One of the most commonly asked questions I get is how to mix and match clothes and how to style them for different occasions. It’s usually along the lines of:
- How do I build a capsule wardrobe?
- How do I pack for travelling?
- What essential clothes do I need for travelling?
- How do I mix and match my work clothes with my daily clothes?
- How do I choose clothes that will work for all occasions?
My collection is based off the idea of mix and matching and curating special items to use with your existing and future wardrobe so I’m going to explain how you can mix and match items you own with other items you have, may want to invest in and of course, items from my collection.
Choose a silhouette
Be sure to choose items that create a specific silhouette. I’ve written more about choosing a silhouette for your body shape here. A general rule of thumb to flatter most bodies is that one element of your outfit should be more form fitting or shaped to emphasise your physique. For example, you might choose to wear flared pants (palazzo pants or culottes) in which case you might opt for a tighter top or one that’s tucked in to cinch your waist in. Or if you want to wear a loose flowy top, pair it with skinny jeans so you don’t “bag out”. Usually your statement piece that you use to mix and match will have a specific shape whether it’s loose, flowy, baggy, structured, tight or otherwise. This will determine what kind of base you will need.
Choose a selection of neutral, plain items to use as a “base” for your outfit
I like to think of my outfit as a wedding cake that I’m decorating. You need a solid foundation for your outfit before you can create a spectacular look or design. Most people choose a simple base like vanilla or chocolate or red velvet and then decorate externally with icing and other features. Clothes are no different.
Choose one staple, simple item for your look like a pair of chic black pants. This is your outfit’s foundation and is what will balance the rest of the look (if you had a cake made with just icing or frosting it would be a bit overwhelming but having a simple cake base will keep the flavours balanced just like how a staple garment keeps your entire look balanced).
This doesn’t mean you necessarily need to choose just black pants or top though. A staple, foundation garment can be any plain, coloured or textured item as long as it isn’t patterned. We’ll save the patterns for later.
Choose a colour scheme
A lot of people play it safe with their clothes and stick to all black or all grey or all white to save the hassle of mix and matching. I love colour but I’m definitely guilty of this in my capsule collection. My collection was designed to be the foundation (step 1) for your wardrobe with you choosing to accessorise it in your own individual way or match it with existing pieces in your wardrobe. Or you can keep it clean, minimal and structured like I do and use minimalism itself to create the statement. (Think of those super clean, geometrical wedding cakes that stand out just by themselves, no need for frosting. The cleanness of the design is the attraction).
Pick your statement piece
Your “base” can be interchanged and swapped out from chic black pants to a skirt to jeans or whatever it may be. Your statement piece is the piece you use to mix and match with your bottoms or your top to create different looks. Let me break that down a bit more. Imagine you have a top like the Cowl Top. This is your “statement” piece and your base can be mix and matched. You might want to wear it with jeans and sneakers for the weekend or a pair of work pants for the office. You could even change it up and wear it with a skirt for a date night.
Your statement piece is the item of clothing you wear that stands out and is formal enough that it can be passed off for work or a night out but also casual enough to be worn on a daily basis. It can be interchanged with different clothing options to create different looks and styles, if you add stand-out jewelry then you have a more dressy look, if you choose not to accessorise or wear it with minimalist jewelry then it can be more casual.
Add your prints/accessories
Your statement piece is also where patterns and prints can come in. I highly recommend against mixing print on print, even if it’s a similar one (unless you’ve purchased it as a set/pair designed to be matched together). My reasoning for this is that there will be just too much going on! A well-styled outfit is one that has a focus and then its support (the base). Having print on print leaves it difficult to focus on one specific component of your outfit.
When you wear prints, especially very loud or bright ones, minimise the accessories you wear it with. Again, there can be too much that’s “going on” and your outfit may come across as over-styled.
Of course, these are loose guides to how to mix and match your wardrobe for different occasions. It’s an especially helpful guide for when you are travelling whether for work or pleasure and need to pack lightly. These aren’t rules that you can’t break but they’re guidelines that I highly recommend and will make packing/organising your wardrobe that much easier!
For travelling, I typically recommend a mini-capsule collection like this one. It includes a simple black work pant, a dressier top, a multi-occasional little black dress, a light jacket and a comfortable, more casual top. The black pant is the perfect base to dress up or down any top you pack for dinner or for a business meeting. It pairs well with the dressier top (which can also be worn with jeans for city exploring or dinner or otherwise. Packing a dressier top is a great idea because when you travel, you’ll likely want to take photos and it looks much more put together than just a t-shirt!). The little black dress can be worn with a cardigan and sandals or a sun hat and a little woven belt to be dressed down for the day or paired with heels and a clutch with statement jewelry to be worn for a night out. The jacket is for environments that aren’t quite cold or hot, particularly on trains or subways or planes. Finally, you want a more casual top that is your easy “throw on” for days you’re in transit or just long days where you want something super casual, very flattering, photo friendly but also comfortable and breathable.
What else would you pack into your mini-capsule wardrobe for when you travel? Or what do you think about mix-and-matching items in your wardrobe. Is there something else you’d do? Let me know in the comments below.