How to avoid superfluous details

Hello Mesdames!

You may have noticed that some pieces of your wardrobe are really complicated to combine with others.

Two explanations for that:

– they are very interesting and stylish pieces that are self-sufficient and that you should combine with basics (if you are not an accomplished fashionista yet)

– they contain what I call unnecessary of superfluous details

Those are details that do not make a cloth stand out but only make it difficult to match with others.

Learn how to recognize those details in order to avoid them.

I/ The superfluous details you shall avoid

1. The devil wears yokes

A trick that’s waaaay overused by uninspired brands and “designers markets” (see what I mean?).

Do this yoke pocket improve the outfit? Not at all. Does it make it look cheap? Yes it does. 

My solution:

Instead of a piece ornated with a superfluous yoke prefer its basic equivalent and accessorize it with a scarf, a jewel, or a layer that will bring the additional style you were expecting from the yoke.

Yet yokes are not all bad. If they make the piece of clothing look unique you can go for them.

Voilà, like so

2. The boring stitch

Another thing that is soooo common when I do closet edits in France is the golden (or colored) stitch on a top.

It’s super boring because it doesn’t make the top more interesting while being super annoying because it makes the top difficult to pair.

Indeed, how do you add jewels on top of this?

Remove the small gold stitch and you loose nothing stylewise. But you gain freedom for more combinations.

The shoe version of the gold stitch. Doesn’t bring a lot but is annoying to pair.

Le remède: Except if the stitching (or golden detailing) really adds uniqueness to the piece of clothing you can just skip it.

3. The yawn factor prints

Many of my french clients go for print rather than for plain colors. Yet not all print are born cool.

There is a category that I call “pajama prints” that never really enhance a look.

They are tiny prints on a pale or colored background.

A typical example. I know what you are thinking. “But the outfit looks cool Aloïs”. Indeed it’s not that bad, but wouldn’t it be better if the top was just plain white? I think so. Therefore the print is a superfluous detail.

Even in a complete outfit I feel like I want to remove this print.

Another meh print. Too pale, too busy. Meh really.

Small prints on colored background= pajama mood

My solution: choose really unique and bold prints… or classic ones such as dots, stripes or even leopard…

A bold unique colorful and constrated print on a timeless shape

4. The “all-in-one” is worth nothing

There are clothes that are trying to hard. As if, by adding many little details they will get somehow interesting.

Stop right here and leave those attention seekers on the hangers.

Dull print + kaki details + odd bottom and sleeves cuts + pocket = beurk

The gold stitch underlining the collar, why not, the plumetis lace, ok, but the sportswear elastic waistband no!

Mon remède: go for ONE bold real detail!

This bejeweled daisy collar is not something you see every day! It stands out and has a nice color. Perfect to wear like so tucked in high waisted belted jeans or under a crew neck jumper. 

5. Premix always is a bad idea

When you do not know own to style your clothes, it can be tempting to buy some that look “prestyled”.

But like a “premixed” mojito from the supermarket, the taste will always be bad.

I know, this top looks harmless… but look at the sleeve… either roll it yourself or don’t at all but I am against that “ready-made” roll. (Besides the fabric really looks cheap).

Same with that “pre-made” knot. Either you make a real knot from a shirt. Or if it’s premade it has to be bold. Not that tiny little sad dropping thing. 

A brooch on a shirt? Come on, just buy a shirt and then put a brooch on it. 

My solution: YOU are the stylist. Buy basics and play with them! Or accessorize them!

Here you are: a simple shirt goes a long way. You can roll the sleeves or not, tuck, half-tuck or keep it out, open or close it… so many options!!!

6. We know two-faced is a bad thing

I mean that’s a Batman villain.


Meh too. If you go for snake print, go all the way!

My solution: two-faced clothes cannot be trusted

7. Stay away from mockups

Some uninspired brands will create shy mockups of the trendy stuffs of the moment or of classics.

Kind of pussy bow, kind of heart-shaped top but really looks like meh

Kind of utility jacket but with girly fabric color and buttons? That’s not a twist that’s a fail which does not make sense.

My solution: buy the real thing and make the details be essentials

That’s what I call a proper pussy bow!

That’s what I call a proper utility jacket with a cohesive strong fabric and buttons

8. Overly complex cuts

Odd pleats, bizarre asymmetry and all those things.
When you are buying them from a famous designer that can be great, but most of the time, you shall be suspicious of unknown shapes.

Does the bottom shape of the top do anything for this lady’s style? No, it makes it odd. 

Does this top really need a pocket? The simpler the better (especially if the pocket looks meh).

Ok that’s a nice boot. Very gentlewoman farmer with those details…but if there were no details and the boot was smooth it would be way more versatile.

My solution: go for simple or classic shapes (cleary recognizable like pussy bow, heart shaped neckline, flared pants, etc…)

9. Cheap hardware

How are you supposed to accessorize when there are already hardware on your clothes?

