Honestly, it is really easy to dress classy and look elegant even if you are wearing casual clothes every single day and in this style guide I am sharing a 5 step guide that will help you achieve the classy yet casual look without much effort.
These are rules that most well dressed people follow every single day of their lives and make us feel amazed by how they do it. I have been studying some of my favorite celebrities who have mastered the art of looking casual and elegant every time they step out of the door. And they do it effortlessly that we always feel amazed and wonder how they achieved in the first place.
And sometimes, you might have tried copying their outfit like I used to do and realized that you are definitely missing something. This guide will help you get that missing piece of styling or getting ready part. So, lets get started.
And if you want to know who are the style icons whom I follow and take inspiration from a regular basis, then you can find that at the end of this post.
This is the fundamental of classic dressing no matter what you put on. And specially important if you like wearing casual pieces. Be it a pair of jeans, T shirt, or a sweater find styles that are classic and SIMPLE. For me when I am picking my denim, I like to steer away from a lot of color fading or rips or tears, and also sometimes Raw hems (even though I love wearing them a lot).
Classic styles are timeless styles. Pieces that you can wear for years without it looking dated, which means if you find a trendy shade or trendy pattern, that might not work for the next season or year and does not look classic.
In summer, I love wearing, solid colored crewneck T shirts with a longer sleeve length. These styles of T shirts are not only flattering for any body type. They just make you look smart and elevated. And the great part is that even though, you pick a bright colored one, you will still look put together and nice in them. Steer away from trendy styles or patterns on your T shirt that will look flashy or over the top.
This is something you definitely notice on people who look elegant and classy. They have a sense of togetherness in their look with the classic styles.
Crewneck T shirts look great on anyone because of the collar detail and it also adds a structure and sophistication to a really casual garment like a T shirt. At the same time a longer sleeve which reaches your mid upper arm looks modest and structured. It feels as if the T shirt is made for you.
You can also wear button down shirts, which instantly add more structure to your denim look, but if you don’t like them, a crew neck T shirt is definitely a great alternative.
I follow the same rule for my knitwear as well. I have always preferred crewneck sweaters that are simple yet the neckline stitching creates a put together touch. I also like the sleeve knit details that elevate the sweater even more. The sleeve details adds more structure to the overall sweater.
Style Tip: Tuck in your sweater or top which always looks way more structured and polished. It completes the whole outfit and feels like you know how to style and create your outfit.
This year we are seeing a lot of collared sweaters, and I could not be more happier. These are the button down shirt equivalent in knitwear. I am already investing in so many of these because they look so flattering structured with the simple collar detail.
Just like my crewneck T shirts, I also love wearing solid colored sweaters instead of a lot of patterns, because they easily go well with anything and you can still wear bright colors and look flattering.
Fit & Tailoring
I combined both of these key styling details together because people often feel like it can be either or, but when to comes to a classic and elegant outfit, they have to be together. If you look at any classic style icon, you will find both of these style elements together.
You will always see them wearing the correct fit (not fitted which I will get to in a bit) and wearing atleast one piece of tailored item. And together their outfit looks stylish and timeless with lots of sophistication. All of this creates a classic style.
When I say the correct fit, I mean whatever you are wearing should fit you properly. If you are wearing a plain T shirt or a sweater, making sure that it fits you properly not just in terms of the fit, but the shoulder seams , the arm seams all fall at the right spot, instead of drooping or looking too tight.
This creates an effect of getting your act together. It feels like you know how to pick the right pieces and you look put together in them. This is why sometimes wearing oversized clothing might not create an elegant outfit.
An oversized sweater might not look the best, if it is fall off your shoulders. On the other hand, if the fit of the sweater is in general oversized, but the shoulder seams and the sleeve seams are all falling right where they are suppose to be, that still looks flattering and you will look elegant in it. And this is what Tailoring is.
Tailored clothes have a way of looking put together even though sometimes they can be a bit oversized. Like wide leg pants, which feel oversized, but because of the tailoring details they look elegant and always classy. I feel the same way about oversized blazers of coats that have a way of always looking classy because of the tailoring details on them.
So, a rule of thumb that I follow specially when I am dressed casually is to mix something tailored with something casual. If I am wearing, leggings and a long sweater or T shirt, I use a structured coat to create a classic look. This way, my outfit looks tailored to my body and looks elegant as well.
Casual Essentials That will Look Classy
- Crewneck t shirt
- Long Sleeve Crewneck T shirt
- Striped T shirt
- Square Neck Blouse
- Button Down Shirt
- Crewneck Sweater
- Polo Neck Sweater
- Double Breasted Coats
- Straight Leg jeans
- Wide Leg jeans
- Tailored Pants
- Narrow Straight leg Pants
- Pleated Skirt
- Aline Midi Length Skirts
- A line Dresses.
- Shirt Dresses
- Trench Coats
This is something I learned the hard way after making many hair styling and color mistakes and I want to share them with you, because that is my goal here, to help you achieve the confidence with style.
Hair plays the most vital role in our overall style and a not so flattering hair style definitely looks shabby and creates an undone look. So, invest in a hair styling tool that will get your styling done quickly. If you absolutely don’t have time to style your hair, then simply put your hair in a low ponytail or a bun that keeps it in check and also looks done without a lot of effort.
This is something I learnt in my 30s, that hair styling is key to looking put together, YOUR OUTFIT CAN BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE OR STYLISH BUT IF YOUR HAIR LOOKS LIKE YOU JUST WOKE UP, ITS NOT GOING TO LOOK MOST ELEGANT.
