Q&A: How to Dress with Youthful Sophistication

March 27th, 2009

Q: I am currently in school. Whenever I try a new style, I get strange looks. My friends tell me I look too dressy.  How do I look sophisticated and casual while still looking young and fresh?

A: Happy to hear that you’re experimenting with new styles.  Trying out new styles, cuts, silhouettes, and colors is the best way to discovering your own personal style–whatever your age.  I encourage you to continue your explorations into fashion to continue evolving your look.

Style is less about dressing a particular way, or in a particular type of clothing.  The key is to dress to fit your personality - and the situation you’re in.  If you’re in school, running from class to class in a cocktail dress or a suit (no matter how sharp you look) probably isn’t appropriate.  The trick to dressing sophisticated while keeping the look young is to either (1) Mix sophisticated details and pieces into a casual look, or (2) Create sophisticated combinations with casual pieces.

Tip 1: Mix Sophisticated Details into a Casual Look


Feeling the love for this outfit?  Here’s more information about it.

A sweatervest, a buttondown shirt, and jeans are standard fare, but the oversized buttons on the vest and the delicate tuxedo pleating on the buttondown shirt turn it into something special.  Notice the sophisticated woven bag–not your average book bag.

Tip 2: Create Sophisticated Combinations with Casual Pieces


Feeling the love for this outfit?  Here’s more information about it.

The striped boatneck shirt, the bomber jacket, and jeans are all casual items.  But put them together, and you have an outfit that’s at once Euro chic sophisticated and completely youthful.

Have a great tip about how to achieve youthful sophistication? Share it with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: Q&A,Women's

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sal  |  March 27th, 2009 at 6:47 am

    These are both great ways to do casual-cool, even if you’re not aiming for a youthful look. So many people think casual means jeans, a sweatshirt, and sneaks … it can be so much more, as you’ve illustrated here!

  • 2. Alejandro Almendrades  |  March 28th, 2009 at 7:43 am

    I am a huge fan of the site, and of most fashion publications. Still considering myself “young” I find it tough to be young and find the appropriate wardrobe to pull off “professional”. My advice is to use the high-low method.

    I tend to wear my normal “street clothes” paired up with a more professional or tailored item. Whether it be the shoes, a hat, scarf, even things like socks I find will create a dynamic look.


  • 3. Christine  |  March 28th, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    I get that problem too! But yes! I agree with polyvore…mixing and all is always great!

  • 4. Me  |  March 29th, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Love the site, but over a thousand for boots??? Please, a little reality/compassion.

  • 5. Trisha  |  March 29th, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Great tips, Alejandro!

    Re: the boots – yes, they’re quite steep. As with all of our Polyvore outfits, the idea is to provide inspiration for a look – it’s not necessarily a shopping guide. We mix high and low, as we did combining these beautiful handmade and hand-distressed boots with affordable pieces from Forever 21 and American Eagle.

    But we don’t think that you need to spend a bundle in order to achieve this look. If you hunt around, you can find great brown flat boots at every price point.

  • 6. Iz  |  March 30th, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    i love the second outfit!

  • 7. Trisha  |  March 30th, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks, Iz!

  • 8. liane  |  March 30th, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    a blazer as a substitute for the jacket in outfit #2 and of course different accessories..

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