By Delaney D.

With summer finally over and autumn just beginning, perhaps it’s time to begin shopping for a new fall outfit. Just because you can wear what you like doesn’t mean it can’t be improved! There are ways to go from good to better without sacrificing your style! As someone who both designs and makes most of her own clothes, I can tell you that your first mistake is having too much/too little going on. In other words: Your balance is off.

For a balanced outfit, the “rule of six” is where it’s at. Sounds weird, but try it. Separate all the items in your desired ensemble into categories, or “ingredients”. A good recipe always starts with ingredients, doesn’t it?


  • Jacket
  • Top
  • Bottom
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Bag


This is just an outline for a day-to-day look, and it definitely changes if you don’t carry bags or you want to wear a dress instead of a top/bottom. However, the real non-optional ingredient in the recipe is “cohesion”. If you haven’t heard this in the context of clothing, cohesion is simply a fancy word for “making sure you match”. In art, it’s known as “harmony”. And you want to look like a masterpiece, so pick up on harmony real quick!

Imbalanced looks pop up a lot. If you have nothing but dark clothes on top and you’re wearing neon leggings with bright shoes, you don’t look balanced. Even if the outfit looks okay in theory, chances are it won’t in person. So how do we fix this? Well, start by balancing out your ensemble. You can implement balance with the formula below but keep in mind, so long as you make sure a pattern or color repeats at least once on top and once on bottom, you’re fine.

A simple way to create balance is to select a neutral colored, but patterned shirt. As an example: The shirt is white, with a simple pattern outlined in black. Then select colored pants (we’ll say yellow). See how the top lacks color but creates interest with pattern, but the pants lack a pattern but create interest with color? The pattern isn’t so bright it’s jarring and the pants aren’t taking over. In addition to this, you can throw in another color to balance the brightness.

Of course, balance is possible in an all/mostly dark outfit. Just balance the amount of black with other dark colors, and lighten certain areas.

You can also create balance by stringing small amounts of a color throughout a neutral outfit. Say, your shoes and bag are the same mint, and because your bag is on your top half whereas the shoes are on the bottom, they both create a theme within the outfit that connects. The entire outfit is cohesive, and it looks normal, casual, and cute.

Not only will these tips make your outfit look more fleshed out in general, it will make you look more balanced- something the naked eye may not always perceive, but the subconscious definitely will!


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