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Having nice clothes is one thing, but actually creating outfits with those clothes is quite another.
Believe me, I’m all for capsule wardrobes. But your capsule wardrobe isn’t some magical style robot; it doesn’t actually have any good advice on how to style cute outfits. I knew I wanted to look stylish, but I had no idea how to go about it. I had no system in place, and each morning I felt like I was grasping at an entirely new set of straws in order to barely pull something together. Some days, I sort of got it right. And other days, I have to wonder where the heck I went wrong, because somehow I ended up looking like Jack Sparrow.
One day, I decided that once and for all, the time to figure out what exactly was so right about the outfits wins and what was so terribly wrong about the outfit fails was now.
I think one of the reasons why the capsule wardrobe phenomenon has grown so popular is due to the fact that we are rarely taught how to style outfits from the clothes that we already own. As children, we are taught the basics of matching: that everything matches with black and all tops match with jeans. We are taught how to look not mismatched, but not exactly how to be creative with our style. Because of this lack of style education, the idea of doing all your wardrobe planning at once and owning a wardrobe where every piece matches with everything else seems like a practical way to go. Personally, I think if that’s someone’s reason for owning a capsule wardrobe, then the wardrobe is a cop-out.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my capsule of basics that I rely on nearly every day. But I also love fashion, and I don’t like being limited to wearing only what is in my capsule wardrobe at any given time. I want to be able to go into my closet and see an array of different styles and a rainbow of colors, and still be able to put together an outfit that I feel like myself in. I take these steps whenever I want to put together an outfit that feels complete, comfortable, and stylish. Here’s how I do it.
before you start: check the weather
Obviously, the weather plays a huge part in deciding how you will dress for the day. Look at the range of temperatures for the times when you’ll be out, plus a little longer. Keep this in mind as you piece together your outfit.
Also take note of other weather anomalies, such as rain, snow, or wind. You wouldn’t want to wear a loose hat when it’s forecast to be super windy out. That wouldn’t be fun.
step 1: select your statement piece
Every outfit has to start somewhere, and by that, I mean with one individual piece. I used to make the mistake of trying first to picture the look I wanted in my head, and then grabbing pieces that I thought would work. Unless you are in possession of a super photographic memory, plus an an entire mall’s worth of clothing options, this isn’t going to work. You have to walk before you can run.
Instead of thinking about what kind of outfit you want to end up with, zero in on one piece that you really want to wear. This can be a statement piece, or your favorite pair of jeans. It doesn’t matter what the piece is. All that matters is that you definitely want to wear this item today.
step 2: decide on a color palette
The next step is to decide which direction you want to take the outfit in terms of color. This determines the “vibe” of the resulting outfit, so choose wisely. Use this decision as a guide while you grab what you need to complete your base outfit, whether it be a top or bottom. (If you selected a dress or jumpsuit as your statement piece, then you’re already a step ahead!)
NEUTRAL OR COLORFUL?
If your statement piece is a colorful one, do you want to run with that color, or do you want to tone it down? Figuring out how bright you want the outfit to end up will help you narrow down your options, which is what we want.
WARMS VS. JEWEL TONES
If you’ve chosen to go colorful, I suggest sticking to either warm tones or jewel tones within one outfit. Colors from each family will complement one another, rather than compete. By warm tones, I mean reds, oranges, yellows, and rusty shades. With jewel tones, I’m talking about greens, blues, purples, and fuchsia.
BLACKS OR BROWNS?
Regardless of whether you chose warm tones or jewel tones, (or neutral all round,) you will probably need to round out your outfit with some neutrals, even if only in your accessories. You can choose to tie your outfit together with the blacks family, which includes shades of gray, black, and white. I find this good for more formal occasions or times when I want to feel fierce. For a more casual vibe, I suggest going with the browns family, including shades of brown, beige, and cream.
Tip: Be sure to consider undertones in your statement piece when deciding on complementary neutral colors. Remember, like tones match best with like tones. Warm tones with warm tones, and cool tones with cool tones.
step 3: add a third piece
IF WEATHER ALLOWS, you can add a jacket, coat, sweater, cardigan, vest, or over-shirt to your outfit. This can help your outfit look more dynamic and interesting. Remember to stick with the color palette that you chose in the previous step!
IF IT’S WARM, you’ll need to get a bit more creative with layering, but that’s part of the fun! Choose an accessory that stands out against the rest of the outfit. (In a complementary color, of course.) You’ll want this item to add as much punch and be as visible as any other layering piece would be. As opposed to an accessory that blends in and “enhances” the clothing that’s already there. (Hope this makes sense!) It can come in the form of a statement belt, costume jewelry, a silk scarf, a hat, or visible cutesy socks, just to name a few.
For more warm weather style suggestions, check out this post >> Warm Weather Outfits || How To Layer When It’s Hot & Look Stylish
step 4: add “necessary” accessories
SELECT PRACTICAL SHOES for whatever it is you are doing. This is non-negotiable. We’ve all heard the saying, “Nothing kills an outfit like the wrong pair of shoes.” Well, do you know what kills an outfit even faster than the wrong shoes? You slumping home early in defeat because your feet are screaming at you.
SELECT A HANDBAG that makes sense for what you need to carry. Be realistic. Also, make sure the bag you select is capable of withstanding what you plan to put it through. Think about the weather, items you’ll be carrying, and where you will need to set the handbag down. True story: don’t take your designer suede out on a rainy day, I learned that lesson the hard way.
GRAB NECESSARY ITEMS depending on the weather. These include things like hats, scarves, gloves, and sunglasses.
step 5: add “fashion” accessories
This is the last step for a reason. There will be times when your outfit doesn’t warrant extra accessories, and that’s okay. But if you’ve got a bit of extra “plain-ness” left over, accessories are a fun way to add personality to your final looks. This is my formula that helps me avoid going overboard.
PICK 3 OF THE FOLLOWING: Earrings, necklaces, bracelets/bangles, statement rings, or a flashy watch. Not all of them at once. Pick only one or two if you already have more than a couple of “necessary” accessories in your outfit.
PICK 1: A hat, scrunchie, hair clips, headband, bandana, anklet, or chain belt. These are optional, but I like adding them to basic outfits.
DO I NEED A BELT? Personally, I like wearing belts and I’ll add one pretty much anytime I have belt loops on my pants. I just feel like it makes the outfit look more complete. Unless I’ve chosen a particularly wild belt, I don’t count it against my accessories allowance. A basic leather belt with a subtle buckle in brown or black is always classy. As always, I select one that complements my color palette.
That’s all for today!
Like this post? You’ll probably find this one helpful too >> Style Hacks: The Ultimate Guide! || How To Look Stylish Everyday
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Till next time ♥︎
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FTC- Not sponsored by any brands mentioned. I purchase all products myself. All opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliated.