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5 Reasons Why You Need Outfit Formulas

Have you ever looked at someone and wondered how they put together such a stylish outfit?

It may seem as though they spent hours deliberating on each particular element of their outfit but truth is, some of the most stylish people simply have an outfit formula.

What’s an outfit formula? It’s a signature outfit that you feel most comfortable in and you know that each element suits you perfectly. You don’t even have to think about it – you slip it on and go!

Earlier in the year, I released an e-Book that shared 5 outfit formulas for spring and summer. They aren’t just any outfit formulas though – they are my personal, tried and true outfit formulas that I use on a weekly basis for work.

My typical work outfit formula usually looks a little something like this: Solid top + patterned skirt or pants + solid flats or heels.

I personally love this formula because it’s simple yet stylish as it allows me to make a statement through the skirt or pants that I wear. Knowing that this formula works for me, shopping trips are a breeze as I can easily pick out new items that fit into my signature style.

Here’s why you need to uncover your own outfit formulas:

Getting dressed becomes easier

If you’re someone that gets overwhelmed when you open your closet, this should be all the reason you need to spend time determining your outfit formulas. You’ll always know exactly what to wear and won’t even need to think about what items go together.

More daily outfit options

The great thing about outfit formulas is that each item can typically be mixed and matched with other items and they can easily be transitioned for various occasions!

outfit formula

Shopping trips become easier and faster

It’s always best to head on a shopping trip with a plan in mind – if not you end up aimlessly wandering the store and purchasing items that you’ll only wear once or not at all. When you know your outfit formulas, you’ll easily be able to pick out items that fit into your signature style. Don’t get me wrong – I love myself a trip to the mall but when you can save yourself some time, that’s always a good thing!

You’ll pack lighter for trips

Instead of packing 20 different shirts for a 3 day trip (I know a girl needs options but you don’t need that many), you can pack 2 and mix and match with different bottoms to achieve a completely different look each time. You’ll have way more space in your suitcase so you’ll avoid overweight fees plus have room for any purchases you make while away.

Remember, dressing well requires strategy. But, determining your outfit formulas is just one part of that. Being “stylish” is also very much about the confidence you exude and the way you pull everything together. Nothing you put on should every be random – dress with intent and you’ll never go wrong!

 

How to Wear a Jumpsuit at Work

Dressing for work in the summer can be difficult. It’s hot outside yet cold inside (why do offices insist on blasting A/C?) so finding the right outfit that will keep us cool yet professional can be a challenge.

Enter the jumpsuit.

jumpsuit

I’ve always been a fan but quite honestly, it never crossed my mind to wear it to wear until I found the right one. This one-piece wonder has changed the way I think about summer work attire (I typically stick to dresses) and has made getting dressed so much quicker. Anything that allows me to get even 5 extra minutes of sleep in the morning is a win in my books!

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when wearing a jumpsuit at work:

Find a professional fit

Jumpsuits come in all different shapes and styles. From cold shoulder to side-cutouts, the options are pretty much endless. Take the time to find one that has a sleek, professional look – one that isn’t shorter than just above your knee, fits well and isn’t revealing.

jumpsuit

Add the right layer

Still not sure about whether you can make the jumpsuit work for work? Add a layer. Whether it’s a cardigan or a blazer, you’ll find that this extra piece will instantly take your professionalism up a notch. Plus, it almost makes it look like you’re wearing two separate pieces!

Accessorize

Like any piece of clothing, there’s always an accessory that can add the perfect finishing touch. A great pair of earrings or a necklace can be exactly what you need to showcase more of your personality.

 

There’s something about a jumpsuit that instantly makes you look put together. Take your work style up a notch by incorporating a jumpsuit and you’ll find that you’ll transition from work to play with ease!

Jumpsuit: Ann Taylor

Heels: Call it Spring

Photography by Gooseberry Studios

What to Wear to a Summer Networking Event

Oh, summer! I absolutely love this season as not only does it allow us to wear fun summer attire but as the temperature rises so does the amount of networking opportunities! I think it’s safe to say that no matter where you’re located, there’s an opportunity for you to get out and meet new people every single week. So if you’re eager to get out, take advantage of the warm weather and meet new people, there’s only question I have for you – what are you going to wear?

