Clothes you can mix and match are essential for any woman on the go. After all, when you’re trying to get to work in the morning, the last thing you want to do is stare at your closet for 20 minutes, frantically trying on outfits in your head in search of something that looks good. With versatile clothing options, you’ll pick a great outfit on the first try practically every time.
That said, with so many clothes available for you to buy, how do you create a versatile wardrobe that isn’t full of passing trends?
All you need are a few basics and the know-how to mix and match colors. Don’t worry; we’ve got all the details here:
Combining separates into all-purpose outfits
The key to creating a versatile wardrobe is to stock your closet with basic pieces that can easily be dressed up or down with accessories.
Before touching on the clothing pieces you need, it’s important to note that your main priority should be finding outfits that make you feel nice. It does no good to get a versatile blazer if it doesn’t fit in the shoulders – you’ll never wear it! Always go for fit and comfort, especially since you’re creating a closet where every piece is important.
With that in mind, here are the items every woman should have in her closet:
- A striped T-shirt: Casual, breezy, and full of French chic, the striped t-shirt is always a cool option.
- A collared shirt: Great for the office or any occasion where you need to look put together but not flashy.
- A pencil or A-line skirt: Choose whichever you feel the best in.
- A little black dress: A classic LBD is a necessity for those events with a confusing dress code.
- A pair of trousers: Basic slacks are easy to mix and match, and they’re a must-have for any working woman.
- A pair of jeans: Wear them in the office if you can!
- Black pumps: A classic black heel matches anything you wear with it.
- A blazer: This piece of outerwear isn’t just for work. The right styling makes a blazer look very casual-cool.
- A trench coat: The lightness and length of a trench make it perfect for transitional weather. Talk about multipurpose clothing!
Once you’ve collected all of these pieces, you can mix and match clothes or add and subtract accessories to make each item work for any occasion.
For example, you can throw on a striped t-shirt with a pair of black slacks and a blazer for a chic office outfit, or wear the same shirt with jeans and sandals for a day at the beach.
For the next day in the office, why not wear a white button down with a thin chain necklace? Afterward, you can swap the jewelry with a statement rope necklace or jewel earrings for happy hour drinks with your friends.
Once you have these basic pieces, you can start adding other elements to your wardrobe. Had your eye on an asymmetrical skirt or pink pleather jacket? Treat yourself!
Getting the right textures
A cotton t-shirt is perfectly versatile, but a snakeskin one is not. You’ll want to make sure the clothing articles you choose are similar in terms of material and texture so they’ll always look good together. Look for cotton, twill and denim styles at first, then branch into shiny fabrics like silk and satin. Eventually, once you’ve got enough basics in your drawers, you can add that trendy faux-horsehair skirt.
Mix and match your wardrobe
Now that you know what basics you need, it’s time to learn how to mix and match them effectively. Color plays a huge role here; even a perfect work outfit of slacks, a blazer and a button down will look odd if the colors don’t go well together.
To start your mixing-and-matching journey, look back at the list above. Make sure you get at least one of each piece in a neutral color: Black, white, camel/tan, grey and navy/denim. One of the greatest, most reliable rules of fashion is that neutral clothing always look good together.
That said, if you need somewhere to start, try these pairings and see for yourself:
- A white button down, jeans, black pumps and a tan trench.
- A white t-shirt with thin navy stripes, tan slacks and a black trench.
- Camel pants, an off-white shirt and a gray blazer.
Each of these outfits are not only easy to pull from your wardrobe, but they’re also classically, effortlessly chic.
Remember, if you’re ever stuck for an outfit, just stick to the neutrals!
Mix and match colors like a pro
Of course, no one wants an entire closet filled with shades of gray. Color is a great tool for self-expression, and it definitely has a place in your versatile wardrobe.
They key to clothing color combinations is to use the basics of color theory. This is a series of rules from the world of art and design that you can use to create a harmonious look.
There are two themes from the world of color theory to focus on:
- Complementary: “Opposites attract” is the guiding principle of this rule. Create a great outfit by wearing one color with its complement: red and green, purple and yellow or blue and orange. Play around with the actual hues involved; for example, while a cherry red skirt and an evergreen top gives off a holiday season vibe, burgundy and olive look very nice together.
- Analogous: These outfits are made of different shades of the same or similar colors: think purple, red and pink or varying shades of yellow. They’re great for creating ombre looks or tying together colors you might not normally wear together (for example, combining green and purple by using blue as a transitional color).
You can also create an outfit using a monochromatic scheme where every piece is the exact same color. This is definitely a showstopping look, and while it isn’t exactly versatile, you can mix and match the separates with other outfits.
With color schemes and mind, here are some additional tips for making sure your color combinations look great:
- Keep your outfit colors in the same style: To make things simple, use the color rules above to mix and match, but make sure each piece is in a similar tone. For example, instead of wearing a soft orange with a midnight blue, choose pastel versions of both colors instead. Similarly, wear a ruby red top with an amethyst skirt or a burnt yellow with a sunset orange.
- Take inspiration from prints and patterns: We’ve mostly talked about solid colors so far, but you can of course play around with patterns for a little drama. Most prints are already made with a pleasing color scheme, so use this when creating the basis of your outfit. A light scarf with flowers might inspire a pink spring look, for example.
- Add a pop of color to a neutral outfit: If you’re basing your look on the neutral ideas listed above, you can always jazz things up with a bit of color! In fact, a bright spot against a neutral look is both playful and classically elegant. Try a bright red lip, a violet belt, or a gold necklace for some extravagant flair.
Investing in versatile clothing
Having a wardrobe full of items you can mix and match is all about collecting enough basics and throwing in some pieces to make your clothes totally unique. Start with basic clothes in neutral colors, then branch out in terms of hues and prints. Once you’ve got a sizable closet of versatile pieces, you can then add trendy items that suit your style.
What are your personal style tips for making your clothing more versatile?