Style your separates with fashion tips from Louise Roe

I love styling separates - layering, mixing and matching colours, textures, and prints. I find it's the best way to express our personal sense of style; there’s so much more creative freedom compared to styling a dress or a suit. It’s fun and satisfying when separate pieces come together as a unique outfit, and you don’t even need that many items to do it. The trick is shopping with intention and picking versatile pieces that work well both together and with what’s already in your wardrobe.

We all have those jeans we love because they fit perfectly, or a favourite top we wear on repeat because it makes us feel confident and chic. Here, I share my top tips for styling your wardrobe separates to create a look you love.

1. Understand your body type

This is the fashion golden rule for finding pieces that flatter your figure. For example, for a pear body shape, you can play up your curves with high-waisted trousers or A-line skirts that cinch at the waist. Pair these with lighter-coloured tops to bring attention upwards. If you're petite, go for vertical stripes or monochrome ensembles to elongate your figure.

2. Start with the basics

Establish the building blocks of your separates wardrobe. You could start with versatile basics in neutral hues first, and then add personality later by introducing more colours and patterns.

3. Balance is key

Especially when wearing separates, it’s important to balance out proportions to create a flattering silhouette. For example, if you’re wearing wide-leg trousers or a voluminous skirt, aim for a more streamlined top or tuck it in to highlight your waistline. Similarly, loose or flowy blouses pair very well with more fitted bottoms.

4. Mix prints and textures

Combining different patterns can feel a bit daunting at the beginning, but it’s incredibly rewarding if done right. You can start by mixing prints that share a common colour base. Alternatively, pair a bold pattern with a more neutral one. The key to a chic mix is to stick with prints that complement each other in colour and scale. And don’t forget to experiment with textures! The depth and complexity they bring to your outfit will always make it seem more sophisticated.

5. Pick timeless pieces

If you have fun styling your separates and want to keep building your wardrobe this way, it is best to avoid anything too contemporary or trend- based. Choosing items that are less likely to date means you can maximise your clothes’ styling options for years to come and build up a wardrobe with longevity.