It’s 9 a.m, and you need to be out of the house in twenty minutes. You barely have enough time to finish your morning cup of coffee, so piecing together a cute look feels all but impossible. But, alas, clothing is a must! You open your closet and, surrounded by blouses and dresses and pants you’ve worn a million times before, that all too familiar feeling sinks in: You have absolutely no idea what to wear. So, what to do? In desperate moments like these, it’s best to rely on easy, no-fuss outfit formulas that, in addition to getting you out of the house in time, will yield a put-together, polished ensemble you can actually feel good about.
Tatiana Wise, a Los Angeles-based fashion stylist, says the key to building out a reliable Rolodex of outfits is to tune out the chatter of the trend cycle and, instead, look inward. “As a stylist, I help others achieve looks that they’d never consider or think to wear themselves, but I also never want to change who they are,” she tells TZR. “Yes, it’s fun to play dress-up, maybe even becoming a different character for a day, but it’s important to feel 100% you in your outfits when it comes down to it. Fashion is art, and as cliché as it may sound, every person is their own canvas that can provide endless artwork,” says Wise, encouraging you to “[wear] what you’re comfortable in, not what TikTok or your favorite influencer says you should wear.”
That said, Wise acknowledges how difficult of an endeavor it can be to align yourself with an individualistic fashion point of view — it requires self-reflection, time, effort, and, well, a lot of trial and error. She says, though, that “a good stepping stone to making a solid rotation of outfits is to pick silhouettes and staple pieces you know you’ll wear regardless of what season it is or what trends are currently floating around.” From there, you can integrate more personality-filled items like “a flashier pair of shoes, a statement jacket, or a crazy pair of sunglasses — those add-on pieces to have for when your mood changes, your style evolves, or something life-changing happens, which typically affects one’s personal taste.”
To see what specific outfit formulas Wise calls on, scroll ahead. You’ll discover insight from Hollywood stylist Karla Welch, too, and an edit to shop that’ll help take the guesswork out of getting dressed in the a.m.
‘Little Shirt, Big Pant’
Wise invites you to rely on the classic ‘little shirt, big pant’ combo — or, in other words, to play with a proportional ratio where your bottoms are oversized and your top is a smaller silhouette. Her personal go-to is “a tighter, ‘second-skin’ knit top with baggy pants and a cropped jacket.” Wise also adds that the pairing complements her body type: “The crop at the waist allows more shape at the midsection and it celebrates my curves rather than hiding them, which I tend to do more than I would like,” she says.
“My go-to look is a blazer, tee, and jeans combo,” says Welch, who pens copious style advice on her newsletter, The Thread of It All, hosted on the publishing platform Bulletin. In particular, the celebrity stylist (her client list includes Justin and Hailey Bieber, Sarah Paulson, and Renate Reinsve) shouts out concert tees for being a solid option to have in your rotation of outfit formulas, adding that her love for musical merch has officially evolved into a full-blown obsession.
A Silky Set
When needing a dressier outfit that requires little to no styling effort on your part, Wise shouts out a matching top and skirt made of a luscious material. “I love keeping silhouettes simple while enhancing the look using specific fabrics such as a satin or silk fabric,” she explains. “With a flowy top and skirt combo, I can maintain that carefree feeling while still being dressier than my day-to-day combinations.” For finishing touches, Wise recommends either a pair of thick-sole boots or strappy heels and chunky gold jewelry. “It’s perfect for a dinner with friends or a night out,” the stylist remarks.
A Low-Effort, High-Reward Combo
“My best piece of advice is to dress and lay out your clothes the night before mentally,” offers Welch. In fact, outfit planning takes precedence in the stylist’s personal morning routine, even ahead of other getting-ready activities: “I think about my day and have my look already planned before I hit the shower!”
But, let’s be honest, there will be many mornings where you just don’t have the time or energy to catalog and conceptualize your entire closet. On those days, Welch encourages you to rely on an age-old, foolproof outfit of relaxed separates that deliver a polished impact. “A baggy trouser with sneakers and a button-down, for example, is a favorite,” suggests the celebrity stylist.
A Dressed-Up Sweatshirt
“I love a skirt with a sweatshirt and a cute shoe,” says Welch, highlighting the ensemble as perfect for running errands on a lazy-but-productive Sunday. And if you think the look needs another finishing touch, Welch has one easy, infallible tip: “Add a red lip!”
A Mood-Boosting Aesthetic Clash
“Being transparent with my confidence level on a day-to-day basis is crucial when talking about what I choose to wear for bringing my spirits up,” Wise states. “Some days I need more help than others — and that’s okay! Your style is who you are and what you want to represent, whatever that means to each and every individual.”
Sometimes, she says, that outfit might look like a beloved hoodie, worn-in denim, and furry UGG slippers. Other times, though, when you do have the energy to experiment, Wise encourages you to team together garments with contrasting vibes for a feel-good look. For instance, a feminine lace slip teamed with dadcore sneaks or “a tie-dye, knit bodycon dress with studded, suede, square-toed boots” both deliver a fascinating stylized effect.
Breath New Life Into Vintage Denim
“I love an oversized top with light-wash vintage denim,” describes Wise. The outfit is neutral enough that you’ll be able “to pick from a variety of shoes and accessories that transfer it from a day look to a night look.” In other words? It’s a gloriously versatile formula to keep in your style arsenal.
The Art Of Accessorizing
If you have your ensemble down pat, but it still feels lacking in impact, Welch challenges you to integrate a few choice accessories. Namely, she recommends a low kitten heel and an eye-catching, vibrant handbag.
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