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December 18, 2013

Sarah Stright-Hartley: ‘Matching but not matchy’ — that’s the look you want

NEW CASTLE — It's the time of year for family holiday cards and I was recently asked by a friend how to pull off the "matching but not matchy" look.

My answer was simple — wear similar colors across all of the outfits. Her boys were wearing plaid shirts, so I suggested she and her boyfriend wear solid color sweaters that had one of the colors from the plaid.  Since I've been asked how to pull off this type of look more than once, I can only assume that more people have this question — hence, this week's column.

Over to the right, I've put together two sets of looks for holiday cards, one more casual and one dressier.  If you'll notice, all of the looks look like they belong together but without wearing matching clothes.

In the casual look I've done something similar to what I told my girlfriend. I kept the "parent" clothes simple and solid while allowing the children's clothes to stand out.  A plaid shirt and khaki for the boy is reflected in the tops of both the man and woman.  The detail on the sweater dress of the little girl also pulls in the woman's sweater, and the tights reflect the man's scarf.

All of these looks are easy and most likely things that you'd be able to pull from your closet without having to make new purchases. Again, just finding a similar color palette is key.

For the dressier look, I carried the same overall red theme throughout all the outfits.  The woman and girl are both wearing red dresses in interesting textures with fun accessories (I really love the flower headband and furry boots for the little girl).  The man and young boy are wearing similar outfits (a shirt, tie and dress pants) but don't look identical due to the different color shirts.  The tie of both the man and boy coordinate with the dresses of the woman and girl.

This same idea carries through no matter what type of family photo you're doing.  You don't have to have all matching clothes (and honestly, I encourage you not to so you don't end up on one of those "what were they thinking" websites). Just stick with a similar color theme or pattern and you'll always look put-together and fresh.

Curious to see my Christmas card with my husband this year? I promise, we followed these "rules.” Just click on over to my personal blog and check it out:

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