Many years ago, as I watched my older sister take the title of “Most Fashionable” in our family, I knew I wanted to learn a thing or two about style and how to dress right. Navigating my way through tweenhood at the time was filled with so many questions, including what my sense of style was. There wasn’t a physical manual for me to create my own fashion style (unless you count fashion magazines) so I had to look to a few sources to help me achieve this.
Oftentimes I was casual, and just like my sister, I wanted some glam. Once I left for my varsity studies in Cape Town in 2015, I was exposed to a whole different world of fashion and style – one where expressing your own individuality was praised, and taking a trend and making it your own was the fashionable thing to do. I didn’t know where to start with creating my own sense of style. So I searched online and came across something called The Fashion Formula:
The way I saw it, this formula is a simple way of creating an outfit, and with enough practice and over time, you eventually create your unique fashion style based on some of the pieces that you put together. What a revelation this was for me all those years ago, and once I started actively putting this formula to good use, I began to form my own fashion identity – The 3 C’s, which incorporates elements that I consider are Casual, Comfort, and Chic.
So if you’re looking for an easy way to create outfits at home or need help with developing your own fashion style, keep reading to see how you can use this formula to do just that.
THE BASIC PIECE
Like any equation or recipe, there are a couple of elements that are important because they form the base that helps ensure that you end up with a relatively good result. So when it comes to creating your own fashion style, there are fundamental basics you need to have in your closet that you can use to centre some of the other clothing items around.
These basic items include denim jeans, basic white tees, tank tops, and black leggings. I like having a good selection of denim in different basic colours and styles – dark blue skinny, white high waisted, or cropped high rise. As someone who dresses according to their mood or the weather, I need to have a good variety to suit the vibe I’m feeling that day.
I tend to stick to colours like black, white or neutrals whenever I buy these basic items so that I get more wear out of them. It’s a lot easier to get 5 outfits from dark blue denim jeans as opposed to a red one. While there isn’t an exact rule that says you HAVE to stick to the colours I mentioned, it’s always a good idea to have just a few of these to help you curate more outfits.
This is the same for the basic t-shirts that you have or are considering to buy in the near future. I don’t think that anyone can have enough basic white tees, so give yourself variety with these. Long sleeve, short sleeve or tank tops; it’s good to invest in a good amount of these when thinking about the basic pieces you want in your closet.
THE INTEREST PIECE
I really enjoy wearing monochromatic and neutral-toned clothes – black long sleeve tops or white tees. This, however, can get a little boring for me, so I switch things up by adding an interesting piece of clothing. I do this through bright or bold colours, prints, and patterns, or textured clothing. I mainly add this piece through the tops I wear – from printed or bold shirts and blouses to patterned pants and trousers.
This is the piece where you really can let your personality shine through. Love some glam? Add a shiny or bejewelled top (I personally love the ones that Zara have). Prefer to express yourself through words? Then printed tees with fun phrases or sayings from Cotton On could be your next go-to. Either way, this is the fashion piece that you should use for self-expression. This is the item of clothing that you can use for being fun and creative with your outfit.
THE COMPLETER PIECE
You’ve got blue jeans and a bold tee, but you can feel that something is missing. You need that extra ‘oomph!’ to add the finishing touch – the Completer Piece. This is a usually large item of clothing that essentially rounds up your entire outfit.
This could be a belt, kimono or jacket. It all depends on the vibe you’re going for (perhaps even the weather could determine what piece you wear). I don’t have the biggest collection yet, but I love simple belts with a little dynamic buckle to it. My experience from working at Cotton On’s Supre store was another moment in my fashion development, and I found myself learning more about the power of belts and how they don’t just have to be something that keeps my jeans up; they can complete my outfits too and now belts make frequent appearances in my outfit combos.
Shoes can also be a Completer Piece. Have you ever experienced that ‘Ah Ha!’ moment when your outfit finally came together because of the shoes you decided to wear? That’s because shoes can be a powerful finishing touch to round off your look. Would you wear open sandals with activewear? Or loafers with an elegant evening gown? Whatever your answer may be to these questions, shoes can make all the difference in adding final touches. I generally stick to neutral coloured shoes – again, to get more wear out of them – but my heels are generally where I add splashes of colour. From yellow pointed courts to red wrap-around heels, my shoes are another place for me to express my personality fashionably.
THE ACCESSORY PIECE
Of course, no outfit is fully complete without a little jewelry (at least that’s what I say). Again, this is another way of self-expression. Whether it’s dainty or bold, adding accessories always elevates your outfit, taking it from 100 to 110!
I personally love adding gold or bold earrings or adorning small earrings on all 6 ear piercings that I have. You’ll also catch me playing around with thick hoops because of their simplicity in being easy to wear but also completing my look. But because these types of earrings can be large and somewhat overpowering, I balance them out with feminine and dainty rings. Simple does it for me, and I tend to stack a couple on each hand.
This is only the beginning of many more Fashion & Style posts I aim to share. I hope you enjoyed this easy and simple way to pull a look together and create your own fashion style. Of course, there are tons of other ways to do this, but I wanted to show you the basics of how I started creating my own fashion style before it grew into what it is today. Let me know in the comments how you see yourself using The Fashion Formula!