Plain to Polished: Adjusting Your Clothing Choices

Happy Tuesday!  Today I’ve got another Plain to Polished, which is a series where we break down style by looking at plain outfits and talking about SIMPLE ways to make them polished.  Simple is the name of the game.

Plain to Polished: Adjusting Your Clothing Choices

In previous Plain to Polished posts, we focused on one thing you can do to spruce up outfits, like add an accessory, add a print, or focus on fit. Today’s tip is a little broader: adjusting your clothing choices. Sometimes adding an accessory, print, or better fitting clothes still doesn’t do the trick to pull together the outfit.  Even doing all those, the outfit still might not feel as polished as you want.  So, what then?  One thing I would recommend doing is taking a step back and focusing on the clothing pieces themselves.  There might be some adjustments you could make to attain a more polished look.

There are many examples of how clothing choices can change outfits, so I thought the best way to discuss this would be to drill down into examples and offer a few different ideas for better pieces to use.

Our first example:

This outfit is made of a striped tee, grey hoodie, sneakers, and not great fitting jeans.  Not the worst ever, but there is plenty of room to improve.  Let’s talk through how.

Striped Tee + Cardigan + Jeans

Here’s a much cleaner outfit that’s not really far off from the original.  First, I changed the jeans for ones that work better with sneakers.  Straight legged jeans are tricky with sneakers because they often “pool” or bunch at the bottom when trying to fit over sneakers. That not only makes the outfit look a little messy, it also drags down the outfit.  Neither is ideal.

I swapped the jeans for skinny jeans that I folded up to hit my ankles and provide a cleaner line.  If you are not into skinny jeans, you could go for boyfriend jeans. I’d recommend cuffing those also to show your ankles.  Whether you choose skinny jeans or boyfriend jeans, rolling up the jeans to avoid the bunching provides a neater hem, cleaner lines, and overall a more polished look.

The hoodie is my husband’s. I had to use his because I didn’t have any of my own to use as an example. It’s a pretty modern hoodie and actually fits me well since Benson and I are roughly the same size, haha! So, given that it’s a great piece, the outfit actually didn’t look that bad once I changed the jeans.  If you’ve got a modern hoodie, sleek sneakers, and a pair of jeans that gives you a clean line, you’ve got a somewhat polished sporty outfit. But for fun, I wanted to take things a step further to show more adjustments you could make.

In place of the hoodie, I went for an oversized cardigan. It’s not a huge departure from a hoodie. It’s super comfy, relaxed, and easy to move around in. Then, I swapped out the athletic sneakers for a pair of low-profile streetwear sneakers. Both the cardigan and white sneakers are still casual, but they take the outfit up a notch from sporty to a polished casual outfit.  A few adjustments in the types of clothing I chose made a pretty big difference in the look.

Let’s see another example:

This is a white tee with skinny jeans and flip flops.  I love both the tee and jeans, and they both fit well.  But this outfit is still lacking polish. For this outfit, I’ll show two alternative versions that are more polished.  Here’s the first:

In this outfit, everything is the same except for the shoes.  (I’m wearing earrings in the flip flop pic–just couldn’t see them.)  It’s almost impossible to find a Southern Californian who doesn’t love their Rainbow sandals. I’ve got nothing but love for them, but if polished is what you’re aiming for, they re not the best option.  Instead, I changed the sandals to “real” shoes like sneakers, and it made a huge difference.  I also tucked my shirt, and my apologies for failing to tuck my shirt in the flip flop example.   You’ll just have to have to trust me that even with a tucked tee, it didn’t look that polished with flip flops. ?

In case you’re thinking sandals are completely out, they’re not!  But, you’ve got to be mindful of the types of sandals you’re choosing.  Are they meant for way more casual settings, or are they meant to be a step up?

Here’s an example of jeans + a white tee with a different pair of sandals from a recent blog post:

The outfit uses sandals that are a bit more polished and therefore create a more pulled together look.

Wearing “real” shoes goes a really, really long way in making an outfit look polished, and it’s SUCH an easy change to make!

Now let’s look at an even more elevated version of the original outfit:

white lace tee + jeans + nude flats + metallic statement necklace

This outfit resembles the original but is way more polished!  I used a white top instead of a white tee.  But not just any white top! I chose one with interesting details like lace and and a scalloped hem. Those details elevate the outfit and make it more interesting.

Then, I swapped the flip flops, for “real” shoes. Nothing fancy, just nude flats. But again, that change goes a really long way.

As a finishing touch, I added a necklace.

Those details like shoes or the type of top chosen create a much more polished version of the white tee + jeans + flip flops.  The changes are fairly simple once you know what to look for.

I know there are a million choices when it comes to clothing, but hopefully these examples gave you some ideas for simple swaps you could make!

See more Plain to Polished posts HERE.  

Great, EASY style starts with having the RIGHT pieces.

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