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How to Add Textures to Your Outfits Without Doing Too Much

As I shared in last week’s episode of my newsletter, wearing and styling aren’t the same in fashion. To wear is to COVER the body with clothes, while to style is to ADORN the body with clothes backed up with accessories. And often, styling involves adding textures to your outfits.

a black girl adding textures to her outfit with a leather jacket and a brown muffler

Playing with different textures is an excellent way to make your outfits look interesting. But what does texturing mean in fashion, and how do you go about it? We’ll answer these questions and more in this article. You’ll also learn about clothing textures and how to combine them to create dashing outfits.

What Does it Mean to Add Textures to Your Outfits?

adding texture to your outfit with a sweater on a white shirt and a short white skirt

When you see a picture of a stylish individual, what are the first things that capture your attention? Let me guess the colors or patterns of their garments and maybe the silhouette (fittings). These factors play a vital role in the finished look of any outfit. But beyond colors, patterns, and silhouette, something else matters. You guessed righttextures!

While texture may mean the feel or appearance of a fabric, it also means the combination of different elements in one outfit. With that, it’s safe to classify textures into two:

  • Textures per fabric.
  • Textures per outfit

Let’s look at both in detail.

Textures Per Fabric

adding textures to your outfit by fabric

The Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC, defines texture as the surface interest of a fabric, created by the weave and by light touch. In other words, it is how a fabric feels when you touch it. 

Every item of clothing has its texture, which is often determined by the type of weave. For instance, the lush feel of silk, the sturdiness of denim, and the fluffy nature of faux fur. Though you can’t accurately tell the texture of a garment from pictures, texturing is crucial in establishing the mood or class of any clothing. 

For example, some textures like woven cotton and jeans are suitable for casual outdoor clothing. Others, like silk, are more indoorsy and formal, giving a luxurious feel because of their lustrous textures. 

ALSO READ: Forbidden Pants: How to Look Sexy in Them

Textures Per Outfits

a guy layering his outfit with a puffer jacket

Beyond the feel or appearance of a garment, textures refer to the quality created by combining different elements or fabrics in an outfit. For example, an outfit comprising a pair of jeans with a cotton tee, then layering with a knit sweater and a tweed suit jacket. Those are four textures in one outfit.

Popular Fabric Textures that Should be in Your Wardrobe

a guy layering his outfit with a long blue coat

Adding textures to your outfits begins with knowing and wearing the most common types of fabric, which are:


This fabric is made from cowhides and other animal skin. It has various types, such as suede, full grain leather, genuine leather, nubuck, bonded leather, faux leather, etc.

Faux Fur

Faux fur is a pile fabric that looks and feels like real animal pelt. It comprises a mixture of polyester, modacrylic, and acrylic fibers. It was first created in 1929 and made of alpaca hair. It’s used in making clothes, accessories, trimmings, stuffed animals, pillows, bedding, and throws.


This type of leather is derived from the soft underside of animal skin. It is softer, thinner, and more delicate than traditional full-grain leather. This material is used for jackets, footwear, and accessories like belts and bags.


Denim is a sturdy cotton fabric with a twill weave, giving it a subtle diagonal ribbing pattern. This diagonal ribbing differentiates denim from other sturdy, woven cotton fabrics such as canvas or duck.


This fabric is derived from the silkworm. It has a shine and softness that gives off luxury. It is often used to make dinner dresses, shirts, and accessories like pocket squares.


This is a soft, durable fabric made from cotton. Corduroy can also be made from wool.


This is sturdy and stiff plain-weave fabric traditionally woven from thick wool yarn. It is resistant to wind and water.


This fabric has an embroidered effect from the additional threads used in creating its raised pattern. Due to this technique, brocade fabric is not reversible and may look unfinished or rough on the underside.


Flannel is a soft woven fabric typically made from cotton, commonly used in making plaid shirts.


This fabric is a type of thin cotton cloth. It is woven in a way that causes the threads to pucker and create crinkles. In addition, seersucker is a popular choice for summer fashion. It often comes in narrow white and blue stripes.


