The rules of hair care are simple and finite.

Yes, I just quoted Elle Woods. 

No, this post is not about hair care. 

But like hair care, the rules of outfit styling are simple and finite too. 

Welcome to post three of the series, The How to Shop Your Closet Master Guide. 

By this point, you should have streamlined your wardrobe to include only the pieces that fit, are free from stains or holes and that you love (more on that in post one), as well as organized your closet to get it to its most functional and beautiful self (more on that here in post two).

Now you’re ready to shop your closet. 

Before we get into tips and tricks that will allow you to put together an outfit with everything in your closet, let’s start with the basics. 

1. Back to Basics

 To start, choose a basic piece.

This can be either a top or bottom that the outfit is centered around.

I would recommend choosing a basic bottom when starting to build outfits as chances are you’re more likely to have a lot more colorful or interesting tops than you do bottoms which will increase the amount of outfits you can create. 

Basic bottoms can be: 

  • jeans (any color; rips are at your own discretion)
  • dress pants or trousers 
  • denim or material skirts 
  • denim or material shorts 
  • even joggers or athleisure leggings 

Picked your basic that you’re going to start with? 


Now let’s move onto colour.

2. Be Colourful

Add a pop of colour to complement the basic garment. 

Bonus points if it’s also a trendy piece. 

What do I mean by a trendy piece? 

I know you’ve got some fast fashion of-the-moment garments in there somewhere (no shame in that)- so why not use them? 

Included in this category isn’t only colour. 

Feel free to choose a top that is patterned, textured or wild. 

Remember, because we’ve started with a basic, you don’t have to worry about those two elements of the outfit competing. 

Okay, so you’ve picked a top and bottom and now you’re ready for… say it with me, accessories!

3. Accessories are the Spice of Life

Yes, I really believe that. 

Nothing else completes an outfit or makes it look more put together quite like accessories, so be sure to make use of everything you’ve got!

To pick accessories that coordinate with the rest of the outfit, look at the color wheel.

Since your wardrobe is already color coordinated, simply pick a complementary color and add in your accessories set (ie. shoes and a purse; purse and a scarf). 

When choosing a complementary color, you can go two ways: 

  • Match your accessories with your basic item. This will make that wild card item (remember that amazing colorful, textured and patterned top from step 2?) stand out.
  • Match your accessories with your wild card item. This will tone down that item a bit because it will make it stand out less. 

Either way, it’s your call. 

Both ways look fantastic, fyi. 

Note: accessories in this case can include any miscellaneous layering items not part of the main structure of the outfit. 

This can include items such as cardigans, jackets and coats (because winter).

The same rules above apply to all layering items. 

So now you’ve got a plan for how to formulate your outfits. 

You can come up with hundreds of outfit combinations just using this structure to make the most of your existing wardrobe. 

But what happens when you get in a rut and feel uninspired? 

Below are tips and tricks that can be used when you feel like you’ve tried everything or simply want to spice up your outfit without buying anything new. 

4. Look to Instagram and Pinterest for Inspiration

Try to look for pieces that are similar to what you have in your wardrobe (ie. white t-shirt ideas). You can also look on your favourite retailers’ websites to see how they’re styling pieces. 

Keep in mind, if you love an outfit you see but don’t think you’ll be able to recreate it since you don’t have the exact same elements, note the key components of the outfit. 

For example, do you love a look you saw that consists of a blue floral maxi dress and brown leather boots… but you don’t actually have a blue floral maxi dress or brown leather boots?

Why not recreate the look with your white maxi dress and black boots? 

Or how about that patterned summer mini dress with the short booties you haven’t worn in a while?

Playing around with proportions and mixing different color and pattern combinations will still give you the same feel of that look you’re trying to emulate since the main structure is the same.

5. Experiment with Different Combinations

Start with one of your key go-to outfits, then add in an item that you would normally never wear. 

Does it work? 

If it does, awesome!

You now have another outfit you can add to your roster. 

If it doesn’t work, accessorize with colors that match that piece. 

After all, one of the easiest ways to make an outfit look cohesive is having elements that match. 

6. Take a Pic!

You don’t have to post this on the ‘gram if you don’t want to. 

This is more for you to capture your outfit so you can refer to it later when you’re in need of some inspiration. 


That wasn’t so hard!

Any Cosmo girl would have known😉.

You’re already on your way to a more sustainable wardrobe. 

The key now is longevity.

Ready to take the next step? 

What’s Next

Check out the next post in the series: The 30 Day Shop Your Closet Challenge

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