Some of us have that one item in our closet we’re always ready to pull out, no matter the occasion. It’s comfortable, flattering, and appropriate for casual and formal functions. For women, it might be a favorite LBD, while for men, t-shirts often fill this role. If you’re one of these people, you’ll start to notice it with every photo you’re tagged in, and your whole social life will start looking like one long night. If you wear the same outfit all the time, your look can start to feel uninspired as well. When you find yourself bored with your outfits, it’s time to learn how to mix and match.
Learn to Mix and Match
If you know how to mix and match well, you can create an endless variety of looks using the same key pieces in different combinations. This technique allows you to avoid wardrobe woes, while still letting you frequently reuse the wardrobe go-tos that you depend upon most often. The trick is learning how to make different pieces in your wardrobe work together. For women, this means playing with neutral and bold pieces to create different eye-catching combinations. For men, t-shirts can go from grunge to glam by creatively combining colors, textures, and styles.
Whether your style is timeless or trendy, you can give your look an instant makeover by learning to mix and match your clothes in unexpected and exciting new ways. For women and men, t-shirts and other high-quality basics from District are a must when it comes to tapping into your closet’s full potential.
The first thing you need to consider when learning to mix and match is how to use color. There are a number of different strategies for pairing various wardrobe items based on their respective colors, all of which are based on the natural progression of color:
- Monochromatic: A monochromatic color scheme uses different shades of the same color. Blend light and dark versions of the same hue to draw attention in different directions.
- Complementary: Opposite colors are considered complementary. The bold visual contrast between opposing colors makes them stand out more, enhancing the qualities that make each beautiful. Consider how red pairs with green or how blue looks with orange.
- Analogous: Color families that contain similarly warm or cool colors, but are different shades—like red, orange, and yellow, or purple, blue, and teal—flow together naturally.
- Split Complementary: A split complementary palette uses two colors that are analogous with a splash of one opposing complementary color, creating an unexpected and unique mix of colors. Think of the eye-popping combination of red, orange, and blue.
The color wheel is a great resource for figuring out which colors are complementary. Each color’s complementary shade is placed directly across on the wheel, while its analogous shades are on either side of it. For women and men, t-shirts in a variety of different neutral and bright hues are needed to ensure that you always have the right color for the different monochromatic or complementary looks you desire.
Key Types of Pieces
For both women and men, t-shirts are just the beginning when it comes to effectively mixing and matching your wardrobe. As you practice your matching skills, stay aware of the three key types of pieces involved in any outfit: base, accent, and pop pieces.
Base pieces are the foundation upon which to build your outfit. A base piece might be a suit, a simple dress, or a basic top. For women and men, t-shirts are an ideal base piece. They tend to be a solid color—often a neutral hue—although you can certainly create a base with more vibrant colors as well. Base pieces are usually timeless classics as opposed to trendy pieces.
Accent pieces tend to be colored or patterned articles of clothing that add interesting shapes and silhouettes to simple base pieces. Blouses, cardigans, and jackets are the most common accent pieces. Unlike base pieces, you’re more likely to want to swap out your accent pieces as seasons and trends change.
Pop pieces, as the name suggests, add a “pop” of visual intrigue to an outfit, helping put the finishing touches on your ensemble. Pop pieces tend to be accessories, such as shoes, scarves, jewelry, and belts. These pieces can come in intriguing colors or more neutral shades. What’s most important though, is that they ultimately add polish to your outfit. Gold and silver are great colors for pop pieces because they match nearly everything.
To create as many different looks as possible with the fewest pieces, you’ll want your closet to contain a mixture of base, accent, and “pop” pieces. For women and men, t-shirts are an absolute essential, as are quality blazers and sweaters, comfortable sweatshirts, and shoes in neutral colors.
New Ways to Mix Up Basics
It’s also important to think about different ways to use your favorite pieces. For both women and men, t-shirts are some of the most flexible items in your closet, but there are lots of ways to creatively style other pieces as well. Here are a few imaginative tips for livening up your look.
