Fashion Formula: How to Put Outfits Together

Featured Contributor: Jodie from Jodie Noted

This formula I’m about to share with you, which I’ve dubbed “The Fashion Formula”, I learned from my many hours of watching What Not To Wear. It’s a favorite show of mine and has taught me much about how to dress for my age, my body type, and my lifestyle. And let me tell you – this formula is golden. You won’t believe how easy it will make your life, from getting dressed every day to shopping for clothes to picking out accessories.  A sincere confession: that I don’t know much about fashion or clothes or style. Everything I know has been learned through others via TV, magazines, and totally stylish friends. I do not claim to be an expert. I simply find this information fun and quite helpful as I rummage through my closet each morning. I hope you will enjoy it as well.
Let’s break it down. Your outfit should consist of three main pieces: a basic piece, which is something solid and simple and an everyday staple. The second piece is an interest piece, which includes something with color, pattern, texture and/or shine. The third piece is the completer piece, which finishes the look and pulls everything together. A jacket or cardigan are the typical go-to completers, but a belt (skinny or wide) does the trick as well. I even think in some cases a long necklace could serve as a completer piece, especially when wearing a warm weather outfit and layers are out of the question. And of course the accessories are the fun little extras that make the outfit really you.
I’ve found a few examples to show you how each piece translates into an actual ensemble.
This outfit is by Garnet Hill. It’s simple, sleek, and the horse is a nice look too, right? The pattern on this blouse is the interest, but the ruffles on the jacket are a welcome addition as well.
This ensemble is by Forever21. There really isn’t much to it. The colors are neutral and the silhouette is simple. But it works because it has all the pieces that pull everything together.
This outfit from H&M kills me! (That skirt is less than $15. What?! Get me to their nearest store!) You’ll see that this outfit doesn’t really have accessories, as most outfits shown through online retailers don’t. You add the accessories when you get home. Some sparkly earrings or a shiny black bangle would look nice here, I think.
This outfit from Gap doesn’t really show the entire look, but I wanted to make a point that sometimes pieces can have multiple purposes. The pattern on this top serves as the interest, while the cinching at the waist serves as a completer look instead of, perhaps, a belt that could be worn if the top had more flow. But you could still add a cardigan to this and give it a more well-rounded look.
So there you have it. The formula at work!
A few additional thoughts…
-I can’t promise you my outfits always include every piece. I consider it a lucky and magical day when they do. It usually only happens on date night or for outings with girlfriends. When I’m spending the day being Mommy, I almost always end up donning the universal mom uniform: jeans and a t-shirt.
-When you can’t put all the pieces together, the most important part is that the fit is right. If you’re wearing clothes that are too big or small for you, nothing else that you add to it will work like it should. Fit is key!
-Whether you follow the formula or not, it does not determine your worth. When all else fails, wear what feels best for you. Be comfortable in your clothes and be comfortable in your own skin!
After all, you’re never fully dressed with out a smile.
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Inspired by Family Magazine

Jodie Hansen is a full-time mom and wife and part-time blogger. Uprooted from the gritty and fast-paced corporate world after becoming a mother, she now enjoys focusing on the simple joys in life and shares them on her blog for all to enjoy. When not blogging, Jodie can be found spending fun-filled time with family, curled up under a warm blanket with a good book, baking a fresh batch of sweets in the kitchen, or attempting to recreate a recently pinned craft or DIY project.

You can find Jodie at Jodie Noted.

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13 Responses to “Fashion Formula: How to Put Outfits Together”

  1. Abigail
    April 15, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    So true “After all your never fully dressed without a smile”!

  2. April 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Aah! Thank you! I love how you made it seem so simple and gave examples! I’ve been trying to be more stylish, yet “me” at the same time. This is it! 🙂

    • April 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

      Jillian, I know sometimes it’s hard to find that balance when you are reading fashion magazines but I think Jodie did a great job by addressing more general pieces instead of specifics.

  3. April 17, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    This is a great post, love all the examples! Thanks for linking up to Party Time at So Very Creative!

  4. April 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I love how you showed a bunch of different variations on the steps. It really helps give a great visual of how to pull this off.

  5. April 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing what you’ve learned! I like to have a recipe or formula, and this helps me out a lot. Been hating my wardrobe lately. I found you at Crafty Scrappy Happy Me Thursday. I’m Pinning your post, so I can come back to visit!

  6. April 23, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    This is great. I love how you broke it down too! I pinned this!

  7. April 10, 2013 at 2:13 am #

    Good post. I am experiencing many of these issues as well.


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