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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Building a Remixable Wardrobe, Part 3: The Importance of Colored Bottoms




Aaaand, we're back.  

In Part 1 of this series I explained that when first learning to remix, I realized I needed to do three things:
  1. Be able to reimagine garments and not just take them as is.
  2. Learn to shop for pieces that could be versatile.
  3. Add the right pieces that would serve as building blocks to create a foundation for mixing and matching.
Since we covered 1 & 2, the next few posts will be dedicated to #3, talking about colored bottoms, layering, and accessorizing.  Today is on colored bottoms.



Not a How-to
While the last two posts were more how-to based, this is not.  Rather, this is basically one huge post to try to convince you to wear colored bottoms!

For some of you, colored bottoms are already a normal part of your style paradigm, but for many others here, it is not.  Discovering the world of colored bottoms was a pivotal part of my journey in building a remixable wardrobe, so bear with me as I indulge us into the world of colored bottoms, okay?  :)



The Jeans Rut
One area my wardrobe was very much lacking was in different types of bottoms.  First of all, I was in a jeans rut.  I basically wore a cute top and rotated among various shades and cuts of blue jeans.  Eventually I broke out and got black and grey jeans--crazy, I know.  And maybe when I wanted to get really crazy, I wore grey cargo pants.  WHOA, now.  Can you even handle that?  :)  Other than that, I never wore skirts and I don't think I even knew colored bottoms existed!

Mixing up the bottom half of your outfit is just as important as mixing up the top in order to have a versatile closet.  When I was in my jeans rut the only way I could mix up my outfits was to get more new tops to wear with jeans.  But if you want more bang for your buck and a more remixable closet, a variety of colored and patterned bottoms is key.  I made a diagram to illustrate:


In both pictures there are 7 pieces, but the first set only provides you with 6 outfits, while the second provides you with 12.  Same number of pieces, double the outfits.

Maybe for you, it's a khaki rut.  Or only black or grey trousers to work.  Or sweatpants.  :)  Whatever it is, having different colored/patterned bottoms will multiply the outfit options in your closet.

Let's talk about some options you have.



Pants
There are so many options for pants and shorts.  Some of you are adventurous fashionistas who aren't scared of colored pants and don't need to be reading this post.  But for the rest of us, especially the people in the jeans rut, I narrowed down the pants options and decided to show casual basics that are safe and not too scary but will still give you some versatility.


Skinny jeans / trouser or straight-legged jeans / boyfriend jeans - The cut differentiates them.  Some of you may prefer not to wear skinny jeans, and that's fine.  Even just between a dark washed straight-legged and boyfriend jeans, the boyfriend jeans provide a more casual feel than straight legged jeans.

Black or grey skinnies or trousers - Only a mild difference from blue denim, but sometimes the subtle difference goes a long way.  However, I'd still recommend having some options besides just blue, grey, or black pants.

Cargo pants - You may not think olive can go with many things, but it's a pseudo-netural and can be paired with nearly any color.  What's nice about it is that it's not an in-your-face color, which makes them a safe yet fun option to deviate from the typical blue jeans.  I also think they're a great option for moms because they're durable and casual.

Colored pants - If you want to be brave, colored pants are all the rage.  Pick your color.  Everything is fair game these days.  Target has a bunch of different colors right now (shop).  So does Old Navy (shop).

Here are two collages of outfits with the same shirt remixed using different colored pants:


You might remember this pic from the last post... :D

With different colored bottoms in play, I could make four and five different outfits with each respective top, and both sets have three different pants options.



Skirts
Most of what I named in the pants section are neutral colors, but having colored bottoms will really help your wardrobe feel more versatile.  If colored and patterned pants scare you, colored skirts for some reason are less intimidating.  Maybe because they usually only cover half of your legs so it feels like less of a statement.  Also, a floral skirt seems more normal than floral pants, so skirts are an easy way to pull in patterns. 

Here are some outfits with a chambray top and different colored bottoms, most of which utilize different colored skirts:


I think colored/patterned skirts can also be more office appropriate than the pant options I gave earlier.  There are lots of colored pencil skirts out there, and you can find great office appropriate outfits with lots of color on blogs like J's Everyday Fashion and 26 and Counting.


