Method Dressing: How to Make Your Outfits Consistently Stylish
Here’s the good news about method dressing: You’re probably already doing it. But to harness its power, you need to understand which type of dressing model you follow. We learned about it from one our favourite minimalist fashion sites, Into Mind, and had to share it with you. Method dressing will allow you make smarter shopping choices, which will lead to a wardrobe of outfits that are ultimately more stylish.
Intrigued? Scroll down to find out more.
Method dressing is a model you use to get dressed in the morning. You may think you don’t follow a specific method to put on clothes, but just like any other activity you do routinely, you end up developing a habitual way of doing it. You’re likely unaware of your process (until now!), but understanding your method actually has very stylish benefits.
Understanding your method to getting dressed will allow you to be more aware of the internal structure of your wardrobe. You’ll come to know your signature way of putting together outfits, which will enable you to better identify wardrobe gaps as well as the best pieces to invest in—the ones you know you’ll get the most use out of. You’ll be able to make more-informed shopping choices because you’ll know which types of pieces fit into your method. This translates to increased closet satisfaction and no more purchases that you don’t end up wearing. As your closet starts to align with your specific method of getting dressed, your outfits will naturally be more consistently stylish. You know those women who seem to look fashionable 24/7, day in and day out? Emmanuelle Alt, Olivia Palermo, and Jenna Lyons come to mind. These are the women who never look less than stylish, and these are the women who have figured out their method for getting dressed.
Read on to discover which approach (or combination of approaches) you use to get dressed in the morning so you can start benefiting from the outfit-enhancing effects!
Are you able to mix and match almost every item in your closet and they’ll look more or less good together? This is a modular approach to dressing. Many men unknowingly follow this approach—they have a collection of button-downs or T-shirts and jeans or pants that all pretty much go together, and they can pair any top with any bottom. This approach is used by women too, though, and works best with a wardrobe that shares a cohesive style and colour scheme—for example classic, tailored pieces in neutral colours with pops of camel, blush, and cranberry. If this approach resonates with you, shop for pieces that fit into your overall vision of your closet and work with pieces you already own.
White top: Zara Off-the-Shoulder Poplin Shirt ($50)
Navy camisole: Costume National Silk Top ($320)
Red top: Rag & Bone Gabrielle Printed Silk-Twill Shirt ($495)
Jeans: Frame Denim Le Garcon Amherst Mid-Rise Boyfriend Jeans ($131)
Grey skirt: Acne Studios Wrap-Effect Wool-Blend Felt Mini Skirt ($375)
Black trousers: 3.1 Phillip Lim Pencil Stretch Cotton-Blend Tapered Pants ($350)
You follow the set-outfits approach if you usually pair certain items together, and rarely mix and match. While some people wear set outfits from head to toe, sets can also include just a couple of items, such as a specific belt that you love wearing with your boyfriend jeans. If this approach sounds like you, it can be helpful to organise your closet by pairing the items that you like to wear together, rather than putting all tops together and all bottoms together. When shopping, if one of the items in your favourite set outfit is wearing out or low-quality, consider investing in a nicer version.
Green top: Equipment Signature Linen Shirt ($210) in Army Jacket
Printed top: Tibi Koi Jacquard Twisted Cropped Top ($118)
Denim top: Être Cécile Denim Cropped Top ($127)
Shorts: Topshop Lace-Up Shorts ($68)
Printed skirt: Tibi Koi Jacquard Wrap Skirt ($178)
Jeans: MiH Jeans Denim Culottes ($315)
The uniform approach is exactly what it sounds like: You have a set look, whether it’s a flowy dress paired with flats or skinny jeans worn with a blazer, and you find yourself sticking to that specific pairing. Not very many people are exclusively uniform dressers, but most will find themselves purchasing multiple similar items and feel drawn to certain outfit combinations and silhouettes. Understanding your uniform approach can help inform your purchasing decisions, as you’ll find it’s wise to invest in quality, standout versions of the components of your “uniform,” even if you only wear that signature look a couple of days a week.
Peach shirt: Equipment Signature Washed-Silk Shirt ($210) in Peach
Print shirt: Band of Outsiders Dobby Dot Shirt ($162)
White shirt: Karen Millen Softly Tailored Bib Front Shirt ($200)
Cream skirt: Isabel Marant Tifen Fringed Mini Skirt ($260)
Black skirt: Acne Studios Paynton Boiled Wool-Blend Mini Skirt ($380)
Brown skirt: No. 21 Bow Satin Mini Skirt ($333)
The goal of this approach is to create balanced outfits by crafting every look with two components: neutrals and statement pieces. This approach ensures your outfit will never be too boring or too over the top. It requires a complete set of basics in neutral colours—bottoms, tops, jackets—and then bolder statement pieces that serve as the standout part of your look. If this is the dressing style you gravitate toward, invest in quality neutral pieces and then update seasonally with on-trend statement items.
Black top: H&M Silk Chiffon Blouse ($60)
Grey tee: T by Alexander Wang Classic Jersey T-Shirt ($85)
Printed sweater: Carven Camouflage Jacquard Sweater ($650)
Black jeans: River Island Black Booke Flare Jeans ($84)
Printed skirt: Thakoon Addition Bouclé Mini Skirt ($98)
Jeans: Re/Done Relaxed Straight Jeans ($244)
After reading about the four different approaches, what do you think your dominant method is? Let us know in the comments below!