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Barbara Aleks Hecht

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Five Steps to the Perfect Outfit Every Time

Posted: 10/25/2013 8:18 am

One of the most common concerns I hear from my clients is that they don't know how to create an outfit. They see other women look put together and wish they could do the same. They don't know what to wear with what, how to accessorize or even where to start and often get so overwhelmed that they give up. What they don't realize is that putting an outfit together is as simple as 1-2-3, or in this case, 1-2-3-4-5. Here are five easy steps that will help anyone create the perfect outfit for any occasion.

Step 1: Gather Your Intel

The very first (and most important) thing you need to do before you get started is to know what you're going to be doing, how you want to feel or who you want to be. Are you running errands and want to be comfortable? Are you going out for lunch with clients and need to be the polished professional? Or is it girls night out and you want to look and feel sexy?

You also need to consider the logistics. What's the weather like? How will you be getting to where you're going? Will you be walking far or stepping in and out of a car? Will the temperature be consistent or do you need to layer up? Once you have everything figured out, keep this info in mind as you continue through the rest of the steps.

Step 2: Pick Your Base

The second step is all about picking your base. Not your underwear (those you pick to suit your base), but your first layer of clothing -- your top and bottom. Your choices can be as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be, depending on your personal style and comfort level.

If this is where you run into trouble, flip through some magazines or search the internet for inspiration and ideas. Whatever you choose, don't forget to consider the info you obtained in Step 1.

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Step 3: Add Your Layers

Now that you've got your base pieces, it's time to add some layers. If you're choosing to keep your outfit simple and the temperature outside doesn't call for anything more, skip this step. But if you need an extra layer (or two) to keep warm or complete your outfit, now's the time to choose it.

Start with the pieces that will sit closest to your body first and work your way out. If you're choosing multiple layers, make sure that the ones that you start with are the most fitted and made of the thinnest fabrics and add volume and thickness as you go. Don't be afraid to play with lengths, colours, patterns and textures, but if that seems too daunting, stick with solids and keep it functional.

Layering pieces can be shirts, vests, cardigans, sweaters or blazers. They can be denim or leather jackets, military or moto jackets, trench coats or wool coats (to name a few). How many pieces you add and the choices you make will all depend on Steps 1, 2, and you.

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(Two options for each example -- one on the left and one on the right.)


Step 4: Choose Your Shoes

If you're a shoe lover like me, this is the best part. (I often choose my shoes first and then create the outfit.) If you're not a shoe lover and consider your shoe choices to be unimportant and purely functional, then consider this -- in some cases, shoes can make or break an outfit.

If you're trying to pull off a really great look, your shoes need to reflect and coincide with your clothing choices. They need to relate to the mood and feel of what you're trying to create. Of course they need to be practical - you need to be able to walk and be comfortable, but you don't need to sacrifice style for practicality.

2013-10-24-Step4.png


Step 5: Accessorize

Accessorizing is the icing on the cake and can take your outfit to a whole other level. Quite often this is where many of my clients get stuck. They don't know which pieces to choose or how to wear them. If you're unsure of how to accessorize, start with one statement piece. Determine which area on your body you want to highlight, what the outfit calls for or what you're most comfortable wearing.

Then take a look at what you have available, if you don't have one bold piece, try layering smaller pieces together. Don't be afraid to vary different materials, colours or styles. As long as there's a one element that ties them all together, you should be good to go.

2013-10-24-Step5.png


And, voila! Outfit complete and you're ready to go. How easy was that?

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