Wardrobe 101

To Match or Not To Match?

Coordinated vs. Matching Style

Happy day, reader dear!

It’s lovely to see you! If you are here for the first time, Welcome! I’m Liz, a certified Image, Wardrobe & Color Consultant. You can find me hanging out here on the blog thrice weekly, chatting about style and other loosely related topics. (In the name of transparency… Often very loosely related!)

If you are returning, Welcome back and bless you! It’s a treat to know you found something here of value. AND that you are choosing to spend some of your precious time with me! Thank you. If there is a topic you’d like me to tackle or one I’ve covered that you’d like more information on, please don’t hesitate to ask. That’s what the blog is about. It’s what I’m here for!

One of the questions I am frequently asked is: Do these match? or Do these go together? Answering that question usually means digging deeper to find out what the asker wants to know… And the answer depends on the asker! Some people love Matchy-Matchy, and others run in the opposite direction. It’s based on personality! And trends. If the question is about matching colors, that’s a different animal…

Matching Personalities

If you have a highly Classic and traditional style, the look of a pearl necklace and pearl stud earrings might make your heart sing. Classic. Understated. Simple. Other matching accessories? Imagine a 1950’s outfit with matching shoes, bag and gloves. Timeless style. The Queen of England rocks these two looks all the time. They are part of her signature style. The Queen is her own style icon. And she should be!

Sometimes it’s the accessories that match, other times it’s a coordinated top and bottom. A suit is the ultimate in matching… And explains why matching feels more formal and less relaxed than mixing it up.

Another personality style that tends toward matchy is Ms. Feminine, especially a younger Feminine. Think sparkly matching jewelry sets…

Matchy matchy can feel aging and old fashioned, or vintage, depending on how you play it. (When it looks like you’ve been wearing it since its heyday and are still wearing it = Aging. When you rock vintage with a vengeance and attitude = Fun and Quirky.) There are always exceptions. Note QE2.

Matching Trends

Matching comes goes in and out of style. For decades, matching your shoes and bag was de rigueur. And fairly simple! You might have owned two or three pair of shoes (Black, Brown and Navy, maybe White for summer); owning a bag in each color wasn’t that much of a stretch. Then in the 1960’s, all the “rules” went out the window. Since then, wardrobes have grown MUCH larger and matching more complicated… Matching has had its fashion moments since: think double denim or the ubiquitous black everything.

My Take

I’m firmly in the anti-matching camp… (Probably a little Rebellious in me!) I don’t purchase jewelry sets. If an item comes as part of a set, I immediately donate the piece I didn’t sign up for. I can count the number of times I’ve worn my suits as suits in the past 20 years on one hand. (They were probably all funerals…) I DO wear my suits, but I treat them as separates. Care Tip: If you wear your suit as separates, have the pieces dry cleaned together.

… With one notable exception..

The Exception

Because every rule is proved by the exception, right? I love the look of shoes and a bag in the same color. I don’t need them to match exactly, i.e. brown croc with brown croc. I want them to share the same color but each have their own personality. So give me blue suede shoes and a blue crocodile print bag! Or in this case green pebbled leather and green faux snake. It feels like a feminine combination of harmony AND interest! Balanced without being more-of-the-same. Polished but not stiff. (The pair makes even jeans and a white tee look like “an outfit!” #stylehack)

What is Coordinated Style?

Coordination happens when what you wear doesn’t “match” per se, but it shares common elements that pull the look together. That’s really what is happening with my green bag and shoes above. Or when you wear espadrilles and carry a straw bag. Or carry touches of color throughout an outfit. You can find other examples of coordination in this post about balancing glasses and jewelry. Coordination is a whole ‘nother post! Or two. Or three. Let me know if you are up for it!

So How About YOU?

How do you feel about matching pieces, or co-ords? Jewelry sets? There’s no right or wrong here! It’s about what feels like you! But not the in-a-rut version of you! If you are a match-er, try loosening it up a bit! If you never even think about matching, try it and see how it makes you feel! And then let me know how the experiment goes! I love to hear from you…

Stylishly yours,

12 Comments

  • NATALIE

    I must admit I like to match my leather shoes and purses but mixing mushroom snakeskin flats and a mushroom pebble leather purse with pearl and faux diamong accents would be normal for my idea of matching. My mother is simply appalled that I am doing this in this age and time. I don’t match at times ie. in the summertime whan clothing tends to be less formal. I’m not a match-matchy dressier otherwise. I am a more formal dressier. I would just love for you to do a post on color combinations to wear. I would find (I believe many others would as well!) this very interesting. What are stylish color combinations etc.

    • Liz K

      She’s appalled that you are matching? Or that the purse has diamond and pearl accents? My mom can’t get over all the metallic shoes for daytime. She’s of a different generation for which metallic shoes were only for evening. If your mom came of age in the 60’s or early 70’s, it was all about leaving those old-fashioned rules behind. Some people find matching “stuffy” or “pretentious.” It’s not. It’s just a different way of expressing yourself!

  • Pamela Gray

    Love to hear about coordinating. Great timing because this week I had 2 compliments about matching when I had on: dark aqua glasses, white tee, peach and green cardigan, jeans, and white sneakers. I only dress in tints so to that extent everything I wear complements, but it cracked me up to hear people say I matched.

    • Liz K

      If you buy all in the family (shared color properties) everything WILL coordinate! That’s one of the reasons I think long and hard before buying something out of my palette… Sometimes I’ll go there, but those occasions are RARE! Thank you for visiting, Pamela, and it looks like some posts about coordinating will need to go on the calendar for 2021.

  • NATALIE

    My mother is upset I am wearing matching color leathers in handbags and shoes. She believes to be modern that I shouldn’t ever match my shoes and purse. She is great with the small pearl and faux diamond accents.

  • Carol Karl

    Really great information. I used to be a matchy matchy but then I was a classic. Now my style is much more edgy and I find it difficult to match. I often wear matching jewellery, and often that might match my shoes or my bag, but I don’t really do the matchy matchy at all any more.

    • Liz K

      Thank you for sharing this, Carol! People so often think “What’s good for the goose…” and fail to take personality (AND how it changes!) into account! It’s SO important to honor ourselves and show up in the way that matters now. At this point in time.

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