Related: Check out this post on How to Find Local Networking Opportunities

Dressing for summer networking events (and just dressing in the summer, in general) does pose a bit of challenge as since it’s so warm outside, many of us become tempted to dress super casually (I mean, flip flops and shorts type of casual) and show skin. Although summer events tend to be held in more casual settings such as a restaurant patio or rooftop, it’s still important to look professional as after all, first impressions are important no matter what season it is!

networking event outfit

When Nine West Canada provided me with the opportunity to select a pair of shoes from their summer collection, I knew immediately that I needed this red pair in my closet. They are a sleek and classic pair of wedges that you can easily transition for different dress codes.

I wore these shoes during the networking event I hosted in June and I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they wore! I was running up and down all afternoon and didn’t complain about my feet once. Finding a stylish yet comfortable pair of shoes can be tricky but it’s not a challenge you should back down from. I speak from experience when I say that if you wear uncomfortable shoes to a networking event, it will make you super miserable and you’ll end up leaving early. Do you want to potentially miss out on meeting someone important all because your shoes are uncomfortable?

Here are two different networking outfit options featuring the same pair of shoes:

The Fun, Patterned Dress

I love this outfit because it’s one that you can wear both to the office and an after-work networking event! In an effort to remain cool yet stylish, I recommend choosing a light dress that is flattering and exposes little to no skin. Try to find a dress that is hemmed just below your knee to achieve an elegant look. I also typically go for sleeveless dresses especially on super humid days to ensure that I avoid those embarrassing sweat pits.

networking event outfit

Summer is also the perfect season to wear some fun colours and patterns to your networking events. This dress is great because it’s super colourful but is still very clean and elegant. Of course, you should always wear a statement necklace when you can – not only is it the perfect icebreaker but it adds the perfect finishing touch.

I loved how the open-toe wedges really complimented my dress as they were a great match with the colours on my dress and they helped to give me an overall friendly and approachable look while still looking professional, as open-toe shoes typically do.

The Statement Jeans

I know this outfit might not work for many office settings but it’s a look that I love for super casual weekend events! In fact, this is the exact outfit I wore when I hosted my event last month. Embroidered jeans seem to be “on-trend” this summer and although you know I’m not a big fan of following fashion trends – I can appreciate embroidered jeans as they are a great way to make a statement! Pair them with a neutral top so that your jeans become the focal point – I’m sure you’ll even get a compliment or two on how great they look! To bring out some of the colour in the embroidery, the wedges were perfect and of course, super comfy!

 

So, there you have it – one pair of shoes styled for two different types of networking events! Any pair of shoes that I can wear from work to weekend is a winner in my books. Find yourself your own pair of comfortable networking shoes and you too will be ready to make a great first impression no matter where you go!

Outfit details

Wedges: Nine West Canada (they’re on sale!)

Dress: Zara

Statement Necklace: H&M

Earrings: Charming Charlie

Top: Zara

Embroidered Jeans: Zara

Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Disclosure: My shoes were sponsored by Nine West Canada but all words and opinions are my own.

 

How to Feel Confident and Comfortable in a Suit

How do you feel when you wear a suit?

For many people, suits are considered very “corporate”, boring and simply non-stylish. It’s something they just put on for an interview and then take off as soon as possible afterwards.

suit

If this is you, don’t worry – I won’t judge but unfortunately I can’t relate. As soon as I put on a suit, I feel happy, comfortable and super confident. But you may be thinking – why does it really matter whether or not I feel comfortable in a suit? 

Well, have you ever noticed how some people look so effortlessly cool in their suits (or just business attire in general) while others look like they’re a fish out of water? In other words, they can’t wait to get back in their jeans and sweatpants.

Here are 3 things to consider so you can get that confident and comfortable look?

1 – Find the right fit

It’s important that your suit isn’t too tight or too baggy or else your overall appearance will suffer. If your suit isn’t the right fit when you buy it, take it to a tailor. For my fellow petite ladies, I highly recommend checking the petite section if possible as it will instantly give you a more neat and tailored fit.

2 – Pick a colour

When you think of suits, I bet the first thing that comes to mind are simple black and grey suits, right? Depending on your office dress code, you may not be able to get away with a pink suit but try to find something with a little bit of style! This could be a subtle pattern or a light colour shade that’s still professional for the environment you’re in. Suits don’t always equal boring and there are tons of options out there.