Here are some stores with a variety colored and patterned skirts options:





Tights
Tights are another way to incorporate color in the bottom half of your outfit.  I used to only wear black tights under my dresses, but using different colored tights can give you more options.

Don't be scared of colored tights!  At the very least, you can do a neutral other than black, such as grey.  I used grey here:

I could even do this dress with maroon tights for another look.

Two safe alternatives to neutrals are maroon and dark purple, but they still make a different statement than black, like below:


If you're looking for colored tights, We Love Colors (www.welovecolors.com) has an enormous selection of colors.  



That's it!  Have I convinced you to add some color to the bottom half of your outfits?  It'll make your closet much, much more remixable.  (Remember how the outfit possibilities multiplied in the very first pic!)

Next post of this series will be on layering and types of pieces to buy to help you layer.  Have a great week!


For all 5 parts of the Building a Remixable Wardrobe Series, click here.

**If you need help building a wardrobe from scratch, check out the other series Wardrobe From Scratch.



70 comments:

  1. good advice! i love all of your graphics - so informative. i feel like this blog could be a book.

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  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! Totally convinced to buy more colored bottoms :) 

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  3. Brilliant post, you make it so simple so I've just got to put it into practice.
    Think I may have to hide the jeans and wear the brights I so bravely bought but not worn.
    Thanks for the inspiration

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  4. This is an amazing post!!!!!!!! I love it!

    -Steph from chocolate laced

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  5. very cute post!! i still dont think i can go for any bright pants. im doing different shades of green and blue, but thats pretty much it, now. just today i did pick up some silk cargo pants and leggings, my first of each category!! (im quite behind, i know) we'll see how that goes!!
    Amber Easy Petite Looks

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  6. Another great post! And I've noticed your colorful bottoms and purchased a pair of turquoise shorts and a pair of coral just last week! And last night at Target I was perusing the colorful skinnies. I didn't buy any...but my mind is working up to. Thanks for breaking it down so well...yet again!

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  7. I love this series! Fashion "arithmetic" makes me happy. ;)

    <3 The Daily Dani

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  8. Becky@Organizing Made FunSaturday, March 03, 2012

    Oh, I really love this! What a great way to encourage everyone to get more from their wardrobe, and have fun, too!

    Becky B.
    www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun

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  9. Awesome! Thanks for this one. I need more color in my life:) 

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  10. Hoorah! This is a great post on how to shake things up! I'm always telling some girlfriends to venture out into "Colored Pant Land". Finally, a place where they can read t and believe it!

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  11. Love this! Found your blog a week or so ago and absolutely love it. Great motivation to mix up the bottoms---I personally love skirts (and Penney's and Target---so your suggestions are great!). Nicely done and I love the combos you've put together. 

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  12. The visuals are so helpful! Great ideas :)

    JudySecondGlimpses.blogspot.com

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  13. Love these posts!  So informational and useful

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  14. I love colored tights! Thanks for the link to We Love Colors. I've never heard of it before & can't wait to buy a bunch of new tights!

    flouncesandhubbub.blogspot.com

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  15. Wow this was an absolutely brilliant post, thank you so much for the visuals! As someone mentioned this blog is like a book, very eye opening for me as I've been trying to learn how to build my wardrobe and get more use out of my clothes. Thanks ur awesome!

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  16. I am in love with this series that you are doing! You have really made something that a lot of us have difficulty with look easy and a whole lot less intimidating :) teach us more!!!

    xo Teresa
    www.delightfullydarling.com

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  17. Wow, I have been thinking about getting some colored jeans and pants but this is an eye open to really make me go do it. The next time I go shopping colored bottoms is my goal.
    Thank you!

