One Hack That Will Elevate Every Outfit You Own (& No, It Doesn’t Involve Buying More Clothes)

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Photographed by Katie Fergus for Refinery29 Australia.
If you've spent any time on TikTok lately, you've probably seen that there's a big difference between wearing your clothes and styling your clothes. The videos usually show someone layering an impossible number of garments on top of one another to create a beautiful outfit. I'm sure you know the exact looks I'm talking about, where bold prints, the wrong shoe theory, clashing colour blocking and skirts layered over pants layered over boots all converge to create an outfit that looks impossibly fun and beautiful — but also kind of unattainable.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the creativity and even have a folder on my phone labelled "Style" that I add videos just like these to. But as I scroll onto the next, I also often find myself looking down at my outfit and wondering how anyone can even afford to own that many pieces of clothing.
I have a feeling I'm not alone in this. Let's face it, the average person probably doesn't have endless layers in their wardrobes to mix and match for all occasions and seasons. And before you argue that styling an outfit doesn't require stacking layers upon layers of clothing together, the current maximalist trend cycle (and the street style at every fashion week in the world) would suggest otherwise.
But a few nights ago, I was doom scrolling and came across a video that offered a refreshing counterpoint. The crux of it was this: your outfit isn't the problem: you're just not wearing enough jewellery. In the video, the creator styles a number of outfits with a range of different pieces, including silver and gold jewellery, plus beaded necklaces and dangling statement earrings.
I'm already a big jewellery person. I wear 13 small rings at any given time, and not only is it a collection that I've spent the last 15 years curating, but it's also one of my favourite characteristics of my personal style. It's this love (and the fact that I was quickly running out of real estate on my hands) that made me start getting more ear piercings, and wearing necklaces for the first time since the dreaded statement owl necklace boom of 2010.
So, perhaps it won't come as a surprise that the suggestion that looking more stylish could be achieved by adding more jewellery appeals to me. What I really love is the idea that adding a couple of pieces of jewellery to my collection (statement or subtle, expensive or affordable) that will suit literally every item of clothing in my wardrobe already feels far more achievable than the fashion videos I've seen all over my FYP.
This is particularly appropriate for winter, which has once again caught Australians off guard. We've suddenly found ourselves leaving the house wrapped in marshmallow-like puffer jackets and layers of knitwear (or both at the same time) that can feel decidedly... not chic. So, if adding a couple of pieces of jewellery to the mix can make us all feel more styled, this can only be a good thing.
Winding this tip back to its most basic point, it suggests that outfits are all about the accessories we pair them with. This may sound like an obvious styling tip, but it's one that I certainly needed to hear. With a few thoughtfully selected accessories, a jeans and t-shirt combination suddenly looks more personalised and styled. And it doesn't need to be an expensive or chunky accessory either. Adding a baseball cap, a quirky handbag, a simple hoop earring or chain necklace can make any outfit feel more thought out.
I love that this little tip means I can continue my mission of investing in a capsule wardrobe with good quality basics and statement pieces that feel fun and like me, without worrying about my wardrobe going out of style as the seasons change and the maximalist trend inevitably sweeps out again.
This winter, you won't find me buying a heap of new jewellery, but you will find me wearing a lot more of the pieces I own at once — which really serves as the excuse I needed to get more wear out of the forever pieces I already own.
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