This soft, stretchy knit fabric is made from wool, cotton blends, cotton, and synthetic fibers. It is usually light-to-medium weight and is used in producing T-shirts and other athletic clothing.


This fabric is a natural fiber. It has a soft feel and excellent insulation, keeping you warm or cool, depending on the weather. Cashmere is also made from the wool of cashmere goats and pashmina goats. It is often blended with other types of wool, like merino, to add more weight since regular cashmere fibers are usually delicate and thin.

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How to Add Textures to Your Outfits

adding textures to your outfits by mixing different prints

Adding textures to your outfit is tricky; too many textures and your outfit becomes a busy eye-sore; insufficient texture, and you look so bare and boring. But getting the right amount of textures in an outfit is easy. It works by adhering to these principles:

Layering is Essential When Adding Textures to Your Outfits

adding textures to your outfit with an olive green leather coat atop a tweed jacket and a white tee

Layering adds depth and visual interest to your outfit. It takes your outfit from basic to interesting because rather than simply wearing clothes, you create textures, wear more colors, and add some dimension by layering.

A classic way to layer is to wear a leather or denim jacket on a white tee paired with jeans. And if the weather is frigid, add a corduroy or faux fur coat to the mix. The pop of white from your T-shirt neckline under the jacket is more interesting than wearing the tee or jacket alone. Furthermore, the contrast of the white against the coat adds more color to your look.

A rule of thumb when layering is to wear a more textured garment say, a chunky sweaterover or under a smoother or less textured garment. This ensures your frame doesn’t look bulky.

Play with Colors and Patterns

adding textures to your outfit with a long green coat, a benie hat, and a muticolored muffler

Contrasting patterns and colors are a great way to make a statement with your outfit. For example, consider pairing dark and light colors together, mixing patterns with solid colors, or pairing complementary colors together. Whichever one you go for is sure to give you an eye-catching outfit.

For more tips on pulling this off, please read our guide on mixing and matching colors.

Pair Textures According to Their Context

a sequin dress layered with a fur top

Different fabrics evoke specific moods. For example, while silk exudes luxury, denim is casual. Pairing a silk top with jeans gives a laidback, stylish vibe. But if you pair silk and fur, it heightens the luxurious vibe, making it more formal.

Consider the context in which you might wear a particular material, then pair that material with other textures to subvert expectations.

Add Textures to Your Outfits with Accessories

Rihanna showing how to add textures to your outfit while wearing a leather corset top, a long coat, and a scarf

Earrings made with chunky or coral beads paired with a rather Western outfit are an excellent way to add cultural textures to your outfit. The same applies to wearing a hat or scarf, carrying a colorful handbag, or fixing a pocket filler in your shirt. These little add-ons give more dimensions and contrast to your look.

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Mix Textures with Your Hair

a guy with curly afro hair showing how to add textures to your outfit

Consider curling your hair, including a fade or fringe, or wearing colors like salt and pepper hair to contrast your look. Your hairstyles also add textures, especially when you rock them in bold colors or detailed formats like braids.

Add Textures to Your Outfits with Details

a black suit with blue ruffles

Strategically placed detailing like ruffles, bows, beads, pleats, ruching, fringing, embroidery, etc., adds more accents and interest to your look. They keep eyes staring while promoting your outfit.

Texturing is the Ticket to Creating Memorable Outfits

two black guys adding textures to their outfits by layering

Imagine wearing a velvet shawl atop a silk evening dress or maybe a mesh jacket atop a tank top and a pair of khaki shorts. More detailing it is! Rather than going for one option, texturing lets you explore fashion to the fullest. It shows your versatility and transforms your outfit from bland to fascinating.

Thankfully, pulling it off isn’t difficult. It goes as grand as layering to suit the cold weather to as little as mixing colors, prints, patterns or accessories to punctuate your look. Let the tips we shared above be your go-to guide as you transform your wardrobe into a canvas of style masterpieces by adding textures to your outfits.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or sketching fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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