4 Easy Steps to Upgrading a Very Basic Outfit

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I don’t know about you guys, but my exam period is going to hit soon and it is going to hit hard. And I also know that when exams hit, looking wonderful will be the last thing on my mind. So, in preparation, I’ve put together a short, fail-proof guide to upgrading even the simplest outfit.

You know that we love our basics here at CF. But the question is, how do you wear these plain items without looking plain yourself? We’ve covered parts of this topic before (from accessorizing 101 to our secrets to making any outfit amazing) but I am going to provide a personal example this time.

1. Choose the Basics

This step if very important, because it obviously dictates the way your final outfit will look. I cannot overstate how crucial it is to choose basic pieces that are high quality and fit well. It is okay to take out more money out of your pockets for one white t-shirt because in the long run, it will be worth it, I promise.

Outfit upgrade 1

For instance, here I chose my favorite pair of jeans (which are super comfortable and go with everything) and a simple v-neck sweater, since it is quite cold outside. This is my sleek, blank canvas.

2. Add One Layer

Winter is the perfect season for layering, but sometimes I want to keep it a bit simple, so the key is to start with just one layer. At first, I considered adding a sweater vest but I soon changed my mind: the vest was grey so I decided to keep my fashion resolution and use some color – I put on a bright jacket instead.

Outfit upgrade 2

Now when I said color, I mean color! The jacket is a beautiful, vibrant yellow-green (the photo really does not do it justice), able to brighten up any day, but why stop there? Next, I thought I’d pair it with another strong color (see step four) just to fight against the terrible weather outside.

3. Choose the Shoes

Now, I have to admit – this is actually the first step I take, because in my opinion, the shoes you are wearing dictate your outfit’s style direction. At this point, you can decide how casual your outfit is really going to be: combat boots, sneakers, pumps, high-heeled shoes – your choice will change everything. I opted for a slightly-more-than-casual pair of black boots. They have just the right amount of dressiness yet are also extremely comfortable!

4. Accessorize!

This is otherwise known as adding the finishing touch. These small details add charm and can make a huge difference! My strategy involves creating a silhouette that is bulkier on top but still balanced.

Of course, once I got started, I ended up wearing more layers than I’d originally planned to, but that is part of my aesthetic. As you can see, I wrapped a big, blue scarf around my neck but I also decided to wear a t-shirt underneath my long-sleeve shirt, which peeks out just enough to add another splash of color that matches the scarf.

Outfit upgrade 3

As you can see, I am also wearing long socks which have a double purpose: they keep me warm and they provide the balance this final outfit needed. If the jeans weren’t that skinny or were a darker color, I would have skipped the socks.

I kept the jewelry, as well as the makeup, to a minimum: one blue cocktail ring and a watch, BB cream, mascara and that’s it!

The final step for me was to throw on a heavy coat for when I’m outdoors, since the temperatures are rather low here, but you can, of course, adapt to your own climate.

And now, a short recap:

  1. The base of your outfit is important! Choose wisely.
  2. Start with one layer – either on top or underneath – and continue from there.
  3. Scarves are our favorite winter accessories for a reason. They spice up any look!
  4. It’s OK to let your shoes dictate the outfit! In fact, this is one of my fashion strategies.
  5. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

What do you think?

Was this guide easy to follow? Did you learn anything new?What are your outfit formulas for busy days? Tell me by leaving a comment. If you have other ideas, I’d be thrilled to hear them!

3 thoughts on “4 Easy Steps to Upgrading a Very Basic Outfit”

  1. RC and Maria, thanks a lot for the tips! Sorry it took me so long to check back, I’ve been studying for some pretty big exams! I will try pairing a neutral with a bolder color for balance. It’s hard when the weather is still cold, but I’ve resolved to start wearing brighter colors this spring — I usually dress either fairly monochrome or mixed neutrals, so I’m working on branching out. I would like to try some cute prints as well, although they seem more casual-Friday type wear. Floral prints, in particular, tend to look a bit Laura Ingalls on me…

  2. Love this! In college its very importent to start from basics and work your way until you reach your desired ensemble 🙂


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