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How To Put An Outfit Together

Buying clothes is one thing  – most of us can do it marvellously well, I’m sure you’ll agree! But deciding precisely what to wear to an important event – or even on a regular day – is something altogether different. It’s made even more difficult when we’re stressed and throwing our clothes around the room! If you have trouble with deciding what to wear each morning, read on!

Step One: Questions

To begin your transformation into a calm and collected dresser, get into the habit of asking yourself the following questions before you start getting dressed. Make notes, if you like!

Where am I going?
Is it a shopping spree, a tip to the beach, or a night out at an exclusive members-only club? Will you be spending the day inside, outside? Of course you want to dress in a way that shows off your fabulous sense of style, but you don’t want to feel uncomfortable, or over/underdressed. Find out as much about the destination as you can, from the suggested dress code to the weather forecast.

What will I be doing?
Outdoor survival activities, networking, lounging by the pool? Heels are obviously a big factor – you may want to hoick yourself up, but will it be appropriate? Probably not if your new date has plans to take you rock climbing! This, and many other events, call for trousers or jeans over skirts and dresses! You don’t want to spend the whole day trying to protect your modesty!

When am I going?
Morning, afternoon, evening? Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter? Consider the time of year as well as the hours of the day. Is there a chance you could get too hot, too cold? Will you need a light cover-up? Now might be a good time to put practicality before style! Thin layers, a throw-on cardigan and a compact umbrella are all good ideas, whatever the weather.

Why am I going?
Is it just to spend time with your usual group of friends, or are you trying to catch someone’s eye? If it’s the latter, you might want to arrive as a particularly polished version of yourself! Try and think about the message you want to send out with your clothes. Do you want to stand out from the crowd, or blend in a little? Will you be meeting new people? Dress accordingly.

Who will be there?
Elderly relatives may not all too readily appreciate a pair of gold lamé hot pants, stylish though they may be! Bear in mind that it might be a good idea to tailor your style to fit the audience that will be waiting for you. Is there a chance that Sarah from accounts might wear the dress you both own to tonight’s work do? Better check beforehand…

How am I getting there?
Will you be walking, taking the bus, or riding a bike? Are you preparing to travel on a long-haul international flight? Do you have to walk far, making comfortable shoes a must? Are you going to be clambering in and out of cars? (If so, a micro mini skirt may not be the best choice!) Consider the whole journey, from leaving your front door to arriving at your destination.

Step Two: Making it work

Answering the above questions will give you a general idea of what will be suitable to wear on the day – now, here’s how to bring it all together to create an outfit that is both stylish and practical.

Make use of a key piece
Everyone has entirely different ways of dressing. Shoe obsessives choose a pair of heels first, and build up an outfit around their footwear. If you’re struggling to decide on anything, choose a key piece – a tailored coat, your favourite dress, or a cute skirt. Is there anything you haven’t worn for a while? Or is it time to reach for old reliable, your classic leather jacket? If you can’t decide, just try to be flexible – you don’t have to wear all of your amazing pieces at once!

Look out for gaps
When you’re rushing around your bedroom dithering about what to wear, what are you thinking?

“Oh, if only I had a knee length black skirt!”

“I can’t wear these shoes until they’ve been reheeled!”

“Why don’t I ever iron my shirts before I hang them up?”

If you find yourself repeating the same thing whenever you get dressed, it’s time to either go shopping, visit the tailor, or get into the habit of ironing your clothes as soon as they’re dry! Whenever a thought like one of these pops up, make a note of it on your to-do list.

Be prepared
Organise your wardrobe so that you can grab a piece you’re looking for in an instant, without having to stressfully rummage through everything. And if it’s not too geeky a concept for you, spend a deal of time in the evening choosing your outfit for the next day. This is a really helpful thing to do if you have a very important meeting, an interview, a first date, or some other high-stress situation.  Make sure everything you need is freshly washed and ironed, then hang it up ready to wear – including accessories! – so that you’re not tempted to change your mind at the last minute. Also, try to have a Plan B in place to allow for unexpected changes to the weather!

Pay attention
When you see someone wearing a great outfit while you’re out and about and are bowled over with inspiration, whip out a notebook and make notes! If you have a daily commute, don’t just zone out to your mp3 player or flick through the dull headlines – do some people-watching instead! Become engrossed in what your other commuters are wearing. Depending on where you live, you can see some really great outfits and kick your imagination into gear.

Don’t be afraid to wear your favourite outfit, even if everyone saw you in it last Saturday, and the week before that, too… You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, as they say! Better to stick with a timeless, classic look – one that you feel comfortable and confident in – than hurriedly tweak a second-rate outfit and find yourself feeling awkward and uncomfortable later in the day. Really, that’s what it all comes down to – being comfortable and feeling confident. Trust your gut!

How do you decide what to wear for the day?


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