When it comes to fashion, one of the main things is taking chances. This means wearing that outfit you love but feel others may look at you strangely for. Or pairing together two (or three!) patterns you’ve never worn together before. Fashion is constantly growing and changing with it, which means we have to follow in suit. In order to do this, we have to step out of our comfort zones and try something new. If we never tried anything new, fashion would never change and everyone would look the same—who would want this?
With this in mind, there is an art to pairing together new clothing and accessory items, especially when it comes to color and print. Typically, you will see an average outfit composed of one print (if that) and two to three main colors; this is a standard for creating outfits—that is if you want to play it safe. We’re not playing it safe today. The three main ways to switch up an outfit and step into the unknown is to 1) mix and match different prints, 2) pair uncommon yet complementary colors or choose one sole color, or 3) combine multiple different styles into one.
The first and quite simple option to switching your common outfit and overall style is to mix and match different prints. This can either be achieved very successfully or result in a complete mess, as not all prints will work together in this way. The key is to experiment and find what works for you. A good print to mix with others is floral; this combined with either stripes or polka dots can turn into a girly, punk look in an instant, especially when paired with black items. Often it is advised to stay away from layering the same prints over top each other, though an exception is large stripes paired with small stripes—such as a shirt with two-color thin, horizontal stripes with a sweater overthrow featuring large, horizontal, wider stripes. When wearing stripes, though, avoid pairing together opposite stripe orientations (i.e., vertical and horizontal in one outfit). Another pairing to try is a striped shirt with a plaid flannel over top. This creates an playful indie vibe possibly new to you.
Keep in mind when pairing different prints together, no matter how similar or different the pattern, since that will create a new and slightly overwhelming look, it is advised to stay rather neutral or at least conservative with color choices. Allow one or two main, brighter colors to compose your printed look.
Another option for stepping into the unknown of fashion is by pairing either uncommon yet complementary colors together or choosing solely one color for the entire outfit. Both choices will catch the onlookers’ eye. For the first, choose two rather different yet complementary colors—which I mean via the color wheel, like blue and orange, yellow and purple, red and green. Creating an outfit based on two individual complementary colors will stand out immensely as most people choose to stay away from such bold colors paired together at one time. Possibly, then, wear a bright orange shirt paired with a lightweight blue jean jacket, a light yellow top with a purple cardigan, or a solid red dress with green accents. Mix it up and try one of these new creations, you are sure to find one you love.
If you want to try something even further eye-catching, choose one sole color and create an entire outfit based with only that color or shades of that color. Often this is done with blacks, such as starting with black skinny jeans and a simple black top, then topping with a black sweater and all black shoes like Converse or heels. There is controversy over whether or not all gray outfits work, but you can rock anything if you have enough confidence. From this, though, try this concept out with brighter colors than neutral blacks, grays, and whites. Pick your favorite color and try that first. If you don’t have colored pants, or don’t want to go all in yet, pick a color and pair that with a simple pair of jeans as a baseline. Maybe try a basic yellow top with a similarly yellow sweater overthrow and mustard yellow boots, or if you prefer darker colors try out a combination of reds, maroons, and burgundy’s. All in all, follow the same guidelines no matter the color and you are sure to catch many eyes.
The final and most fun way to switch up everyday outfits is to combine multiple different styles into one outfit. This truly is just as easily said as it is done. Everyone is bound to own various styles of clothing, ranging from sporty T-shirts to graphic tees, boho skirts to colored khakis, sundresses to business ware, sandals to tennis shoes, and much more. Essentially when following these guidelines all you need to do is pick one of two to three styles to change up the game. Grab your favorite sundress but pair it with some cute tennis or lace-up shoes like Vans and finish with a casual business blazer. Or, instead, tie up a vintage graphic tee and slip into a cute skirt, topping the look with a jean jacket, clunky heels, and a simple baseball cap. These ideas may sound absolutely ridiculous to you, but open your closet, find the clothing and accessory items you think have no use anymore, and put them all together for a new and fun creation. This is not to say that quite possibly one or more of these varieties will not look good together, because some are bound to look like a train wreck, but that is why you have fun with it and try them out first!
We were always taught since we were kids to try new things, apply this to your style this season and see what new combinations you come up with and maybe you’ll even fall in love (with a style, that is!).