How to Dress Chic & Sophisticated

A simple look in muted colors that uses draping (instead of sequins and studs) as an accent is very chic.

Photo: Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images

When it comes to chic and sophisticated dressing, your main concern needs to be about fit and simplicity. Ditch your bling and your ruffles, and never wear more than one brightly colored piece of clothing at one time. Lots of cleavage is a no-no also. Uber-trendy looks should be shelved. The good news about a chic wardrobe is that it never goes out of style, and if you take care of your pieces, you'll never have to wonder what to wear. A sophisticated closet is full of looks that are easy to put together.


Ditch your gaudy garments. If you want to start dressing chic and sophisticated, you've got to get rid of temptation. Donate anything with a bright, loud print, anything that's torn or ripped, and anything that doesn't fit like it was made for you. Get rid of really tight, or short, dresses and skirts (unless they're black or navy).


Acquire your basic pieces. You don't need a lot to start a chic wardrobe. A few key pieces will have you well on your way to sophisticated looks. Pick up a simple black shift dress. A button-up shirt in black and white is a must. One tailored suit for the office can be mixed and matched by wearing the blazer and pants separately. Keep the colors to a neutral palette and avoid prints unless they're simple, like polka dots. You'll need at least one sweater in black, navy or gray. A high V-neck is feminine without showing cleavage. Pick up some tanks and Ts in basic colors as well. For casual wear, think solid-colored maxi dresses and skirts and simple jersey wrap tops and dresses. Don't forget about owning a pair of dark, boot-cut jeans that are long enough to wear with a heel and slim enough to be folded up with flats.


Acquire your accessories. What you need are simple accessories that play a supporting role to your chic outfits. Stud earrings in real or faux pearl and diamond should be your go-to. A simple leather-banded or bracelet watch is an everyday item. Keep the rest of your jewelry simple and slender. No chunky, heavy rings and necklaces. Think delicate chains and bangles. No chic woman is without a pair of big, black sunglasses.


Become well-heeled. You need a pair of basic black pumps and a couple pairs of boots that will go with everything. So, think brown or black leather when it comes to your boots and shoes. Get a flat riding boot and a modestly heeled (no higher than three inches) knee-high boot.


Put it all together. Here's the trick about having these chic items to choose from. They all go together. You can't get it wrong, really. Wear your sweaters and button-ups with your suit pants to the office. Wear your blazer with your jeans, a T-shirt and low- or high-heeled boots for a lunch date. Wear your dresses with a simple pair of sandals in summer, and then put them over tights and boots in fall and winter. Always keep your hair simple, and don't forget to put those sunglasses on when the sun is out.

Tips & Tricks


Feel free to add a fitted leather jacket to your wardrobe. It never goes out of style and adds a bit of texture and modern edge to your classic pieces.


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