My thinking has comprised of essentially two factors - considering night out pieces I've recently added into my collection, and red carpet looks and general fashion sightings whether it be celebrities, fashion bloggers, store windows, etc.
I've really been into cropped pieces, which includes bustiers, bralettes, and other tops. But I've been gaining traction into one look in particular: coordinates. Coordinates, aka, matching sets have been making their rounds on the red carpet and trickled down to retail stores like Express. I feel that they're a fresh, sophisticated, and chic way to go.
Anyway, let me show you some examples of celebrity coordinated sets:
"When you start showing your belly button then you're really committing to the midriff thing. I only partially commit to the midriff thing - you're only seeing lower rib cage. I don't want people to know if I have one or not. I want that to be a mystery."
Clearly, Tay can rock it. Anyway, I kind of wish I had made it my mission to find and wear a combination outfit a year or two ago when they were first being seen so I could feel on trend, but I still see these types of outfits and I know I can rock one if given the chance. I'll admit though that it's been very difficult to find a coordinating set I like. It just seems like if you're a common person you're going to have a very hard time finding a crop top paired outfit, and if you do find a decent one it's close to $300+.
Here are some I've seen come out online and in stores:
I don't like any of them really. The two on either side of the first panel of pictures are my favorite out of all of them but both retail far above $200 at Revolveclothing.com. The top middle one is nice in theory but looks a little too obviously red lingerie/trying to be sexy for me. It is from Nastygal.
The middle ones are neutral and demure. The left one is nice but not for a birthday night out, the middle is nice on her but not my fave shape and the one on the right I like the most (though I wish the sleeves were shorter and the skirt tighter and shorter). The look is reminiscent of the bralettes in the post that proceeds this one (same brand and all - For Love and Lemons).
For the bottom three, the one in the middle is from Nastygal, really just a black bodycon skirt and a black bra (too risque but kind of has the look I'm going for). The right on the right is just okay. It's a set from Motel and what I like about them is that they have a category on their site called "Coordinates" that specifically have matching sets. This could be okay for a general night out but for this, it just isn't what I'm looking for. The red leopard one is from Express and generally has a nice structure and shape, if not my favorite (maybe tweak it or lose the leopard). However, it is no longer available - last season.
Anyway, I'm going to still keep looking and fingers crossed I will find the perfect set soon (whether they're sold together or I buy them as separates and make my own pairing)!