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How I style my outfits

By Ava Green, Features Contributor

During Thanksgiving break I spent a bit of time in New York City. Once I knew I was going, my first thought was: “What am I going to wear?” If you — for whatever reason — keep up with my articles, you’ll know I write a lot about fashion.​​ That being said, I will take any opportunity to wear a cool outfit, and the beauty of the city is that you can look as crazy as you want and no one bats an eye. But whether you are picking clothes for class or going out to meet a hot date, picking out an outfit can be very difficult. Trust me: I am very much guilty of frantically trying things on and making a mess of my closet. But to avoid that, here is how I choose my outfits.

The most important part is having an understanding of where you're going — what you're doing, the weather, the occasion, etc. If you are one of those people who is always cold no matter what, maybe think about adding a stylish hat or scarf to what you are wearing. Or if you know you're going to be walking a bit, try to find a way to incorporate sneakers into your outfit. Clothing is beautiful and expressive, but it also needs to serve a purpose. (You will thank yourself later for dressing accordingly.) So, I knew I needed a nighttime outfit that would keep me warm and was able to be comfortably worn in the car as well as for speed-walking the streets of Manhattan. I would also be visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art while I was there, so I made sure my second outfit was warm with layers I could take off while inside. Now that I knew the what, where and when, I was able to start looking at what I could put together.

There is always an aspect of personal preference that goes into choosing an outfit, though (See: “How to develop a personal style” by yours truly). You know better than anyone else what colors you like to wear and what prints or silhouettes are your “go-to”s. Once you have an idea of what you like and what looks good on you, a whole world of possible outfits open themselves up to you. Also, it's never unoriginal to draw inspiration from others. For my first outfit I knew I wanted the Barbara Streisand look of a big coat, small dress and basically bare legs. Something about it is so chic to me. And for my second outfit I wanted to look very smart and scholarly, so I went on Pinterest and looked up the ways that I could style certain pieces that I want to use. I did not rip off someone else’s look (at least I hope not) and I definitely fit my usual style, just slightly elevated. This inspiration does not solve all of your uncertainty, though. You still have to see what clothes you have or may need to buy to put a look together.

Now, I am not a minimalist in the slightest, but I do believe in the simple rule of wearing one statement piece and building an outfit from there. It almost always works. If you’re going to be wearing printed pants, I would say to go for a more simple top, or vice-versa. This is a very general concept, so never feel constricted. Who am I to say what you wear? For the first night, I picked out a dress I thrifted at a Goodwill in Pittsburgh. Actually, dress isn’t the right word. This was actually a bathing suit that I just assumed was a very mini minidress. Anyway, it is a short black “dress” that flares at the hips with green and blue flowers printed on it. For warmth I added black tights, a black turtleneck and long black socks that went past my shoes that could basically be considered legwarmers. Then, I planned on wearing a plain black coat with black hightop vans. For my second outfit, my statement piece was an oversized, dark brown, suede men’s sport coat. I had no idea what to wear it with, so I threw on the default outfit (dark-wash jeans and a white turtleneck). I threw the coat on top and absolutely loved it! It was still a bit boring, though.

To avoid a boring outfit predicament, you need to accessorize, which is not the easiest thing to do. Too much or not enough can really ruin an outfit… I’ve personally done it many times. It’s kind of a trial and error situation. Don't fret — a little guide to that will be coming soon (*wink wink*).

Personally, I love color coordination and matching. When accessorizing, I try to pick out which colors I want to highlight. For example, I ended up digging a green, fluffy coat out of my closet that matched the green in the leaves of my dress. For the second outfit, I added a maroon scarf to match my hair color and a white hat to match my sweater. And jewelry is always a “must” in my opinion. Both outfits had a very high neckline so I chose a simple long necklace that would go over the shirt and still be visible. I wore small, thick gold hoops both days. My hair was down and I had a hat on, so earrings were not super important to me. I then added an abundance of chunky rings (just for the fun of it). For each outfit, I added a plain crossbody purse which I only wore on my left shoulder. It never stayed there longer than ten minutes, but it looked really cute. No pain, no gain, baby.

I was extremely proud of the outfits I chose for myself for this trip, although I am still a bit embarrassed that my mirror selfies are going to be attached to this article. Regardless, the clothes you choose impact what kind of day you will have. When I was wearing my tiny dress and my big coat, I felt so cool and glamorous, and I walked with more purpose because I was confident in the way that I presented myself. When I was wearing my sweater and blazer at the Met, I felt like probably the most sophisticated person alive, and that mood made me want to really take in all of the beauty and information that the museum had to offer. So please — for me — choose to have a good day and wear something you really, really love. It's good for the soul.

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