matching set trend

How To Style Matching Sets Beyond The Instagram Grid

Matching sets are the kind of thing that you chuck into your shopping cart thinking that they’re gonna be your wardrobe salvation. What could be easier than a whole outfit, already pre-selected (and occasionally patterned) where the only decision fatigue you’ll face is what shoes to wear with it? As anyone who owns one knows, it really just ain’t that easy. Sometimes a matching set feels a little too ~children’s playsuit~ or veers too close to pyjama territory even when you weren’t necessarily intending it.

On the other hand, our favourite sets can sometimes feel a little too costumey. After the requisite spicy festival outfit Instagram, matching sets often seen to head to Depop or to the back of a drawer to be quietly forgotten. But it doesn’t have to end this way. Whether they’ve been collecting dust in your “someday” pile of clothes or they’re new iso-shopping additions, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to style matching sets depending on what variety you’ve got going on.

The Knit Set

Winter happens every year so it really shouldn’t be that surprising, but damn, it’s cold. Knit sets are an ideal winter outfit, perfect for when your brain is still fuzzy and still mentally under your cosy doona. Choosing ones with a little bit of detail, like a cable knit pattern, helps keep things more in the ~real outfit~ zone and less like you’re rugged up in layers of woolly thermal camping gear.

Pairing a knit matching set with pieces that toughen them up a little, like a heavy sneaker, can also help you get more mileage out of them.

Bella Loungewear Sweater Orange, $329.99, from McIntyre Merino.

Isa Knitted Loungewear Pants, $329.99 from McIntyre Merino.

The Sweatpants Set

The current reigning champ of isolation dressing is, of course, the matching sweats set. If you’re taking things Beyond The Couch, there are a couple of things to know about styling this type of matching set. They look excellent with tube socks (get tf outta here, ‘no show’ ankle socks) and pieces like coats, blazers and structured handbags are good for adding some edge to an otherwise soft outfit.

It also helps to keep your matching sweat set outfit in neutral territory, think creams, whites, greys, blacks etc if you’re aiming for more chic sweat scenario. That said, we still have a place in our heart for the tie-dye tracksuit trend.

TOPSHOP Peached Jersey Loungewear Sweatshirt, $44.95 from THE ICONIC.

The unofficial 2020 uniform.

TOPSHOP Peached Jersey Loungewear Joggers, $54.95 from THE ICONIC.

The Printed Set

While it might seem daunting to try and style a printed set multiple ways because of how much of a ‘look’ they are, one tip we’ve heard that could help is to actually stop thinking of them as a two-piece outfit. Instead, imagine you’re working with a printed summer dress or playsuit. From there, it’s a matter of alternating between say a leather jacket for a night out, to a cardigan and denim jacket for a casual picnic.

As well as being an ideal summer festival uniform, printed matching sets can take on new life when you style them as seperate pieces, like the pants above. (RIP to festivals for now)

Capulet Paloma Crop Top, $209.95 (currently on sale for $146.96), from THE ICONIC.

Capulet Keeley Pants, $249.95 (currently on sale for $174.96), from THE ICONIC.

The Button-Down Set

Matching sets that feature collared shirts are one of those rare outfits that could feasibly do double duty as both a very relaxed work outfit or while you’re schlepping home from the beach. (We’re imagining it styled open, over a swim top in that second scenario.) Embrace the relaxed vibes with some nicer than your average flipflops and keep your accessories minimal for an unfussy look.

Linen Short Sleeve Shirt in Stripe, $82 from In Bed.

Linen Pants in Stripe, $95 from In Bed.

The ’90s Inspired Matching Sets

We are getting massive Tokyo Drift vibes from the current ’90s matching set trend and we’re not mad about it. Loosely characterised by low-slung, hip-hugging pants, halter tops and details like chains or checks, these matching sets benefit from subtle style elements to bring a pretty loud look together without being costumey.

A classic white Nike sneaker or in Emma Chamberlain’s case some black and white creepers, nod to the ’90s while keeping things as relaxed and casual as these looks can be. When in doubt, throw on a massive oversized jacket to make things more chill—and chilly weather appropes.

Myrah Top $100 (currently on sale for $64) and Myrah Pant $130 (currently on sale for $80), from I. AM. GIA.

The Suit Set

Does this still count? We’re gonna say yes. Co-ord blazers and trousers are the original matching set and classic are classics for a reason. When wearing as is, we’d say look for fun things like an unexpected detail or shade, for example pairing soft pink with some sharp heels. When it comes to tops, opt for a more relaxed—or even risqué—shirt, like a silk cami or a very unbuttoned shirt.

The new suit set is one that’s relatively easy to restyle into new looks, they’re trousers and a jacket at the end of the day. Think topping the whole look off with a big-ass coat, omitting a shirt or pairing them with slides or sneakers.

Cropped Pinstripe Blazer, $59.99 (currently on sale for $47.99) from Glassons.

Tailored Pinstripe Pants, $59.99 (currently on sale for $47.99) from Glassons.

Lead image via Instagram @peggygou_.

Monisha is a writer with a background in publishing and digital media. A chronic Pisces, she’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.