When I think of the outfits that stand out on fashionable bloggers or stylish TV characters, I realize that they are often unified by a common element: an unexpected, eclectic mix. Fashion mags talk a lot about mixing prints, but mixing textures can have that "wow" effect, too.
Even a look that's all solid colors (like the one above), becomes eye-catching when the pieces are all of noticeably different materials. It may not be something you've thought about a lot, but take a moment to do so now. A cotton tee and a cotton hoodie? Boring. A cotton tee and a tweed jacket? Now we're getting somewhere.
This trick is not easy to describe in words; it's the kind of thing that you should keep in the back of your mind and try out in your closet. But I want to provide some examples of mixed textures to get you thinking about the kinds of materials that look totally cool together, and prove that things you might think clash (like velvet and flannel) are actually a killer combo.
The looks below exemplify unexpected mixing and matching, not just of textures but of prints, vibes, and dressy and casual. Jewelry and print can also serve as "textures" in a way, in the sense that they draw focus and provide cool contrasts. The whole idea is to put things together your normally wouldn't--so while my tips will focus on texture, I hope your ultimate takeaway will be to take a risk and try something different with your styling.
1. Pleather skirt, flannel shirt, leopard jacket, velvet booties, chain jewelry.
I love the combo of a cozy plaid shirt with pleather -- it's grungy and glam all at once. Plus, both materials are mid-weight, perfect for these iffy fall temperatures. For colder days, I totally approve of black lace (yes, lace) tights with this ensemble. Didn't I tell you to expect the unexpected?
Leopard is a super easy print to combine with others, especially when both patterns are black and white. This polyester bomber is a little lighter than the faux leather and flannel, so your look won't feel too bulky.
Finally, this look is best completed in the same way that many outfits are: with an ankle boot and a statement necklace. Since we're taking risks with texture, why not choose shoes in the fabric of the moment, velvet? A colorful pair of boots and a chunky gold chain necklace draw attention, making the busy background of the look seem suddenly more neutral. Now you're ready to take a walk on the wild side.
2. Knit top, ripped jeans, leopard heels, gemstone necklace.
Distressed denim (in any form: shirt, jeans, jacket, whatever) is the perfect backdrop for toying with texture. I love it paired with a cozy knit, and this fringey tank is both unexpected and great for in-between weather. With the right accessories, this combo is both chill enough for class and special enough for a party.
Just like outfit number one, adding some more glam, eye-grabbing touches will take this look to the next level. A shiny stone necklace stands out against the casual fabric of the top, and once again, leopard print adds interest while coordinating with everything. Plus, the height on these ankle-strap sandals is the perfect complement to ankle-length jeans.
3. Lace dress, denim jacket, shiny booties, rhinestone earrings.
I love this look because it's so easy and classic looking -- but it has a twist. It's a fresh take on the classic sundress, jean jacket, and boots combo.
Once again, distressed denim is a texture-mixer's friend, and it gives such an effortless edge to a little lace dress. Faux-suede booties would be cute here, but I think faux-patent is way more unexpected. The shiny texture makes the look a little less casual, and totally sleek.
You want to keep the focus on the three great pieces in your outfit and how they play off of each other, so don't go too nuts with accessories. That said, I think shiny statement earrings (bonus points if they have 3-D texture, like these stunners) are the perfect finishing touch. If you need to grab a bag, go for a simple, unembellished black box clutch or crossbody.
And voila -- I present to you your next girls' night out look.
What do you think?
Have you ever thought about the difference texture makes in an outfit? What cool combos have you tried? Would you wear a version of any of the outfits above? Let me know in the comments!