Family Pictures: 10 Steps to the Perfect Outfits

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by Laura

You don’t want to admit it and neither do I, but it is time to get those pictures taken for the Christmas cards!  Family pictures can put fear and trembling into a lot of moms, and I know a few husbands who would rather have a cavity filled without novocain than take pictures. 

There’s the outfit picking, the photographer prices, and then the ordeal of getting  You know this gold standard? The picture where everyone is looking at the camera, no tears in the eyes, and everyone is super happy about the clothes they get to wear?  HA!  

Growing up as a photographer’s daughter and doing some very basic photography myself I can see how the outfit really does help pull the entire look together, so I’ve come up with 10 things to consider when planning outfits for your family portrait.  

1. Location


If you are taking pictures in a grass field, an urban setting, or inside with a backdrop, you are going to want your outfits to contrast and compliment the background instead of blend in.  If you are wanting some outside nature photos, you might want to steer away from wearing the exact color of the grass you are sitting in.  If you want to take pictures on the steps of a museum, kaki colored clothing might not be your best choice.  This doesn’t mean you have to have a super bright or opposite color, but just enough different that you aren’t all blending in.  

2. Formality


Think about how formal you want your picture to look.  Are you going for casual t-shirts and shorts, all out with dresses and heels, somewhere in the middle?  Our Easter picture above was pretty formal, and this was, believe it or not, the best picture of all of us together.   

3. First Piece 


Next step is to pick one piece that you want to build the families outfits around.  Maybe it’s a shirt of your husband’s, a skirt of your daughter’s, or even a bow tie for your son.  Start with one piece and work from there. For our family pictures coming up I loved a new checkered shirt of Eric’s, and so I decided to start with this.  

4. Color Story


 Now you’ll need to decide what you are going to do with the other members of the family, so let’s create a color story.  Do you want a more neutral look with whites, browns, creams? Do you want soft colors, bright colors, or statement pieces? Once you have thought through a color story, walk into each person’s closet and choose a few different items that go with that story.  Think compliment, not match.

For me, I found Eva and Malachi’s complimenting pieces easily, but I had a hard time choosing a top for me.  I found four that I liked and each one brought a different feel to the picture. 



See what I mean?  The navy makes the outfits cool and would look great in an urban setting.  The teal softens my look up a little but still adds a color pop.  The Grey sweater softens up the picture but won’t look great in the background we are going to, (state capital), and the Tan is also a nice soft color but again, will not be a good fit for our location.  I’m torn between the navy and the teal.  Which would you choose?  

5. Fashion Formula 


Apply Angela’s Fashion Formula to creating each person’s outfit.  1.  Neutral.  2.  Color/Pattern/Texture 3.  Completer.  You can read more about it here.  Especially if you are going with a more neutral feel to your family pictures like we did in California picture above, the fashion formula is going to take your look from blah to wow!  

If you love neutrals or even gravitate to one color, each person’s outfit needs to have texture, (think knits, lace, overlays) or patterns, and slightly different colors so that you are not the amoeba family.  You can add sweet neutral accessories that keep your look soft, but give an individual look to each person.  

6. Lay it out


Bring all the options together into one place. At this point in the process begin to lay out the items or hang them up to see how they look all together.  Does anything clash?  Are their competing pieces?  Is it too loud, too blah?  

7. Pop not blend


Here is where I look at each piece next to the others and make sure no two people are going to blend together.  See me and my cute friends together? Because we are wearing jean jackets we meld into each other.  

In a family picture if I am wearing a navy shirt and my daughter has on a navy dress we will blend into one big blob, but if we choose complimentary outfits we will each have our own shape to our own body lines and each outfit stands apart from the others.  I especially do this with the pant/skirt choices.  Again, If I have on olive green pants and my son is hugging my leg in the picture with an olive shirt, we blend instead of pop.  

