How to Pick out an Outfit

Four Parts:Putting Together the Base OutfitAdding LayersAccessorizing the OutfitSetting Up and Organizing Your Wardrobe

Picking out an outfit can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure where to start. By learning a few simple tricks, you’ll easily be choosing perfect outfits in no time. The key is to first spend a little time organizing your wardrobe, and then get the hang of building an outfit, piece by piece. Once you get the process down, picking out outfits will start to be fun instead of overwhelming!

Part 1
Putting Together the Base Outfit

  1. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 1
    Check the weather forecast.[1] Do this before you even open your closet. If you know it’s going to be a rainy day, this will eliminate a lot of your choices right off the bat, making it easier to pick something out.
    • For instance, if it’s going to be a cloudless summer day, you can bypass most of your closet and go straight to the sleeveless items, shorts, skirts and t-shirts.
    • Knowing what the weather will be like allows you to make the most informed decision about your outfit.
  2. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 2
    Dress for the occasion.[2] Before picking out an outfit, know where you’re going and what you’ll be doing while you’re out. Are you running errands? You’ll probably want to wear something comfortable. Lunch with friends? Look for something casual but cute. A day at the office? Build an outfit that looks professional. Are you going out clubbing or spending a night out on the town? Sleek and stylish items are the way to go.
    • It’s particularly helpful to know what you’ll be doing when you’re choosing which shoes to wear. For instance, if you’ll be spending a day at the park, you probably won’t want to wear heels or dress shoes.
    • Factor in whether or not you’ll be doing a lot of walking, getting in and out of cars, or spending a significant amount of time outdoors when choosing your outfit.
  3. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 3
    Choose a top, suit or dress as a first layer.[3] Rather than trying to build an outfit around a pair of shoes or a particular jacket, start by choosing your base items. In general, you only have 3 options for your first layer – a top (you’ll want to pick this out before your bottom piece), a two piece suit or a dress. Once you pick out your base, then start building your outfit based around that.
    • If you need a casual outfit, start by choosing your top. Go with a cute tank top or cotton t-shirt that you can pair with your favorite jeans. Or, if the weather will be warm and you’ll be outside, try a casual sundress or khaki cargo shorts.
    • If you need something sleek and professional, start with a nice top made out of quality material, like a silk blouse, or something well-tailored, like a button down dress shirt. You can then pair that with black trousers or a pencil skirt.
    • For your base layer, you’ll want to start with the thinnest materials first. You’ll add volume and thickness later, if desired, by choosing additional layers.
  4. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 4
    Select a bottom. Once you’ve settled on a top, choosing a bottom piece will be much easier.[4] Base your choice for the bottom piece on the style of the top you’ve already picked out. Pair t-shirts with skinny jeans or leggings for a casual look. If you’ve chosen a pretty blouse or a short sleeve dress shirt to wear to a nice dinner, go with sleek black pants/trousers or a black skirt.
    • If you’ve chosen a dress, a bottom piece is optional. The only bottom pieces you’d need to consider would be tights or leggings to go underneath the dress.
    • Going about it in this way allows you to build your outfit, piece by piece. Each new decision you make is informed by what you’ve already chosen.
  5. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 5
    Choose fitting undergarments for your base. Technically, undergarments make up your “first layer” because they are closest to your skin, but you can’t make an informed decision about underthings until you have your base outfit picked out. Choose the items that work best with your outfit.
    • For instance, a t-shirt and jeans would call for a simple bra top and panties or boxer briefs.
    • A dress may require a strapless bra, or no bra at all, depending on the style and cut.
    • If you’ve chosen tight-fitting pants, be aware of possible underwear lines.
    • If you’ve chosen a top that’s somewhat sheer, you may want to also put on a lightweight tank top so that your bra isn’t visible.[5]

Part 2
Adding Layers

  1. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 6
    Add a third piece.[6] Once you’ve settled on a top and bottom, adding a third piece will pull the outfit together and make you feel more polished. Examples of third pieces that work well are a cropped jacket, a cardigan, a funky hoodie, a faux fur vest or even just a long sleeved button down shirt to go over your short sleeves if you expect it to be chilly. Mix it up by adding a patterned third layer over solids.
    • If your base outfit is monochrome or features solid colors, choose a bolder third piece to accent.
    • For instance, liven up a black top and pants with a brightly colored or patterned cardigan or sweater.[7]
    • Add a casual flannel button down over a t-shirt and jeans to pull the outfit together and make it more interesting.
    • If you’ve chosen a boldly striped top, try a sharp solid colored blazer over it.
  2. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 7
    Play with colors and textures. Layered pieces allow you to do all sorts of interesting things with color and texture that will make your outfit truly stand out. Wear a soft knit cardigan over a silk top to add texture to your outfit. Or add texture by putting a belted, faux fur vest over a trendy sleeveless top and sleek skinny jeans.
    • Another example would be a button down cotton dress shirt topped with a tweed blazer.
    • If your top and bottom are both solid colors, try adding a third piece in another bright, solid color to make it really pop.
    • For instance, a black top and bright red jeans could be jazzed up with a bright blue cropped jacket.
    • Another example would be pairing black dress trousers and a dark grey button down dress shirt royal blue blazer.
  3. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 8
    Consider an additional layer. Once you’ve chosen a third piece, you may or may not want to add another layer to your outfit. If it’s going to be a chilly day, create another layer by tossing a cool hoodie over your casual jeans, t-shirt and flannel button down to complete the look.[8]
    • If you’re wearing a tank top underneath a sheer, long-sleeved blouse, consider adding a sleek, structured blazer on top as an additional layer.[9]
    • This will give the outfit another dimension and a more polished final look.
  4. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 9
    Choose a jacket or coat as your final layer. If the weather is cool, your final layer will be a jacket or coat. Let the style of your outfit dictate what kind of jacket or coat you pair it with. For example, wear a black leather jacket over a bright top and skinny jeans for a trendy, punk-inspired look.
    • A classic pea coat looks great dressed both up and down.[10] Pair it with a sleek, professional outfit for a great look. Pairing it with a cute top and vintage jeans looks just as great.
    • Add a warm, fleece hoodie over a t-shirt and leggings/jeans for a casual look.

