The Elements of a Standout Look

Anyone else see an outfit and just stop in their tracks!? My husband calls me a creep because if I see a great outfit on the street I will check someone out from head to toe. And not in that sense but to absorb every element of their outfit and make notes for myself.

What can I say, I love clothing and well though out outfits. Growing up I was always that girl complimenting someone on an outfit and asking them where they got their clothes. Today I am the same way but thankfully Instagram and other social media apps answer the ‘where did you buy this?’ question.

Today, I am sharing with you all the key elements of a standout outfit. My research comes from years of street stalking looks, hours of scrolling fashion bloggers on Instagram and taking note when an outfit struck me as especially well put together and noteworthy. I repeated the same process with my own workwear making note of my favorite looks. Once I complied a pool of outfits, went through them all to identify commonalities and themes between the outfits.

Pretty scientific, eh?

What I found were four key elements to creating a striking and polished look.

Texture or Print

Sucker for tweed! Skit – Tory Burch | Top | Heels

Incorporating a new texture or print into an outfit is a great way to create interest in an outfit and create a standout look. Some of my favorite textures to include in an outfit include:

  • Tweed
  • Plaid
  • Lace
  • Pleats
  • Ruffles
  • Knits
  • Leather/Suede

I am convinced the reason people love fall style is the use of different textures and knits in sweaters and jackets. It’s the variation in texture that really draws in people’s attention and elevates a look.

When getting dressed in the morning, look for ways to include a print or new texture in an item of clothing. When I am struggling to put together an outfit in the morning my go-to this time of year is a knit sweater with either a skirt or work pants. Give it a try next time you’re stuck!

Mixing prints and texture and create a memorable outfit.
Incorporated texture in both the tweed blazer and eyelet top.

Varying Lengths

Another hallmark of a well structured outfit is playing with different lengths. Its important when using length to create depth and interest in an outfit that you take into consideration your figure. What looks good on one person may not translate well to another based on height and other factors.

Over the years of getting dress, I have identified the following ways to play with length to create a strong outfit. The trick is to find a way to either accentuate the smallest part of your body or cover/hide the widest part. As a reference point, I am 5′ 8″ and like try to accentuate my waist and cover my lower half.

Below I am sharing some of my go-to uniforms that create varying lengths that loosely follow the “rule of thirds” and stay clear of cutting my body in half with waist lines and blouses that fall to my hips.

Dress w/ Cropped Blazer

High Waist Bottom w/ Cropped Blazer

High Waist Bottom w/ Long Blazer

Layered Top

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Three Colors

If you’ve been following along for awhile, it’s not secret that I don’t love lots of color. I very rarely drift away from my go-tos like blacks, greys and whites, but when I do it’s in moderation. This can very well be a personal opinion, but I find outfits with too much color and print to be overwhelming. The key to a successful outfit (in my book) is to keep it to the outfit to three colors, or less, with one of those colors being a neutral.

Sharing some of my favorite color trios below.

Navy, Camel and White

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Light Pink, Blue & White

Pink, Black and White

Navy, Hunter Green & White

Black, Camel and White

Something Unexpected

A final element to a well executed outfit is something unexpected! Very ambiguous, I know, but in my world I define an unexpected element as the following.

  • Statement Jewelry (necklace, earnings, bracelets)
  • Head pieces (headbands, clips, etc.)
  • Shoes with a pop of color
  • Decorative details on clothing (exposed buttons, zippers, bows, ruffles)

I used to wear statement jewelry all the time but over the years have stuck to more simpler pieces like my pearl earrings and stud necklace. I typically incorporate an unexpected element through my shoes or clothing details as seen above.

Proceed with Caution

My final note is to proceed with caution when incorporating these elements into an outfit. Using all four can be overwhelming and quickly take an outfit from stand out to visually offensive (sorry). I recommend using only two or three elements per outfit to really create a visually impactful outfit.

Next time you are getting dressed for work or an event and are looking to amp things up, try adding a new texture or print, focus on adding different lengths, include a pop of color or add something unexpected. Would love to hear which element is your favorite !

Happy Styling!