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7 Styling Details Essential to Every Outfit

December 17, 2018

Hello, and welcome to Dressed for My Day. My goal here is to help women like you and me dress for our day so we are able to influence the world around us in a positive way. While I love putting together outfits and sharing them with you, it’s just as important to me that we all learn the essentials that will help each of us shop for, accessorize and style beautiful ensembles that fit our individual personalities, lifestyles and activities. So I’ve done a little research and discovered 7 styling details that are essential to every outfit. And I’m sharing these with you today so that you can be aware of these key ingredients as you put together your own wardrobe…and dress for your day.

7 Styling Details Essential to Every Outfit

The following styling details are considerations that will help you create outfits of all kinds – casual, career, dressy – that help you put your best foot forward. For the most part, you’ll find that the detail is in the fit. Do your clothes fit your body and do they fit with the rest of your ensemble? That’s the question you’ll be asking really.

Styling Detail #1 – Volume Proportion

Basically, we need to style our outfits so that there is volume in only one portion of our silhouette. If my top is blousy, I’ll want to keep my pants or skirt more streamlined. And, conversely, if my skirt is full or my pants are wide, I’ll do best to keep my top close to the body.

This relaxed mixed-media sweater pairs best with skinny or at least straight-leg jeans, keeping the volume on top.

J Jill Mixed Media Sweater

In contrast, because I’m wearing wide leg crop pants below, I chose to pair it with a close fitting top. Thus, I’m keeping the volume only on the lower half of my body.

Marled Knit Wide Leg Crop Pants

Styling Detail #2 – Trouser Hemline

Trouser length and hemline is important because it either creates a long, lean silhouette, if styled properly, or cuts the leg short and creates an ill-proportioned appearance, if worn incorrectly. Of course, if you’re wearing skinny jeans, ankle pants or cropped pants, this styling detail is a little different.

But if you are wearing full length trousers or boot cut jeans, it’s best for your hemline to fall to just 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the ground. That means you’ll need to select the heel height you’ll be wearing with a pair of trouser cut pants and buy them or have them hemmed to the appropriate length for that shoe height. You really want your shoes to just peek out from beneath your full length trousers.

Soft Caramel Sweater and Check Trousers

Styling Detail #3 – Skirt Hemline

While some women can certainly get away with wearing skirts of varying lengths, there is a hemline that is most appropriate for the office or other professional settings. So when you want to be taken seriously, you’ll want to wear your skirt hem somewhere in the “knee zone.” This is, in fact, the skirt length that is most universally flattering for all body types and shapes.

What to Wear to a Holiday Performance

Styling Detail #4 – The Rear View

I may think I’m all good to go up front, but I’ll need to check the rear view before heading out with confidence. I need to be careful to use the three-way mirrors available at most retailers when shopping, because the rear view is just as important as the front.

Check for pocket placement. You don’t want pockets to be so wide or large that they accentuate an already ample rump, for instance. But, at the same time, no pockets and a saggy bottom can accentuate the lack of a rump! Also check for panty lines. There should be none! If there are, try a larger pant size or select different undies. Check for binding, creasing or poor fit, too. Your pants should generally skim the body down from the rump, not hug the derriere like a swim suit.

Red Velvet Blazer + Boot Cut Jeans

Styling Detail #5 – Jacket Fit

A third (or second) piece of clothing, such as a cardigan or jacket, can really elevate the level of your outfit. But that top piece has to fit just as well as the others you’re wearing or it actually detracts from your overall look. In fact, nothing looks frumpier than an ill-fitting jacket, whether it be too large or binding.

In fact, wearing a tailored accent piece that fits beautifully can take your look from ho-hum to elegant and chic. So it’s a good idea to have a well-fitted blazer or two in your wardrobe. Choose one that is in a basic shade that you can wear with a variety of pieces in your closet, maybe black, navy or white. The jacket should fit smoothly in the shoulders, not hanging over the shoulders, but not pulling across the width of your shoulders either. It should have a tailored look and flow smoothly over your body, whether it is buttoned or not.

