Just as there are one million ways to make a sandwich, there are one million ways to make an outfit. This contributes to what I call "outfit overwhelm". It's that feeling of dread some women experience when looking at their closet full of clothes and finding nothing to wear. Fortunately, outfit formulas can make life easier. An outfit formula is similar to a recipe. We all know sandwiches usually contain two slices of bread and something in the middle. An outfit formula requires a top, bottom, and shoes. Take this concept a step further and prepare your outfits for the whole week ahead. I recommend doing this on Sundays. This level of wardrobe preparation will save you so much time, energy, and frustration. Over time, successfully implementing outfit formulas will help you craft a signature style.
Outfit Formula #1
Sleeveless Dress + Nude Shoes + Bold Earrings
Without even trying, you probably already have several "outfit formulas" in the mix. Look back through photos to see what you've been wearing recently. One of my go-to looks is a sleeveless dress, nude shoes, and bold earrings. You can make it as basic as "sleeveless dress" or as specific as "jewel-toned, solid color sleeveless dress".
Outfit Formula #2
Peplum Top + Skinny Jeans + Heels
Another one of my personal favorites, especially for photos and/or not shaving your legs is a peplum top + skinny jeans + heels. Again you can make this as specific as "light wash skinny jeans and patterned peplum top" or as broad as "skinny jeans and peplum top".
Outfit Formula #3
Button Down Shirt + Jeans + Heels
For my personal styling clients who have casual work environments, this is one of my favorite outfit formulas. I also recommend keeping a pair of sneakers in your car or tote bag. That way, if you need to take the kids to the park, a friend wants to go for a walk, or you must stop by the grocery store on your way home, you can be more comfortable. Wear a pair of stud or simple hoop earrings to keep it professional.
Outfit Formula #4
Blazer + Tank + Printed Shorts + Heels
For those of you with killer legs, this outfit formula is a surefire win. You can remove the blazer if you're making this a casual summer day or keep it on if you want to be dressy with your girls for a lunch date. Of course, the heels can also be swapped for sandals.
Outfit Formula #5
Blazer + Tank + Ankle Pants + Statement Necklace + Pointy Toe Shoes
Though I personally feel naked without them, not everyone can or wants to wear earrings. Statement necklaces are a great way to add personality to an otherwise boring, corporate work look. Of course, if you're in a creative environment you can make this look even more fun by wearing a printed blazer or a brightly colored heel.
Outfit Formula #6
Scarf + T-Shirt + Boyfriend Jeans
For weekend wardrobes and transitional weather, try adding a cute little scarf to basic jeans and tee ensemble. This accessory always gives personality and "put-togetherness". As a bonus, you will be warm if you walk into an overly air-conditioned environment.
Outfit Formula #7
Utility Jacket + Basic Top + Jeans + Sneakers
Wearing a utility jacket completes your outfit and helps prevent sunburn. I am basically a vampire living near the beach, so I get a sunburn if my shoulders are exposed for more than 10 minutes. If you don't have a utility jacket, this outfit formula also works well with chambray button-downs.
Outfit Formula #8
Pencil Skirt + Pumps + Shell + Tweed Jacket
Work separates can be so versatile. I love pairing tweed jackets with pencil skirts and skinny jeans. A tweed jacket typically has a boxy shape, so it is important to pair it with something more streamlined on the bottom.
Do you have any favorite outfit formulas? Let me know here in the comments, or over on Instagram.
Note: all images credit via Jaquelyn Wahidi's personal collection and/or Google Image Search.
Summer is here. This means a beach, pool, or spa somewhere is calling your name. It is only the first week of July and I've already lost count of the number of times I've been in the water this summer. In case you're still looking for your personal holy grail of swimwear cover-ups, I've rounded up my favorite unique options here.
An Oversized Scarf
Miraclesuit Hibiskiss Printed Pareo, $57.99
Also known as a Pareo or Sarong, I love scarves as cover-ups because of their lightweight nature and pack-ability. They also dry very quickly so you can get out of the water, cover up, return to the water, and get out again to a completely dry cover-up. The most popular way to deploy a scarf is as a skirt. Petite women can also create a halter dress out of these for more coverage.
Caslon Print Tassel Kimono, $29
Like an oversized scarf, a kimono is light, pack-friendly, and quick drying. While it doesn't offer as much versatility, it may be something you already have in your closet.
