My style philosophy is “More is More”. It applies whether you consider yourself to be a style minimalist or a maximalist like me. Adding more elements to an outfit will take it from bland to grand. Even just one additional element makes a significant difference.
I know Coco Chanel is credited with saying, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Now, I’m telling you to put something else on before leaving the house. I would argue that Ms. Chanel was already layered in many elements that elevated her outfits, and thus, still looked amazing after removing an item.
Conversely, style icon Iris Apfel never met an accessory or piece of clothing that she wouldn’t layer on top of others, and she looks amazing while doing so. Here style is a literal explosion of color, pattern, and accessories of every kind. Nothing explains her style more than her belief that, “More is more, and less is a bore.”
I accepted the reality that more is more after a few instances of getting dressed in relatively basic outfits, and thinking they didn’t work. I’d end up scrapping the outfit and trying another one. One day I decided that I would not change the outfit, but would figure out how to make it work. Lo and behold, the more I added the better it got. Like a scientist, I did this on repeat and the results were confirmed every time. Without a doubt, adding an element improved the outfit.
Here are my favorite simple additions you can make without a lot of thought, time, or expense:
I believe belts are at the top of the accessory pyramid. I’m always surprised to see people not utilizing the belt loops on pants. Apparently, they believe belts are only for holding up pants. In reality, empty belt loops are a huge missed opportunity to complete and elevate an outfit. Additionally, belts are great finishing pieces in spaces we don’t traditionally think of using them, such as over a blazer, or with a skirt or pants that have no belt loops. “Put a belt on it” is my answer to may outfit woes. There are no rules.
Blazers and cardigans are not for warmth. They allow you to add a layer to your outfit, which also give the outfit depth. Certainly, an outfit is technically complete with only a top and a bottom, but the additional layer is where the real style opportunity lies.
Adding a chunky necklace, layering several necklaces (as both Coco Chanel did, and Iris Apafel does), or adding a brooch can complete or elevate a look. The variety of jewelry options can add a range of feelings to your outfit, from elegance or fun. Add bling with rhinestones or edge and funkiness with heavy metals. It’s up to you.
Hosiery and socks are like that friend you invite to the party because they always bring the fun. No matter how plain your outfit, a fun sock will change the whole effect. While I do love to add a printed sock or stocking to bring additional color and pattern to my looks, plain socks can do the job as well.
Ultimately all of these items add visual interest to an outfit, and make it look more complete. As you may notice, I use all of the elements in my styling, but adding just one can make a difference. Next time you get dressed and feel as if the outfit doesn’t really work, trying adding something before giving up on the look.