8. Take a Picture  


Now on your bed, or the floor, or your curtain rod, lay out all the clothes with pants, skirts etc, and take a picture. You might be surprised how things look in the picture vs. how they look in real life.  That awesome detail you love in your shirt doesn’t show up in the picture, do you want to keep it or change it for something else.  Notice your husband and son’s pants are the same color and don’t pop, think about what you can do to change it up.  

9. Try on clothes


At this point in the process you should be pretty settled on what everyone is wearing, but try on any clothes that haven’t been worn before to determine if someone needs an undershirt, a different size, tights, or is completely uncomfortable with your choice.  Better to have knowledge and tears before picture day!  

10.  Accessorize  


My favorite part of pictures is deciding on the accessories which is the “completer” part of the Fashion Formula.  Shoes, belts, scarves, jewelry, hats, cardigans, jackets, ALL these things pull the looks together.  Here’s my friend’s family who used a coral necklace to continue the color story of her son’s shirt throughout the picture and it looks ADORABLE!


Ok!  You guys are ready for family photo season!  Best of luck friends!     


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Why I like the Capsule Wardrobe (Part 1 of the Capsule Wardrobe Series)

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by Angela

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A wardrobe that is paired down for you of pieces that you love, that fit you well, appropriate for your lifestyle and for each season. In the desert, I have two capsule wardrobe bases- Summer, (hot weather) and Winter, (cold weather) and then a few things that are added in making Spring and Fall.

Why Did I Start a Capsule Wardrobe?

Thanks for asking! šŸ™‚ Because I had a closet full of Summer and Winter clothes mixed together. I had some mediocre clothes I didn’t like that much, but just hadn’t gotten rid of.Ā  Laura kept telling me about her Capsule Wardrobe and sending me blogs about it, and you just take note of these things your bestie is doing! At the same time, I read a George Brescia book, called Change Your Clothes Change Your Life.

Capsule Wardrobe Rules I followed.

There is a lot of info about Capsule Wardrobes out there! These are some that Laura and I have used!

Rule #1- Only keep things you LOVE! This principle came from The Change Your Clothes book. You will immediately know what items those are and you don’t really need to think about it. If you have to wonder- you don’t love it!! Empty your closet- everything! And only put back in the pieces you love. Even if you only have a few pieces in there at first your style will scream at YOU!

Rule #2- When you have emptied your closet you will have a pile of maybes. Assess why they are in the maybe pile. Doesn’t fit? Needs tailoring? Trade it with a friend or give it away. If you need help with this stage invite a trusted girlfriend or someone who you like their style over or skype with them if they live far away!

Rule #2- Pair down your wardrobe per season. Have approximately 35-40 pieces. This could include: 15 tops, 9 bottoms, 2 dresses, 2 outwear and 9 pairs of shoes. No need to include your pajamas/lounge wear, swimsuits, purses and the jeans you wear when you paint your living room. If you live in a place with 4 seasons, figure out your seasons- Winter (Jan- March), Spring (April- June), Summer (July- September), Fall (October- December). Don’t get caught up on the number of items or the seasons as much as what is working for you! I have found that I love to include one new dress in my Spring/ Summer Wardrobe that I can wear for Easter, and then graduations, weddings and any other summer events. Less is sometimes more and pieces that you LOVE with often interchange.

Rule #3- Enjoy your wardrobe for the full season. Don’t feel like you need to go shopping. As you get started you will still be doing some sorting of that season capsule. Take your time and figure out what is working or is not working. Then you will be able to keep those rules for you into the next season capsule.

Rule #4- During the last part of the season, plan what you have for the upcoming season and what pieces you want to add. Put away the current season, figure out what you will transfer to the next season and make your list for the few things you want to shop for and add. Check out the sale racks too for the end of season things you know you are needing.

Rule #5- Jewelry and Accessories are not apart of your seasonal capsule wardrobe so your possibilities of mixing things up is endless! I talk more about that in my Accessorizing your Capsule Wardrobe coming at the end of this week.

