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Fashion First Aid: How to Fix a Bad Outfit

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Do you ever find yourself standing in front of the mirror, disappointed with how your outfit looks? We’ve all experienced the dilemma of looking in the mirror and wondering how to fix a bad outfit. Whether it’s colors that are clashing or something that’s simply “off” but you just can’t put your figure on it, it can be tricky to get the balance just right. Let’s break down the common scenarios that cause an outfit to look bad as well as how to fix it. It’s time to banish bad outfit days!

1. The Problem: Your Outfit Has Too Many Prints

While it’s fashionable and a good choice to mix and match different patterns, it can easily turn into a fashion head-scratcher. If your outfit is looking all over the place to you, it could be that you are trying to incorporate too many patterns.

The Fix: Tone it Down

Start by identifying the dominant print in your outfit. From there, choose a secondary print that complements the main one. If you’re unsure, stick to prints that are in the same color family. For example, if you’re wearing a floral blouse with pink and green tones, pair it with a polka dot skirt that also has pink and green accents.

Another way to balance out prints is to break them up with solid colors. Opt for neutral pieces such as a black blazer or beige pants to create a clean and cohesive look. Remember, less is often more when it comes to prints. So if your outfit looks like “too much”, tone it down and let one print be the focal point of your outfit!

2. The Problem: Your Clothes Don’t Flatter You

Does your outfit just seem off? It could be that the clothes are doing nothing for you! Ill-fitting clothes can ruin even the most expensive and stylish outfit, but it’s an easy problem to fix once you know how to do it.

The Fix: Dress for Your Body Type

Knowing and then dressing for your body type can make all the difference. Suddenly clothes that seemed off on you now seem like they were made for you! The first step is to identify your body shape. Once you know your body type, you can choose clothes that accentuate your best features and downplay the parts you don’t want to highlight.

I created a resource for you that will help you determine your body type and dress in clothes that flatter so you can feel confident with your wardrobe!

3. The Problem: Your Clothes Look Dirty and Worn

Have you ever put on an outfit only to realize that it looks dingy and unkempt? It’s a common fashion faux pas that can make you feel self-conscious and less confident. The good news is, there are ways to fix it!

The Fix: Properly Take Care of Your Clothes

First, assess your clothes for any visible stains, holes, or tears. If you find any, it’s time to either mend the item or replace it altogether. It’s worth noting that clothing with faded colors or fabric that looks frayed can also contribute to an overall untidy look.

If your clothes aren’t in terrible condition but still appear dirty, there are a few simple ways to spruce them up. You can start by giving them a good wash. Another great option is to invest in a fabric shaver, which can help remove pilling and restore the texture of your garments.

It’s also important to pay attention to the way you store your clothes too. If your clothes are crammed together in a small closet, they’re more likely to look wrinkled and worn. Consider investing in some space-saving hangers or a garment rack that allows you to properly store your clothes.

Here’s How To Take Care of Your Clothes Like an Expert
How to Clean and Organize Your Closet Like a Pro

4. The Problem: You’re Not Paying Attention to Proportions

One common mistake people make when putting together an outfit is not paying attention to proportions. What does this mean? Essentially, it means that the proportions of your clothing are not balanced, and as a result, your outfit may not look as good as it could.

The Fix: Pair Opposites Together

If you’re wearing a loose, flowy top, it may look best paired with slim jeans to balance out the proportions. On the other hand, if you’re wearing wide-leg pants or a flowy maxi skirt, it’s best to pair them with a more fitted top to create a sense of balance. Wearing a cropped cardigan? Try pairing it with a long coat for a chic look.

When you’re not paying attention to proportions, you may end up with an outfit that looks baggy and shapeless – or one that is too tight and unflattering. The key is to find pieces that balance each other out and create a cohesive look.

5. The Problem: Your Colors Don’t Complement Each Other

When your colors don’t complement each other, your entire look can appear disjointed. If your colors clash, it’s time to re-evaluate your outfit.

The Fix: Stick to a Color Palette

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your colors complement each other is to stick to a color palette. Choose one or two main colors and then add accents that match or complement those hues.

Another strategy is to use color theory to your advantage. Colors opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue and orange, create a striking contrast that can be visually appealing. You can also opt for monochromatic outfits, which use different shades and tints of the same color for a cohesive look.

6. The Problem: Your Undergarments Don’t Fit You

Ill-fitting bras, underwear, and shapewear can cause visible lines, bulges, and discomfort, ultimately ruining your look – and maybe even the way you feel!

The Fix: Get Properly Fitted

To fix this issue, start by getting properly fitted for a bra. Many stores offer free bra fittings and it’s a good idea to get measured at least once a year as weight fluctuations and aging can affect your size. Choose a bra that supports and lifts your bust without creating unsightly bulges or gaps.

For underwear, opt for styles that fit snugly without cutting into your skin. Look for seamless options to prevent visible lines under your clothes. Shapewear can be a great option for smoothing out any lumps and bumps, but make sure it fits comfortably and doesn’t create any new bulges. All in all, invest in quality pieces that fit you properly and enhance your natural shape.

Related: Top 10 Best Undergarment Brands for Everyday Wear

7. The Problem: Your Clothes Are out of Style

Even though “everything comes back around”, yes, clothes can go out of style! There’s such a thing as timeless clothes that never go out of style, but there are indeed clothing styles that “show their age” and make you feel outdated and uncool.

