How to get that put-together look

img_2760By Elle

For as far back as I can recall, I’ve loved doing puzzles, from jigsaw puzzles to cryptograms. Puzzles help me relax and pass the time, especially on long plane rides and car trips. So when my beloved and I flew to Italy a few years ago, I made sure a Sudoku book was tucked inside my carry-on bag. Thankfully, my man doesn’t require a lot of attention and didn’t mind that my face was buried inside my Sudoku book as we flew from Detroit to Amsterdam. That is until we approached the Alps.

This is how the conversation went:

“Honey, look, it’s the Alps.”


“No, seriously, it’s the Alps. Look!” (Tapping me on the knee.)


“Don’t you want to see the Alps?”

“Uh huh. I’m really close to solving this problem.”

“Seriously? Your puzzle can wait. Look at the Alps.” (Pointing out the window.)

“Yes, they’re quite lovely.”

“You’re not even looking.” (Sounding sad.)

“They’re breathtaking.”

“You’re staring at your book.” (Sounding annoyed.)

“I’m working on a problem that requires crucial deductive reasoning skills.”

“Never mind. You missed the Alps.”

And, yes, he brings it up every now and again — he’s still incredulous — and I, still, harbor no regrets.

To my mind, getting dressed is like doing a puzzle. Well, not exactly the getting dressed part — it’s not like my body parts randomly change their location (thank goodness; I have enough problems). More the figuring out which pieces of clothing and accessories best fit to give me that put-together look I so desperately adore.  So here’s the secret.

Elle in a purple/black outfit

In this outfit, I combine like colors, patterns and fit. The purple sweater and black skirt have a close fit and similar texture. The purple sweater matches the purple in the tights as well as the purple earrings, which you can see as you scroll down.

Elle in purple-patterned tights

Elle wearing purple/cream earrings

Both the color and shape of the earrings match the color and shape of the pattern in the tights.

The secret is to consider not just color, but also style, texture, fit, shape and detail. So while it’s important to coordinate colors (and that’s where most people stop), think about the fit of your individual pieces and how the various shapes complement each other.

Elle in orange/grey outfit

In this example, the orange sweater and grey swing skirt both have a similar flair, texture and ribbed pattern.

Close up of Elle's black/grey polka dot tights

Note how the polka-dot pattern of the tights mimic the dot design in the shoes. The grey in the tights also complement the grey felt in the shoes.

Close up of Elle's ribbed skirt and sweater

Not only do orange and grey complement each other, but both pieces also have a ribbed texture to them.

Elle in orange/grey outfit 2

Elle in orange/grey outfit 3

Elle in orange/grey outfit 4

Close up of Elle's enameled earring

I added these earrings because of the complementary colors and shape. The dominant color is orange, and the rounded patterns in the earrings complement the polka dots in the tights.

It might seem silly, but all those details add up to form a complete put-together look. So the next time you want to look your very best, consider all aspects of your outfit: color, fit, texture, shape and detail. You want them all to coordinate if you really want a complete, pulled-together look, and you’ll know if you’re successful because the complements will start rolling in.

PS: If you like this post, consider sharing it with your Facebook friends. They may like it, too!

2 thoughts on “How to get that put-together look

    • Polka dots are one of my favorite patterns. I feel like I need to refresh my collection of tights — I’ll have to go shopping somewhere other than a thrift shop! Thanks for writing!

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