Saturday, November 13, 2010

uno más...

alexander mcqueen scarf
Costume National jacket // Alara tuxedo shirt // Current/Elliot jeans // Italian suede boots from Daffy's // Alexander McQueen animal print pashmina

Q: what is your process for creating new outfit combinations? i don't have a very large wardrobe, yet i often forget i own certain pieces.

A: it doesn't take a lot of time or effort for me to get dressed. after checking the weather forecast, it usually takes me 5, 10 minutes at most to come up with an outfit. i really had to think about this question, but i managed to boil down my process to a few loose guidelines. (these are for dressing in fall/winter, i don't really like my summer style so i'll just ignore that entire season, lol.)

1. most of the time i start with a base layer - for me, that's skinny pants and a slightly oversized top. from there i "build" an outfit, usually by throwing on a sharp, well-tailored jacket and a plush scarf. here are previous versions of the outfit above, all starting off with that base layer:

costume national, margiela, fendi baguette

costume national jacket

2. statement jackets are key to my look. this is probably why i can't turn down a good jacket, even though it's the last thing i need more of in my wardrobe!

3. it helps that my fall/winter wardrobe is comprised mostly of basics in neutral colors - white, beige, black, gray. if you walk into my closet blindfolded and pick out a random top and a random bottom, chances are you'll be able to walk out of the house in that outfit - everything matches. (it also helps that everything fits.)

4. when i get dressed i think about texture. shiny with matte, cashmere with leather, cotton shirts with chunky knits, etc. leather and lace is a combination i'll be playing around with this particular season.

5. i also think about balance. this is very important to me, and i think it's the key to looking effortless. i am forever balancing opposites when i get dressed. i pair skinny-leg pants with looser shirts or oversized sweaters. i balance tight dresses and short skirts with boxy jackets and grandpa cardigans. i wear men's style button-downs with leather or latex leggings. i'll throw a tough motorcycle jacket over a girly dress.

a great example of this balancing act is Carine Roitfeld during fashion week. she often wears very sexy thigh-high boots but she'll pair them with a demure knee-length skirt and plain sweater, or a classic trench coat that falls just to the knee. it's all about downplaying sexiness without getting rid of it entirely - taking it down a notch from overt to subtle.

carine roitfeld, over the knee boots

that's pretty much it - an outfit "base", a great jacket, neutral colors, texture, and balance. the rest is trial-and-error, and having a blog or other style diary helps tremendously.

if anyone has other tips to share, please do! i would love to hear your process.


  1. I love your comments on combining contrasting clothes (couldn't resist the opportunity for a little alliteration). I think the different textures (and the fact that you go for high-quality fabrics) are what make your outfits so interesting.

  2. Lovely post! You wanna know my getting dress process? I look at your archive and try to copy a look! lol! It's true though!

  3. I like your summer style!!
    For work I am lot like you in 1-3, I wish I could figure out a way to streamline by casual wear process. That is more tricky to me since my whole closet opens up to me, where I keep my work wear more capsule. I really love the Carine examples. I like to pair my thigh high boots with a longer hem to tone them down, makes me feel less guilty about them. I even like to interject something feminine into more masculine looks either by wearing them with heels or having my hair down.

  4. So true, subtlety can often be sexier than in-your-faceness.

  5. #5, I am totally agree. It's perfect way to match clothes without being too obvious.

  6. btw, I love the way You dress up with a white shirt.

  7. Thanks for sharing your process! I totally agree with having colors that mix and match - all of my work bottoms are grey or black. I usually build work outfits from the bottom up - like you, I'll check the weather first, then choose a pair of pants or a skirt, and start from there since I have more options for tops to work with.

  8. Great post! You have such a talent for styling and the ability to articulate your process.

  9. Love this post. This is very similar to my formula for getting dressed, although I'm in serious need of a closet edit. I have so many pieces that I don't wear (for various reasons), and I think they get in the way of putting great outfits together some days. Your pulled together style always motivates me to take an editing eye to my own wardrobe and simplify.

  10. suuuper helpful!
    i'm still trying to hammer out that ideal base layer for my body type. my 'fit' issues have not left but i prefer a slimmer bottom with a looser top as well. i fear it's less flattering on me, lol, but i try to play with proportion a little when dressing.
    sooo the suede leggings were from ebay (where else???) and they fit awesome. thank you for this addiction >:-O. gonna be so poor now, lol. i've also got a burgeoning rick owens addiction. dammit, his shirts are amazing...
    p.s.: i saw 'qanda' at the bottom of the page and was so baffled as to whether 'Quanda' was your alias or something, lol.