One of the beautiful things about clothes is the ability to convey your personality through them. There’s a reason it’s called personal style. It should be personal to you. But what if you’re torn between a 90s grunge aesthetic and trendy fashion?
Or if your desired look is the love child of athleisure and 80s power dressing? (side note: that I’d want to see!)
What are your options when you need to mix up multiple styles?
First off, don’t feel as though you have to choose one over the other. If you do this you’ll forever be walking around feeling jelly whenever you see someone rocking that style you wish you’d adopted. You can do them all! You don’t have to fit into one ‘style type’. You can combine the different sides of your personality and wear something that’s unique and authentic.
If you want to rock a Led Zeppelin tee with culottes, work it!
However, I realise it’s easier said than done. So I’m going to break down some of the different ways you can actually make this happen. You’ll need to have decided what styles you’re wanting to adopt beforehand.
If you’re struggling to come up with your own aesthetic check out this post.
01 | Basics – Before you eye roll, hear me out. This isn’t one of those ‘set lists’ of clothes you need in your wardrobe. Frankly, they’re ubiquitous and daft. However, it helps to have items that are pretty generic. It acts as the glue you stick your fancy bits to, you know the bits that are unashamedly part of your desired aesthetic. This creates cohesion between the items from your desired styles. I suppose examples of ‘generic’ items are a pair of jeans and a tee.
02 | Separate – If cohesion isn’t a priority another option is to adopt as many different styles as you like, separating your wardrobe. This approach means you wouldn’t necessarily combine them. Instead, you’d go to a different aesthetic depending on how you felt that day. So maybe you wanted to dress ‘high fashion’ on the weekend but mid-week opted for a rock-inspired look. One word of caution; you could end up spending more on clothes and have a wardrobe that’s way fuller than it needs to be.
03 | Sprinkle it – Imagine your outfit is a vanilla cupcake. You have a sponge base with white vanilla frosting on top. It all works together seamlessly. That’s one of your desired styles. You then throw on some jet black sprinkles. It’s not what you’d typically expect from a vanilla cupcake, but it looks great (and still tastes delicious!). The sprinkles are your other style. Essentially, what I’m trying to get at is… make one of your desired styles the main focus of your outfit and then ‘sprinkle’ bits of your other style on it in the form of accessories, shoes, makeup and jewellery.
An example of this would be wearing trainers with a suit. Traditionalist would frown upon it but it’s fusing together two different styles; classic tailored pieces with streetwear/sportswear.
04 | Chaos – If using generic items is all about cohesion, the opposite approach is to embrace the chaos and ditch them completely. Mixing elements from all your styles into your outfit. It’s bold and potentially jarring, but the juxtaposition can often make it work. This is high-risk styling. As is often with anything high-risk, it can work spectacularly or completely crash and burn. So be prepared to fail but learn from it at the same time. A benefit of doing this is it forces you to really think about the different pieces your working with, developing your style IQ in the process.
So to answer the question, can you merge conflicting styles?
You even have multiple options to choose from, with varying degrees of difficulty. You can simply pick the one that works for you and your wardrobe.
Here they are listed in order of difficulty going from the easiest to the most difficult:
All you have to do is select the one that currently feels the easiest and get started! You could even jump between each option depending on how confident you feel about implementing it.
If you’re currently considering working conflicting styles or it’s something you’re currently rocking, tell me in the comments section below how you’ve made it work for you.
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Photo by Josh Sobel