What is Your Outfit Template?

I had a drink on Saturday evening with Dolly Alderton, who is an English journalist and the dating columnist for The Sunday Times Style, and she asked me this great question: What is your outfit template? Originally, I didn’t really understand what she meant. What is an outfit template? I am not a Polyvore collage. Then it occurred to me that we all, in some way, maintain our own versions of a template. We fall back on this template when we can’t quite figure out what to wear, or feel like shit and want to change that as quickly as possible.

If you’d have asked me three years ago about my template, I’d have said high-waist, straight-leg jeans and a button-down shirt. The shoes change and so do the other accessories and jackets. This is probably still the outfit that I fall back on even though whenever I put it on, I don’t feel especially great anymore. That’s a weird phenomenon too: When the tricks you have identified as foolproof are no longer just that, what do you do? So I had to think about for a second. When do I feel like the best version of myself?

It’s a lot easier to think in terms of templates instead of actual outfits — that puts way too much emphasis on the garment itself and frankly doesn’t allow for much creative exploration.

I guess I’ve been wearing a lot of high-waist miniskirts. They’re easy and casual, but also exude a put-togetherness that I have been very attracted to as of late. What have I been wearing them with? T-shirts? Yes, but I don’t feel especially strongly about myself in these T-shirts. Button downs? Yes. They’re still reliable! But they’re no longer so stiff: I’ve been leaning on silk shirts that look more like pajamas than outerwear but when ironed and fresh, pack such a strong punch. Lately, too, I don’t feel complete without a sweater worn lopsided, either around my waist or neck.

And for the shoes?


Ankle boots are dead to me. Not dead to me, but I don’t feel like wearing them much. So I’ve been searching for loafers. Actually, I’ve been counting down the damn minutes for my collection with Net-a-Porter to launch because I think I’ve finally cracked the code on !the perfect loafer silhouette! That must be it, then.

High-waist miniskirt, fabric at wearer’s discretion; silk pajama blouse, any color of the rainbow will do; knit sweater, go ham; and loafers.

AND SOCKS! Of course! The antidote to all ankle boots. Cut my leg off but do it gently.


That sounds right.

Perfect, actually.

What’s yours?

Photo by Krista Anna Lewis.

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