A great way to take your outfit up an extra notch on the style meter is to add an unexpected twist to the color palette. Of course, that is often much easier to say than to put into action. No one wants to walk down the street looking like they dressed in the dark, so instead we often shy away from mixing bright colors.
I have lost count of the times I have heard women say they have a beloved item (usually a skirt) that they can't wear because nothing matches the colors exactly. The truth is that unless you are buying matching separates pieces, the chances that the color will be identical is very slim. Different fabrics absorb dye in different ways and the sheen of a material can be just as important when trying to make things "match."
To avoid falling into the rabbit hole of making things always match I follow two simple rules:
1. When you are trying to decide if two colors are the same, don't look at them any closer than handshake distance. Most people will be viewing your outfit from at least that distance so use that to your advantage.
2. Forget matching and go for coordinating. My favorite trick is highlighted in the photo: mixing two colors from the same family. In this case I chose red (the necklace and belt) and coral (the blazer and shirt), but I also love mixing cobalt blue and teal. The easiest way to make this a success is to start with a basic color (think the original 8 or 16 Crayola colors) and then add in a specialty color (from the 96 Crayola box). It works best if you choose two colors that are far enough apart that it doesn't like you were trying to make an exact match.
Looking for more inspiration? See what I've been pinning on my Pinterest page.
Like most (dare I say all?) of us, I have a few beloved graphic tees in my closet that are far from being the most stylish pieces in my wardrobe. But paired with the right combination, you can wear than casually in a way that says chic instead of sloppy. Most importantly, you need to choose a graphic tee that is versatile. Ideally that will be one that is mostly image with little to no text. Although that probably excludes the tee from the 5k run you did last weekend, there are options at Threadless, J. Crew, and at many local boutiques.
The easiest step you can take to avoid looking like a slob in a graphic tee is to tuck it into a pair of dark wash jeans (or in the case of these photos, a dark wash jean skirt) and add a belt. As we move into fall, you can also try pairing your tees with colored corduroys and chinos. Slip into a pair of ballet flats and you're ready to leave the house.
If you're not a fan of silk-screened graphic tees, you can apply these same principles to patterned knits and blouses. Just because a shirt already has a design on it, doesn't mean that you don't have to style it. So take a look through your closet and see what fun graphic tees have been relegated to the bottom of the pile. But remember, if you've worn it for home improvement projects, you probably shouldn't try to salvage it!