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  18. What a great post!  Since many of us are visual types (that would be me) ...this really ROCKS.  Plus I love mixing up all my thrift shopping fashions.  I'm your newest 'fan'. ;-)

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  19. Love these posts.  I am learning so much!  I will definitely incorporate these tips when I shop next. Before reading this, I was pretty skeptical about all the colored pants and now I see how they can really upgrade a basic top.  Thanks! :)

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  20. Audrey this is awesome!! You're so incredibly helpful and relatable in your posts. I feel like I'm learning so much and have already worn a couple new outfits that I've put together after working through my closet :) Thanks for everything!

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  21. I seriously can not wait to buy colored jeans! Im just waiting for the rest of the weight to come off, fingers crossed I'll be able to buy some in 2 months!!!

    Great post!

    http://jugglingchic.tumblr.com

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  22. I love this blog! I have so many more ideas for my clothes!

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  23. Groan. Now I want a pair of colored pants even more than before! :) As always, brilliant, Audrey! 

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  24. What a great post, Audrey!!! This is why I have been trying to get more color into my wardrobe!  I love all the detailed pics you included...keep convincing those people to get out of their sweats!!

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  25. Audrey, You're my new hero!  I found you through pinterest and spent a couple hours reading your advice and looking at your pix last night.  I'm usually a blue jeans only kind of girl, but this morning I bought some light teal jeans at Forever 21.  Before shopping I checked to make sure they would work with at least 3 different tops I already own.  Best $15.80 I ever spent!  I also got two belts there.  I've never worn a belt in my life, but you convinced me to give them another try.  I came home and tried everything on with everything else -  oooooh the possibilities...  Thank you!

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  26. Marti, I'm SO glad to hear this!  Good for you breaking out and getting some light teal jeans and having more fun with your wardrobe.  Send some pics my way if you get a chance.  :)

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  27. Oh great post! Going for different coloured bottoms was one of my first achievement when I started my blog. Everything you say is true. I still have trouble buying(i.e. choosing) coloured jeans or pants, but I'm getting away with it with skirts. For some reasons, skirts are fine in any colours or any patterns, but for pants it's a bigger step to take. I like to see that you have so many options because I see your style as something I would wear. And if you can pull out coloured pants without looking like you are trying too hard, so can I!

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  28. This post was such an inspiration!!  I hit the thrift stores today in search of colored pants (among other things).  At 5'10" with a 34" inseam this is not an easy feat, but I actually did find some!  Now, the question:  what do I wear with coraly pink pants other than a white shirt??

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  29. Yay, Rachael!  I found coraly pink pants at thrift store too haha.  You can wear a lot of colors with it.  Here are some for starters: http://www.puttingmetogether.com/search/label/coral  My coral pants sometimes look like a dark rust or salmon, but they're coral-pinkish.  Other easy colors are grey, navy, black.  If you want to go a little brighter, royal blue, yellow, any patterned top with pink in it, teal, seafoam / mint green...Kendi does some great color combos here: http://www.kendieveryday.com/search/label/coral.  Good luck!

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  30. Wow! I have been trying to condense my wardrobe by adding mixable items but had no idea how to do it...thank you so much!

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  31. I bought a pair of plum colored jeans today, thanks to your blog.  Haven't figured out what I'll be teaming them with, but am feeling much more adventurous now.  Thanks for helping me think outside the box.  Love your blog!

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  32. workwearstyle.wordpress.comTuesday, July 10, 2012

    i LOVE this post! I couldn't agree more. i just bought a pair of red trousers from the gap and and a kelly green pencil skirt from Jacob Clothing and but i never realized how coloured bottoms really multiply your wardrobe options! Your visuals are awesome! thanks!

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  33. Um yes!!! This all makes so much sense! I am so guilty of being caught in the jean rut!!! I also just ordered the first skirt I've bought in YEARS. So excited to try some of these concepts!!! 

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  34. Woooow!! This is sooo practical..Loove it! Now i know how to work my wardrobe better..Your newest fan here!! :)

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  35. Welcome to the blog, Chela!  Glad you've found it helpful.  :)

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  36. This is such a practical and fun post. Love colored pants myself!


