Don’t you sometimes wish that you knew exactly what clothing you could sew that you’d wear all the time? That’s the beauty of outfit formulas.
So what’s an outfit formula? It’s a simple combination of different garments that combine well to create an entire look. Rather than always trying to put together an outfit from scratch, you can quickly pull garments that complete your favorite formulas.
A benefit of outfit formulas is that they make getting dressed in the morning easier, but they also make sewing so much easier. They're especially helpful when the weather changes and you need to adjust your sewing plans accordingly. Also, if a garment fits into one of your formulas, you know it will also fit seamlessly into your wardrobe. Plus, once you find a formula you love to wear, you can make a bunch of different variations and know that you’ll always feel great.
Here are 5 outfit formulas for fall and some coordinating Seamwork patterns that you can sew and wear over and over.
Formula #1: Sweater and a skirt
A sweater and a skirt are an ideal outfit formula for transitional seasons like fall and spring. If you pick your garments carefully, you can create a comfortable combination of cozy up top and nice and breezy below. Then, pop on a pair of shoes that fit the weather best, and you’re all set.
Oliver and Margo
Think of this outfit as an interpretation of leggings and a sweatshirt. You’re wearing head-to-toe knits, so you’ll be really comfortable but still look polished. Plus, you can make both Oliver and Margo on a weekend because they are so quick to sew.
Astoria and Dezi
Oliver and Pauline
This is a hacked version of the Oliver sweater with a funnel neck, paired with the Pauline skirt. This interpretation of the sweater and skirt formula has structure up top and a sleek silhouette on the bottom.
Formula #2: Pinafore-style dress and a long-sleeved knit top
Pinafores are an unexpected way to do layers because they make a statement. With just two garments, you can feel put together, and this formula is enjoyable to style with different accessories and shoes.
Knox and Alice
This is a playful and casual outfit; think art teacher or British workwear vibes. With Knox and Alice, you can create totally different looks depending on the fabrics you choose. A denim pinafore is an excellent option because it goes well with prints or solid colors and nearly any kind of fabric, from knits to wovens.
Ellie and Bryn
You can wear Bryn as a shift dress on its own or as a pinafore. Paired with Ellie, you have two scooped necklines with a slight peek at the henley. Details like this give an outfit dimension and visual texture. Plus, this outfit has the magical color combination of gold and denim, which is a great look for fall.
Emmie and Dani
This combination puts a new spin on pinafores. Dani has a plunging neckline, and this version is sewn in a chic microsuede. Emmie has some peasant details with the drawstring, hook and eye clasp, and bell sleeves, and this version is sewn in gauze. The two fibers are playful together, and the contrasting silhouettes of each garment make a fun outfit.
Formula #3: Longer dress with a sweater coat
Wearing long layers is a chic combination ideal for fall, and you can continue wearing this outfit formula into winter. Long layers create drama with minimal effort because the silhouette is powerful on its own.
Aaronica and Baz
The Aaronica dress has a body-loving design, and you can create a fun waist definition with the Baz coat. You can sew Baz in knits or wovens, so you have many options in picking the right fabric for the weather. A sweater coat is also a comfortable option to wear inside and outside, kind of like wearing a light blanket.
Grace and Oslo
This is the member bonus version of the Grace dress paired with an Oslo sweater hacked into a duster. Slip dresses are ideal for fall layers as you transition summer garments into cooler weather, especially bias-cut dresses like Grace.
Devon and Jill
This outfit is more of a deep-fall look because it’s a cozier option for long layers. Devon has a cocoon shape and funnel neckline. Jill is an oversized coatigan with a shawl collar. Combining these two powerful silhouettes gives you a great fall outfit.
Formula #4: Straight pants, a top, and a jacket
This outfit formula can be a go-to for almost any situation. It’s simple and achievable, and you can make it your own depending on the fabric, colors, and prints you choose.
Witt, Finn, and Larkin
This outfit will take you throughout the day, no matter what you’re doing. It’s practical—you can easily pull it from your closet—and it’s comfortable without looking too casual. Joggers like Witt can still look dressed up even with the drawstring waist, and Finn can add a retro flair, especially paired with a bomber like Larkin.
Tessa, Savannah, and Keaton
The Tessa jeans are a total classic with their straight cut, making a great base for this formula. The Savannah camisole is soft and fluttery, especially when paired with a more structured blazer, like Keaton. This outfit is ideal for fall officewear, but you can wear it out after work or while running errands.
Dexter, Clarke, and Chip
Dexter is a pair of knit pencil pants, which are essentially glorified leggings. Clarke is a swingy, breezy tank top, and Chip is a classic, moto-style jacket drafted for heavier knit fabrics. This outfit has some edge, but you’re still mostly wearing comfortable stretchy knits.
Formula #5: Wide pants and a sweater
This outfit formula is classic for fall. Wide pants always look chic and a little dressed up, but they are very layerable and comfortable to wear. The challenge with this outfit formula is to create balance. You don’t want too much bulk on top of a lot of volume.
Elaine and Lisa
This is the wide-legged version of Elaine which has a split hem detail. This detail lengthens the look even though you are wearing wide-legged pants. It looks nice paired with the Lisa cardigan, which has a deep V-neck and oversized buttons.
Callahan and Rooney
Callahan is a high-waisted pant without too much volume, but it still has that wide-legged effect. Rooney is a great sweater to pair with wide-legged pants because it has a drawstring to help you cinch at the high hip, which is an alternative to tucking in your top at the waist.
Marett and Astoria
If you want a classic hourglass silhouette, the Marett pants and Astoria sweater are the perfect combination. Palazzo pants have so much volume, and a fitted, cropped sweater will accentuate their signature silhouette. This look is a great vintage interpretation of this outfit formula.
If you want to hear more about why these outfit formulas work so well, Sarai and Haley discuss all of these garments in a video on our YouTube channel here.