Matching sets have been around for decades, camouflaged by the on-trend prints and styles of the time. The ‘60s and ‘70s had vibrant colors and “Flower Power” patterns. The ‘80s were all about neons and geometric shapes. While the ‘90s had…well the ‘90s had Clueless, which sent argyle twin sets and slinky tunics with slip skirts into mainstream media like never before.
One of the main reasons why matching sets have stood the test of time is because they’re the outfit that requires the smallest amount of thought; you don’t need to think about pairing. However, when styled effectively, a matching set will always make a major statement. But the question remains, how do we know how to style a matching set in our current, still very young, decade? We’re still testing the waters to figure out what will be the defining look of the ‘20s, but we’re excited about some of the horses this season has in the race.
Trousers, Jacket & Top
One of Valeria’s favorite style hacks is to borrow from the boy, and a classic men’s suit is kind of like the OG matching set. So, it only makes sense to borrow the look and improve upon it with a personal spin. You can’t go wrong with a pair of well-fitted trousers and a plain white tee tucked into the front, while the matching jacket has the ability to complete the outfit in any variety of ways, depending on how you use it.
Oversized jackets are great for layering in colder weather but can also be cinched tightly around the waist to create a timeless hourglass silhouette that’s unmistakably feminine, despite using traditionally male-tailored garments. A fitted jacket, however, is already perfectly suited to any curves and can be worn as intended. Avoid the business woman aesthetic by skipping the undershirt and just wear the jacket over your bra or a tank top for a sexy style that’s still oozing with class.
When you’re working with bold patterns, it’s important to let them be the star of the show by not letting other parts of your outfit vie for attention. If your bold patterned piece is not part of the matching set, stick to color blocking with a hue from the set, or with neutrals like black or white for the remaining pieces of the outfit. Busy patterns can seem daunting from a style perspective, but they can really be a blessing in disguise. With so many different colors offered in complex patterns, there’s obviously more to choose from, so picking hues or tones for the complementary handbag or pair of sandals is a lot easier than if you’re working with a simpler pattern.
Wearing bold prints and loud colors takes a certain level of confidence to pull off, and so does wearing a matching set, so combining them in a look may feel like one giant leap outside of your comfort zone. Vibrant colors should be approached with similar tactic as bold patterns - allow the matching set to take center stage.
Figuring out what to pair with a bright pink or a vivid yellow set can be an intimidating puzzle, but it’s nothing that a simple color wheel can’t solve. Google a color wheel and choose a hue on the opposite side of the wheel from your matching set’s pink or yellow for your accompanying pieces. Muted blues and purples are great for making a vibrant yellow set really pop, whereas oranges and greens will compete for the eyes’ attention, in all the wrong ways. Solid black and white pieces from your capsule collection are also going to mesh well with any vibrant colors so they are always an option to fall back on.
Crop Tops & Bandeaus
Crop tops and bandeaus have the capability of transforming from lounge-worthy beachwear to nightlife attire in mere seconds if you know how to use them. We love a matching set as resort wear with a bikini top or bandeau, allowing you to catch a cooling breeze with an open jacket.
This lounge fit can quickly be transformed into elegant formal wear by doing up a jacket button or two. Planning a couple matching sets for these now warmer days while you’re traveling is our packing hack #1 - it’s a life saver for the quick transitions from days by the poolside to formal dinners.
And now that outdoor events are finally a thing again, no festival wardrobe or concert get-up would be complete without a crop top. Let’s be real, the crop top style and its acceptance into all societal contexts and settings is moving at a snail’s pace. In our opinion, you should be able to don a bandeau with a blazer and have it not be the first thing someone notices when you’re presenting your thesis. That being said, even if we’re sadly not at that point yet across the board, you can still rock this comfortable and heat-friendly piece all summer long by pairing it easily with high waisted joggers, biker shorts, or a matching sheer robe as Stevie Nicks taught us.
If you’re not quite ready to exit the polarizing “Sweatpants Era” but you need to elevate your game just a tad to re-enter the real world, a matching sweat suit is what you’re looking for. We’re talking about figure-complimenting sizes that help to accentuate your own curves, not the overly baggy gray sweats you “borrowed” from your boyfriend’s closet and lounged around in for most of quarantine (and forever after, he’s never seeing them again). Most sweatsuits come in monochromatic looks which is great because they’re easy to match with complementary accessories. The athleisure streetwear trend is about embracing your sporty side, so when styling a matching sweatsuit, make sure to fully commit. Classic white sneakers, a black fanny pack, and maybe a color matched headband or scrunchie is all you’ll need to round out this workout inspired look.
Mixing & Matching
Just because you buy pieces together as a matching set doesn’t mean they always have to be worn that way. Having a variety of matching sets is basically like having a separate little capsule wardrobe from which you can create any number of possible spring-worthy outfits. You can use all the different styling tips on this list to create any number of outfits by incorporating the wardrobe you already have with the matching sets you invest in. Try mixing a bold patterned jacket with your favorite denim jeans and a white t-shirt, or your vibrant pants from a matching set with a black button up from your capsule collection, or any combination in between.