15 Timeless Outfit Formulas That Do All The Heavy Lifting For You (& Leave You Looking Chic Every Time)

When it comes to fashion, there are just some pieces you should always have in your wardrobe. There are the timeless classics, like a white tee, and there are the trendy items that come and go (and come back again). Between steadfast staples and revolving trends, how can you put together flawless outfits without spending a bunch of time staring into your closet wishing you had Cher's digital wardrobe-matching computer system from "Clueless"?


You've got all of the fashion staples you need, but how can you be sure you're looking chic as can be each time you put them on? All you need are some inspiring outfit formulas that make pairing your pieces easy-peasy. To help you find winning looks for every day, we're starting with the staples you have and giving you the best suggestions on how to make them look fantastic and ready for whatever the day has to throw your way. From a day at the office to a night out with friends, here's what you need to know for chic fashion.

Casual and chic white tee

Everybody should have at least one pristine white t-shirt in their closet. There are so many things one can do with this simple and understated shirt. Depending on what you wear it with, it can be dressed up, down, or made into a work outfit. For the office, we are getting inspiration from this photo — the denim and tennis shoes make this look excellent for casual Fridays. If you need to dress it up a bit, swap the jeans for tailored dress pants. As far as blazer colors, you can work anything with white, no matter the pattern or hue.


No matter what, white tees go well with blazers and other dress jackets. This fashionista gives us boss vibes with her business paper in hand and stylish shades. Consider stocking up on a few different styles of white tees, such as a scoop neck, v-neck, and crew neck for variety. Having options will allow you to create all sorts of looks with this one simple wardrobe item. A crew neck gives a more modest feel, while a v-neck is a little more fun and showy.

Concert tee to workwear

We've all got concert tees, and now you don't need to reserve them for yard work or the next concert you go to. You can give your favorite concert t-shirts a new life by pairing them with the right wardrobe items — and in this case, we're looking at your workwear. And it doesn't matter whether you're an Ozzy fan or one of the Swifties, your concert shirt can go to work with you.


Pair your graphic tee with a blazer and some dress pants. It's that simple. In our example photo, we love that the model chose a blazer that matched one of the colors in her tee. You can't even tell it's a concert tee at this point, but it's definitely got some stylish graphics. Of course, if your work's dress code says no to graphic tees, then save this look for the next time you want to feel in charge when you go out with your friends.

Shirtdress fabulous

There are a lot of cool things you can do with an oversized shirt to turn it into an instant, stylish dress that will turn heads. This formula is easy — you just need the shirt and something to cinch the waist.


You have a few options here — grab any kind of belt, a long scarf, or your favorite corset. This model went with a belt, and we think it was an excellent choice. To really pull the look together and give it a classic feel, reach for your knee-high boots and a matching belt. While a crisp white button-up shirt makes a classy shirt dress, you can use any oversized shirt, including sweaters, sweatshirts, and even tees.

Trenchcoat in layers

Trenchcoats will always have a place in our closets. They're perfect for chilly early spring and autumn rainy days, and they work well for crisp summer nights. But, if you want to look absolutely chic in your trench, we have one major suggestion — go with layers. One thing we love about layers is that they're perfect for transitional temperatures. They help you stay warm on a cold morning and cool on a warm afternoon. All you have to do is build an outfit with layers you can remove throughout the day.


This Instagram fashion maven looks like she could win over a marketing team and then head for drinks to celebrate, and not miss a beat. Hidden under her trench is another, shorter jacket, and a stylishly striped top. The jeans and sneakers give this combo a casual look. She's ready for whatever the weather throws at her on her travels.

Look fly in your favorite jeans

There's really no top that doesn't pair well with a pair of jeans, but when it comes to formulas, we want to look at a way that will make your favorite denim really stand out. Long gone are the days when T-shirts and jeans were the go-tos for a quick trip to the store. Now is the time to look fabulous whether you're going out for drinks or going to pick up a dozen eggs.


And, to look absolutely fab in your fave jeans, we recommend pairing them with a simple black top that makes your denim a focal point in the outfit. A nice black crop top was definitely made to go with light jeans, adding lots of contrast. When it comes to footwear, pick shoes that are as breathtaking as your top, like strappy sandals or a pair of fashionable heels.

Dust off that jean jacket

What's old is new again, and jean jackets are one wardrobe piece you should be embracing. With the popularity of denim on denim right now, this should come as no surprise to anyone who follows fashion with an eagle eye. However, we want you to use this particular formula that allows you to piece together two staple items for one spectacularly fun outfit, giving your denim jacket the limelight.


That other item we're looking at for this combo is that little black dress. Once upon a time, the little black dress was reserved for business and dinner parties, but now we're having more fun with this timeless friend, adding a jean jacket to the mix for a casual vibe. We love this influencer brought in a matching purse and booties to their version of the look, but this outfit would also pair well with some fancy dress shoes or sandals, depending on what your plans are.

Have fun in your little black dress with sneakers

Speaking of your LBD, we have another option for you that pairs it with a denim vest. The lack of sleeves offers a feminine feel that is missing with basic jean jackets. To give the look an air of class, the Instagramer put on her pearls, and we're digging it.