The (Literal) Boyfriend Shirt
J. Crew Slim Fit Stretch Poplin Cotton Shirt, $69.50
For a classic look, I recommend wearing an actual men's button-down as a swimwear cover up. Make sure the material is a breathable cotton or linen, so you're not sweating as you dry off.
An Easy Summer Dress
Eliza J Cotton Fit & Flare Dress, $159
Since I prefer my wardrobe pieces to pull double and sometimes even triple duty, this is my favorite swimwear cover-up option: a day dress. Choose something in a breathable, lightweight fabric and it can take you from work to weddings to waves.
A Basic Maxi Dress
Nordstrom Knit Maxi Dress, $29-$52
Ah, the joys of a maxi dress. It gives you the freedom of a skirt with the coverage of pants. They also make excellent swimwear cover-ups. You can even tie the bottom in a knot to wade water. The dress above is a universally flattering option, that is so nice I bought it twice.
The Drawstring Skirt
Nic+Zoe Open Road Skirt, $129
This last option works well if you favor one-pieces or tankinis. We all know the wet butt struggle of trying to zip shorts on over a swimsuit. Make life easier with a drawstring skirt instead.
Have you ever wondered what the process of working with a personal fashion stylist is like? I work one-on-one with real women throughout San Diego to take the stress out of getting dressed. I help my clients sort out their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. Read on to go behind the scenes and learn how my process works.
We have a chat.
All Photos By Dayley Photography
Whether it's by email, text, phone, or in the middle of your living room, we'll talk about your wardrobe, budget and lifestyle. I send all of my new clients "Style Homework" to complete before our first appointment. This assignment helps me determine the best way to serve them. I don't put all my clients in the same clothes. Each woman has her own unique style. My clients range from bohemian to buttoned-up. You can view an example of one of the worksheets I send my personal styling clients here.
We get measurements.
While this is usually everyone's least favorite part, accurate measurements allow me to make appropriate sizing recommendations and determine your correct body type. As you'll notice if you read any of my blog posts where I recommend specific garments, the same woman can be a size 4 in one brand and a size 8 in another. Even at the same store, she can be a 6 in a dress and a 10 in a pair of trousers. For those of you who love shopping online, a simple yellow tape measure (like the one pictured) is ideal for figuring out what size to order from a new retailer. As stated, proper measurements also allow us to figure out your true body type. Many women think they are "bigger in the middle" because they have a little pooch, but in reality they are actually bigger on the bottom or on top. Nearly all of us have a slightly protruding stomach, especially after kids and/or age 35. However, having a "larger in the middle" body type is quite rare.
I give feedback.
After I receive your style homework, and we've taken your measurements, the fun begins. During a closet edit or outfit creation appointment, we go through your existing wardrobe to find your hero pieces and discard items that are no longer serving you.
We create outfits.
With the treasures found in your closet, we work together to create "new" outfits from your existing wardrobe. I photograph these and send them to you via email in Digital Look Book PDF format. These images are easily viewed on mobile and tablet devices.
We find hidden treasures.
Typically, when working in your closet, I will find hidden treasure. There is usually a fabulous but forgotten statement necklace, a charming vintage scarf, or a fantastic pair of boots. We revive these discoveries by creating new outfits around them. That feeling of "having nothing to wear" will be long gone.
I follow up.
About 24-48 hours after our appointment, I email photos of the outfits we created. In the body of the email, I will also include specific item suggestions, along with brands and stores that work for your personal taste, budget, and lifestyle. You can see examples of a digital Look Book here.
I hear wonderful things from you.
You may send me an email saying you've never received so many compliments on your wardrobe. You may get a promotion at work. You might be flying high for days on your newfound confidence. Friends and family members may tell you that you've never looked better. These are actual results my clients have seen after our time together.
We work together again (and again).
Maybe you've finally launched your own business and you want my help preparing for head shots? Or, you need to look even more like a boss now that you've snagged the corner office? Or you want to look amazing for your engagement party? Perhaps you just bought your dream house and need help organizing that dream closet? Or, your a super-successful woman who wants her own Fashion Fairy Godmother to plan her outfits for the next two weeks every two weeks? I help with all of that. Take the stress out of getting dressed and hire me today.
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I take the stress out of getting dressed. As a personal fashion stylist in San Diego, I help women organize their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. My blog features practical style advice for women everywhere. I've been addicted to blazers since 2004.