4 Outfit Formulas That Never Fail

outfit formulas that never fail

Over on my ‘Questions’ page, Maria asked:

“I’ve seen this concept of outfit formula going around the web for a while: what are in your opinion the most stylish ones? For example, every person has a formula, be it blazer + blouse + boyfriend jeans, or maybe graphic tee + skinny jeans + colorful sneakers. Do you find yourself wearing formulas or you like to change your style everyday?”

So, first of all, GREAT question!

Secondly, HELL YES, I believe in outfit formulas! I’m a huge advocate of developing a signature style or “uniform”, and while I definitely don’t think you should stick rigidly to your formula once you’ve found it, when I think about the women I personally consider to be most stylish, they’re normally people who have very a vry identiable personal style – the kind of thing that makes you look at a particular dress or something, and think, “That’s SO Audrey Hepburn”, or whoever.

That’s not, of course, to say I don’t think you can be stylish WITHOUT having a distinct personal style: far from it. There are plenty of women out there who’ve mastered the art of chameleon dressing, and who get a lot of pleasure out of being creative with their looks, but I’m just not one of them. Honestly, the idea of changing my style every day is just… well, it’s just sounds exhausting, really. Not only would it require a lot more thought than I’m really willing to put into getting dressed every morning, I suspect it would require a whole lot of clothes, too. Now, I DO have a lot of clothes, I’m not going to lie to you. Sticking to the styles I love, though, makes it easier for me to get dressed in the morning, and also makes it easier to resist those impulse buys that just wouldn’t go with anything else.

As I said above, I’m not saying I NEVER want to change my style or experiment with fashion: I actually think it’s a really good idea to at least TRY new things every so often, but I don’t feel any pressure to change my style just to be “different”, either. It’s all about knowing what works for YOU.

As for which outfit formulas I consider to be most stylish – well, that’s a question that’s really just going to come down to personal taste, really. For me, though, the formulas I find myself falling back on most often are these four…

outfit formulas


I must own dozens of skirts in this shape now, and almost as many tops to go with them. The colours and patterns might vary, though, and the tops come in a variety of different shapes and styles, from cardigans, to sweaters to bardot-tops or even plain t-shirts, but the basic formula remains the same: the skirt is full, with a nipped-in waist, and the tops are always fitted. The shoes, however, aren’t always heels: they ARE my preference, especially with longer-length skirts, but if I’m going to be doing a lot of walking, or just want to make the look a little more casual, I’ll switch them for flats.

casual outfit formula: jeans, stripe top, red flats


This is my go-to ‘casual’ look, and you’ll find me wearing some variation of this several times a week. It’s also what I wear when I don’t know what else to wear: sometimes I’ll switch the blazer for a trench coat, and I might also switch the flats for boots or heels, but as with the look above, the basic formula will remain the same.

capri pants, cami top and cardigan


For a dressier alternative to outfit formula 2, this one is a good option for times when I want to look reasonably “smart”, but don’t want to look totally over-dressed.

outfit formulas


My final outfit formula actually varies depending on the weather, occasion, and whether I’m dressing up or down. So the dress might have long sleeves, short sleeves or no sleeves at all – in fact, it might not even BE a dress: a skirt and top will work just as well. I’ll then weather either shoes or boots, depending on the season/occasion, and finish it all off with a swipe of red lipstick. This is one that can be adapted to tons of different styles, but the overall silhouette will always remain the same.

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As I said, these are the outfit formulas I find work for me, but obviously everyone would answer this question differently, so what about you? Do you have any outfit formulas you always fall back on? What are they, if so?  (Oh, and don’t forget: if you have a question of your own, you can submit it here!)

4 outfit formulas that never fail


  • Thanks for answering my ask! ^^ I’ve been for many years a person that sticks with a few, tried and true outfit formulas, simply because in the morning I don’t want to think too much about matching clothes to create a working outfit. My most used formulas are boot cut jeans + heels + fitted top, or skinny trousers + loose fitting toppers. During summer I woo prefer to stick with circle skirts + fitted tanks/t-shirts, or shorts and looser tops… They’re quite simple formulas, but they’re what suits me better and that’s what really matter in the end! I’ll also admit that I’ve been wanting to vary a bit, and I envy the chameleon-like women who can vary they’re style a lot and never look shabby or ill-fitting.

  • These formulas are way over simplifications of the many options available. Tops alone would give you a different style each day for at least a month. Considering necklines there are the crews, scoops, cowls V-shapes, sweethearts, halters, straps or strapless, collars, and button or laced closures just to name a few. Then your options of textures, fabrics, colors, and their combinations multiply these choices immensely. Then adding a jacket, blazer, sweater, coat, or even a bolero sends the daily options closer to a years worth of formula scheduling. I haven’t even mentioned the options of dresses, jumpers, skirts, jeans, pants, footwear, head gear, or accessories such as belts, shawls, kerchiefs, jewelry, perfumes, and oh – handbags. I don’t think I have even covered all the options, but with just these, a person would be able to develop formulas galore.

    OK. Personal tastes, body shapes, and other factors, such as finance and availability, would whittle the options down per person, but there are still quite a number to choose from. All this is just from a guy’s perspective whose options seem very little in comparison, because two formulas could pretty much cover my stereotypical options of casual and formal. OK. I’m understating my options somewhat, but not all that much. Being a Shoeperguy, the inclusion of wearing high heels in my wardrobe selections has opened so many attiring options – for tops especially.

    • I wasn’t trying to cover all of the options available, but to talk about the formulas I personally like/wear: because that’s what the questioner asked for. I could have misinterpreted the question, obviously, but I don’t think they were asking for an in-depth analysis of “the many options available.”

  • What about us ladies that live in a hot climate year round. I live in baggy hippy type pants and shoe string type tops. I have MANY of both all varying in block and patterned styles. If i wear block pants I’ll wear a patterned or lacy top and vice verser. I have a couple of dresses and maxi skirts. I would love to do a capsule but after reading hundreds of pins none seem to cover my style. So i just continue to mix and match my MANY pants and tops. Any ideas would be great. I also wear jeans in “winter”. Which is not really a winter like you have. Lol. My draws are jammed pak and i love every item! I do clean outs but still seem to have lots of clothes. Once a month i turn each pile of tops and bottoms around so that i get to use what was at the bottom of the pile as i always just seem to take from the top. Maybe im just a crazy Aussie!!

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