For most of us, a good chunk of our wardrobe has to play double duty.
Most likely you have pieces in your closet that you’ve worn while doing errands and to happy hour cocktails with the girls … and that’s OK!
Actually, it’s smart. If you don’t have an unlimited wardrobe budget, it’s best to have lots of classic items that are versatile enough to be dressed up or down, depending on what the occasion calls for.
It’s usually not too tough to dress an outfit down – it’s often as simple as throwing your hair into a messy ponytail, slipping into canvas flats and rolling out the door. But dressing up can sometimes be a bit more of a challenge.
With a few key tips though, it doesn’t have to be.
1. Start Simple
If you’re looking to fancify an outfit that’s not so fancy, start with an outfit that’s on the simpler side. It’s not even a bad idea to go monochromatic – all black, for example, is a time-honored, no-fail way to look cool without trying too hard.
Also, the simpler your outfit, the easier it’ll be to grab accessories that will look great, no matter what.
2. Sassy Shoes
It’s pretty amazing how a pair of sexy pumps or strappy heels can take an outfit from blah to ooh-la-la. Take, for example, a pair of skinny jeans and a basic white t-shirt.
Pair that with cheap flip flops and you look like every other busy mom on the go. But throw on some pink high heels or knee-high leather boots and all of a sudden you’re the definition of effortless chic.
3. Trail Blazer
A tailored blazer is a ridiculously easy way to make an everyday outfit feel a little more special. The right black blazer instantly makes a cotton dress or jeans and a t-shirt feel dressy and polished.
But, word to the wise: It has to fit really well or it will just make you look messy.
4. In the Clutch
We all have our big carry-alls that we drag around with us when we’re doing errands or going to and from work. But be aware that an oversized purse is a quick way to downgrade an otherwise stylish outfit.
Instead, ditch the mom bag and put only the essentials into a cute clutch. It’s a clear indication that you’re headed somewhere a little more formal than a kid’s soccer game.
5. Heads Up
Your face is always the star, no matter what you’re wearing, so take advantage of that by adding some flare up there. I’m partial to a hat or small fascinator.
In the fall or winter, especially, a chic hat will set you apart in a hurry. Choose a classic shape, like a wide-brimmed fedora or a vintage-style cloche.
Alternatively, you can opt for a pretty headband or eye-catching barrettes.
6. Statement Jewelry
Jewelry doesn’t have to be expensive to have a rich effect on an outfit. But, if you want it to do the job of dressing you up, you should steer towards statement pieces.
Just don’t fall into the trap of overdoing it; the rule is one bold jewelry piece per outfit. That means if you choose a long, chunky necklace, keep the earrings tiny and classic, and vice versa.
No matter what, though, it never hurts to throw on a few bangles or a cool leather cuff.
Here are a few ideas for bold jewelry:
- Sparkly – Now is the time to rock those wow-worthy, glittery chandelier earrings.
- Cocktail Rings – Wearing a huge, almost over-the-top ring is a quick way to elevate a look.
- Mixed Metals – Layer on a few minimalist necklaces in different metals.
- Feathers & Stones – The point is for the jewelry to be the star, so don’t shy away from things like feathers or large stones.
Color plays a big role in determining how dressy your outfit looks. Matchy-matchy is not stylish (and definitely not cool), and outfits that are made up entirely of neutrals come off as boring and casual.
There are a couple options you have when it comes to wearing different colors that look good together:
- Neutrals + 1 Color – This is a fool-proof way to look elegant. Example: Black pants, a gray shirt and bright red shoes.
- 2 Shades of 1 Color – Pairing one lighter and one darker shade of the same color can make for asophisticated look. Example: Little black dress with emerald green shoes and light green scarf.
- 2 Analogues Colors – This involves wearing 2 colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Example: Red dress with purple accessories.
Morphing a basic outfit into something more is a heck of a lot easier than coordinating your kids’ schedules, so don’t over-think or over-fuss.
Accessorize smartly & proceed confidently and no one will know that you’re wearing the same outfit you grocery shopped in last week.