Try a Little Harder: simple outfit to “whoa, I love your outfit”

Last month I introduced my new series Try a Little Harder where I show you simple things I do that make me look like I put forth a ton of effort, when really I just did a couple little things.  In other words, I tried a little harder.

Today’s Try a Little Harder took me from a jeans and a t-shirt to a polished, professional and covetworthy (yep, I’m making up that word) outfit.  I’m going to let the photos explain it to you. Please excuse the brightness, I wore white on bright summer day so yeah, I’m glowing.
layer edit 4layer edit 3layer edit 2layer edit 1
In the top right corner I just start with a basic white tee and jeans and really basic jewelry (wedding rings, stud earrings).  Then I add a blazer (this is the perfect blazer, it’s from Lauren Conrad’s collection at Kohl’s).  I like that it’s cream colored, which gives me sort of a monochromatic look, but it would really work with any color. Already the outfit looks more interesting, and it looks like I tried.  You could stop there.

The next photo (bottom right) I add a watch and big sunglasses.  You could take or leave the sunglasses, but if I’m on the go, they’re a must for me, and they’re kind of my security blanket of accessories.  If you have something like that, an accessory that always makes you feel more pulled together or polished, then substitute your item for the glasses.

The last photo shows the finishing piece, a statement necklace (I’m going to do a post about these soon), which adds some visual interest to the neckline.  If you don’t have a statement necklace you could go with a scarf instead, or a long chain necklace.  I wouldn’t go dainty here, the point is to have something bold that really adds to the outfit.  A dainty pendant wouldn’t look bad, but it doesn’t quite have the same effect.

Doesn’t it look like I mulled and mulled over this outfit?  I didn’t, well, except the first time I did it.  But now it’s pretty standard, take a super basic outfit, add a topper, add accessories, throw on a bold neckpiece.  I can structure TONS of outfits this way, even if I only have one blazer/topper I like.

And from here you can really go anywhere depending on the shoes or bag you decide to add.  Heels and a clutch and you’re going out.  Flats and a laptop bag and you’re so business casual.

Don’t get bogged down in the colors I used, or even the specific items.  If you don’t have a great blazer do a cardigan instead.  If you don’t wear jeans do it with a really simple dress.  If you don’t like how neutral I went, your top, blazer, and necklace could all be complementary colors.  If you’re scared to mix colors then just stick to neutrals.

Here’s the formula:
1) Basic top and bottoms (or dress)
2) Add topper (blazer, cardigan, jacket)
3) Add accessories
4) Add a neckpiece (statement or bold necklace, or scarf)

Unless you love love love patterns, stick to solid colors (unless you’re wearing a scarf, that could easily be patterned, or solid colored, whatever you prefer). We’re creating visual interest by layering items, adding pattern to the mix is not necessary and could be too busy.  If you are going to use a pattern I’d say make it something classic and unified throughout- think stripes or a plaid as opposed to a crazy floral or abstract print.

Do you like my outfit?  What do you think of the formula?  Do you have your own outfit formulas?

PS- Hey guys, I just heard from Kohl’s that you can use code BLOGIT10 to goet 10% off your purchase at kohls.com. Offer works with one other dept. specific code, and it’s good til September 12th.  Get on that!

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4 thoughts on “Try a Little Harder: simple outfit to “whoa, I love your outfit”

  1. Pingback: Try a Little Harder: Statement Necklaces | sometimes she blogs

  2. Pingback: My Favorite Blazer, and a coupon code | sometimes she blogs

  3. Pingback: Try a Little Harder: Intentional Outfits | sometimes she blogs

  4. Pingback: Outfit Uniforms vs. Outfit Formulas | sometimes she blogs

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