Your Style Challenges Tackled! Day 4: Building an Outfit

Dressing


One of the most common concerns I hear from women is that they don’t know how to create or build an outfit. (Which is why it’s the topic of today’s Challenge!)

What they don’t realize is that putting an outfit together is as simple as 1-2-3, or in this case, 1-2-3-4-5.

So if you too struggle with building outfits, here are 5 easy steps that will help youcreate the perfect outfit for any occasion:

 

Challenge 4: Building an Outfit

 

Step 1: Gather Your Intel

The very first (and most important) thing you need to do before you get started is to know what you’re going to be doing, how you want to feel or who you want to be.

Are you running errands and want to be comfortable? Are you going out for lunch with clients and need to be the polished professional? Or is it Girls Night Out and you want to look and feel sexy?

You also need to consider the logistics. What’s the weather like? How will you be getting to where you’re going? Will you be walking far or stepping in and out of a car? Will the temperature be consistent or do you need to layer up?

Once you have everything figured out, keep this info in mind as you continue through the rest of the steps.

Step 2: Pick Your Base

The second step is all about picking your base. Not your underwear (those you pick to suit your base), but your first layer of clothing – your top and bottom. Your choices can be as simple or as elaborate as you want or need them to be – depending upon everything you’ve considered in Step 1.

There are a few ways to pick your base pieces…

Option A: The easiest way to choose your base pieces is to choose only one base piece – a dress, romper or jumpsuit. No need to worry about what goes with what, which colours to pair together, or which pieces to mix and match.

Another way to start with something simple, is to choose a basic top and bottom in a solid colour – a T-shirt and jeans or pants, blouse and skirt, tank top and shorts etc. These are simple, straightforward basics that aren’t necessarily standout or wow pieces on their own, but it’s what you do to them or what you add later that will pull the whole outfit together and make it fabulous.

Option B: The next option when picking your base, is to Start with the Star of the show. You may have a fabulous item, whether it’s a piece of clothing (like a sequin top), an accessory (like a statement necklace) or a fabulous shoe, that you want to be the center of attention. In that case, choose your other base piece (or pieces) to complement the star, not compete with it.

Option C: The third option is to Go for Interest – dress in opposites or contrasts, include patterns or prints or play with colour. (Choosing your base pieces when you’re going for interest can be a bit tricky. But once you know the basics, you can create some pretty fabulous outfits.)

Step 3: Add Your Layers

Now that you’ve got your base pieces, it’s time to add some layers. If you’re choosing to keep your outfit simple or the weather outside doesn’t call for anything more, skip this step. But if you need an extra layer (or two) to keep warm or complete your outfit, now’s the time to choose it.

Layering pieces can be shirts, vests, cardigans, sweaters or blazers. How many pieces you add and the choices you make will all depend on Steps 1, 2, and you.

Generally speaking, when layering, vary textures and fabric thicknesses. The layers closest to your body should be the thinnest fabrics and sit closest to your body. Increase thickness and bulk the further you move away from your body. (If you wear something extremely thick and bulky underneath a thinner, more streamlined or form-fitting garment, it can look odd and like you’re bigger than you truly are.)

You’ll also want to vary lengths too. If you’re layering, don’t hide it. Varying the lengths of the pieces you’re wearing makes it obvious that you have multiple items on.

Step 4: Choose Your Shoes

If you’re a shoe lover like me, this is the best part. If you’re not a shoe lover and consider your shoe choices to be unimportant and purely functional, then consider this – in some cases, shoes can make or break an outfit.

If you’re trying to pull off a really great look, your shoes need to reflect and coincide with your clothing choices. They need to relate to the mood and feel of what you’re trying to create (above and beyond being practical).

Shoes can also be the show stopper in your outfit – the focal point. Decide whether you want them to stand out or blend in. Then choose your pair accordingly.

Step 5: Accessorize

I wrote about bracelets yesterday and touched on accessories in general, but just to reiterate, accessories pull your whole outfit together and complete your look. Many women don’t take this final and most crucial step and then feel unfinished.

When most people think of accessories, they automatically think of jewelry. Eye glasses, watches, belts, scarves, hats and handbags are more often than not functional pieces, but they’re also considered accessories. Treat them as such and factor in their effect on your whole look when getting dressed.

I could do a whole post on accessorizing, but since I’ve taken up much of your valuable time today I’ll just say this – accessories draw attention to whichever body part they sit on or near. So consider where you’re drawing attention and if it’s right for your body shape, proportions and your overall look.

Final Consideration:

Don’t forget the power of hair and makeup – technically not part of your outfit, but equally important. You could be dressed to the nines, but if your hair and makeup (or lack thereof) are a disaster, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing.

That said, neither have to be elaborate or overly done. Just a touch of care sometimes is all you need.