Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy e-mailed me this request:
This past year I’ve been trying to “soften” up my image: for years I’ve dressed in crisp basics–dark denim, jewel-neck cardis, jackets, white tees. (I just can’t help it–I worked in the legal field for too many years!!) I think the look is pretty but it’s also pretty no-nonsense, and I want to inject some softness and flowy-ness and easy-going-ness (howdya like all those adjectives?) into my appearance. So I’ve been experimenting with long necklaces and wispy bangs and long open cardigans and flowing scarves. I think I’m making progress, but I would love some tips from the pros.
Anne has already hit on some classic techniques for adding softness to your overall look: Flowy jewelry and hair, long layers, and, of course, scarves. So she’s well on her way! But here are a few other ideas that might further her goal of taking the edge off her current style:
Most prints will actually read a bit softer than solids, but there are definitely some stark abstracts that are incredibly edgy in appearance, so let’s say “romantic” to play it safe! Think florals, small geometrics, watercolors. Anything that gives the same impression as those scarves and long necklaces; That of movement, flowing water, rounded edges.
Black looks amazing with bright, cool colors like hot pink and turquoise, but outfits that contain those shades will have hard breaks and loads of contrast. If you choose colors that have roughly the same value – brightness, dustiness, darkness, etc. – you’ll create outfits that seem naturally softer. Collections of jewel tones, pastels, earth tones, and neutrals worn together look sophisticated and welcoming.
Long, flowy garments
You’ve got flowing down, but how about long? Are you doing waterfall cardigans that hit mid-thigh? Dusters? Jersey-knit maxi skirts? Soft tunics? Very few stark, hard-edged ensembles incorporate long, liquid layers, so throw a few of those into the mix to create visible softness.