Many people want to put together a new and unique look for themselves by pairing clothes together in novel ways. But the trouble is, how do you dress in a way no one else does without looking silly or out of place? Five basic principles can help you create pairings that look new and attractive at the same time.
Even if you are not a natural trendsetter, you do have an inner sense of style. Trust it and try breaking some rules. For instance, mix polka dots and plaids, but just make sure it looks deliberate, not haphazard. Another option is to repurpose clothing. Turn a large men's shirt into a dress by adding a belt and leggings, for example. Be creative.
Think About Scale
Your size has a lot to do with whether a certain look works on you. Tall people, for example, look good in many flowing layers, but on petite people, loose clothing just looks oversized. Try pairing one flowing garment with something fitted, so you do not get lost in your clothing. By the same principle, three-quarter sleeves work on petite people, but on tall people, it just looks like the shirt is too small.
Explore One Piece
Pick one item, like a favourite pair of Ralph Lauren jeans, or a certain style, like skinny jeans, and combine it with many different blouses. For example, try your jeans with a fitted top and a loose jacket one day and a funky jumper the next. Once you get a sense of new ensembles, choose a different piece to play with.
Go For Balance
Make sure nothing draws the eye to only one part of your outfit, or you look unbalanced. For example, to pair a big, boxy winter jacket with tight leggings, make sure an accent piece makes your lower body stand out so you do not look top-heavy. Brightly coloured leggings or maybe some fantastic shoes might do the trick. Conversely, you can pair a full skirt with a tight top as long as the top, or an accessory, like a shawl, can grab its share of attention.
Look in the Mirror
Finally, check to see your outfit is really the look you want. If your all-black outfit says goth when you meant it to be elegant, go back to the drawing board. Think of clothing as a language and particular pieces as the words you put together to say something. Sometimes, switching out just one piece changes the whole message. If your vintage ensemble just looks plain dated, for example, add one contemporary piece to make the whole outfit look fresh.