The Difference Between Wearing Clothes and Building an Outfit


(and why it is so important to distinguish the two)

You’ve seen the guy. Spotted his immaculate style and some similarity between you two, too. You seem to share a taste. Maybe you even bought that pair of denim he’s wearing in his latest Instagram post. Pulled out that vintage sweat of your dad from the back of your closet to give it another shot because it seems like the cool people labeled vintage-style sweaters as cool again. So.. You should have all the ingredients for success. 

So why does the same clothing look so different on you than him? Body type and other physical features aside, it just doesn’t seem to look the same, let alone similar. And while you might just want to give up and return to your usual uniform, get this. In this situation, you’re likely just wearing clothes instead of building an outfit. And no, this is not me being ultra passionate about my work trying to sell you a bunch of nothing. It’s a method, a real thing. Let me elaborate.

Investing = improving

Don’t worry; this will not be an essay on you needing to spend tons of money to look good. The only investment I’ll ask for is your time. Time to build new habits. Because that’s what you will do while getting dressed and mastering my easy, favorite method to graduate your random combinations of clothes to actual outfits, focus on these five aspects, and you’ll know exactly what to do to create good looks in no time.

1: Shape and fit

I realize I’m becoming repetitive, but it’s not for nothing. A huge part of what makes a combination of different garments into successful outfits is when your clothing fits you (meaning you’re wearing your size), but also when there is an interesting interplay between pieces in diverging shapes and cuts.

One of this spring and summer’s most popular trends is a perfect example—the vest or tanktop, layered with a loose-fitting long-sleeve shirt or relaxed-fit, short-sleeved shirt and often combined with straight-fit or relaxed-fit bottoms. Wearing items that have different cuts makes your look less bland and creates depth at the same time. 

2: Layering and texture

This might be the oldest trick in the styling book, but simultaneously, it is a trick I will never not use while working with any of my clients. Layering is such a powerful tool and more versatile than you think. It happens to be an outstanding technique to use when styling different kinds of bodies during all seasons and on any occasion. 

What’s not to like? This will significantly elevate your look, especially when playing with different textures in the several layers of your look. Need some inspiration on that? I recently talked about 7 cool brands similar to the sought-after brand Bode. They all score above average in the category of texture.

3: Accessories and details

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’ll not tell you now to become a jewelry guy or a tote bag guy. Overdoing it or stepping too much out of your comfort zone isn’t going to fix your outfit, as you will end up feeling uncomfortable or highly overdressed. That’s not what you want. It all comes down to accessorizing in a matter that resonates with who you are and choosing these items with care.

This could be as simple as sunglasses, a single bracelet, or that cool cap. This will immediately upgrade your outfit from a 5 to a 9, as it shows your surroundings you’re able to pay attention to details. 

4: Personality

Someone influential once said that no one is you, and that is your power. And I agree. We should celebrate uniqueness, and there’s no better way of doing that in an age where trends get picked up extremely fast and many people end up looking the same or very similar.

What elevates the most minimalist outfit to a more exciting alternative is personality. I love to refer to my dad in these cases as you can clearly spot his bubbly and extrovert personality (full of fun stories and anecdotes) within his flamboyant way of dressing.

5: Correspondence

The last piece to the puzzle is correspondence. You want all the different parts of your outfit to come together and create a harmonious whole. So, the keyword here is correspondence. Meaning: Do all components in your look connect? Do the colors match, and is the color palette balanced? And, if you combine two styles, do different elements relate to each other?

When you have this in check, congratulations: You’ve just built an outfit instead of slapping on some clothes.

Building new habits is the key to saving time.

As I mentioned, mastering this method will cost you some extra time. But if you’re ready to elevate your outfits, this is worth investing time in. I promise it will become natural once you get familiar with checking your combinations on these five factors.

Want a professional to take care of that for you?

Especially when the clothes you own simply don’t align with your personal brand anymore, teaming up with a Personal Stylist is worth considering. Let’s elevate your style and build a unique wardrobe representing who you are and what you stand for.

Sit back, and I’ll get you to look your best on any occasion, surrounded by any company. Book your Personal Styling session via this link and get 10% OFF with code THEMALEREPORT.

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Need more good reads
about Personal Style?

Get my FREE E-guide: The Allure™ Method: from simply wearing clothes to building high level outfits