When it's your job to dress for the occasion—whether that means a red carpet, a lunch, or the office—practice makes perfect. Which is why women in fashion always have a knack for pulling together outfits that while effortless, still feel just right. But what are the secrets that stylish women turn to when getting dressed? Well, we went straight to the source to find out exactly how they pull it off.
From stylists to designers to industry creatives, we turned to a few of our favorite trendsetters for a glimpse into the tricks they use when they're getting ready. And while they all were different, there was a common thread. What was it? They peg an entire outfit to one thing in particular.
Though some start with shoes or love to focus on a statement jacket, these women agreed that when they're stumped, they start with one key piece, and create an outfit from there.
But that wasn't their only tip. Want to see the rest? Read on for seven women's takes on the style tricks they use in private!
"I have a stable of 'go-to' outfits that make getting ready in a pinch easy. Then to mix it up, I rotate out accessories or key pieces like a different blouse or jacket. It keeps me looking polished without the stress of creating a new cool look each day!"— Micaela Erlanger, stylist
"For me, it's always about a statement jacket. I tend to build my outfit with easy, effortless pieces, knowing that I'm going to throw on a great coat or leather jacket to complete my look. I think beginning with outerwear is a symptom of growing up in NY, but I still find myself doing it in sunny L.A." — Andrea Lieberman, founder, A.L.C.
"Every morning, I think about the one piece I really want to wear, whether it be a top, skirt, shoe, or a piece of jewelry. Then I build everything around that. I dress depending on my mood that day, so I am constantly re-creating looks, it makes for endless combinations. I feel fresh when I come up with a new idea. My wardrobe is predominately navy, black, gray, and white, but I always wear colorful lingerie underneath." — Araks Yeramyan, designer, Araks
"I box every single morning really early, so that's the first outfit I wear every single day. My friends make fun of me because I'm the only person who boxes in Rag & Bone. I always lay my outfit out the night before so I can sleep in longer, down to my underwear and socks. I don't have to have to use my brain at 6 a.m." — Ilaria Urbinati, stylist
"I actually start with the shoes first. If I have a day running around meeting vendors in midtown or getting dirty with sample-making in the office, then I will base my outfit off of flat boots or white Tretorns. If it's a day that includes an editor breakfast or after-work drinks, then I'll start from the bottom with slides or sometimes a heel. I handle my jewelry the same way: More casual days call for longer layering necklaces, whereas I've been opting for earrings on dressier days. Once I have accessories down, building the outfit is easy. I opt for simple tailored looks (boyfriend blazers, high-waisted jeans, tons of black pants and oversize cashmere sweaters) that can be 'made' with the accessories." — Lizzie Fortunato, designer
"My twenties were basically one big decade-long costume party. As I got older, I realized what suited my frame, and some self-developed style rules ensued. If you are accentuating one part of the body, the rest should not be, so if I’m in a tighter pair of pants, I would naturally team with a nonfitted tee or shirt. If my earrings are on the larger size (which they more often than not are), then I will avoid any other jewelry.
"And while this all sounds like I have it sussed, my secret weapon is my husband. Trends are borderline an anathema to him, therefore should I get a touch too experimental, he’ll bring me back to planet earth with a no-filter bang before 9 a.m.! It can be brutal but I think ultimately may have saved me." — Sara Byworth, communications consultant
"I tend to build my outfits from the ground up! I start with shoes and pants, and then work my way up to tops and outerwear, finalizing with accessories! I usually then match my accessories to the first thing I put on coming full circle!" — Tara Swennen, stylist
Shop the Go-To Pieces of Stylish Women
A classic black sweater is an easy outfit choice.
If you keep things simple, choose lingerie that pops, even if no one will see it.
Stumped on what to wear? Start with a great pair of shoes to build your look.
You can never go wrong with a great pair of high-waisted jeans.
Statement jewelry is a great way to make your outfit pop.
Take a simple outfit up a notch by adding a bold jacket.
A chic bag will set an outfit apart.
Style an eye-catching dress with cool boots.
When testing out statement sleeves, keep the rest of your look simple.
A great coat will never go out of style.
Shop for staples with a twist.
One-shoulder tops and dresses are a fresh way to show a little skin.
A great bag can make an entire outfit.