Three Items That Will Help You Look Pulled Together

I’m taking this week off to spend with family for the holidays, so here’s a tidbit from the archives!

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three items that will help you look pulled together

A goal that arises again and again with my style consult clients is feeling “pulled-together.” It’s an interesting phrase, no? As if the wrong outfit keeps our bottom half at the office, while our top half visits Aunt Martha in Detroit … and the RIGHT outfit will reunite those pieces. But then, my brain likes to be amusingly literal. And, clearly, many women feel that their dressing choices can create a disjointed or unpolished appearance, and seek ways to create looks that help them feel sophisticated and chic. So here are three items that constitute shortcuts to pulled-together-ness.

A dress

My friend Katie mentioned this ages ago, and it’s really stuck with me. She said she got loads of comments on how pulled-together she looked, and thought, “Of course I look pulled-together. I’m wearing a dress!” She pointed out that a dress is, in essence, a pre-made outfit. Sure, you’ve got to accessorize and add shoes, maybe pop on a jacket or cardigan, but the dress is the meat of the look. Solid dresses or dresses that feature a single print are especially useful in creating unified, intentional looks since they create instant continuity.

 A blazer

As I’ve said many times, I know blazers can be tough to fit off the rack. But when you DO find a style that works for your figure, this piece can be invaluable in creating pulled-together looks. Blazers add a dash of formality to even the most casual outfits, but perhaps more importantly they add structure. Many non-pulled-together-feeling outfits either skew casual or lack structured garments with clean edges and a hint of stiffness. It’s not a cure-all, but throwing a blazer into most outfit mixes can make them feel more sophisticated and stylish. Amazingly, even a ponte or knit blazer can hint at the necessary formality and structure, so don’t feel like you’ve gotta do thick, lined wool!


OK, you caught me. Jewelry isn’t an item, it’s a category. Adding jewelry to outfits is something I encourage virtually ALL of my clients to consider. All accessories can help pull together your outfits, but jewelry makes what you’re wearing look polished and finished. It’s the final touch that completes your ensembles, and well worth adding if you’re not feeling as chic as you’d like to.

Anyone out there long for that pulled-together feeling? What items or groupings do you employ when creating outfits that you want to feel unified and intentional? Any of these three figure in?

Top images courtesy J.Crew.

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3 Responses to “Three Items That Will Help You Look Pulled Together”

  1. Gloria

    I liked this post! I am fond of blazers and like Une Femme’s line about them: a blazer brings the business to business casual. I only own two: a short one to go with trousers and skirts/dresses, and a longer one to go over skinny jeans/pants. Which brings up a question for me. I feel as if I’ve always known in theory that it often looks good to wear a shorter, more fitted top with a fuller skirt or wider-leg trousers, and a longer, less fitted top generally looks good with narrow pants or a pencil skirt. Yet until quite recently, I really never thought about buying clothes with one of these two silhouettes in mind, and often got things (tops especially) that were just in-between and not very flattering. Any advice for building and curating a wardrobe that is versatile enough to create both looks, without being just stuck in the middle? I am in need of a few new sweaters/cardigans and am hesitating over what to buy.

  2. Laurel H

    Once again, you nailed it. I felt like Team Blazer was taking a beating in the responses to your post last week about layering hierarchies. I guess I’m lucky that I can rock most blazers off the rack and have had fabulous luck at thrift stores. (My most recent blazer thrift store scores were from Hugo Boss and Lafayette 148.) But a blazer really, truly does pull an outfit together. I always wear one to client meetings and almost always when I go out to dinner. If anyone dislikes the stiffness of blazers, there are lots out there made of jersey that move with you, and are as comfortable as cardigans.

    One thing I can add that pulls an outfit together for me, and this was only a recent discovery, is lipstick. I wear no other makeup than lipstick, and it’s amazing how that pop of colour (complementary to the outfit, of course) can really make the whole thing look polished. I even wear lipstick when running errands now, and ran into a good friend the other day and was glad that I felt like I looked pulled together.

  3. Justine

    Thank you for thinking of us and posting this juicy little treat at this holiday time Sally. Happy holiday to you and all your family and faithful readers. Justine x