Juxtaposition: Our Fave Literary (and Style) Device

We’re not trying to get all didactic or anything here, but English teachers can’t resist talking about juxtaposition.  It’s certainly our most favorite literary device, if not all-time favorite word in the English language.

For a quick lesson, juxtaposition is placing two things near each other for a contrasting effect.  Like Garrett’s Popcorn, cheesy cheddar popcorn just tastes better when it’s mixed with caramel corn.  (If you are not from Chicago and don’t believe me, you absolutely have to try it.)

We actually did this a couple of weeks ago when we took identical pieces we own and styled them in two contrasting ways. But we also love the idea of creating juxtaposition within one single outfit.  Essentially, the idea is that by placing items with differing vibes together on one body, the result is fresh and trendy.

Playful Meets Edgy:

I love a good graphic tee, and when I saw this one at Target, it reminded me of the various Disney-obsessed people in my life.  There’s just a transcendental quality about Mickey that resonates with all age groups. But my everyday look is a little…darker than the mouse.  So to give my tried-and-true black jeans (on sale!), studded bracelet (old, similar here), and faux-hawk hairdo a youthful vibe, I let the two opposing worlds collide in a result that’s fun and casual.

Boho Meets Biker:

Erinn has always rocked more bohemian styles; flowy, feminine dresses (knox rose for Target are some  faves. This one is old, similar here) work really well for her body type. She also has had this faux leather jacket forever, which definitely gives any outfit an edgier vibe (similar here and here).  But the leather jacket tends to lend itself to a repetitive outfit–just think about how many fall Pinterest images you’ve seen of women pairing their leather jackets with skinny jeans, booties, a blanket scarf, and a Starbucks cup.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with this look.  In fact, it’s one of my faves.  But after awhile it gets to be expected. Here, the femininity of the flowy dress and the masculinity of the jacket and boots work with each other, not against each other, in a look that feels totally new.

Preppy Meets Cozy:

The last thing I would classify myself as is preppy.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love nautical-inspired stripes and boat shoes!  I fell in love with this peplum top (similar here), but I knew I’d have to pair it with something of a different vibe so that I didn’t look like I’d stepped off a dock in Connecticut.  I mean, the Sperry’s (old, similar here) and the grey pencil skirt still make this feel kind of buttoned-up to me.  So I paired them with this super comfy slouchy cardigan (sold out, similar here) that makes me feel like I want to wrap myself in a blanket with a book and a cup of coffee.  The end result is that the sweater tones down the prep-school vibe and the prepster stuff elevates the laziness of the cardigan.

Work Meets Weekend:

Blazers and silky blouses are STAPLES in any teacher’s closet, but sometimes when you want to wear them on the weekend or for more casual occasions, you just look like you’re going to work.  Besides, weekends are for jeans-why else did they invent casual Fridays to usher in the weekend?  But if you’re looking to elevate that kind of look,  you can’t just show up with torn up jeans and a tee and not look like you’re running errands.  The mixture of the two is the best of both worlds.  The tailored look of this boxy blazer, and formality of this patterned blouse (old, similar here) and heeled booties are completely tempered with the easy-going vibe of these ripped jeans.

Shop some of our fave juxtaposed looks:

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