Tried and Tested – The Value of Having Go-To Outfits


Tell me …. are you often pushed for time?  Do you want to know you look great without having to fuss or think too much? Know you can throw on an outfit and some accessories that go together and get out the door?

This is what you get when you spend some time work (or play) shopping in your own wardrobe and putting together outfits that work.  Knowing the accessories, the shoes and how the whole look works means that you’ll spend less time day-to-day, standing in front of your wardrobe wondering what to put together, yet not reaching for the exact same outfit you wore a few days earlier (and becoming a total one-look-wonder).

How to Choose Linking Pieces and Accessories to Co-ordinate Your Outfit More Stylishly

A very stylish friend of mine told me (she’s a high school teacher) that during her school holidays she’d spend a few hours creating 40 outfits which she documented and then all she had to do each day was to check the weather and choose an appropriate outfit to wear, without having to do any further thinking (and knowing that it would all work together).  What a great thing to do so that you are less stressed each morning!

Creating your Go-To Outfits

It’s time to get into your wardrobe and spend an hour or two trying on clothes, shoes and accessories.  Make sure you have a place to photograph those outfits – you can either photograph yourself wearing them in the mirror, or photograph the items (lay a white sheet on the bed first) together, including accessories and shoes so you don’t forget any element of it.

The value of creating Go To Outfits
This patterned skirt has been a staple in my wardrobe since 2014!
The value of creating Go To Outfits
Same skirt 3 ways!
The value of creating Go To Outfits
Create outfits for multiple seasons with your trans-seasonal pieces

Take outfit photos to assess whether or not these outfits are working.  A photo really helps you assess whether the fit, scale, design elements, shape, colour and contrast are working for you (when you’re wearing the outfit, not when it’s on a bed!).  Find out more about the value of taking outfit photos here and how it really can help you improve your style.

How to Take a Great Selfie Photo – The Art of Posing

Create Outfit Around Your Heroes

No idea where to start? When I’m in a client’s wardrobe I will often create outfits around a hero item.

It could be a jacket, it could be a scarf, it could be a pair of shoes!  You can see in the photos above, I’ve created different outfits around a patterned skirt.

Outfit created around a pair of shoes
This outfit was created around this pair of shoes

I then build outfits around each hero in the wardrobe, choosing supporting acts and accessories to work with them to create a whole.

Choosing your Interest Pieces and Adding Statements to Make Your Outfits Fabulous

Find as many options as you can from your existing wardrobe (this is all about shopping your wardrobe not buying new gear) and see what you can come up with!

Of course, this exercise may point out some wardrobe gaps or holes, and then you can add these missing pieces to your wardrobe shopping list.

Try on every outfit, as I mentioned earlier, taking photos will give you both a record of what you put together and also a more objective way to see what works (and what doesn’t) so you only add to your “go-to outfit” list the really great outfits that you create!

Tried and Tested - The Value of Having Go-To Outfits
Outfit created around a necklace

Think about using my “make it an 8” idea for these outfits too – it can be used not just for shopping, but also for rating how well your outfits are working!

Then jot down, photograph, use your wardrobing app (whatever method works for you) all the outfits – have them somewhere easy to access so that you can quickly and easily throw a great outfit on any day of the week!

You may like to download my weekly outfit planner too, to help you with this task!

Go-To Outfits For Your Life

Think about your lifestyle and the different roles and activities you have.  You want to create outfits that are stylishly casual, work for work, and ones for when you go out to play!  Having a go-to outfit ready for every occasion means that the next invitation you have or event that is in your diary, you know you don’t need to rush out in a panic and try to purchase something new (never the right way to shop).  Instead, you already have a plan (or even a fall-back option if you’re looking for something new and it doesn’t materialise!).

More Tips on Putting Together Outfits You’ll Want to Go-To Over and Over Again

Is There a Process for Putting Stylish Outfits Together?

This is How to Put Together a Fabulous Outfit In Minutes

Bored with Your Style? 5 Solutions to Have You Looking and Feeling Great Again

10 Rules to Transform Your Personal Style

How to Train Your Eye To Create Stylish Outfits

7 Popular Wardrobe and Outfit Planning Apps Reviewed

Getting Inside Our Heads with a Step by Step Guide to Putting Outfits Together

Tried and Tested - The Value of Having Go-To Outfits


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Yes! I’ve been doing it for years! I have all my outfits listed under summer, spring, autumn, winter category. It’s also a great reminder that I don’t really have to buy anything new just now, because I already have so many great combinations in my closet.

  • I just love this post! What works for me is to try out outfits (including shoes, earrings, scarves, etc.) on days when I work at home. By the end of the day, I know if the outfit works for me. I find it a fun and safe way to test new combinations, and a great way to experiment with new purchases (it’s like I’m breaking them in). It helps me wear my whole wardrobe and weed out items that are no longer working for me.

  • Imogen,
    Your article is so timely and informative for me! My husband and I will be traveling for six weeks this fall and with the help of your articles I am determined to limit my wardrobe to 16 items. I too love your ongoing reminders to know, and wear, what’s in our closet. You are right, putting combinations together on a hanger or draped on the bed is not enough, we must try them on and photographs help determine proportion as well as accessories.

    My current goal is to photograph day to evening ensembles with as few changes as possible. It’s also been helpful to set up albums such as “brown pant evening”, “ brown pant day”, storing only photos of pleasing ensembles. This is taking a lot of time but well worth the effort to do the styling tweaks at home instead of figuring it out on the move without proper mirrors.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your writings help my creativity to surface and a reminder to keep trying till it works!

    You are the best! Have a wonderful time in London,
    Your faithful fan,

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