There are so many mornings when I wander bleary-eyed into my closet and stare at the clothing zombie-like with zero motivation to be creative with my outfit. I just want to get myself dressed and out the door quickly while still looking presentable for work.
This brain dead “I have no idea what to wear” scenario is when I depend on my tried and true “outfit formula” that was deeply ingrained into my wardrobe psyche by Stacey & Clinton during my many years loving to watch TLC’s What Not to Wear. The formula says: basic piece + interesting piece + cardigan/jacket/completer piece = outfit. This is forever the formula in my brain for getting dressed for work while looking reasonably put together.
Over time that general WNTW formula has developed into a few specific formula patterns in my wardrobe. And since I use this method so regularly – I thought it would make a good set of infographics to share here on the blog. I’ve been going back through my blog archives to grab some outfit examples of each of those specific formulas I use to share with you. The formula I’m sharing today I call, “The Bright Cardigan” formula.
1. Neutral Top & Bottom:
This outfit starts with basic wardrobe staples. First, for the bottom, choose a neutral skirt or a favorite neutral pair of work pants. My basic bottoms tend to be black, grey, brown or navy. And then add a neutral top. I like black and white tops as super easy, can’t go wrong choices. They can be basic camisole/tanks or bonus points for texture with a tie-neck or ruffle on the shirt.
- White tie-neck blouse: similar, similar, similar, similar, similar
- Black pencil skirt: similar, similar, similar, similar
2. Bright Cardigan:
Next pick a bright cardigan (or jacket) in a color that you love. It can be any color you want because the rest of your outfit is neutral. I try to pick what I think is a fun color because the cardigan is pretty much the only interesting thing about this outfit.
3. Classic Accessories:
Finally add your most classic accessories. Neutral shoes like black pumps or black flats. A simple necklace or your favorite stud earrings.
- Black Pumps: similar, similar, similar
- Black Belt: shop same, similar, similar
- Pearl Earrings: similar, similar, similar, similar
When I get dressed using this formula I’m not trying to be a fashion standout – it’s just more about looking presentable for work in a hurry. So there is no need to figure out an amazing statement necklace or perfectly coordinating scarf. The cardigan is the pop in the outfit and everything else is background. I feel like this outfit formula can easily be used over and over again for pulled together professional looks for work. Just sticking with the same blueprint and switching out the individual pieces – the outfits possibilities are endless!
Below are some examples of how I’ve used the “Bright Cardigan” formula:
You can find all “formulas” I’ve posted using this link.