Reader Request: How Does Your Hairstyle Interact With Your Outfit?

how hairstyle impacts outfit

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Reader Andrea had this request:

I would be interested in a post on how different hairstyles interact with outfits. How much does wearing hair down vs. in a bun affect the formality of an outfit? How much can the hairstyle you wear with an outfit change the overall look? I always seem to wear my hair the same way with the same pieces, and I’m not sure why I only ever visualize those things with those hairstyles. (I’m also contemplating a major hair change right now, so hair is on my mind a lot recently.)

When my hair was longer, I had the same experience: Certain outfits definitely called out for an updo, while others looked better with hair worn down. And even now with supershort locks, I occasionally wear something that looks slightly off with messy waves and much better blown dry.

I asked Wendy Nguyen of Wendy’s Lookbook to let me use some of her photos to illustrate how hairstyle impacts outfits. As you’ll see balance, formality, structure, and genre all play in. Let’s take a peek:

hairstyle volume outfit

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Here are two outfits in which hairstyle is a factor in enhancing or balancing volume within the outfit. On the left, the volume within Wendy’s outfit is all toward the top, mostly from the waist up. Her hair, worn down, adds yet more volume but also works organically with the loose layers. On the left, the orange sweater is the only voluminous piece. With her hair in a high bun, she avoids adding more volume to her top half.

hairstyle formal casual

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Here are two decidedly formal looks. Some updos and buns can read as casual, but paired with outfits that already give off a dressy vibe, they generally add yet more formality. Definitely the case with the bun Wendy did with her black dress, although the addition of the headband keeps her hairstyle from being formal to the point of stuffiness. The green dress outfit has a much more relaxed vibe. Although the dress itself and structured clutch are quite fancy, the open-toed shoes and loose wavy hairstyle overtake them to create a dressy but not formal look. Switch the hairstyles and the black dress outfit would be more “night on the town” and the green dress outfit would be more “black-tie affair.”

hairstyle structure

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Structure within the outfit is at play in nearly all of these examples. You can see how updos often align with structured looks, and hair worn down aligns with unstructured ones. But here are two more great outfits that show how you can juxtapose structure and looseness using your hairstyle. Wendy’s cropped trench and pencil skirt are decidedly structured, but wearing her hair down adds some soft, flowy lines. Her white trapeeze top is loose and breezy, but her headband and bun balance it out.

hairstyle genre

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Finally certain hairstyles lend themselves to certain genres. At left, Wendy has on a preppy/classic look that could’ve come direct from the J.Crew catalog, and has chosen a bun/headband combo to match. The middle outfit has both Boho and preppy elements to it, and the loose ponytail complements them both. For the beachy outfit on the right, Wendy wore her hair down and loose to match.

Hope this was helpful! And thanks again to Wendy for use of her gorgeous photos.

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Dressed for: Saying Goodbye

Already Pretty outfit featuring gold sequin top, black leather joggers, mesh sandals, bucket bag

Top – thrifted via Style Encoresimilar
Pants – thrifted via Twice (going out of business!) – similar
Shoes – Tsubo (also out of business) – similar look
Bag – Madewell via Shopbop
Sunglasses – Quay Summer Fling
Bracelets – Cost Plussimilar
Earrings – Emalea Designs

I was extremely surprised to hear that shoe company Tsubo had shut down – at the time, it seemed final though now they’re “taking a break.” Equally surprised to hear that Twice has been bought by eBay and will be shuttering their own site shortly. I hadn’t intended to wear items from two nearly defunct sources in a single outfit, but here they are. Perhaps they gravitated toward each other out of sympathy …


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**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Insomniac Sale Picks: Summer Raincoats and Rain Jackets

*In this late-night feature – which will run on Tuesday and Thursday of each week – I’ll gather up three fun items that are currently on sale online and share them with you! I would LOVE suggestions: Stylish wide-width pumps? Classic v-necked sweaters? Chandelier earrings? Petite dress slacks? What would you like to see featured?*

Claudia requested a few picks for summer raincoats and rain jackets, so here we go:


columbia raincoat

Columbia Pardon My Trench Rain Jacket – was $100, now $52.30

This lightweight, breathable rain coat sits squarely in the middle of sporty and polished, and could skew either way depending on how it’s styled. Put up the hood and tie the belt in back for casual, or belt up and add a hat for a slightly dressier look. Vented for air flow and machine washable. Available in this olive as well as coral or ice blue in sizes XS – XL. Size availability varies by color. Also in more colors at a variety of prices on Amazon. 1X – 3X in ice blue here, and coral, olive, or pink in 1X – 3X here.

yellow raincoat

Bernardo Packable Hooded Rain Jacket – was $88, now $57.90

Sportier and brighter, this packable jacket will perk up any late-summer outfit. Unlined and lightweight, you can wear this without fear of overheating. Available in this pale yellow as well as mint green in sizes XS – L, including petite sizes. This similar style is available in sizes 1X – 3X. Like the style but not a fan of these colors? This Columbia coat comes in orchid pink in regular and plus sizes.

leopard print rain coat

AmeriMark Packable Raincoat – was $22.99, now $17.99 – $22.99

Leopard print won’t be for everyone, but this button-through A-line coat also comes in solid black, solid fuchsia, and a multi-colored dot print. Lightweight and packable, this coat gets great reviews though it sounds like sizing can be a bit wacky. Available in sizes S – 4X. Want something similar but a bit dressier? This black DKNY coat comes in regular and plus sizes.

Other not-currently-on-sale resources for summer raincoats and rain jackets:

  1. Eddie Bauer – My own lightweight rain jacket is EB and I LOVE it. Tall, petite, and plus sizes available in some sizes.
  2. Land’s End – Tons of colors, prints, and stylish options. This printed storm jacket is fab.
  3. Nordstrom – Everything from lightweight trenches to sporty jackets.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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