1. Dress around one item, element or theme
Choose one part of your outfit and coordinate around that element. If you’re going to wear a statement blazer, don’t overpower that “statement” with an equally powerful pair of pants. If you want to highlight a pair of great heels, don’t hide them under a long maxi skirt or distract the eye away from them with too bold patterns on top. I’ll buy a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes because I love the way it looks or feels on me. Then, I find ways to pair items together and I keep a running list in my head (and organized in an app) of outfits that look good together.
2. Be aware of your mood
The way you feel impacts the way you wear your outfit. A great example for me is when I’m menstruating. I feel bloated, crampy and gross so I’ll usually save comfortable, tried and true outfits for those days. I’ll wear leggings with a tunic to hide the bloat instead of stuffing it into a pair of stiff pants. Or, I’ll opt for a shift dress instead of a fit and flare so I don’t feel like I have to my tummy in all day. I never wear white or light clothing (just in case!) and I stick to lower heels for the first and second painful days. However, if dressing in a colorful dress on a cloudy, gloomy day brightens your mood then by all means dress to put a smile on your face!
3. Plan out your outfits
I wish I could say that I’m so prepared that I plan out my outfits a week in advance but that’s simply not true. I do try thinking about what I’ll wear the night before and I’ll pair items in my head. Sometimes, if I have time, I’ll lay out my outfit for the next day but I do find visualizing your outfit for the next day while you’re lying in bed about to fall asleep really helps.
4. Keep back-ups and reliable outfits handy
Despite my best intentions to plan out my clothing, I’ll still have days where I feel like I have absolutely nothing to wear/nothing that fits me. On days like those, I’ll pull out my old faithfuls: black pants never go out of style and the everyday office “uniform” (skirt and blouse) are my back-ups. Make sure to keep your comfortable alternatives available for days when you feel nothing else will do.
5. Match patterns and colors
I’ll often wear contrasting colors or else colors in the same family. I firmly believe all colors look great on all skin tones and everyone can pull off any color they desire. I love wearing navy blues and corals (contrasting color) or I’ll stick in the same color family and wear browns, taupes and beiges. In terms of patterns, I try not to clash by giving bold patterns center stage without having them compete with other “big” patterns.
6. Experiment and make mistakes
I’m naturally drawn to the same color palettes and patterns. I guess humans are creatures of habit but I think getting out of your comfort zone is fun and can be rewarding when you discover a new look. I have barely any yellow clothing, for example. I used to think orange clashed on me. And it’s ok to make mistakes with your outfits. Not every outfit will be a winner.
7. Map out your closet
Currently, my closet is organized by clothing type: dresses with dresses, blazers with blazers and so on. That has worked for me for years but I’ve been meaning to try organizing my closet around colors. I’ve seen other women using colors to map out their outfits. It makes for a disorganized looking closet because all the lengths are different but it seems like a logical approach. However you decide to organize your closet, make sure it’s mapped out in your mind or in an app (I use Stylebook) so you can visualize outfits and pair them in your imagination.