If you are over 40, you were taught that to look fashionable you needed to match the style and color of your clothing and accessories. Fast forward to 2015, when that rule has been thrown totally out the window. Today it’s all about deliberately mixing things up, so you don’t look so perfectly coordinated.
Yes, this new way of styling outfits can throw you off kilter if you are used to the old way, but it doesn’t have to. Taking the time to see things from a new angle can help breathe life into a humdrum wardrobe. No one understands this better than my friend, Image Consultant Sue Donnelly. Sue is a master at mixing things up in new and creative ways and brings us this guest post on what she calls, Fashion Polarity.
Welcome, Sue! Please tell us more…
Sue: When we are choosing something to wear, we generally stick with we the tried and tested. Our decision might be based on color (light not dark), fabric (fluid rather than ‘stiff’), pattern (abstract not striped), and the overall impression (formal not casual). This is fine. It’s what we know. BUT it can get a bit boring at times.
So, how do you spice it up without losing your own sense of style and security? Here’s how. You add in its opposite!
The concept of Polarity appears everywhere: yin/yang, light/dark, large/small, quiet/loud, love/hate – these are just a few examples
They might be construed as ‘clashing’ or fighting against one another. On the other hand, we could view them as two halves of a whole or two sides of the same coin, in which case they have the possibility to sit side by side to make a unique unit of balance.
The Scandinavians have this down to a fine art. They are mixing up proportions in such a way that this new styling has started to become mainstream. You would never have paired a wide-legged pants with a square, boxy top. A tighter, more form-fitting top would have been the norm. Thick-soled sandals, such as Birkenstocks, would never have graced a knee-length skirt or a midi dress, but now they look great. So, you see, mixing unlikely pairings can look amazing.
So, instead of avoiding the opposite of your usual choice, see if you can bring some polarity into the mix. The benefit is the ability to open up and expand available options and bring more fun and versatility into your life. Everything is accessible if you so desire it to be.
Some will work and some might not but it’s the sense of curiosity that counts. Not only is it fun but, apparently, it also keeps you young!!
Some ideas for you to try:
- Mix two cliches together e.g. luxe and sportswear, vintage with modern, tailored with boho
- Mix opposite textures e.g. leather and silk, wool and lace, dense and sheer
- Add a denim jacket to a classic skirt or pant
- Balance a trendy piece with a traditional garment
- Wear a check shirt with a classic suit
- Team biker boots with a dress, high heels with shorts
- Try pattern with pattern, florals or checks with stripes, florals with florals
- Mix faux fur with jeans
- Wear bohemian chic with couture designer – perhaps just a watch or bag
- Team a shirt and a man’s tie with a skirt
- Clash colors worn together – wear cool with warm
- Mix horizontal and vertical stripes in the same outfit
- Decorate chiffon with metal chains
- Wear odd shoes, mismatched socks, or a different earring in each ear
- Try high tops or trainers with a pencil skirt
- Wear blue mascara on the top lashes and purple on the bottom
Deb: Thanks Sue for these fabulous suggestions. Ladies, What do you think of the idea of fashion polarity? Have you tried it and how is it working out for you? Please send me a photo. I’d love to see a look you’ve created.
Sue Donnelly is a certified Image Consultant, who is launching a 21-day course on this topic called The Dressing Up Box. Visit Sue’s website to find out how she can help you style your Soul, Spirit, and Silhouette.