    Http://www.neverfullydressedwithoutastyle.blogspot.com

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  37. Love this post! I'm definitely a new fan here!! You make it so simple and clever... without making it seem like you have to buy a whole lot of new clothes to still look stylish & polished! I have a suggestion.... maybe adding links to where your outfit pieces are from? Thanks so much for posting!! :)

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  38. Love your posts! Where can I get the adorable chambray shirt you're wearing in the second to last picture?

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  39. Target! But I don't know if they have them right now. Usually J.Crew and Gap carry them, and Old Navy has been going in and out of having some.

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  40. Love your blog, found it last night and stayed up way past my bed time reading through everything...and then online shopping!! Thanks for your great inspiration. Question...I'm a mommy of 5 month old twin girls and a 2 year old boy so I live in flats and pants, when I actually get dressed and leave the house. I also live in Michigan. Anyway here's the question, can you wear soaks when you where skinny jeans with flats? I bought a super cute pair at Target (my favorite store too) just a few weeks ago and want to where them into the colder months but is that kinda a fashion no-no? Thanks!

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  41. I'm seriously going home and play with all the clothes in my closet! I'm so excited.

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  42. Where can I get a black three-quarter sleeve blazer just like the one you wear in a lot of your pictures? It's so cute!

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  43. Thank you for the wonderful ideas. I need all the fashion help I can get, and thanks to your blog I'm willing to put your suggestions to practice.

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  44. There's a few options on the Building a Remixable Wardrobe main table of contents page. Look near the bottom for "Where to Buy My Closet Staples." sorry can't directly link you right now cuz I'm responding on my phone!

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  45. I use the White House Black Market catalog for ideas. They did a whole coral "season" in which they used black, white, and khaki with coral. It was so pretty.

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  46. I just found your blog via pinterest. LOVE IT! This is just the stuff I need to learn to make the most of my outfits and rev up my look. You are adorable!!

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  47. I recently stumbled across your blog, and your content is exactly what I've been looking for! I was telling some of my friends that I'm tired of being a jeans-and-a-tshirt girl, and they didn't exactly understand what I meant. Most fashion blogs are really inspiring to peruse through, but they don't realistically mesh into my life. My work environment is one in which a jersey dress + belt looks "dressed up," so I've been trying to find ways to incorporate more style into my casual wear. About a month ago, I stumbled across the notion that different bottoms and accessories were the answers to my problems. Thank you for really thinking out about what helps enhance an outfit and telling us all of your discoveries! I will now be an avid reader of your blog. Thank you so much!

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  48. Audrey, I think you could write a book with all these tips. Great pics, great blog. You are awesome : )

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  49. I saw something on J's everyday fashion recently which used coloured bottoms in a new way, well new to my brain anyway. She got the same colour bottoms in different items (shorts, trousers, skirt) to mix up the same outfit for different seasons. I can't find the link, so annoying! From memory there was an outfit she'd worn in summer (shorts and cami type thing) but wanted to wear it at a colder time of year so got trousers in the same colour (and added a jacket or something). I know that sounds massively simple but it made me think differently about things I only wear in summer that I could layer up items with, add a similar bottom and wear now.

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  50. Yep, I know exactly which post you're talking about! I do the same thing as she described in the post too. Makes getting dressed much simpler.

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  51. Wow my eyes read that as colored buttons lol. I was trying to figure out how a whole post was designated to that until my eyesight adjusted! Great posts!

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  52. I love all the information you are sharing thanks!

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  53. Lov this site it gives. Inspartion. And I lov how. You mix things up. By changes. With. Jackets. Or scarfs it gives a whole new look I always would look in my closet. And with a whole set of cloths I say I have nothing to wear you gave me a lot of good ideas on dressing up and looking good thank you so much

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  54. oh THANK YOU for this blog! I have good taste but never know how to pull looks like this together! Thank you for your "Dressing Well for Dummies" :)

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  55. I have always wanted to do something exactly like this!! (getting analytical with how to remix, how to buy for versatility, etc) I had the one hit wonder mentality for a while haha I 'm so glad I came across this! Also, bonus points for living in the same city! (San Diego :D)

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  56. So glad I came across your blog. I had very 'eclectic' taste (meaning if I liked something, I would get it without regard to how I could wear it) and a bunch of stuff in my closet I never wore. I'm a new mom now and have a more simple taste in clothes, but this blog is so helpful for me! I will be starting from scratch and LOVE your posts on how to build a wardrobe from scratch. Baby weight is almost gone, and shopping trip is almost here :) Thank you for making the task fun and not overwhelming!