The Extra Findings of the Capsule Wardrobe.

  1. Keeps laundry manageable. Since it is more of a minimalist wardrobe. I do wear my jeans and certain clothes several times (especially if I just have them on for a few hours). My Laundry System and the Capsule Wardrobe work nicely together šŸ™‚
  2. I found that I stopped feeling like I had nothing to wear when I stood in my closet! I liked all my options and found that the pieces mixed and matched so nice into outfits! See my Fashion Formula to how I put outfits together. I thought the Capsule Wardrobe might cramp my style, but instead it defined my style more!
  3. Keeps my closet cleaner and more organized! That is a plus!!! šŸ™‚
  4. Having a Capsule Wardrobe has made shopping easier. I know much quicker what I LOVE and need. I have made fewer mistake purchases.

Don’t delay- no matter where we are at in a season, start today!! Clear out your closet with your BEST options! Be sure to watch for Laura’s post on a Capsule Wardrobe for your Kids! And then next I am going to share how you can add in Accessories to your Capsule Wardrobe. šŸ™‚

Disclaimer: The closet above is my DREAM closet! Would love to have that closet system!

We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

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Fashion Formula

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by Angela

I am a visual learner and I like to see something that I like and then tweak it to work for me. So that is what I have learned to do with fashion! Learned is the key word šŸ™‚ Here is a picture of me in the mid 90’s.Angela 1

IĀ  am the one on the left holding the cute baby. šŸ™‚ Not that great of a picture. Can you imagine selfies in the 90’s??Ā  I know that some of the terribleness is the 90’s fashion. But, I am not sure what I was thinking with the long necklace length and my hair is, well, I am not exactly sure. My jeans were baggier than my sweet Grandma’s two people over! My Mom’s, (sitting next to me) patterned pants make me chuckle too, but then again- this is the 9o’s so you must take that into account and please don’t pin this picture to pinterest! šŸ™‚

So please remember, when you think you will never be fashionable, that you can learn some tips!! I did and then I reuse them!

So onto the Fashion Formula! It’s simple and can be switched up a bit to your personality!

Neutral + Color/ Pattern/texture + Completer/ Accessories= Outfit

Formula used with dressy outfits:

Animal Print Fashion Formula


Neutral (Black Shirt) + Color (Pants) + Completer (Trench Coat, also included in the pattern) +accessories (Jewelry which ties into the pastel color of my pants).

Black and White Fashion Formula

Neutral (Black Slacks) + Color (White Blouse) + Completer (Red Animal Print Heels and Jewelry). Black and White gives endless options as they are a great neutral and color combo to add a completer in shoes, jewelry in pops of color, and jackets and purse and well, you get the idea!

Fashion Formula for Casual Outfits:

Shorts Fashion Formula

Neutral (Navy Shirt) + Texture (shorts) + Completer (purse & jewelry that color coordinate and fun shoes).

Scarf Fashion Formula

Neutral (Jeans) + Color (White Shirt) + Completer (Scarf) +Accessories (Bracelet with a pop of color and Earrings)

Formula for an outfits for church, date nights or meeting girlfriends:

Cheveron Dress

Neutral (Charcoal Gray Tights) + Pattern (Chevron Print Dress) + Completer (Denim Jacket) +Accessories(Colorful jewelry and Turquoise Cowboy Boots)

Belt Fashion Formula

Neutral (Jeans) + Pattern (Animal Print Shirt) +Completer (Belt) + Accessories (Trendy booties and Gold Jewelry)

So a couple take aways to sum it up:

  1. Invest in some great jeans that fit you. They will be a staple neutral in your wardrobe.
  2. Find colors that look best with your skin and hair color!
  3. Explore what patterns and textures are your signature style and say something about you!
  4. You can mix up your completer/accessory step in endless possibilities! That step polishes your outfit…it’s like the sprinkles on the cupcake!

Have fun!




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