print, add a neutral (or a print that can act like a neutral). If it’s flowy, add something structured. I get cold in air-conditioning, so I tend to wear a cardi or a jacket to work, but in the summer, it can get too hot! Great question 🙂


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