3 – Be yourself

I know this may sound super corny but if you try to act like someone you’re not, it will be completely obvious. Don’t overthink your outfit or what others will think. I actually wore this suit earlier in the year to a presentation and although I knew I’d be “overdressed”, it was more important for me that I wear an outfit I feel most confident and comfortable in.

As soon as you put on the suit, look in the mirror, admire how amazing you look and then go out and conquer your day.

Feeling and looking comfortable in a suit will not only allow you to build your confidence but you’ll demand attention and respect wherever you go.

Photography by Gooseberry Studios

The Professionalism of Pink

When I was young, my favourite colour used to be blue.

I know…it’s shocking, right? Considering the amount of pink that I wear and the fact that it’s one of my core brand colours you would think that my love for the colour started from a young age.

Well, believe it or not – I went through a pretty extensive “tomboy” phase. I loved hoodies, basketball jerseys, tracksuits and sneakers and that was my clothing of choice most days. I clearly remember my outfit for my first day of high school – a grey TNA tracksuit from Aritzia and a pair of pink and white Adidas sneakers.

But as you know, high school has a way of really impacting your self-esteem as you try to figure out where you belong. We all want to be accepted by the “cool kids” and of course, have people notice us. I quickly began to change (both literally and figuratively) from a tomboy to someone who embraced their girly side. Thinking back, it sounds so ridiculous but at the time, I felt as though I had no other choice in order to be accepted by my peers.

Fast forward to current day and of course, I’m very comfortable and happy with my personal style but I now find myself with a new dilemma – navigating the “professionalism” of the colour pink.

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How to Wear Yellow

Yellow is probably one of the most neglected colours of the rainbow. I mean, I sort of understand why. It’s bright and it’s loud (maybe even a little intimidating?) but yet that’s exactly why I love it. When you wear yellow, you’re making a statement.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me that yellow isn’t flattering on them. Part of me thinks this is an excuse used to avoid looking like a bumblebee or Big Bird as I personally think it can suit everyone as long as you find the right shade.

Due to my darker complexion, I typically avoid yellow if it is very light or pastel but I absolutely love mustard yellow! The deep undertones in it mix well with my skin and it gives me a nice, natural glow. Whenever I wear mustard yellow, it’s like there’s a sign on my head that says “This girl is friendly!” as I find I have more strangers feel like they can strike up a conversation with me.

{photo credit: Wikipedia}

According to the “fashion experts”, yellow is “in” this season and I know you can’t see me but I’m totally rolling my eyes right now. I’m personally not a fan of waiting for fashion to tell me what colours I should and should not be wearing. I’ve always been a huge fan of yellow. However, since yellow now seems to be everywhere, I thought I’d show you a few ways that you can incorporate it into your wardrobe!

As a Top

{Photographer: Gooseberry Studios}

As a Jacket

As a Coat

statement coat

{Photographer: Daniela Mileto Photography}

As an Accessory

{Photographer: Nancy Asante}

As a Shoe

{Photographer: Gooseberry Studios}

I hope these outfits inspire you to appreciate this beautiful colour. I’m on a mission to encourage people to wear more yellow. If you decide to incorporate yellow into your outfit (in any shape or form!), share your photo on Instagram and tag me @dowelldresswell and use #wearmoreyellow!

How to Fall in Love with Your Entire Wardrobe

Did you know that most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe, 80% of the time? I mean, think about it – we spend all this money to build out our wardrobe yet most of us tend to stick to our ‘tried and true’ pieces.

Does this sound like you? This may be happening for a number of reasons:

1 – You’re in a clothing rut

Deep down, you’re absolutely tired of the clothes in your wardrobe. You feel like you’ve worn everything a million times and you feel like you don’t have any good pieces anymore.

2 – Getting dressed gives you anxiety

You’ve never really spent the time figuring out what pieces and colours look best on you so as soon as you open your closet – you feel instant anxiety. You look around and you have no idea what to put on so you just grab the same ol’ items you wear all.the.time.

3 – Your clothing doesn’t fit your current lifestyle

Do you now work in a corporate environment but all your clothing is casual? Or perhaps the other way around? Maybe you only have a few pieces that are suitable for your everyday life and you haven’t yet spent time building out a wardrobe that’s a reflection of your current lifestyle.

