What to Wear When You Don’t Know What to Wear

What to wear when you don't know what to wear - 6 casual outfit ideas

No matter how many clothes you have, I’m sure we’ve all had days when we just stand there staring into our closets and wailing, “I have nothing to wear!” I know I do – and I have so many clothes I had to give them their own bedroom, so I KNOW that’s not true. It doesn’t stop me feeling like it is, though, and that’s where outfit formulas come in.

I talked about the concept of outfit formulas earlier this year, but they really are the solution to many a wardrobe dilemma, and to our increasingly busy lives. The fact is that most people just don’t have the time or inclination to spend hours every morning sorting through piles of clothes and trying to come up with the perfect outfit, so here are 6 more outfit formulas I personally rely on for those days when I just don’t know what to wear. These are all relatively casual, and they’re all aimed at people who have a fairly “classic” sense of style – and here they are:

jeans and a biker jacket


… or trousers and a biker jacket. Or more or less ANYTHING, really, with a biker jacket. I finally found the perfect biker jacket last year (after a very long search, and quite a few ill-informed purchases), and while it would be a mistake to say it revolutionised my style, it definitely made getting dressed a whole lot easier. The key here is to find a biker jacket that fits perfectly: mine is cropped and close-fitting, which means it works well with both jeans/trousers and over dresses, and it doesn’t look too sloppy or casual, either. I find it dresses up jeans, and dresses down fancier outfits perfectly, and it’s probably one of the items of clothing I’d save first if my closet went on fire. Which is saying a lot, really…

blue jeans white shirt


OK, so you’re probably already getting the idea that a lot of my casual outfit formulas revolve around jeans, huh? I know a lot of people consider jeans to be something of a “non-outfit”, given that they’re the one thing almost EVERYONE wears at some point, but I can’t help it: I love them, and I often feel more “myself” in a pair of jeans and a simple top than I do in something much dressier. Last year, I also discovered a love for shirts: hardly revolutionary, I know, but until then I’d always associated them with school uniform or office work, so I’d rarely ever worn them outside of those contexts. What I discovered last year, however, is what most of you knew already: a great shirt is an easy way to dress up your jeans (and they also look good with skirts). I now own fitted shirts in lots of different colours (my favourites are classic white or chambray, which I can never have too many of), and when I wear them with my jeans, I feel a little more ‘polished’ than if I was wearing a t-shirt or sweater.

capri pants and stripes


I’ve talked about this one before, but I pretty much live in this combination during the summer – easy, effortless, but always classic.

cami top and trousers


This is a slightly dressier combination, but it also has that “effortless” feel to it, which makes it so easy to wear.

pencil skirt and sweater


I love a good pencil skirt, but the way I’d usually style them (heels and some kind of fitted top), is a little too dressy for my lifestyle, so recently I’ve been pairing them with a slightly slouchy sweater instead. I have a bit of a soft spot for slogan sweaters like this one, and they’re both comfortable and casual, so they dress down the skirt nicely. And what could be more comfortable than a stretchy skirt and slouchy sweater?

bodycon midi dress


This is another look that can be dressed up or down as required. I probably couldn’t pull of the “dress and sneakers” look shown here, but I will wear this style of dress with a pair of flats, and maybe a denim jacket (or the trusty biker) over the top – causal, but still cute.

(All of the outfits shown here are from ASOS, but be aware that these are older images, so the exact items may not still be in stock. The formulas, however, should be easy enough to replicate with other items, so go wild!)

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