The definition of a dichotomy is a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different. In fashion, dichotomies happen all the time, and this mixing two different styles can be quite interesting. Take one of the most iconic examples of this, when Sharon Stone wore a Gap button down shirt with a formal skirt from Vera Wang to the 70th Academy Awards.
Not only does this eclectic way of dressing create interesting outfits it can often be used to create more balance in looks. For example, if your outfit is too preppy looking, a funky pair of shoes can be added to make the outfit look more up to date, a frilly romantic dress can look less sweet by cutting it with some more rugged accessories or a evening gown would look really fascinating in a classic pinstripe wool fabric. Dichotomy style happens when two unalike styles that shouldn’t go together blend harmoniously to create a whole different look.
Dichotomy style does not have to be extreme to work. Often the smallest tweak can make a huge difference and enable you to use pieces in your wardrobe in ways you might have to not considered before. Check out the below looks to see how you can realistically apply dichotomy style to make your outfits more interesting while also giving them a different spin.
Dichotomy Style: Mixing To Different Styles to Create One Amazing Look
In this outfit, the more feminine dress from Modcloth and Majorica pearls are styled with a tailored navy linen blazer from J. Crew. As a result, the jacket looks less serious and the dress less frilly and a balance between the two is created making it a great outfit for a business casual environment. The outfit is finished with a pair of beige flats from Corso Como and a white purse from Nine West.
On their own, these khaki chinos from Boden, olive pullover from J. Crew and gold earrings from Macy’s are a bit traditional looking. To give this classic outfit some edge, funkier accessories were added, the leopard sandals from Anthropologie and fringe metallic bag from Rebecca Minkoff. Now the base pieces look fresher and more interesting.
If this dress from Madewell was accessorized with soft colored accessories and pastel colors it would probably push this super sweet sundress a tad overboard in one direction. However, by funking it up with some more rugged pieces, like this denim jacket, fringe cognac bag, a pair of caged booties from Modcloth and Bauble Bar bib, the rugged balances the sweet and the sweet balances out the rugged.
This Reiss body con dress is beautiful, elegant and sleek. To make it look a bit more trendy, I edged it out with some bolder accessories, including a pair of studded strappy heels from Vince Camuto and clutch from Milly, crawler earrings from Bauble Bar and a pyramid cuff bracelet.
You may not immediately think of a pair of pinstripe pants as after-five formal, but when you pair this business silhouette with really formal accessories a desk-to-dinner look is created. This is a great idea if you have to run to an event after work, and just want to do a quick accessory change, or are traveling. In this outfit, I used a pair of Ann Taylor pinstripe pants, an oversized white shirt from Madwell that has been belted with a rhinestone BCBG belt, red suede DVF pumps, a rhinestone necklace from Bauble Bar and silver clutch.
Remember, opposites attract, and by pairing two styles from opposite ends of the spectrum you may find that you can create some really bold and exciting looks by pairing things in your closet that you may have not considered before.