Method Dressing: Adding and Subtracting

Choosing an outfit and all the little elements that are a part of it, from key pieces and shoes to jewellery, make up and accessories, is all about balance and hitting just the right level between dressed up and dressed down that you had in mind. What makes an outfit 'casual enough to chill out with friends on a Sunday afternoon' or 'fancy enough for an evening event'? Of course, we all have different opinions and thresholds on what constitutes a low-key outfit, but we can all probably agree that bright colours and very constructed and detailed pieces are more statement-y than neutrals and simple cuts. However, an outfit consists of much more than just its main pieces, the accessories you choose and how you wear each individual item also make a big difference and can turn around your whole look by either 'adding' or 'subtracting' from it.

For today's post I wanted to show you three styling tricks that I use to manipulate and balance out my outfits. Whenever I think that my outfit is too plain for the occasion, I use one of the elements in the right column to 'add' to it. When I feel too dressed up because I'm, for example, wearing a very colourful top, I try to tone it down by 'subtracting' from it using one of the methods in the left column.

What tricks do you have up your sleeve to make your looks more or less casual/ dressed up? Tell me in the comments!


make up

Of course, make up is a fairly obvious way to dress up an outfit. However, it also works the other way round! By wearing less make up than usual you can easily add a slightly more casual feel to very dressy looks. I love the combination of a bare face with a colourful/ elaborate outfit - I think it looks a lot more modern than a full-on dressed up look.



The silhouette of your look, created by the fit of each individual item, is almost as important as the other two biggies, colour and texture, when it comes to manipulating the dressiness level of an outfit. As a rule of thumb, looser fits appear more casual than close fits, although very voluminous wide cuts will always make a statement, especially in combination with slim-fitting elements or as part of a head-to-toe wide-cut look. My favourite way to tone down colourful or tight jeans/skirts is to pair them with a loose-fitting, but not oversized, t-shirt. On the other hand, if I want to wear simple jeans for a nighttime event, I'll generally combine them with a close-fitting top.



A structured look is characterized by several visual lines and breaking points created by accessories, hemlines, seams or tailoring. In contrast to unstructured, layer-less outfits, structured outfits tend to look sharper and a bit more put together and polished. Easy ways to add structure to a simple outfit are tucking in your top and adding a belt, jewellery or more layers, for example a slightly longer camisole underneath or a jacket on top. Conversely, if you feel like wearing a bright, statement blouse for a comparatively casual occasion, try pairing it with as few accessories as possible and no tucking or belting!