Do you find that the process of putting together your outfit each morning adds an additional ten to fifteen minutes to your morning routine? You’re not alone. Many of my clients complain that it takes them an inordinate amount of time to put together an interesting outfit that is a bit different to the same old same old.
I work with my personal styling clients to create new outfits from the items already existing in their wardrobes. Here are the five steps I use to style a fabulous outfit and that you can use every day to the same effect.
1. Check the Weather and your diary
This sounds too obvious to actually count, but what the weather is going to do on any given day will dictate what you wear. And if you’re going to follow the next four steps, each of them will be informed by weather-appropriateness. Rain? Choose your shoes accordingly. Changeable weather? Think about layers you can remove and put on as the day progresses. Windy? Avoid the floaty skirt, unless you’re into a little exhibitionism.
Your diary also holds the key to the next few choices you’re going to make. Important client meeting followed by drinks with friends after work? Nothing to crazy, but fun enough to wear to a bar and not feel like a dork.
2. Start with one piece
Keeping in mind the data from Step 1, choose your starting piece. I often start with the shoes based on the weather, but in the case of the outfit pictured, I started with the skirt, because it’s pretty fabulous and I love it.
Your starting point will often be the hero piece of the outfit. So it could be the latest item you bought and are dying wear. Or it could be a statement necklace that is going to do all the talking for you that day. Or it could be your favourite, fail-safe, most comfortable pair of jeans. Whatever it is, be decisive, take your pick and run with it.
3. create balance
This step is key. It’s about complementing your starting piece, creating contrast and balance. For the outfit pictured, the skirt makes quite the statement with its luxe look and light colour. So to create a contrast, I added a plain t-shirt and more conservative blazer.
Contrasts can take many forms. If your starting piece is fancy, tone it down with something casual. If it’s colourful, balance it with a neutral. If its a loud print, contrast with something plain, or (controversially) a co-ordinating print. If it’s voluminous, create balance in the silhouette with something fitted.
4. style it
Once you have the outfit together, play around with the styling. Could you ruche up the sleeves? Add a belt? Tuck the top into the waistband in a more flattering/interesting way? (see my guide to tucking styles here). Turn up the bottom of the trousers? Get creative and see how you can transform the look with a few simple styling tricks.
5. Add something unexpected
This is where it gets interesting. I usually try to add an unexpected element to each outfit. In this case (pictured) it was the white cowboy boots. Not an obvious choice for such a feminine and pretty skirt.
Your “something unexpected” could be an item of jewellery, a fabulous shoe, an oversize scarf, statement outerwear. If you have something in your wardrobe that you bought on a whim but never wear because you later realised it’s a little ostentatious, now is the time to incorporate it into your daily repertoire. Just make sure it’s all balanced.
If you want to find out more about my personal styling services, you can read about them here.