The Fix: Do a Wardrobe Refresh

If your clothes are out of style, it doesn’t mean you have to throw out your entire wardrobe and start over. There are several ways you can refresh your style and stay up-to-date without breaking the bank.

The best way is to start with the basics. Invest in classic pieces that never go out of style, such as a well-fitting blazer, a good pair of jeans, and a versatile trench coat. Then, add pops of current trends to your outfits. Incorporating trendy accessories or statement pieces can instantly update your look without having to replace your entire wardrobe.

Ultimately, a trendy wardrobe is not the goal. But it can be helpful to have an idea of the current trends, without forgetting timeless outfits, of course!

8. The Problem: You Have the Wrong Accessories

Accessories are meant to enhance your outfit, but if you have the wrong ones, they can have the opposite effect.

The Fix: Assess the Accessories

Some of the common mistakes people make with accessories include:

  • Overdoing it: Accessories can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you wear too many at once. If you have a statement necklace, choose subtle earrings, or skip them altogether. Alternatively, if you have large, statement earrings, then keep your necklace minimal.
  • Mismatching: Your accessories don’t need to come in a matching pack, but they should complement each other, not clash. Make sure your earrings, necklace, bracelet, and bag all work together, rather than competing for attention.
  • Not considering the occasion: While you might love your chunky bracelets or statement earrings, they might not be appropriate for every occasion. Consider the dress code and formality of the event before choosing your accessories.

If you’ve made a mistake with your accessories, don’t panic! You can always remove or swap them out for something that works better with your outfit.

9. The Problem: The Colors Don’t Suit Your Skin Tone

Have you ever worn an outfit that just didn’t look right on you? It could be that the colors of your clothing don’t suit your skin tone. This can be a tricky problem to fix in the beginning, but once you start to understand the colors that look good on you, it becomes a lot easier!

The Fix: Discover Your Colors

The first step is to determine your skin tone or season. When it comes to undertones, there are two main categories: warm and cool. Warm skin tones have yellow or golden undertones, while cool skin tones have pink or blue undertones.

Once you know your skin tone, you can start choosing the right colors for your clothing. If you have warm undertones, you’ll want to choose warm colors like oranges, reds, and yellows. If you have cool undertones, you’ll want to choose cool colors like blues, greens, and purples.

Neutrals like black, white, and gray can work for both warm and cool skin tones. However, it’s important to choose the right shade. If you have warm undertones, you’ll want to choose warmer neutrals like beige or taupe. If you have cool undertones, you’ll want to choose cooler neutrals like silver or charcoal.

Once you discover your “season”, then you’ll have a wide selection of specific colors that will make your face shine – in the best way!

10. The Problem: You’re Wearing Too Many Trends at Once

While it can be fun to stay on-trend, it can backfire when you wear too many trends at once. It can be overwhelming and at the same time, underwhelming, because your outfit looks bland – lacking personality.

The Fix: Choose One Trend To Be the Star of Your Outfit

This could be a pair of metallic sandals or an embellished floral top. Then, keep the rest of your outfit simple and understated, balanced out with timeless wardrobe pieces that speak to who you are. This way, you can mix and match them with current trends without looking like you’re trying too hard. Think classic denim jackets, white button-up shirts, and black leather boots.

Moving forward, limit yourself to one or two trends in an outfit at most. Too many trends in one outfit can make it look like you’re trying too hard. Stick to a few trends that complement each other and your personal style so you can stay on-trend without looking like a fashion victim.

11. The Problem: You’re Not Dressing for the Occasion

Maybe it’s a great outfit but it looks off because you’re wearing it to the wrong place! It’s important to consider the dress code of the event you’ll be attending and adjust your outfit accordingly.

The Fix: Consider the Event

For example, if you’re going to work, you should aim for a professional and polished look. This may mean wearing a blazer with dress pants and a button-down shirt. On the other hand, if you’re going to a casual brunch with friends, you can opt for a more relaxed and comfortable outfit, like a sundress or jeans and a T-shirt. A suit would look out of place at brunch while jeans and a t-shirt would look out of place at work.

Another factor to consider is the location of the event. If you’ll be spending time outdoors, it’s important to dress for the weather. If it’s cold, wear a warm coat, hat, and gloves. If it’s hot, wear light and breathable fabrics to stay cool.

When in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of being slightly overdressed than underdressed. It’s better to stand out for looking polished and put-together than to blend in because your outfit doesn’t match the occasion.

Did you do all of this and it’s still not working? Sometimes, fixing a bad outfit is not enough. In some cases, you may need to start over and reinvent your style to fix the bad wardrobe.

  • Do you feel like you are wearing the same outfits over and over again and you’re bored with your wardrobe?
  • Do you feel like your current style no longer reflects who you are or who you want to be?
  • Are you going through a significant life change, such as starting a new job or entering a new phase of life, and you feel like you need a new look to go along with it?
  • Have you gained or lost weight and your current clothes no longer fit properly?
  • Have you been wearing the same style for so long that it has become outdated and you need a more modern look?

If any of these signs resonate with you, it may be time to reinvent your style! I created a resource for you that can not only help you evaluate your current wardrobe and identify what you like and don’t like but also help you find a style that reflects who you are and what feels right to you. Are you ready?


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.