What's really different about this look, though, is that it eschews regular heels in lieu of white sneakers. This is the look you want when you're chasing the kids around the park or taking a lengthy stroll through the farmer's market. Yes, you can absolutely wear tennis shoes with your dresses, and nobody is going to say a thing because this is one of those comfortable styles we can all get behind. 

Add a leather jacket to everything

You don't have to ride a motorcycle to wear a leather jacket, and this image is proof that you don't have to look like a biker babe (not that there's anything wrong with that) while doing it.

When it comes to making your leather look chic, we want you to pair it with the right clothing. Pairing leather with feminine style pieces like mini skirts is a fun way to mix textures and grab attention. This leather is a blazer-style cut, so it has a bit of a business feel, but this Instagram model shows that even business can be sexy. That means grabbing one of your favorite short skirts, a simple top, and a pair of boots the pull the whole look together. We like that the brown boots fit the earthy tones the model is vibing with her green skirt, but they also have black accents that match them with her leather jacket. It's an easy outfit to throw together and looks fabulous.


Increase your slip dress comfort

Slip dresses have long been a fancy wardrobe piece, but they don't always have to look runway ready. If you want to make your slip dress breathe comfort, skip the high-heeled shoes and showy shoulders, and opt for some comfy alternatives that work for casual settings.


Our biggest suggestion: Grab a long cardigan sweater. We love this Instagramer's style choices. The thin belt adds more form to the loose, silky dress, and the sweater makes it look like she walked right out of the bedroom and into a night out. It's comfy, but doesn't give pajamas. However, we suggest pairing this elegant combination with a pair of slipper shoes to keep the ultimate casual vibe.

A big blazer over a short ensemble

We've mentioned blazers a couple of times, but we're going to talk about them again. While you may have a few fitted blazers, you can do some fashionably enjoyable things with an oversized version. Opting for one the same length as a dress makes the dressy jacket feel like it was always meant to be part of this outfit. 


What we really like about this look is that it can be dressy enough for the office and flirty enough for a date (without making you look stuffy). While this Instagrammer pairs her blazer with a simply black dress and boots, you can have fun mixing a patterned dress with a bright-colored blazer. Pick boots or shoes that match one of the colors in your dress.

A new look for your leggings

Most of us think of leggings as workout wear or something to pair with an oversized shirt for a casual look. We want you to rethink your leggings — leggings are pants if you want them to be, and don't let anyone tell you any different. Our formula here is to keep that sporty edge, but give it an upgrade.


Grab a white shirt, something casual, but not too casual. We love the white top this Instagrammer chose. It looks like something you could wear to the office or a night bowling. We don't want you to dress things up too much, though — this look is supposed to be easy, but stylish. That means we want you to grab your matching white sneakers. This look is dressy meets casual, and we're here for it. It's something you'd feel comfortable wearing to meet your friends for coffee before you run errands.

Feeling preppy in a ribbed tank

Ribbed tanks are a must-have for your summer wardrobe, and you can take them all the way into winter with the right clothing collaboration. However, we want you to have the option to effortlessly pull off a preppy look, and your ribbed tank is one of the most important parts.


Simply pair a pleated mini skirt with your ribbed tank and get yourself a nice cardigan (arm stripes and school colors optional). Of course, to make it truly preppy, grab those bobby socks and a pair of thick sneakers. If it's too warm for a sweater, we suggest pulling at your inner tennis pro and wrapping it around your waist; though the preppy thing to do would be to wear it slung over your shoulders.

Embrace a vintage look with a striped sweater and mini skirt combo

It may be difficult to think about sweaters when warm weather is here, but we're here to tell you that you better be stocking up on them. We want you to take your sweater back in time and give it a vibe from eras gone by.


In this fabulous example of vintage vibes, we love this fitted, matching skirt that gives the look a '70s feel and plays with different proportions. To pull off this look, you need a loose fitting, stripy sweater that has some earthy tones, or anything else that gives you vintage warm feelings. Then grab a skirt that matches one of those colors. Bonus points if the skirt is made of a fun fabric like corduroy. If you want to capture the '80s, pick a sweater and skirt in neon colors. 

Maximize your mini skirt

Grab that pleated mini skirt from your preppy outfit and maximize that look with something a little different. When some of us think about mini skirts, we see a skin tight number paired with tight tiny tops. If that's your style, we say go for it. But for those of you looking for something more modest, we have this suggestion — pair it with long sleeves.


We love how this influencer combined their stylish skirt with a delightfully blue button-up colored top. We'd be getting prep school vibes from this if she was wearing some knee-high socks and sneakers. Instead, she adds some extra class to the look with black knee-high boots that help bring the tiny purse into view. We think you could easily change up the colors here with a different colored skirt and top and still look stunning.

Get stylish in a suit vest

You don't need a suit in order to wear a suit vest, and this image is absolute proof of that. Pair your suit vest with a casual outfit to make it look like work attire. We could easily see this get-up in an office, or out for dinner with the family. 


What we love most about this look is that the tailored suit vest is paired with baggy pants — that gives it this look of absolute comfort that we just can't get over. The long-sleeved shirt could easily be swapped out for something with shorter sleeves, but a sheer long-sleeved tip would be cooling still. Sandals pair well with this look for summertime, but you could also pull the look together with a pair of booties in the colder months and a pair of sneakers if you're wearing this ensemble while you're on the go.