How to coordinate outfits

a woman looks through her clothes so she can put together an outfit.

Whether you’re going out for the day, heading to work or staying in to get things done at home, wearing an outfit that makes you feel great can help to lift your mood and boost your confidence. If you’re used to picking outfits at random, it might feel restrictive to plan out what you’re going to wear - but having outfits planned in advance can be an excellent way to take some of the pressure off your sleepy brain when you wake up in the morning. Plus, you get to look forward to all those stylish outfits you’ve chosen!   

 So, how do you put together an outfit?

How to match outfits

The first and easiest way to choose a winning outfit combination is to go down the simple route and choose items that match. For example, you might have a pair of trousers and a shirt or jacket in the same shade of blue - wearing them together is a sure fire way to add an air of coordination to your look with minimal effort. 

For a less monochrome outfit, you might pick one item that has a two-colour pattern and match the other item to one of those colours. For example, you could match a red skirt or trousers with a white blouse with a red flower pattern. Alternatively, you could have your top and bottom items match and add neutral colours for accessories and other items of clothing. Using our blue trousers and jacket look as an example, you could wear a white shirt under the blazer, add a white belt, or opt for a white purse - or all of the above!

Of course, it’s not always easy to find items of clothing that have a good colour match, particularly if you’re shopping from different brands. One simple way to ensure your items will match is to buy a set of co-ords - a ready made matching outfit. You can often buy co-ords in vibrant patterns and colours, so you should be able to find yourself a matching set to your tastes.

How to mix and match outfits

To take your style to the next level, learning to mix and match effectively is key. This is a subjective art, so it can take a bit of trial and error to find the outfits that make you feel your best, but it’s well worth doing. This way, you can take parts of your matching co ords outfits and wear them with other items from your wardrobe, expanding your range of outfits without necessarily having to buy extra clothes. 

The internet is full of tips and tricks about complementary colours and patterns, and it’s a good idea to experiment with these to find out what you like. You can also pay attention to what other people are wearing - if you like the look on them, then why not try it on yourself? But the best way to get an idea of what outfits you can make with the clothes you have is to set aside an hour or two to try different combinations. Make a note of the outfits you enjoy and the next time you’re wondering what to wear, you can refer back to a handy list of outfits you know you like. 

How to match shoes with outfits

Matching footwear to your outfits can often be difficult as it tends to be an afterthought. We might plan an outfit out in our bedroom with all our clothes in front of us, but how often do we pick out a pair of shoes at the same time? 

First, you’ve got to consider what you’re going to be doing. If you’re off on a hike, your best bet is a sturdy pair of boots, but you might wear the same outfit with a pair of flats or heels for a different occasion. It’s also important to consider the weather and season - no matter how well they match, sandals aren’t the best choice for winter outfits. Remember, comfort is key, so try to do this step first.

Once you’ve established a range of shoes that are suitable for the occasion, you can choose according to aesthetics. Neutral colours like black, grey, white and nude tend to go with most outfits, so these are often a safe bet. However, if the rest of your outfit is already neutral or monochrome, you might want to choose a bolder colour to add excitement and variety to the look. Alternatively, you might have a bold pair of shoes - such as red kitten heels, for example - that go well with a monochrome outfit. 

If your shoes aren’t one solid colour, you may benefit from going about this from the opposite direction - in other words, matching an outfit to your shoes. This is where our trial and error time comes in handy. Take some time to look through your wardrobe and identify items of clothing which appeal to you when combined with your patterned shoes. The same way you might choose a colour from your outfit to match with your shoes, consider choosing one of the colours from your shoes to match with a top, skirt or trousers.

Whichever method works best for you, it’s always a good idea to make some record of the outfits you liked - you might even try to note down why. This way, you have something to guide you not only when you’re pulling together a new outfit, but also when you’re shopping for new clothes. 

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