14 Easy Ways to Make Your Look More Sophisticated

Fashion is meant to be fun, but sometimes the best way to put your seasoned style skills to use is by creating looks that feel smart and sophisticated. Here we break down the basics of sophisticated style, starting with how to style the classics—and work in fresh statement pieces so your ensemble appears effortlessly polished and put-together wherever you're going.

From paring back bold colors to smartly playing with proportions, these styling tricks ensure a sophisticated look without ever compromising your personal style. Whether you're assembling the perfect interview outfit or simply trying a more grown-up approach to dressing, these 14 tips are sure to help you step things up.


Tuck In Your Shirt
(Image credit: Vanessa Jackman)

We know the half-tuck is a go-to for cool girls everywhere, but when push comes to shove, a tucked-in shirt is more sophisticated. 


Go Beyond Your Denim Basics
(Image credit: Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème)

Instead of wearing a jean jacket, upgrade your look with a minimal denim top.


Go Geometric
(Image credit: Christian Vierig/Getty Images)

Don't be afraid to play with different shapes via both prints and bag shapes, as our senior news editor Erin Fitzpatrick does. 


Experiment With the Right Pieces
(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

No need to suppress your inner adventurist; just be sure you're not going overboard. Translation: No sheer tops at the office. We suggest a playful bag with an understated silk suit and heels.


Pick Structured Dresses
(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

Nothing feels more grown-up than a beautiful A-line skirt.


Pare Back Color With Neutrals
(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

If you're working a bright, bold color, balance it with neutral pieces that elevate the outfit (and make the color pop).


Wear Mature Colors
(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

If you love bright colors, you can skip to the next slide, but there's something about subdued hues that make us feel wise and confident.


Have a Uniform
(Image credit: Style Du Monde)

Three words: Less is more.


Play With Proportions
(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

If you prefer less-formfitting clothing, balance proportions by tucking in an oversize sweater to accentuate the waist or opting for a cropped version of wide-leg trousers.


Master the Art of Layering
(Image credit: A Love Is Blind)

A style savvy woman knows how to mix and match her favorite pieces.


Spice Up Classic Pieces With Leather
(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

To add more attitude to a look, choose a classic piece—like a mid-length skirt—in a leather fabrication.


Don't Bare Your Midriff
(Image credit: A Love Is Blind)

Wear a crop top like a grown-up, and pair it with high-waisted trousers that only reveal a tiny sliver of skin.

This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Nicole Kliest
Freelance Contributor

Nicole Kliest is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City who focuses on fashion, travel, food, wine, and pretty much anything else that's amusing to write about. After graduating from Pepperdine University with a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing, she started her career back in 2010 as Who What Wear's photo editor and throughout the last decade has contributed to publications including Fashionista, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, The Zoe Report, PopSugar, Fodor's Travel, and several others. She also copywrites and has worked with clients such as Frame, Sea, 3x1, Intelligentsia, and others to develop brand voices through storytelling and creative marketing. She's very passionate about the ways we can improve our sustainability efforts in the fashion industry as well as cultivating content that's diverse and inclusive of all people. When she's not checking out the latest restaurant opening in her West Village neighborhood or riding her bicycle along the West Side Highway, she can be found scheming her next trip somewhere around the world. (Up next is Vienna.)