I’m a no-fuss kind of dresser when it comes to putting outfits together. And while sometimes this may make my outfits feel more simple, it doesn’t mean they aren’t any more interesting than layering on tons of pieces. I’m a firm believer that you can make your favorite jeans and simple white cotton tee feel elevated, more interesting and fashion-forward with a few outfit-making accessories. It’s really my go-to to look at styling this way. This is also referred to as the third-piece rule. And it’s to add one more thing to your top and bottom as the third piece to complete it.
I’m not someone who is big on color or wild prints or leaning into the latest crazy trends. So choosing the right accessories and extra pieces to make your basic outfits look more interesting with minimal effort, I rely on a few simple tips and tricks. Here’s what I swear by when it comes to making outfits more interesting without exerting a ton of effort or shelling out tons of money for the newest latest items on the clothing racks.
How To Make Outfits More Interesting
All of these tricks work well from the most simple and basic outfits like jeans and a tee, or a little black dress. Add them all on, or just one or two, to create a more interesting look. I tend to lean into a few of these more than others based on my own personal style. This can also help to create a signature style for yourself.
Try Fun Hair Accessories
Even if you still want to keep your hair down and not mess with it, a simple hair accessory can make a big difference. The easiest is a great headband. You can check out this post on some of my favorite headbands and ways to wear them. And if you want to throw your hair up in a messy bun or ponytail, try a bandana or a cool clip. This takes jeans and a tee to a new level! It’s my favorite trick for summer too. Tie a bandana on your bag to zhush it up a bit and easily pop it in your hair when you need to pull your hair back!
Add A Cool Belt
I love to add a belt to a look to finish it all off. My newest obsession is my Isabel Marant Lecce belt. It’s a statement piece and really adds something interesting to any look. I love to wear it with just jeans and a simple top. But it’s great for throwing over a dress. They can be statement pieces that take a super simple solid shirtdress to the next level.
And one of my most favorite styling tricks when it comes to dresses that come with a belt, which are always not that great and is the same exact material as the dress, is to swap it out for a completely different belt option. Add texture, new materials like leather or suede and contrasting colors to make your dress more interesting. This is a great example of adding a third piece to a look to make it feel more complete and interesting.
Swap Your Everyday Bag For Something More Fun
I’m a firm believer that a bag can make an outfit. This is also why I keep my bag essentials minimal and perfectly organized (read this post) so that I can swap from bag to bag with ease. Changing out your everyday tote for a cool crossbody really makes a big impact on the look of your outfit. This is especially true for a spring or summer outfit. Forget your everyday leather bag in the warmer months and instead opt for a woven or rattan bag. They make it look like you tried really hard with your outfit, but really you just swapped your bag and had great options in your closet!
Layered Gold Jewelry
You can be wearing a cotton black dress, or a v-neck tee and jeans and adding lots of gold jewelry to your look will elevate it to a whole new level. From simple gold hoops, to layered gold necklaces and bracelets, and don’t forget some rings, you’ll look posh, stylish and cool. Gone are the days of a colorful arm party, I vote for layers of dainty gold jewelry to make anything, even a basic outfit with a cotton tee, more interesting.
I personally see a difference in how much I love the photos I take for the blog when I remember to pile on my gold rings and pop in my simple gold hoops. It really takes the outfit to another level. If gold jewelry isn’t your thing, stack on the silver, or if you love color, go bold in statement pieces. But adding layers of jewelry always makes an outfit more interesting and feel instantly elevated.
When In Doubt, Add A Bold Lip And Cool Sunglasses
This may not be part of the outfit per se, but it does pull everything together. And that alone can make an outfit more interesting and feel elevated all by itself. A bold red or pink lip can truly make an outfit look more special no matter what you’re wearing. And when in doubt, throw on beautiful sunglasses that are big! I love my Karen Walker sunglasses for this. But you can also rock a retro white cat eye, or a bold color to really change things up. Adding a few fun under $20 sunglasses to your rotation can help bring your outfits to life in a new way.
Add A Third Piece
This was a long-standing rule when I used to work at Nordstrom when it came to the dress code. And ever since, I’ve been living by it. Anytime you need to make an outfit feel more complete and polished, you add a third piece. So you’ve got your top, and your bottom, now add the third. It can be one of many things. A great jacket, cardigan, a scarf or wrap, bold necklace, cool chunky belt. Many of the things we discussed in this blog post. Whatever it is, it’s the third item to complete the look. It just makes a top and bottom look more complete.
PS if you’re wearing a dress, the dress is piece one AND two, so just add that next item to complete it. Again, a cool belt to cinch the waist or a jacket and so on. And when you choose something that’s interesting as for that third piece, you’ll create a really great outfit in the end. My favorite way to do this is with a great light jacket. Whether it’s a blazer, utility jacket or moto jacket, that’s my personal go to to make jeans and a tee more interesting.
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