My Chic Obsession: 3 unexpected fashion combos that actually work

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

When it comes to fashion, there are no rules. Although there always is a place for classic looks and timeless outfits, sometimes you’ve got to wear something a little outside of the box. That’s where these unexpected fashion combos come in.

Pairing items that you wouldn’t normally expect is a great way to stand out as a woman of style, not just as a woman of good shopping sense.

Need some ideas to get started? Read on.

1. Polished + Distressed

This is the epitome of casual chic: Stylish, without trying too hard. You’re taking items that are structured and professional — such as a blazer, tailored dress pants or a button-down — and pairing them with items that are super casual, such as ripped jeans, vintage shorts or a grungy tee.

Start with holey, distressed denim shorts (or jeans), and pair it with a blazer. Layer the blazer over a loose V-neck for the “sloppy” feel. Touches of gold or sparkle here and there balance it out. Finish the look off with a polished shoe, and you’re good to go.

2. Girly + Punk

Tell me, what could be girlier than a full-out sparkly sequin dress? Throw on any kind of leather or motorcycle jacket over anything really girly, and you just mastered girly and punk.

Girly just doesn’t have to be a dress, either. Look for colors, materials or any other girly factor, such as ruffles or a feminine print. Sparkles not your thing? Go for a tulle dress or skirt.

Don’t have many places to wear a sequin dress? Yeah, me neither. Try this unexpected fashion combo in small doses with a sequin top instead. The shoe choice is up to you. You can go girly with heels or punk with combat boots. Both would work. Or, you could combine the two and get combat boots in pink.

3. Fancy + Athletic

This combo is really fun.

Athletic sneakers are about as athletic as I get, so that’s what I used as the outfit example. But athletic to you could be leggings, a sporty lounge set, running shorts or a football hoodie.

Fancy items can be anything that seems high class, sparkly or elevated.

When mixed, you have a cool outfit pairing that reads athleisure chic: Casual enough for your day to day life, while also adding a little bit of glam.

Carolyn Arentson is a fashion blogger from Dubuque. Find more fashionable tips at

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