Decisions, Decisions: Finding the Perfect Outfit

Hannah Yakobi is an award-winning journalist and communications specialist. Throughout her career, she has written for the National Post, OK! Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen, Canwest newspaper network and dozens of publications around the world. Currently, she is the Editor-in-Chief of FAJO Magazine, a Canadian publication with staff in Canada, U.S. and U.K.

If you have an important event coming up, more often than not you may find yourself struggling with what to wear.

Save yourself hours of pondering by the closet door, trying on things in front of the mirror, or sending picture messages to friends for advice.

As Toronto Fashion Week takes over, you have another great excuse to dress up and rock it. And to help you along the way, here are 10 tips – for men and women – on what to wear (and not).

For the ladies:

1. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. Any outfit can be significantly brightened up via accessories. If you pick an outfit that is one solid colour, don’t be afraid to pair it with an oversized necklace or oversized pair of earrings. Jewelry this season is very large!

2. Heels are a must. Line up your shoes in front of you and pick the ones that go best with your other accessories – bags, bracelets, etc. A common rule is that the shoes must match the bag in colour. That is not necessarily true, but they must complement it.

3. Fabric choice is important and is a great way to eliminate things. Light fabrics (silk, chiffon) can only be paired with thick fabrics (jersey, wool) if the latter goes over it (e.g. silk blouse with a jersey coat). Do not wear more than two items in the same fabric.

4. Don’t forget: if you bare your shoulders, don’t bare your legs, and vice versa. So, a strapless top goes well with flowing pants, and a short pencil skirt goes well with a silk, long-sleeved blouse. It’s all about visual balance.

5. Bring out your best features. If you have a nice neck, go for a deep V. If you are well-known for your legs, opt for skinny jeans or a mini-skirt.

For the gentlemen:

1. Blazers are back. If you own one, go for it. Spring is the best time of the year to pull it out of your closet.

2. It’s easy to go pattern-crazy, especially with all those stripes, polka dots and graphics that predominate men’s shirts and ties. Here is a tip: if you like patterns, don’t wear more than one type together (e.g. dots and lines). It’s much better to stick to one pattern; for example, a black, pinstripe pair of pants, with a light blue shirt and nautical-line tie.

3. In contrast to women, too many accessories for men can create an overkill. Focus on your clothing more, and if you want to get experimental, go for brighter colours.

4. One word: cufflinks. They complete everything. If you refuse to wear them, go for a statement watch in black or silver.

5. Black dressy shoes go with pretty much everything, too, except for skinny pants. They are always a great option.

Last tip: wear what you feel comfortable in and listen to your gut feeling!