And I know Bed head style is a thing, but if you see my hair in the morning, you would know that a lot of cannot rock that at all.
I also have to point out hair color here because a couple of years ago, I was obsessed with spending tons of money and getting a blonde or close to blonde hair color. It not only did not suit my face, it looked unhealthy because I have almost black hair color. After deciding to go back to natural, I realized that I look way more classic and timeless. I wanted to share this because, sometimes you are just meant to have that hair color.
The same goes for a flattering hair cut. As women we often obsess over longer hair, but a trim here and there can work wonders on your hairstyle over all making you look polished and put together. That is why people get them done in the first place. I have a rule of getting a trim atleast every six months.
Again another lesson that I am sharing by experience. You will often see that most classy and elegant women have a minimal or almost a look of no makeup makeup.
That does not mean that you have to put on makeup like the British Royal Family, absolutely not. But there are some key factors to note here.
Your foundation should match your skin color, because if it does not, the difference will show thanks to your neck. This is where investing in a quality foundation is key, or if you don’t like foundation, just use concealer on blemishes. They honestly last longer and are way lighter.
Your eye makeup should again look flattering and not over the top, this shows that you know how to create a flattering makeup look. If you have thinner eyebrows, fill them up (but don’t draw). Use a bit of mascara without going overboard. And put on a lipstick that is flattering.
All of this honestly will take just 10 minutes and if you practice daily, might take even less. I have an everyday makeup tutorial on my blog where I am using tinted moisturizer instead of foundation that takes me like 5 minutes.
Don’t Quit Reading yet. I swear, there is something here you should know. A lot of us stress getting our nails done professionally every time, because that is the only way it seems. But it far from that.
Sometimes, I don’t have time to paint my nails or weeks because either I am too busy or I am giving my nails a break from all the nail paints. But I ensure that my nails are not outgrown. They are properly trimmed and filed. Because, it is not at all flattering to see over cut or outgrown nails trust me.
The Royal family women don’t even put any nail paint because of their rules and regulations, so they just apply a clear coat so that nails look shiny and clean.
And if you really like to do gel nails, I have a complete step by step guide to do gellac at home that looks professional without spending too much money.
You should also take care of the cuticles by applying hand lotions periodically, specially now that its getting cooler outside. These are just the basics, and if you take care of them, it will become a habit and you would not even realize it and you will look nice everyday.
Right Accessory & Footwear
Accessories is the key to building any outfit and it also applies to a classic and elegant one as well. They make or break your outfit. I am going to combine footwear as well, because even though they are an essential for any look they are often treated like accessories.
Lets tackle accessories – If you look at anyone with a classic style, you will notice two key patterns, they wear classic accessories and they never go overboard with them. No matter how cute all your accessories look together don’t over do it. Don’t go with a matching earring, necklace, bracelet and ring. Minimize the number of jewelry or heaviness of the jewelry you are wearing.
If you are wearing a chunkier or heavy necklace always pick a stud earring that is simple and will balance your face. the same applies to bracelets and rings, if you are wearing a thick bracelet, rather than wearing a lot of rings, just wear one. And it goes the other way round too. I am usually a ring person, so I skip the bracelets altogether or I pick dainty or slimmer bracelets.
Now, I don’t have to say this, the same applies to your watch, and I will say this, that don’t skip it. Watches are like second to my skin, I never leave the house without them. They always add put together touch. But when you pick the watch, make sure that it compliments your outfit. If you own one watch make sure that it is in a neutral color tone that will go with all your outfits.
If you are picking scarves or handbags, again go for less patterns or simpler and structured designs that will look timeless and balance your outfit rather than over powering them.
I always prefer simpler cashmere scarves over chunky knit ones. Because they always look more delicate and elegant. The same applies for handbags, avoid a lot of logos. if you like logos, have just one or a minimal logos on the bag. Trust me, it look way better than flashing logo all over.
When choosing footwear, even if its the most casual, pick a classic style. Whenever I am looking for everyday sneakers, I am looking for solid colored with minimal patterns because they don’t overpower my outfit or look over the top. They blend well with everything I wear and are also timeless.
Pick styles that are classic like Chelsea boots, tall boots that don’t have a lot of buckles, loafers that are not too chunky. Your shoes should always compliment your outfit.
Now, say for instance, you do want to wear your favorite statement footwear, then you need to make sure that your overall outfit is a combination of basic pieces that will balance the statement shoes. This way your outfit will look harmonious and put together.
Don't Do This
This is specially if you want to look classy and elegant. Make sure that you are not over exposing. Style does not equal provocative and skin show. I had to say this, because we are in the age of Instagram, and looking at these amazing women we think that the only way to look stylish is by wearing something that shows a lot of skin and a Classic and Elegant style is far from it.
As promised, I am sharing my current favorite classic style icons that I always look to or style inspirations. And the first and foremost in the list is Victoria Beckham. Not only does her style is effortless, I feel like everything she wears is elegant and sophisticated. I love how Angelina Jolie’s style has evolved over the years to be more sophisticated and classic. I feel like her children have a great influence on that. She looks so put together and effortless in everything she wears.
I am a big fan of Gossip Girl, but specially for Blake Lively, it shows the classic evolution of a girl to a Woman and Blake Lively’s current style reflects that. She always looks sophisticated and put together in the suits she wears to the dresses she rocks. And my modern day inspirations are Kerry Washington and Miranda Kerr who have created the effortless elegance style that is to thrive for. I absolutely recommend you all to follow them and study them if you want to look and feel as classy as they are.