Plain to Polished: How to Make Outfits Interesting by Mixing Neutrals

Raise your hand if neutrals are your happy zone!  Neutrals are wonderful and every closet needs them.  Sometimes, though, an outfit full of only neutrals can be pretty plain.  BUT, they don’t have to be!  There are MANY ways to add variety to neutrals.  In today’s Plain to Polished, we are talking about how to make outfits with neutrals interesting with ONE easy tip–mixing neutrals!

Plain To Polished: How to make outfits interesting by mixing neutrals

In case you’re new around here, Plain to Polished 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!

SIZING INFO: I’m 5’6″ and usually S/M or 6 in clothes, 8.5 to 9 in shoes.

Let’s jump right in by starting with this outfit base as our example:

Plain to Polish: Mixing Neutrals

Black jeans with a black and white striped tee.  It’s a pretty solid outfit base.  The pieces fit well, and we’ve even got a little pattern in there to help make things interesting.

BTW these are my favorite black jeans–the stretchyyyyyy Wit & Wisdom jeans with elastic in the waistband.  They are so, so, so comfy and PMTers love them!  They do fade a bit after a while.  Above is how they look after about 3 years (I think? losing track of time!) of a LOT of wear and many, many washes.  The fading isn’t too bad, and you can’t tell much unless you compare it to a brand new pair.  See them HERE in regular and petite sizing.  Available in plus sizes HERE.  I wear size 6. 

Let’s look at one version of how we could style this where we DON’T really mix up the neutrals:


Plain to Polish: Mixing Neutrals

Example #1: Monochromatic Neutrals
This outfit isn’t bad!  I’m using my favorite black cardigan and black sneakers.  It’s not bad at all, and it’s something I might wear after adding some accessories.  However, it’s a tad plain, and if you are looking to stay in your happy zone of neutrals but want to spice things up, we’ve gotta mix it up.

Shop The Look:
Tee: H&M (similar)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (similar–I wear XS, similar)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact-wearing size 6, similar)
Shoes: Report (similar, similar)


Let’s look at a different example where we mix up neutrals:

Plain to Polish: Mixing Neutrals

Example #2: Mixing Neutrals
This is the same outfit base, but instead of a black cardigan and black sneakers to go with my black jeans and black and white top, I chose a denim jacket and cognac shoes.  The outfit is still entirely made of neutrals, but mixing black with other neutrals like denim and cognac gives the outfit more dimension.

Shop The Look:
Tee: H&M (similar)
Jacket: Old Navy (similar-I wear size M, this is my current favorite jean jacket!)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact-wearing size 6, similar)

Shoes: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Earrings: Nickel & Suede (exact-wearing size M)

And because we all love a good side-by-side:

Plain to Polish: Mixing Neutrals

You could also try a grey cardigan with white sneakers, a utility vest, a grey blazer with leopard print pumps, or a tan cardigan and tan booties.  The beauty of neutrals is that they can go with many, many things, including each other!  Have fun and play around with different combos!

Liked this post?  See more Plain to Polished posts HERE!

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