Fashion Lesson #2: Thinking Outside the Box

Anyone can wear an outfit that looks “fine”, but pushing the envelope with your color choices, articles of clothing, and even confidence can change that “fine” outfit into a fashionable outfit. But how do you do that without looking like a crazy fashion editor? When is the appropriate time to wear these outfits? How can you create them with your own clothing? Those are some of the questions we’re going to discuss in today’s fashion lesson.

1. Matching

I’m sure you grew up with some matching rules passed down from your mother or father. Here are some of the classic rules:

  • Accessories must match each other
  • Shoes and bag must match
  • Never wear black and blue, or black and brown
  • Must always have at least one neutral

If you follow these rules with your everyday wardrobe, I’m about to blow your mind. Matching is something that can be taken lightly with fashion. Now, there are a few rules to follow so you don’t look like a 5 year old dressed you, but they are much more abstract and flexible. Here are the real “rules” (let’s call them guidelines):

  • If wearing multiple pieces of the same color, try to stay in the same color family but use different shades. For instance, if wearing a primarily blue outfit, try to find pieces with different shades of the same blue. It will match, but give the outfit more depth.
  • Neutrals aren’t always black, brown, grey, and white. I’ve worn light, dusty pink as a neutral. To me, neutrals mean colors that blend in to your outfit and don’t stick out. I agree you should always have a neutral on, but you can play with what qualifies as a neutral.
  • Black/blue and black/brown are unexpected color combos and can look absolutely amazing. 
  • Accessories shouldn’t be matchy-matchy. By adding a few accent pieces, you’re adding color and depth to your outfit. I find it’s easier if I base my colors on a magazine outfit I like or character design that appeals to me. I already enjoy how their colors are working together, so why not use that palette? Chose one or two main colors (for your big pieces, such as pants, shirt, bag) and at least two accent colors (for your accessories, designs on big articles, shoes).

Of course, there are always exceptions to these guidelines (especially when talking about fashion trends/fads) so be weary that they are flexible.

2. Accessories

Accessories are the little bonus items that you wear with an outfit. They can be jewelry, purses, watches, sunglasses, hats, scarves, belts, etc. Accessories are often what people struggle with most. I myself stayed away from them when I was younger out of fear of wearing too many. But how do you know how much is too much? There is no easy answer to that. To some people, wearing simple stud earrings and a dainty ring is just enough accessories, while to others, they look great with a piece of jewelry on every part of their body. If you find yourself falling into either extreme, I’d recommend either adding or subtracting an accessory from your outfits (depending on which extreme you are). If you’re not one of the extremes, I think you’re doing it right.

Accessories can make/break an outfit. They can transform something from office ready to date night to club after-party. I believe accessories are the most important part of a fashionable outfit. Let me give you an example. Imagine a simple white t-shirt and blue jeans. It’s classic. Now let’s add a long layered chain necklace, stacked bangles, and some pumps. Roll up the jeans to become a cropped pant, and we’ve got something that’s fashionable, edgy, and fresh. Now let’s try something else: Add a colorful scarf, sunglasses, an elegant watch, and long earrings. We’ve got a new outfit that’s young, preppy, with loads of class. Use accessories to mix up your wardrobe and you’ll be surprised what you find your oldest clothes can turn into.

3. When to Wear

People tend to associate different times, places, and events with a dress code, or uniform. Well that’s just boring. Wearing unexpected outfits can give off an air of fashion, even if the outfit isn’t that unique. Here are some ideas:

  • Most people wear sweatpants, sweatshirts, and simple outfits to class. Try wearing a summer dress with flats or cropped pants and a tunic. Wear things that are more formal than jeans and t-shirt, but tone it down with accessories so that it still feels casual.
  • It’s assumed that you should dress up for a date, most turn to a little black dress. Try wearing a dark wash skinny jean with an embellished tank and a boyfriend blazer. It’s unexpected and more laid back, but still feels dressy enough for a date.
  • Depending on your work environment, you may have to wear a uniform or strictly follow a dress code. If you don’t have to, try incorporating trendy pieces into an everyday office appropriate outfit. For instance, take your basic dress pants and button up. Swap the dress pants out for colored crop pants with a neutral button up and patterned cardigan. You’ll look stylish, confident, and put together - all things you want people at the office to associate you with.
  • Change your running around uniform from yoga pants and a t-shirt, to a maxi dress with a jean jacket. It’s super fashionable, comfortable, and flatters most body shapes.

Just remember that there are rules of when to wear things (like don’t wear white to a wedding, don’t wear an itty bitty dress to work, etc.), but don’t be afraid to wear something different than everyone else. Standing out (in a good way) is the telltale sign of a fashionable person.

I’ve received some feedback today on my Jack outfit (and this goes for other outfits as well) that the character wouldn’t wear it. I just want to clarify that C2C is about picking out an outfit “inspired” by the character, that appeals to current styles and can be worn by anyone. These outfits are not what the character would wear if they were real or a replica of their costumes in today’s fashion - C2C is about blending fashion and gaming and hopefully inspiring your own outfits along the way.