Part 3
Accessorizing the Outfit

  1. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 10
    Choose shoes that complement the style of your outfit.[11] Choose shoes that make sense with the style of your outfit. For instance, professional, sleek outfits should be paired with heels, patent leather dress shoes or stylish ankle boots to complete the look. Go with shoes that accentuate the look and mood of your outfit, while still being functional and comfortable for you to move around in.[12]
    • Shoes also provide an opportunity to add a pop of color to an otherwise monochrome outfit. Choose a pair of bright red ballet flats to complement a black tank top and skinny jeans.[13]
    • Complete your cool and casual t-shirt, jeans and flannel button down with a classic pair of alternative sneakers, like Converse All-Stars.
    • Jazz up a minimal black dress with embellished heels.
  2. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 11
    Change up your look by adding a belt.[14] The simple act of adding a belt can change the entire vibe of your outfit. For instance, polish the look of a baggy button down dress shirt by adding a brightly colored high-waisted belt. Your formerly casual outfit now looks trendy and form-fitting. Or try tucking your top into a pencil skirt and add a thin belt for a classy, iconic look.
    • Try a black leather belt with dress trousers and a nice button down shirt, topped with a sharp blazer, for a super polished look
    • Belts can also significantly change how a dress looks.
    • For instance, adding a belt with a wide band to a dress with an empire waist gives the dress a funky, more modern look.
  3. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 12
    Select jewelry that flatters your outfit. If you aren’t sure where to start with jewelry, trying adding a single statement piece to compete a look. [15] Add a chunky, vintage necklace or earrings to a classy black dress to add an entirely new dimension to your outfit. Or try experimenting with different colors and styles of jewelry to accentuate your outfit.
    • You can also choose jewelry based on which area of your outfit you want to highlight.
    • For instance, add a gorgeous pendant necklace to a v-cut top.
    • If you’re going for casual or neutral, a nice watch is never out of place.
    • Simple studs in your ears add a little sparkle while not looking out of place with your t-shirt and jeans.
  4. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 13
    Choose your finishing touches. Throw a brightly colored scarf over your shirt and cardigan/sweater for a classy look.[16] Add a vintage clutch to your party dress to kick the glamour up a notch. Accentuate a sleek black outfit with a brightly colored handbag or briefcase. Get a great hippy look by adding a knitted bag to your peasant top and flare-legged jeans.
    • Don a pair of vintage cat-eye sunglasses to go with your black skinny jeans and leather jacket. This look is classic and punk-inspired at the same time.
    • Whatever you choose as your final touch, think of it as the icing on the cake – have fun with it!

Part 4
Setting Up and Organizing Your Wardrobe

  1. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 14
    Invest in staple pieces.[17] These will provide a reliable and fashionable base that you can build dozens of outfits on. Go for versatile staple pieces that you can dress up or down to fit different types of occasions.[18]
    • When choosing your staple pieces, avoid fads and focus on selecting items that flatter your body type and reflect your personal style.[19]
    • Staple pieces will vary according to lifestyle and personal style.
    • A few great examples would be a sharp black blazer, a pair of skinny jeans that fit you perfectly, a well-made hoodie, a pair of neutral colored ballet flats, a solid toned sweater, dressy black trousers, patent leather dress shoes and a pair of black or brown boots.[20]
  2. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 15
    Choose quality items over quantity.[21] Everyone cycles through t-shirts, tank tops and other basic items every year, but try to also pepper your wardrobe with some quality items that are well-made and that will last you for several seasons. Since quality garments tend to be more expensive, get the most mileage out of them by selecting basic pieces that never go out of style.
    • For example, instead of buying a new jacket every fall, spend a little extra cash on that black leather jacket you’ve been wanting. It will last you for years and always be fashionable.[22]
    • A cashmere cardigan or sweater, while on the pricy side, will always look sharp and the quality material will endure for years.[23]
  3. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 16
    Buy pieces that can be easily mixed and matched.[24] Choosing outfits is much easier when almost everything you have can be mixed and matched. Go for items that are solid colors so that they are interchangeable. When you do buy patterned shirts, ties or dresses, make sure you have multiple ways you can wear them to get several different looks.
    • For example, if you buy a floral printed dress, make sure to have a few different matching cardigans in a solid colors, a few pairs of different colored tights, and a colorful belt or two already in your wardrobe.
    • Or, if you buy a colorful neck tie, make sure you you have a few different dress shirts and suits it will match.
    • Not only can you get multiple looks from that one dress by changing up the accent pieces, but those accent pieces will also match other outfits in your wardrobe.
  4. Image titled Pick out an Outfit Step 17
    Organize and color coordinate your closet.[25] Picking out an outfit is so much easier when you can find what you’re looking for quickly and easily, so get organized. Group similar items together, and then color coordinate them. For instance, put all of your skirts or dress pants together in one section of you closet, and then arrange them by color.
    • You may also find it helpful to create sections in your closet based on function. Group together all of your work clothes in one area, your casual t-shirts and jeans in another, workout clothing in another, and so on.
    • If you have storage space, removing seasonal clothing from your closet when not in use can help you better organize things.
    • For example, when summer comes, store your sweaters and coats out of the way.
    • This will open up your closet and make it easier for you to pick out outfits.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (22)

Article Info

Categories: Fashion Fixes