So, how do you get to the place where you love your entire wardrobe again? The place where you open it up and from end to end, you feel good about the options you have and every single one is a potential candidate for today’s outfit?

Conduct a clothing audit

Go through your closet and ask yourself the following questions:

Do I even like this item?

Does it have any rips, tears or stains?

Have I worn this in the last 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?

Does it still fit?

Where can I wear this?

Do you like how this piece looks on you and makes you feel?

Does this item fit your current personal style?

A free printable of the clothing audit has been added to the resource library! Join the list and get the password so you can get your copy: bit.ly/DWDWResourceLibrary

Shop your existing items

After you have gone through your wardrobe to figure out what you’ll keep, it’s time to shop your own wardrobe! Mix and match pieces that you currently own to rediscover why you bought those items in the first place – after all, there must have been something about it that compelled you to buy it! Play around with various outfit formulas so you can determine how versatile your pieces really are. Here’s one of my favourites. What’s great about it is that it can easily be transformed from an office look to a weekend outing look.

From work…

Black cardigan or blazer + black and white patterned top (polka dots, stripes, etc.) + coloured pants + black pumps (and of course, you can add a necklace to top it off!)

…to weekend!

Black and white patterned top + jeans + cute pair of flats (and of course, if you need an extra layer, you can add the black blazer!)

Don’t buy items just for one particular event

Do you find that you only go shopping when you have an event coming up? You then wear that outfit and it never sees the light of day again? Before you purchase something new, you should ask yourself two questions “Would I wear this outfit again?” and  “What else could I wear this with?” If you know that you would only get one wear out of it (unless it’s your wedding dress, of course), you may want to pass up on it and look for something that you’re get a lot of wear out of.

Stop following fashion trends – define your own style

If you’re diligently following along with new fashion trends, it’s no wonder that you’re tired of your wardrobe – it’s constantly out of style! As soon as a new trend is “in”, let’s face it…after a few months, it’s on to the next thing! So, how do you solve this? By defining your own unique and timeless style. A style that will always be stylish no matter what fashion week says.

You can get started in 2 easy steps:

1 – Create a style moodboard

Set up a board on Pinterest and get to work pinning outfits and clothing items that reflect the style you’re after. You can either set up separate boards for different outfits (i.e. work and weekend) or combine them into one.

2 – Evaluate your inspiration + create your style summary

After you’ve created your moodboard, it’s time to put together your style summary. Here’s mine as an example:

What adjectives would you use to describe your style?

Bright, chic, fun, classy

What do you think this style communicates about you? Is it positive?

Friendliness, happiness, confidence, elegance

What are the key colours of this style?

Pink, yellow, black, navy blue, white, grey

What are the key pieces that make up this style?

Patterned skirts, tailored blazers, striped shirts, coloured cardigans, dark denim jeans, patterned tops

What is a typical outfit formula for this style?

Patterned cardigan, neutral top, statement necklace + jeans

What accessories best complement this style?

Statement earrings and necklaces

What would I name my style?

Statement Chic

Remember, curating a wardrobe you love and look good in doesn’t just happen – it’s an art. It takes thought, time and planning to figure out your unique style and what outfit formulas look best. But once you do, you’ll find that you’ll feel better, look better and it will lead to a huge boost in your overall confidence.

Why You Should Dress Up For A Phone Interview

When contacted by a company for a job opportunity, it’s likely that before you are invited for an in-person interview, you need to complete a phone interview.

Now this may seem pretty easy – you get to sit at home and simply talk on the phone without having to deal with the added stress surrounding an in-person meeting. You know what I mean – it seems much easier since you don’t have to worry about your body language and attire.

The thing is though – what you choose to wear can influence your performance during a phone interview.

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5 Tips to Make Getting Dressed More Productive

Did you know that women spend almost six months (let me repeat – six months!) of their working life deciding what to wear? This breaks down to almost 17 minutes a day or four days a year, going through your wardrobe to select an outfit. Crazy, right?

Reading this statistic at first may seem shocking but think about the last time you were getting ready – you open your closet, stare at your clothes, you may pick something out and try it on but decide it doesn’t work and then try something else. Before long, what seems like it may only take a minute typically becomes 17 minutes! I don’t know about you but I can’t help but think about having an extra 17 minutes of sleep in the morning…

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