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  57. I'm glad to heat that, Chrissy! Did you check out the Wardrobe From Scratch series? Link is at the top of the blog and it could be helpful since it sounds like that's exactly what you're gonna do! Good luck with everything!

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  58. omg! this is perfect! thanks for posting. ..I know now why I felt like I needed to buy more and more

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  59. Dana Maye BuchmillerMonday, September 16, 2013

    I loved this blog post on colored bottoms so much that I featured it in my "link love" post: http://colorfulglamour.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/what-im-reading-1-ten-fashion-blog-posts-that-im-loving/

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  60. I just discovered your blog! AMAZING!! So many other bloggers jump in at a bit higher level than I need....the basics here are fabulous! :) Thank-you! For reference - I'm going on my 7th year of being a student and trying to break out of jeans/yoga pants and slowly building a career wardrobe.

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  61. I'm so glad to hear that, Milan! Thanks for the encouragement!

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  62. Maybe you're probably used to comments like this but I have GOT to say it...
    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!!!!!!! I can NOT stress it enough - LOVEITLOVEITLOVEIT!
    Everything about it - how tan and khaki/olive are great complimentary colours (I never knew that, I thought they were a bit drab!), how to team up a neutral and a bold colour scheme, how to team up coloured jeans and cardis (I've only just discovered cardigans are GREAT for a pop of colour!), and I have GOT to get a leopard print scarf!!! And accessories - I never wear jewellery, or belts, but I'll be checking them out and experimenting!
    Plus I've got the same skin tone (my Mum's half fillo, so I got a semi-tan too!) and the colours look amazing on you, so maybe...they'd look great on me too?! Can't wait to try! XD
    You have just been the NUMBER ONE inspiration for my style wardrobe - modest, casual, with a pop of colour...
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!
    And nice to know that you love Jesus too :)

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  63. Wow, thank you so much, Karisma! I'm so so so so glad that this could be a source of inspiration for you, and thank you so much for taking the time to write, say hello, and drop a note of such sweet encouragement!

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  64. Thank you for this series! I'm planning to move to another country, so I need a thorough plan on what clothes to bring with me and what to leave at my parents' house. And these posts will come in so handy. I will definitely use your approach to select the versatile items and not to get stuck with a load of jeans and basic tees when I leave. Thanks!

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  65. So glad to hear that, Tanea! Good luck with your moe!

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  66. hey audrey. i stumbled across your blog through looking at project 333 in Pinterest. i had a look through the "building a mixable wardrobe" sections parts 1-5, and i am very inspired. i have not only done the 333project for afew months, but wanted to dress better without an effort. i normally just wear jeans and a top, but i recently bought a white cotton mid-length flowy skirt as all i had for summer were shorts and trousers. since looking at your ways of swapping your clothes about for new looks, i now have a list of items to get to complete my own wardrobe so i am not so restricted. i have also looked at some dresses which ive had for years in storage, but have never given a second thought to, and decided to give them another shot to save money on buying more. i havent got actual colours for my clothes, but mainly whites, blues, green. anyway love your blog with tips, il definitely be coming back again. rachel from uk.

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  67. I'm so glad to hear this, Rachel! Thank you for taking the time to write and to share! Good luck with everything!

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  68. I found your site last night and thank God I did! You've given me so many ideas :) I am 10 months post partum. I've lost weight but haven't reached my goal yet so I want a more age appropriate wardrobe with easy pieces to mix and match. I am clueless when it comes to layering. I am learning so much!

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  69. I'm so glad to hear that, Noelle! I hope this helps you with your goals! Best of luck with everything :)

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    Here is my wеbpage: www.touzes.tv

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