How to master the casual but pulled together look

Ahh, the look most of us aspire to, casual but pulled together, not too ‘try-hard,’ not trendy either just pulled together and stylish - like you’re wearing an actual outfit and have dressed with some intent! During my years doing my job as a personal stylist and listening to my client’s desires for their aspirational wardrobe and their reasons for hiring me to help, 9 times out of 10 it is because they feel their look has become too casual and scruffy. They simply want to look more polished and to master the casual but pulled together look. There isn’t a one size fits all here but I do have some ideas!

Some good rules to try and follow to smarten-up your wardrobe are;

  • Upgrade your fabrics (include silks, cashmere and natural fibres)

  • Focus on fit - fit is king!

  • Have some tailoring - specifically smart jackets & coats

  • Have some smart shoes & boots. Essential to look smart - I’m a die-hard trainer wearer and in my job I don’t need to wear shoes but I always have smart options for when I want to look and feel more professional.

Tailoring is something that is often absent in wardrobes I see where the person is feeling too casual because maybe they don’t want to spend the money on the more expensive pieces. I usually blend-in high street items with the higher end quality pieces when pulling together a wardrobe for someone but the feedback from my client’s tells me it is always the more expensive clothes that give the most joy and stand the test of time. It’s true for me personally too, when I’ve spent more on an item, it’s because it’s a better shape and design and usually in quality fabric and ends up being more of a loved piece that I want to wear again and again. The key is quality not quantity, a much overused but utterly true phrase and knowing how to spread your budget.

I’ve had a think about some items that would make a big impact to smarten up a wardrobe and these are the items I’ll be buying this season to stop my wardrobe looking too casual and pull it together a bit more.

Leather trousers or leggings

The cheapest but best real leather trousers I have spotted on the high street are from Hush and &Other Stories. These will look fantastic with a long slouchy knit and a wool coat over the top with black ankle boots. If you are size 16 or over and think you can’t wear this look I beg to differ! Here’s a pic of the model Ashley Graham rocking a pair. Alright so she’s a model I know, but this illustrated my point is all! I’m trying to find a pair online in sizes 16 and above which I found in ASOS curve but they are currently out of stock. Ashley Graham does a range in Fenwick’s so worth checking that out.

Over the knee boots

Just like leather trousers, a pair of over the knee boots is an outfit game changer. The Stuart Weizeman classics are great because they are suede at the front and elasticated at the back so they fit slimmer and wider calves. &Other Stories also do a great black suede over the knee boot for much less money.

Well tailored blazer

A good blazer has become a modern classic and it’s worth getting one that is beautifully cut to get that polished look. I love the houndstooth blazer from Reiss below but do find that double breasted does not suit every body shape. If you are curvier then it’s better to go for a single button blazer that is tailored at the waist rather than this masculine cut. Try Reiss and Massimo Dutti for good options.

Beautiful coat

Duffing about in a parka is fine when standing in the park or on the rugby pitch at weekends with the kids but it will not make you look like the elegant style maven you want to project! Invest in a gorgeous classic wool coat and you will always look and feel stylish (when you’re outside at least) for the whole winter with just one piece!!!! Go for a classic heritage check or a bold colour like this great pink coat by Holly Willoughby for M&S.

Lisa Gillbe is a personal stylist and shopper based in London, UK. If you would like a wardrobe consultation this season there are still appointments in November so get in touch for a chat!