Tips for Composing a Complete Outfit

Do you wish you could create an outfit like those crawling on Pinterest boards and fashion blogs? Here are some tips that can help you pick out the perfect ensembles for work, leisure, or otherwise.

Tip #1: Take it one step at a time.

When designing an outfit, sometimes it is overwhelming how many choices there are (especially for us ladies). One tip I find helpful is to start with one item of clothing or accessory and go from there. If there is a certain top or necklace you want to include with the outfit, start there, then move on to another piece of your outfit and so on.

Tip #2: Play with color

Although there are no set rules in how to use color, there are some guidelines that can help you place colors together in an appealing way. There are several routes you could go, including complementary colors, contrasting colors, and playing with neutrals.

Complementary colors are of course those colors that are similar; they complement each other. This would mean pairing different shades of colors together or colors that are near each other on the color wheel. I also consider matching colors as part of this realm of color use.

You do have to be careful with complementary colors though since matching very similar colors that are not the same can look like you’re trying to pass one color off for another. For example, have you ever heard not to match navy with black? There are cases where this is untrue (I’ve paired brighter navy colors with black and it looks perfectly fine), if the navy color is very dark it looks like you’re trying to pass off the navy as black, which can look messy. Same goes for certain shades of red and pink.

Contrasting colors then are colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel, like green and red or blue and yellow. These color combos are bold and are a great way to show you are a super star outfit creator.

Very pretty, yes? Then last you have neutral color combos, which are best for professional outfits. But these color choices don’t have to be boring. Add a dash of color to a neutral outfit to make it bold.

Tip #3: Don’t over do it

So you knew this, right? It is pretty easy to go overboard with jewelry, patterns, and other accents, which not only takes away from your look, but is also just extremely uncomfortable for you. For patterns, try to stick to one pattern if you plan to use them. There are some scenarios where simple patterns that are similar look perfect together, but otherwise one type of pattern (may it be polka dot, plaid, or stripes) is plenty. For jewelry and other items there are no hard set rules, but usually you can tell on your own if it is too much. It is also a personal preference; some people like to go big while others…not so much. Either way is a-okay as long as you are comfortable.

Tip #4: Plan in advance

Simple as that, if you are going to spend an extended amount of time planning an outfit, do it the night before. You can also keep track of outfits you like by photographing or writing down what looks good together.

In addition, make sure you are keeping your closet in mind when shopping. Does that mean your closet needs to be all one color and style? No. But try to avoid buying items if you have nothing it will match. If it doesn’t match anything, you won’t wear it.

Tip #5: Take inspiration from others

Exploring blogs and other fashion images will help train your eye to notice what looks good together and what doesn’t. There are a variety of fashion bloggers from college students to teachers. A lot of these everyday bloggers have good ideas for mixing and matching clothing items from your typical stores. Some bloggers also tell their followers where they can buy the same clothing items (or for diys how to make your own).

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