If the hardware is high quality that’s ok but if it looks cheap you shall better stay away from it.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like zips… but most times they are not worth it

Three little buttons… pretty cute but how are you supposed to wear a necklace? No really, you would be better with the plain version.

My solution: I do like zips and buttons… but only the ones that are either invisible or high quality

II/ How to get rid of superfluous details

1/ Why are we attracted by superfluous details

My most ancient readers will remember that this very topic was published in one of my most ancient posts.

Because that’s one of the most common mistake I notice in the closets I visit.

The reason ladies often choose clothes with this kind of detail is that they are shy to go for highly fashionable pieces but still want something that make them different from the others.

So they settle for those “in-betweens” and that’s clearly a bad idea.p

2/ The simple rule to spot “superfluous details”

When buying a piece that has “details”, ask yourself the question: if I wear this piece with plain jeans/ plain T-shirts, will I look stylish or elegant? If the answer is no the detail is superfluous.

Let me tell you something: you’ll look more stylish with well cut basics properly matched.

But of course, I do not advise you to wear only basics 🙂 I am too much of a fashion lover for that!

So if you want to be stylish, go for a really strong piece that you mix with neutral pieces.

You are your own stylist!

You can choose creative prints, surprising cuts, eccentric jewels. Have fun!

And keep reading my posts for more advice on how to mix and match ^^’


50 Responses to “How to avoid superfluous details”
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  2. kangarama says:

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  4. Egostockholm says:

    One button blazer with a sleek silhouette is the perfect piece for any day when you want to feel extra elegant! It can be worn with our leather trousers or dressed down with a pair of jeans, depending on the occasion.

  5. Joanna says:

    Thank you for this article. Instinctively I would avoid the sort of extraneous details you mention but it’s so helpful to have you explain why these feel so wrong.

  6. Phonography says:

    Je ne découvre l’article que maintenant mais j’ai allégé également ma garde-robe il y a quelques années car elle était ponctuée de pièces de ce genre (souvent des vêtements qu’on m’avait donnés et que je trouvais pas mal). À l’usage, je me suis aperçue qu’on s’en lasse vite: je repense sans aucune nostalgie au col bijou cheap sur un top orange que j’ai dû porter mins de 5 fois.

    Je garde l’idée qu’après tout nous sommes nos propres stylistes : c’est enthousiasmant 🙂

  7. Julia says:

    When someone starts a common with a rude comment such as “it’s not English as far as I know” I’m positive that that’s the only language they speak. Otherwise they would say something like “could you clarify on what strass is, I’m not sure I got it”, but never act superior and point a finger at someone who is writing a blog in two different languages.

  8. Manderley says:

    Bonjour Aloïs,

    Je suis totalement d’accord avec votre analyse, d’ailleurs les marques un peu haut de gamme (Figaret par exemple pour les chemises) ne donnent jamais dans les travers que vous mentionnez.

    Les principes que vous énoncez s’appliquent à bien d’autres domaines: la maroquinerie, l’architecture, la déco, la cuisine, la littérature, le jardin pour en citer quelques uns. Comme je ne suis pas une professionnelle dans ces domaines, j’essaie d’appliquer avec rigueur la maxime “choisir c’est renoncer”.

    Bonne journée.

    • Aloïs Guinut says:


      Très juste maxime (je ne suis pas toujours douée à ça dans ma vie personnelle et professionnelle haha).
      Et effectivement ça s’applique à tous les arts décoratifs ainsi qu’à la cuisine et à la littérature.

      Bonne journée!

  9. Yaelle says:

    Incroyable cet article ! Je n’y aurais jamais pensé, c’est vraiment ce qui fait la différence dans une garde-robe. Extrêmement intelligent, ça se voit que vous avez de l’expérience et du goût.

  10. Pascale says:

    Bonjour Alois, article très intéressant. Mais compliqué a mettre en oeuvre car au final dur d avoir cet œil aiguisé. Et j ai quelques tops avec empiétements dentelle , mais j habite a la campagne en Meurthe-et-Moselle . J adore le top en lamé multicolore

  11. Lise says:

    Excellent practical advice. Thank you!

  12. Lana says:

    This is fun article and I do agree on almost all of the things except for an example of “kind of utility jacket in girly color with buttons”. I think I have a couple shirts ( they are not jackets ) that like that example – the reason of buying it was my complementary colors and general dislike of anything in true khaki color made with stiff fabric.
    I’m very fond of prints in general and classic plain colored tops make me feel depressed. Graphic tees are my go-to tops in real life – i have a collection 🙂 .
    I like reading your blog and hope for more posting!

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Not everyone needs utility jackets! That’s ok if you do not like them, I do not have one either. My point was more to say that you shall buy clothes that are cohesive ^^
      And kaki looks awful on some people indeed.
      Regarding printed Tees, I like some too (well the breton top HOW surprising of me…but also the band ones) so they can be cool!
      And plain tees can be too: will layering and accessorizing.
      See you under my next post!

  13. cath says:


    Je voulais voir comment accessoiriser, mais dans vos anciens posts les liens ne fonctionnent plus 🙁
    Peut être intégrer les images dans le texte ?


