Layering is an easy way to look fabulous and pulled together. But it’s not the only way. The secret sauce to styling without layers is starting with the right base pieces and then figuring out how to wear them. The next three steps are choosing accessories, shoes, and hair & makeup.
The 5 Secret Sauce Steps to Styling Outfits — without Layers
1. Start with the Basics
When you choose your base pieces (your top and bottom, dress, etc.), make sure to choose cuts and styles that are flattering to your body shape and vertical proportions. This is super important and influences the overall effect of your outfit.
2. Decide How You’re Going to Wear Them
Now that you’ve chosen the right base pieces, spend some time deciding you’ll wear them. Will you be folding or pushing up the sleeves? Front tucking the shirt? Rolling the hem of the pants? Your personal style shines through in the details.
3. Sweeten the Look
What accessories will you add to really complete your look? Can you throw on a scarf? Add a necklace (or two or three)? Some earrings? Bracelets? A belt? This step is like icing on the cake, or ordering your pie à la mode. Accessories just make an outfit that much sweeter. Finish the outfit with simple or complex designs, you’ll know which works best for your personal style.
4. Add Your Shoes
Shoes have a funny way of making or breaking an outfit. I’ve found that shoes have more of an impact than other accessories, like jewelry. You could have all the right pieces in place, but if you choose the wrong shoes, they could detract from the whole look. Shoes can dress an outfit up or down. Decide on what you’re trying to achieve before you bring in the shoes.
5. Hair and Makeup
You’ve created a fabulous outfit — high five — now what? Yes, hair and makeup! How your hair and makeup are styled depends on how you’ve styled your outfit. Is your outfit date night ready? Or are you heading into the office? Or meeting a friend for coffee? In all three scenarios, you’ll want to create a nice hair style and add a degree of makeup. This could mean a smoky eye for date night, a business look for the office, or a beachy natural look while getting coffee. The most important take away is hair and makeup are part of the equation.*
*I’m always happy to help you with makeup. Whether it’s picking out colors, brands, or application.
Date Night Outfit (aka School Fundraiser)
So maybe not a true date night, but we did mingle with other adults and it gave us a good reason to dress up! My go-to evening attire is almost always a dress because they are so easy! This dress made it twice as easy — the lace created enough interest that I didn’t need a necklace. I accessorized with diamond stud earrings and blingy shoes. I did my hair and Kat Louis did my makeup.
I styled this outfit for a client who is pursuing a new career path. A simple black turtleneck, oxblood cowhide skirt, black suede boots and bracelets acquired during her travels abroad. I like the proportions and color palette. We agreed a necklace or an earring that relates to the bracelets would take the look to the next level. It’s a great start.
Coffee with a Friend
Denim on denim can be tricky. I’m always careful about recommending it or wearing it myself. This outfit works because of the small details. I rolled the sleeves, unbuttoned the placket to expose the camisole, and added a great shoe! I favor a bootcut jean when I’m going for a boho look. I added a necklace, but this outfit really could use a few bracelets (note to self).
So it’s really that simple to look super stylish and put together without wearing layers!
Need some help knowing which cuts and styles are right for you? Or maybe how to style the pieces you already have? Contact me for help.
Thank you Barbara Hecht for your inspiration.