How to Style a Basic Black Blazer with a T-Shirt and Jeans

well fit blazer

Styling Detail #6 –  Smart Accessories

Don’t forget to accessorize your outfit. Seriously, if we’ll just take a moment to thoughtfully add statement earrings, a silky scarf, a patterned belt or a sophisticated necklace, we’ll elevate our outfit several notches. Generally, choose one eye catching accessory and place it where it will best help create an aesthetically pleasing silhouette or draw attention upward to your face.

But resist the pull to over accessorize. In fact, if in doubt, it’s better to simplify rather than overdo the accessories. And remember to consider how your accessories will coordinate with your handbag and jacket or coat for the total picture.

Donegal Sweater Dress with Riding Boots

Styling Detail #7 – Shoes and Handbags

Like it or not, shoes and handbags either seal the deal or blow it wide open. I’ve personally butchered otherwise smart ensembles by adding the wrong shoes or a mismatched handbag.

Generally, you’ll want to wear shoes and carry a handbag that are neutral and classic when the other elements in the outfit carry the show, as in the dress pictured below.

Fall Floral Dress for Any Occasion

But when the outfit is fairly classic or neutral, you can use either your shoes or handbag to add interest to the ensemble. In the photo below I added the leopard print clutch to bring a modern twist to the classic cashmere sweater and plaid skirt ensemble.

Skirt and Cashmere Sweater in Soft Shades of Fall

Here are a few styling tips concerning shoes. First, a pointed toe will always look more sophisticated than a rounded toe. Second, a heel will elongate and look more chic, even if it’s a small kitten heel. Third, you’ll create a longer silhouette when you wear a shoe that is either the color of your pants – if they are full length – or the color of your skin – if you’re wearing a skirt or shorts. If you only want to have one pair of heels, then go with the pair in your skin color.

Wrapping it Up

Do you see how important fit is? Our clothing will help us communicate who we are and what we’re about when it properly fits our body and when it all fits together in a complementary way.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to shopping for, selecting and putting together outfits that work for you? I’d love to hear from you.

If you enjoyed today’s post and gained anything from it, I hope you’ll share it with your friends on Facebook and/or save it to one or more of your Pinterest boards. And if you’re visiting Dressed for My Day and haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter, I invite you to learn more about how I treat my subscribers here. Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram. I’d love to be in touch with you there, too.

Thanks so much for spending part of your day here. Have a blessed and beautiful day. Oh, and go be a blessing to others, too!

Blessed for My Day

Did you know that we have approximately 10 seconds to make a lasting first impression? Yep, most of us size people up in about 10 seconds, before any words are spoken. And whether you think that is “right” or not, it’s just human nature. That’s why presentation is indeed important. Because those first impressions are lasting impressions. 

But there’s more to a first impression than clothing and accessories, huh? We also size people up by their body language and facial expressions. That’s why it’s so important that we have spent time in the presence of the Lord before we begin each day. I’ve found that when I spend time in God’s presence in the morning through prayer and Bible reading, I’m more likely to approach my day with joy, contentment, and peace. And I’m more likely to treat people with genuine friendliness, kindness and patience. Let’s make sure that we clothe ourselves with godliness before we begin our day so that the first impressions we make will be fragrant with the essence of Christ.

But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him. ~ Exodus 34:34-35

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xoxo, Kay
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4 thoughts on “7 Styling Details Essential to Every Outfit

  1. My biggest challenge is finding shoes. I wear an 11S and if a shoe manufacturer makes this size, it is usually in black. I also had knee replacement so heels hurt my knee.

    Second challenge is finding a blazer. If it fits through my shoulders, it won’t button. If I can button it, the shoulders are too big and it is too wide through the bust.

    I would add an 8th styling point: a well-fitting bra and shapewear are essential to a good fit (unless you have no rolls and sags).

    1. Yes, I guess shoes are definitely a challenge. That’s a tough one! But when it comes to the blazer I think the key is probably finding a good tailor who can adapt a jacket that fits in the waist and is large in the shoulders. Alterations, especially that extensive, can be costly, I know.

      And you are so very right! Undergarments can make or break an outfit, too. Great point!