Styling strategies for adding interest to an outfit are as personal as our sartorial choices. I have found though, working with clients and styling my own outfits, that there are five very common approaches that are very successful.
1. Colour, Pattern, Texture & Shine
Adding colour, pattern, texture and shine to an outfit is bound to make it pop. Add all four attributes to one outfit, or use a few at a time. You can be bold by wearing a bright outfit that pattern mixes with patent shoes and faux fur, or stick to neutrals with lots of texture. Shine and texture needn’t be as overt as wearing shiny clothing, metallic footwear, and faux fur. For example, I wear eye make-up, light lipstick, clear nail-polish, and chunky white pearls because it adds shine and texture to my outfits.
Colour needn’t mean wearing brights from head to toe. It can mean wearing a tonal grey and white outfit with a pale blue bag instead of a black one. You can leave the colour and pattern to the accessory component of your style, and add texture by wearing your hair curly instead of straight.
2. Irregular Juxtaposition
This means combining items that you wouldn’t necessarily wear together because the combination might be thought of as jarring or traditionally unstylish. Codswallop to all of it, because irregular juxtaposition is one way of making an outfit look interesting.
These days one can wear fashion sneakers and athletic sneakers with just about anything. Utility jackets look fab with pretty lace dresses, and boho tops are fun with combat pants and shorts. Sport cowboy boots with ballgowns, and denim jackets with cocktail dresses. Oversized toppers look fab with flared skirts, and moto jackets are lovely with frilly prairie frocks. Shorts can be worn with sweatshirts and boots, wearing multiple brights in one outfit is yummy, and so is combining zebra, giraffe and leopard patterns. Of course, you can wear black with navy or chocolate brown, and by all means mix warm and cool tones in one outfit. Wearing volume over volume can be fun and awfully comfortable, and socks in sandals can look super cute. Why not!?
3. Highlighting Your Best-To-You Features
We each have a set of attributes that we like to highlight in outfits because it can create the right pop. Some like to define their waist, while others like to showcase their legs, arms or décolletage. Some sport low back necklines because they like their backs. Long necks love the coverage of a scarf or high neckline, and lovely hands like the addition of statement rings. You might like wearing sandals more frequently because you like your feet. Those with big eyes might like to wear eye make-up because it makes their eyes look even bigger and brighter. Whatever your best-to-you features are, accentuating them is a great way to add interest to an outfit.
Bookending means that you’ve styled an outfit so that the top and bottom of it match in colour. Doing this makes an outfit look interesting and cohesive. For example, white, cream, bone, and gold footwear looks great with shades of light blonde hair. Shades of tan, taupe, mushroom and pewter footwear are great with dark blonde hair. Burgundy and blue footwear are great with hair that’s streaked with burgundy or blue. And shades of grey and silver are gorgeous with grey and salt & pepper hair.
Eyewear that matches your shoes or bottoms is another way of bookending, as is wearing a necklace, scarf, or big pair of earrings with a matching pair of shoes. I wear white footwear to bookend my platinum blonde hair and to bookend my white pearl necklaces.
5. Statement Hair & Eyewear
Having statement hair and combining it with bold eyewear will add interest to an outfit before addressing the outfit. Statement hair can mean anything from having a mane of cascading locks to a shaved head that showcases no hair at all. It can mean rainbow hair, a bold cut, an asymmetrical silhouette, punk looks, stick straight long hair in immaculate condition, intricate braiding, intricate streaking, wild and woolly textures, spiked and disconnected styles, or adding an eye-catching hair accessory. Adding specs or sunnies that are bright, bold, big, eccentric or quirky adds another layer of interest.
I often feel that the modern classic and modern retro wardrobe items that I enjoy wearing are neutralized with my statement platinum short blonde hair and bold eyewear. I wouldn’t feel as sartorially balanced if I sported a classic hairstyle and subtle specs.
Over to you. I’m sure you use one or more of these styling strategies daily. Let’s hear all about it.