In a jeans and plain t-shirt rut, Kelly had been reading my blog and reached out to me asking if I'd be willing to go through her closet to help her create more outfits. Since it turns out she only lives 15 minutes from me, I happily obliged!
We forgot to take a "before" picture, but Kelly was wearing what she claimed to wear pretty much everyday, jeans and a plain black tee, basically wearing exactly what Hannah is wearing here.
Though jeans and a plain t-shirt were her uniform, Kelly had a lot of cute tops, a cute skirt that she never wore, a couple of dresses, and a few blazers and cropped jackets that were hardly put to good use.
Today I'm showing you some of the outfits we created. I also pulled out some easy things you can try as first steps to discover new outfits in your own closet. I hope this is especially helpful to those of you who also find yourselves in a rut!
1. Add a Blazer - Spicing Up Jeans & a Tee
First of all, you don't have to scrap the jeans & tee combo completely. In fact, I happen to love it! But, by itself it can be boring or even sloppy, so let's talk about how to make it work.
One very easy way to make a jeans & tee combo look more polished is to simply add a blazer or a cropped jacket. In Building a Remixable Wardrobe, Part 2: Shopping for Remixable Pieces, I touched on the concept of "finisher" or "completer" pieces. These are things like cardigans, blazers, cropped jackets, tweed/denim/faux leather jackets, etc. Adding one of these can instantly make your typical jeans & tee outfit into something that feels more put together and polished.
While looks 1 & 4 may be able to stand without the jacket/blazer, looks 2, 3 & 5 would be completely drab. The shirts underneath looks 2, 3 & 5 are simply tank tops, like the kind you might use for working out. But, add a blazer or a cropped jacket and you've instantly created a cute, put-together look!
(If you don't have any blazers, cardigans, or cute cropped jackets, you might want to consider putting them on your shopping list!)
2. Utilize Skirts
...or buy some, if you don't have any. This is a lesson I had to put into practice myself. If you only wear jeans, one easy way to freshen up your outfits is to own a skirt--if it's patterned, all the better!
I talked about this in Building a Remixable Wardrobe, Part 3: The Importance of Colored Bottoms, and I cannot stress how much this simple thing will diversify your wardrobe. If you are always wearing jeans or dark colors on the bottom, getting dressed feels drab no matter how many cute tops you have because you always force the top to carry the burden of providing interest for your outfit. It feels so refreshing to instead move the visual interest of an outfit to the bottom half with a patterned skirt.
Kelly's sister-in-law gave her a very cute skirt from Paris that she hadn't worn, so we got to play around with it:
Some people are scared of patterned skirts because there's too much going on and they don't know what to pair with them besides black/white/grey. Don't let patterned skirts scare you! The simplest way is to choose any color that is already in the skirt and pair it with a top in that color. It's that easy. :)
In Kelly's skirt above, there are greens, yellows, oranges, and maybe some pink hues. We pulled out the green from the skirt by pairing it with a beautiful green shirt that Kelly had. I can't remember if she had never worn it or only wore it with jeans, but we found a refreshing use for it with this skirt.
And, in true Building a Remixable Wardrobe fashion, we tried it tucked in (pic 2) as well as open and used like a cardigan (pic 3).
For another outfit option, Kelly's best friend who joined us suggested pairing the skirt with a white tank, which was also cute. Then we pulled out the yellow in the skirt and finished off the outfit with her cute cropped yellow jacket (just like in section #1 about completer pieces)! So cute!
3. Changing Up a Dress
Kelly had a couple of dresses that she mostly wore alone, so we tried two things to liven them up.
Add a Completer Piece
First, we used trick #1 and added completer pieces, specifically in contrasting colors. (Have I convinced you yet that completer pieces make life easier?) I love using contrasting colors because they provide more personality and visual interest versus switching between, say, a grey cardi and a black cardi. The contrasting colors help the dresses pop.
Create a Central Focal Point
Sometimes when a dress is a uniform pattern or color, a completer piece still doesn't create enough visual interest to make the outfit feel complete. (Contradictory, I know.) When that's the case, I try to create a central focal point to pull the look together. Two easy ways to do that are by adding a long necklace or a belt.
Create a List
While playing with Kelly's clothes, we also created a list of other pieces she might want to buy in order to round out her closet. In the process of creating outfits, there were a few times where I wished we had x, y, or z. If I found myself repeating an item it went on the shopping list because it was easy to tell that those would be of good use to help Kelly create/complete more looks.
Everyone's list will be different, but I'll give you a few of Kelly's in case it sparks ideas for yourself.
I can't remember them all, but some of them were:
- Medium width belt - she only had a skinny and a wide belt, as seen in pics.
- Teal necklace (?...can't remember) - would spice up any outfit in sections 1 & 3, especially as a contrasting color to the red dress. This one is awesome.
- 1-2 more skirts with structure, color/pattern
- Red shoes - they'd pop all of her outfits!
Kelly's looking so cute in her new outfits! When she emailed me these pics, she also wrote:
I have already worn a few of the outfits that we picked out and have been trying to talk myself into being more adventurous when getting dressed. It's going to be a journey but I think I'm on the way to a happier relationship with my clothes and also with shopping!
I'm soooo glad to hear that! If you too have been in a rut, hopefully some of these tips will help you also begin the journey of a happier relationship with clothes. Good luck! :)
Part 4 of the Building a Remixable Wardrobe series is soon to come. Topic: Layering!