The "Level Up" Trick I Use When I Have Zero Outfit Inspiration

Aemilia Madden

While I'd rather not cop to my lazy tendencies, the truth is that there are plenty of days I revert back to the simplest of uniforms: jeans, sneakers, and a T-shirt. It's not that I'm totally unimaginative, but there are weeks when I'm home at 11 p.m. and out the door at 7 a.m., leaving me without a lot of time or energy for putting together inspired outfits. But as a creative (and knowing that like it or not I am judged by what I wear), I've honed an easy hack for stepping up my look on those days when I'm feeling stuck. I call it the "level up" trick.

The concept is simple: to take that easy outfit and find a small (read: doable) swap that makes it feel different and dressed up. This could mean exchanging one part of the ensemble—swapping heels for sneakers or swapping a more refined blouse for my go-to tee. It could also mean adding something more sophisticated like a blazer or even a wrap dress.

Level Up: to instantly upgrade a basic outfit with a small swap. 

Because I hold myself to one tweak (though more than one is welcome), it's a way of refreshing an everyday outfit that feels achievable instead of trying to put together something unique all the way from square one. To me, it's simple proof that sometimes the best creativity comes when there are already a certain set of parameters to work within. That overwhelming dread I feel staring at my closet at 6:30 a.m. is gone, and instead of just reverting time and again to one simple outfit, the variations on a theme all feel unique.

Read on for a few easy tweaks to "level up" your most basic ensembles.

Explore: How To, Looks

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