You can put together an outfit using four basic components. Begin with a basic piece such as dark jeans, pencil skirt, or a basic top. Then add an interest piece, something that adds color, pattern, texture, or shine to the outfit. Next pick a completer piece such as a jacket, sweater, scarf, headband, or belt. Finally, include accessories to top off the look. A handbag, jewelry, and shoes are typically the basic goto pieces but you can’t just accessorize without forethought. Too much and you will appear overdressed and too little will appear drab (underdressed).
The 16-point rule
When picking accessories to complete your outfit, the 16-point rule is a popular method. Using the 16-point rule, each piece is assigned a value. Then the values of your potential accessories are summarized until they add up to 16. The objective is to create an outfit achieves the perfect balance. If the sum of your outfit is less than 16, you need to add more pieces. If the sum is more than 16, remove pieces.
Below are the point values you assign to each component of your outfit.
First, one point for each garment you have on:
More than 2 colors: 1
Then add points for accessories:
Fashionable tights or leggings: 1
Watch, bracelet, bangle: 1
Large statement necklace: 2 points
Multi-strand necklace: 1
Nice nails: 1
Handbag (if carried all the time): 1
Scarf or wrap: 1
Of course there are fashion faux pas you can make that will ruin an outfit even if the 16-point rule is followed. For instance, make sure the fit is right. This is the most important rule when putting together an outfit. Avoid baggy clothes especially. Clothing should fit your body like it was custom made for you. If it does not, have a tailor make final adjustments. Don’t forget that clothing that is too tight looks bad too.
Don’t neglect the importance of shoes. Shoes are even more important to your outfit if the look is basic or casual.
Similarly, make sure you carry the right bag. Don’t carry a bag that is too large. Leather provides the most professional look.
If this seems overwhelming, start with basic solids until you get the hang of it. Solids are easier to work and make it harder for you to put your outfit “over the top”. Once your basic outfit is in place, accessorize using the 16-point rule.