  14. Gisela says:

    This post blew my mind when you first wrote it. I can still recall the original images. This is a fantastic update. I hadn’t thought about things like the utility jacket or weak prints. By the way, I always read you in both French and English, love your bilingual wit! Thank you Aloïs

  15. Pascale says:

    Bonjour Alois, article très intéressant qui permet de mieux comprendre pourquoi certaines femmes ont la classe. Mais cela permet aussi de comprendre a quel point le style est pointu et qu il faut y passer beaucoup de temps, il faut avoir l oeil aussi. Parmi toutes les tenues, pas beaucoup ne m ont choquées

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Bonjour Pascale,
      Contente que l’article vous aie plu.
      C’est bien parce que les pièces ne semblent pas “super moches” mais “plutôt banales” que je décrypte pourquoi elles constituent des pièges ^^

  16. Gretchen says:

    This is the kind of content at which you excel, Alois; thank you so much for the many examples, and really breaking down the specifics of the problem and how to avoid these types of errors that minimize the quality of one’s look.

  17. Ah Alois you put into words a lot of the things that I hate about clothes! I have another pet peeve — big long items with tiny delicate prints. Like, who are they supposed to look good on? If you are tall enough and have the frame to pull off long and big pieces (like a maxi dress), then the small print will look disproportionate on you.

  18. Joëlle says:

    Ha mais que c’est drôle, drôle, drôle, bien écrit, merci Aloïs un vrai plaisir de vous lire. Quel bonheur vos posts réguliers.
    On retrouve ça en politique, par exemple dans les 1ers discours en mars où en France on a filé la métaphore guerrière ‘Nous sommes en guerre’
    Angela Merkel est intervenue en disant ‘C’est sérieux’.
    Les détails superflus qui brouillent le message,
    La chasse au bullshit,

    (je ne suis pas sûre que vous garderez ce post, peu importe 😉

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Ca me fait plaisir que vous me trouviez drôle!

      • Aloïs Guinut says:

        Et oui peut-être que les métaphores ont brouillé le message, c’est intéressant comme réflexion en tous cas

        • Joëlle says:

          Depuis votre 1er post de 2017, j’ai éradiqué plusieurs spécimens dans ma garde-robe, et souvent ils cumulaient les détails : en vrac un top bigoût (j’adore cette expression) bleu marine blousé en bas, un top bigoût noir et imprimé pyjama devant, un top bigoût noir et sequins, une chemise ‘folk’ à carreaux avec volants et liens, un débardeur rouge à imprimés et sequin, 1 jupe asymétrique avec quincaillerie.. bref, depuis que je vous lis ma garde-robe s’est allégée et mon style affirmé (idem côté personnalité ;-). Reste plus qu’à m’offrir une cession à distance 🙂

  19. Wendy says:

    What does “strass” mean? It is not English as far as I know, so I can only guess what you might mean by it.

    Is the point of your article to avoid buying clothes that aren’t basic? To me, that sounds a bit boring. On your instagram you had a cute picture of yourself wearing a leather skirt, fun sheer tights and an amazingly fun pair of gold and leopard loafers that are definitely not basic. So I am confused. Could you maybe clarify? What if I buy a dress in a neural plain colour but in an interesting shape that is asymmetrical and interesting. When I wear such a dress, I don’t add extra details, whereas when I wear basics, an outfit lacks something unless I add an interesting detail like your gold and leopard loafers. Does that violate the point of your article?

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      “Strass” means fake jewels. Sorry about this mistake.
      No the point of my article is to recommend to avoid clothes with superfluous details that are neither basics neither statement pieces. Like a T-shirt with a non interesting print, or pants embroidered with little fake jewels. They both have a superfluous detail that do not make them stand out but make them difficult to pair.
      If the dress you are talking about is well cut and interesting then perfect!
      And what you say about basics is perfectly true. When you wear basics, it is best to spice them up with an interesting accessory such as my loafers.
      Actually in this outfit I was wearing two basics: a black leather skirt and a white silk shirt, along with fun shoes and tights. It was a balance between complicated and basic pieces.
      What I recommend is to avoid the in betweens.

      • Wendy says:

        Ohhh, I see! Thank you so much for this clarification. It makes everything clear. I understand now. Excellent point. I totally see what you mean now!


  20. Julie says:

    Bonjour, j’aurais aimé savoir sur quel site peut on trouver le tee-shirt avec une hirondelle dans le dos, le 2a avec l’oiseau bleu, merci et bonne journée 🙂

  21. Robyn says:

    i think your observations are very enlightening and spot on. I read your blog in order to learn to achieve the effortless Paris style which is about discipline, simplicity and restraint to result in chicness. Cheap embellishments, glitz, and all these topics are what we observe and criticize …. but you put it into rules and words. Thank you

  22. Justine says:

    This article is really interesting! I enjoy your advices very much. You come up with intriguing topics.
    Best, Justine

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