Do you want to learn how to put an outfit together that always looks good? This step-by-step guide will teach you everything you need to know for chic and easy outfit creation!
If you’re struggling with putting an outfit together, you’re not the only one. With multitudes of styling methods out there and a closet full of clothes, it’s easy to get lost in all the details.
Thankfully, I’ve devised a simple approach to create outfits that actually works. It works every single time, in fact. I can attest to its effectiveness because upon using it, I’ve LOVED every outfit I’ve created. Not like. LOVE. We’re all about LOVE on What Is She Wearing.
Now, that’s a winning approach in my opinion.
This styling method uses the same thought process that goes through my head each day I get dressed. How did it come about? Through the combination of my research and experimentation; then things began to flow naturally.
Learning to put outfits together is like getting to know yourself better. The more you’re in touch with your truth, wants, needs, and desires, the better equipped you’ll be when choosing outfits that look amazing, even when simple.
As we go through life changes, so might our style. This method transcends those changes, so you can always create a winning look at any age or stage of life.
This post will teach you my method to style outfits with precision and conviction, purposely designing the right look to take you through your day, evening, or event.
This post is all about how to put an outfit together.
Putting An Outfit Together
1. Outfit Goals: Begin With The End In Mind
The first step in putting an outfit together is to identify the goals of your outfit. This is a quick awareness check of the following factors that will drive the look you go for.
If you have a huge wardrobe, this also helps narrow down your choices immediately. And honestly, the fewer choices the easier, which is why the capsule wardrobe is so effective.
Factors In Outfit Creation
- Where are you going? (location, outdoors/indoors, fancy/casual)
- What are you doing?
- Who will you see?
- When are you going? (season, day of the week, time of day)
- How do you want to look? (the impression you want your outfit to portray)
This process should only take a minute while you brush your teeth, shower, or get ready for bed the prior evening.
Identifying these factors will help you focus on choosing an outfit that aligns with your goals, even if they’re as insignificant as running errands.
If some of these questions are partially “up in the air” (e.g. you’re not sure who you’ll see or maybe you’ll go out for drinks after work), then you assume all of those things are happening. This way your outfit will be on point if and when you do run into that friend from high school or that guy you like.
2. Choose Your Main Piece
The next step of how to build an outfit is to choose a main piece to design your look around. For me, I usually have a piece in mind that I want to wear. If you need a little inspiration, browse your wardrobe and choose an item that pops out to you (i.e. the item positively gets your attention).
Once you identify your main piece, take it out and spend a moment looking at it.
- Does it give you good vibes?
- Do you love the item?
- Does it fit you well?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no” or you feel any negative thoughts arising, put the item back and go for another piece.
You can only elevate your look by styling with pieces you love.
3. Determine Your Outfit Color Scheme
The third step of putting outfits together is to determine your color scheme. In all color schemes, choose one color as your primary color (or base color) showcased the most in your outfit. Any additional colors are less represented. A base color helps cohesively ground your outfit, instead of looking “all over the place” or “thrown together.”
Here are the suggested color schemes for how to look put together:
Dichromatic Outfits (Two-Color Outfits)
Trichromatic Outfits (Three-Color Outfits)
Multicolor Outfits (Four Colors Or More)
Outfit Building Tips Using Color
- Start with your main piece and build your color scheme from there
- If your main piece is color-blocked or has more than one solid color (but isn’t a pattern or print), choose one of those colors as your primary color
- Prints should contain at least one color in your outfit unless you’re styling with a monochromatic outfit
- If your main piece is printed or patterned, select one of the colors in the print to be your primary color
- Keep colors in the same hue, i.e. warm, cool, or neutral
- Outfits with two or more colors should always have a dominant or primary color and taper down for additional colors (i.e. colors should not compete with each other)
4. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of The Third Piece
Most people style a top and a bottom and call it a day. Enter the third piece, the item that can take an outfit from basic and boring to stylish and put-together.
Why add a third piece you ask?
This premise is based on the rule of thirds, a popular design concept that breaks an image or frame into groups of three, where the subject is placed in 1/3 of the frame. The concept is similar to the golden ratio, which is 2:3, and what is seen repeatedly throughout the natural world such as with flowers, sea shells, and even the galaxy. Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is one of the most popular created works using the golden ratio.
Groups of three are aesthetically pleasing whether it’s an outfit or a vignette on a nightstand.
Adding a jacket is the most obvious third piece, but a cardigan or button-down shirt works as well. Here are some other ways to add a third piece.
Related Post: Fashion Tips And Tricks | 8 Ways to Elevate Your Basics
5. Choose Your Footwear Wisely
If you skip out on footwear when you build your outfit, you’re missing out. Footwear is one of the most important elements of a stylish look (if not the most important, at times).
People notice footwear, so it should be the first part of your outfit to elevate when styling. A nice pair of shoes can make a budget outfit look classy and expensive.
As long as you aren’t going somewhere you’ll trash your shoes or you have a work outfit, step up your shoe game. Always opt for dressing your outfit up with your shoes (as opposed to dressing down).
Keep up with shoe maintenance whether it’s shining leather, cleaning white sneakers, or getting soles replaced, so you can always put your best foot forward.
6. Add One Contrasting Item
Put together outfits always have at least one contrasting piece to create interest. Ever heard the term “one-note”? When everything is the same with your outfit, it falls on the bland side.
The best way to add contrast is with shapes, texture, or different materials. Match a pair of wide-leg trousers with a fitted top. A leather belt does wonders to add contrast to a matching silk set. A plush jacket adds a softness to an edgy LBD and combat boots.
Other ways to add contrast to your outfit are through color, masculine/feminine, different styles and aesthetics, and modern/vintage.
How To Put An Outfit Together Tips
- If you don’t own matching outerwear, choose the closest matching jacket or coat. If you’re bundling up for winter, you can match your outerwear together as one look, with your actual look underneath.
- Find the most flattering clothes and styles by learning how to dress your body shape.
- Wearing a long coat (below the hips) with a dress or skirt? The styling looks best when the outerwear has a longer or even hemline than the clothes underneath.
- Ditch unhealthy fashion rules that limit you from experimenting (e.g. white after Labor Day)
- Use vertical lines and column dressing to create the illusion of length if you’re petite
- Avoid hiding your body in baggy clothes, especially if you’re plus size. Instead, showcase your best features (YES YOU, we all have them!).
- Repeat your favorite looks, but change up one piece to keep things fresh.
- Use wardrobe planning to set your clothes up each season for easy styling
This post was all about how to put an outfit together