Matching Sets: The Greatest Thing to Happen to Your Fall Wardrobe?

As the aunt of two small, important meatballs I want to hang out with and sniff in perpetuity, I feel confident in my newfound assertion that good things come in twos. It’s not that single babies aren’t incredibly special and that my sister and brother-in-law aren’t very tired, it’s more that, as a less-than-part-time peripheral caretaker, the fact that there are two seems on par with the fact that they’re alive, in terms of general magnificence. It means there is always one available to admire and squeeze and poke — if one is crying, the other is smiling — and in that way, they are a team, working together for the greater good of preventing my family from fighting over them. Plus, they look great in a photo.

Maybe I’m just in a twin state of mind, because I’ve noticed this proclivity begin to infiltrate my aesthetic taste as well. I no longer just want pants, I want two pants in one. I’m no longer satisfied with a big red coat unless I can wear it next to a friend in a big green coat and take a thematic holiday photo. And most importantly — the entire point of this intro, in fact, is that I don’t just want my outfits to match anymore, I want them to literally be cut from the same swath of fabric. Not unlike, say, the way an egg splits in two in the womb. I want my tops and bottoms to come in a set, so that if one half isn’t quite right on its own, it’s joyously elevated by the presence of its counterpart. Or if it needs no elevation, the set is free to be more than the sum of its matching parts, philosophically speaking. Are you following?

If not, or even if you are, I recruited my favorite outfit twin to model a set of sets with me in an effort to explore their potential and perhaps convince you that a good set of sets is all you need to be set for fall weather. Feel free to set your expectations high, because I feel both ready and set to meet them. I’m sorry, I had too much coffee.

Level-1 Sets

We started easy with sets of the casual/denim variety. Here I’m wearing one that almost looks like a jumpsuit, made by Caron Callahan (who always puts matching separates in her collections, much to my delight). I feel like I could wear this for almost any occasion — coffee, errands, dinner, dancing, laundry, holding two babies at once — which is nothing less than a double fashion hat trick.

Harling is wearing one by Zara that’s subtle enough to trick you into thinking it’s not a pair, which is one of the sneaky upsides of a great set. “Looking put-together without looking like you’re trying too hard is like fashion’s equivalent of that mathematical equation on the blackboard in Good Will Hunting,” Harling told me, when I asked her about this look. “It’s super hard to solve — or at least, I thought it was until I realized a low-key coordinated jacket and pants was the easy peasy ‘add water and stir’ answer.”

I concur.

Level-2 Sets

Next we got really fun and dawned a set of sets. My boyfriend jokes that I constantly want he and I to dress as twins, and while that’s absolutely true, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as good matching with another as I did in this double khaki getup. It will not surprise you that both of these sets are by Creatures of Comfort. They are both so exquisitely cut and structured that I felt like I was wearing the chicest uniform of my life.

Per Harling: “I’ve always wanted to be a suit person (is there anything that packs more of a punch?) but the few times I’ve worn one in the past I’ve never felt wholly myself. This variety of tailored set is the perfect alternative in that you get the same highly-packed punch effect without all the connotations of an honest-to-goodness suit, i.e. someone who always has Post-It notes on their desk, which isn’t me.”

Should I buy her some Post-Its?

Level-3 Sets

We saved our brightest tricks for last, because popsicles are for dessert. The red look I’m wearing here is by small California brand Lykke Wullf and I had already procured it prior to the conception of this story. I’ve been saving it for something good because it’s so memorable, which is precisely the draw of the level-3 set. It makes you do a double-take.

“A ‘double-take outfit’ is also, in my mind, another way of saying ‘an outfit that will look good on Instagram,'” Harling wisely added. “I won’t apologize for this association! The heart wants what it wants (Ed. note: copyright Selena Gomez), and sometimes that is a highly-saturated mood boost via social media. The ingredients for a good double-take outfit are simple: a set rendered in some juicy variety of monochromatic color.”

Do you agree? Are you on board? Yay or nay?

Photos by Edith Young.

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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