As a fashion editor, I'm used to being asked a lot of questions about what people should wear for certain events. Whether it's checking to see if an outfit meets a dress code requirement, sifting through options to wear to a special occasion or searching for the next It buy, I've got an answer. But the one outfit I've always found trickiest to advise on is the everyday uniform.
I find the concept of simple, daily outfit building trickier to style than all-out glamour, as by its nature, what we wear every day has to meet practical requirements (and we all know that killer heels might look good, but they won't last all day). So as I stood in front of my wardrobe on another Monday morning deciding between my usual comfy knit or sharp suit, I racked my brain for a solution that would make getting ready in the morning easier, something that would take the guesswork out of outfit planning and result in a look that would work 100% of the time. And thanks to a new TikTok fashion trend, I can confidently say I've actually found it.
I stumbled across the "2x2 outfit formula" while scrolling through my feed recently, and it is a certified game changer. The concept is simple but effective: Take two pieces of "formal wear," e.g., a blazer, a pair of tailored trousers or some glossy boots, and pair them with two pieces of dressed-down casual wear, like a T-shirt, denim jacket or a jersey sweater. With me so far? It's the very definition of smart casual, and I promise you the results always make sense.
Keeping this failsafe formula in mind, I rounded up some of my favourite new-in finds and put them together in some easy, everyday 2x2 outfits that might help you the next time you get stuck with what to wear to the office or on the weekend. Try it and see. It just might make the clothes at the back of your wardrobe feel inspiring again.
1. CASUAL: STRIPY KNIT AND JEANS, SMART: LOAFERS AND SHOULDER BAG