Tip #1: Mix Prints by Adding Basics
One of the most daring ways to mix and match is to throw together outfits that feature more than one print. Wearing a basic top—for men, t-shirts or tanks are a great choice—allows you to mix the prints of your pants and jacket, creating a truly bold look. Your look works better with a neutral piece because it’s easier to mix prints if they’re separated by a solid color.
Prints also work better together if the colors work alongside each other, so don’t forget the tips and tricks for matching and complementing colors! Keep in mind that simpler prints are easier to mix and match than complicated ones. If you’ve got an elaborate graphic you want to flaunt, make sure the other print is relatively basic, like stripes or polka dots.
Tip #2: Wear It to the Gym (or Don’t)
Even if you’re not headed to the gym, athletic wear is comfortable and fun. The “athleisure” look has become more popular in recent years, and has a variety of appropriate occasions, from work to a night on the town. Wearing an athletic top with nice boots and a blazer elevates it and creates a work-friendly outfit. With black leggings, boots, and jewelry, a simple raglan long sleeve looks chic enough to wear on a girls’ night out. For men, t-shirts help you look the part at the gym, but they can also be dressed up with dark jeans and a sports coat for a night on the town.
The effortless style of the athleisure look has become the benchmark for casual everyday wear. Of course, you’ll get bonus points if you actually end up doing some cardio or weights—District clothes are designed to be comfortable and work-out friendly.
Tip #3: Play Hide and Seek
One of the best ways to get a variety of looks out of a single piece is to play with layering. You can take your favorite basic top and layer it under or over a wide variety of other clothing items. For women and men, t-shirts or tanks that are brightly colored, for instance, look great under a cutout top or loose knit sweatshirt. You can also try a slim button-down, with a washed woven texture, under a chunky cropped sweater. Try wearing a loose tank over a brightly colored sports bra for a cheeky daytime look, or over a turtleneck for a retro vibe that’s perfect for a casual day at the office. Alternatively, wearing a casual sweatshirt or button-down over a more formal dress or slip brings down a formal look for everyday wearability.
To keep a layered look flattering rather than bulky, make sure to wear tighter-fitting layers and use a variety of different fabrics and textures to keep the entire outfit from looking heavy. For men, t-shirts make great base layers under coats, sweaters, and cardigans. Of course, you can also always finish any layered look with the ultimate layering accessory—a scarf. For women and men, plain t-shirts, tanks, and other basic apparel will instantly look dressier once you throw a polished scarf over them.
Tip #4: Get All Over with Overalls
Overalls have been making a fashion comeback lately and the trend is a great way to put a creative spin on your layering basics. A long-sleeved raglan under overalls makes a classic, casual look, but don’t be afraid to get original with this classic. An option for making any overall outfit more elegant, is adding jewelry and heels. You may also choose to match your favorite overalls with boots and a blazer for a work-appropriate look. You can find overalls in a variety of bold colors and cuts, including trendy neons, and overalls that are styled like shorts and dresses.
Tip #5: Add A Skirt
Our favorite casual outfits often feature jeans, shorts, or leggings, but if you take the same top you’d wear with pants and pair it with a skirt, you’ve got a whole new look. The same top can go with a variety of skirt styles to create a number of different looks. A top that looks ultra-classy and professional when paired with a pencil skirt may give off a bohemian vibe if you wear it over a flowing maxi skirt. You can even dress up by wearing a vintage A-line skirt, or dress down with a denim mini. If you’re a fan of bold style, try pairing a neutral t-shirt with a skirt featuring a wild pattern.
Whatever the go-to item in your wardrobe, spicing up an old favorite can be a breeze if you follow these tips. If your article of choice is a basic piece, it’s easy to mix it up by combining it with bright, bold colors, prints, and accessories. If your favorite clothing item is more of a “pop” or accent piece, District is the perfect place to find versatile basics that allow you to integrate the piece into more outfits. In general, if you’re interested in sprucing up your wardrobe with mix and match styles for women and men, t-shirts and other basics from District are just what your closet needs. Shop District today to start shaking up your look!