Steak vs sizzle in the wardrobe



Last month during my NYC shopping excursion, in our first fitting room Carol Davidson said to me "I am guessing that we our focusing more on sizzle than steak today?"...


I instantly had a flashback to my style training with Carol over a decade earlier where we learned about how to create a versatile, balanced wardrobe - one that makes getting dressed easy as opposed to an exercise in frustration.


The key is a healthy balance of steak and sizzle.


Steak being the basics, your wardrobe workhorses - the building blocks of outfit creation. The sizzle refers to those higher impact pieces that typically have more shine, colour, pattern etc.


While the ratio isn't exact (and varies per person based on style personality and lifestyle), a general rule of thumb is 2/3 steak to 1/3 sizzle.

Michael Kors has shared a similar sentiment in this quote:


“Seventy per cent of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes. Thirty per cent should be icing and fluff – that’s colour, pattern, shine, accessories. Too many women get the proportions the other way round, then can’t figure out why they can’t get dressed.”



While I think the 70/30 ratio is a great rule of thumb, you should factor in your own style aesthetic/preferences into this equation. Because part of my style personality is creative, I am naturally drawn more to print, colour, shine and texture. A more realistic ratio for me may be more like 60/40.

It's so important for me to remember to purchase those steak/meat and potatoes pieces because without them getting dressed becomes so much more difficult!


Someone with a more minimal or classic style aesthetic, may aim for more 80/20. These style types, may want to keep in mind to incorporate elevated basics in the steak portion to make sure it's easy to incorporate some interest into outfits if they lean heavier on the steak in the wardrobe breakdown.


I'm happy to say I picked up a little steak on my shopping excursion - and, of course, some sizzle (this print dress below is an example) - which is where my heart sings the most!


If you need some help figuring out the right ratio for your wardrobe, style personality and lifestyle - I'd love to chat! Check out my style services here.