6 simple style formulas for effortless outfits

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As I shared in my post, “The truth about effortless style,” having style that looks and feels effortless takes, well…effort. 😆 Today I’m sharing another tool to help: simple style formulas.

Inspiration vs. reality

I follow several incredibly creative women on Instagram and other platforms. Day after day, they present unique and imaginative outfits. Some are styling gifted items as part of brand collaborations, others may have large wardrobes cultivated over years, or are in the business of fashion. And a few are just really good with re-mixing a smaller wardrobe in new combinations.

I am utterly inspired by them, and have picked up lots of new ideas. But in most cases, I wouldn’t describe their style as “effortless.” (And that’s OK.) Most days, I just want (or need) to get dressed efficiently, and in a way that looks put-together and feels authentic. I don’t have the energy to “faff about” (an expression I’ve borrowed from my British friends) in my closet coming up with something completely new.

So over the years, I’ve incorporated a few style formulas to streamline the process of putting outfits together.

In the most recent installment in my Effortless Style series, I advocated for building a capsule wardrobe of neutral basics. Having a style formula (or a few) can help you figure out how to easily create outfits with those basics and other pieces in your wardrobe.

What is a style formula?

A style formula is just a guideline or tool that helps define and provide parameters for your outfits. It can be as specific or general as suits you (on any given day). Some of the formulas I use on a regular basis are:

Your own style formula might be any one or combination of these. Or you might come up with something completely your own. The key is to find what works consistently *for you* and then adapt/adjust as needed.

Rethinking repeats

I believe one of the biggest stumbling blocks to developing and using a style formula is fear of boredom or repetition.

Somehow, we’ve been captured by the notion that we need to look different every day. While some may say this is driven by social media and the constant drive for novelty, I think it goes back further. I can remember my mother saying “I can’t wear that outfit again…they’ve already SEEN me in it!”

Whether or not it’s a uniquely American thing, at the same time we applaud “signature style,” we worry that someone may notice we’ve worn a favorite jacket two times already this week. I once read (sorry, can’t remember the source) that one of the main differences between US and European style is that in the US we want to look different every day, while Europeans desire to look good every day.

Having effortless style means looking and feeling comfortable in what we’re wearing. And a tried-and-true combination is one way to achieve that. There are plenty of ways to mix it up and create variety without having to start from scratch every day. And in coming installments, I’ll share some tips to help you get the most from your wardrobe with accessories and accent pieces.

Are there style formulas you use regularly?

Stay in touch.

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