Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Putting Her Together: Kelly's Closet

It's been a loooong time since I've done a Putting Her Together post, but I finally have one today!

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 PiecesI 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!


  1. i love her patterned skirt! great job!  she looks great and has lots of sweet outfits!

  2. sartorialsidelinesWednesday, March 14, 2012

    I love this - you made so many great looks!

    Courtney ~ http://sartorialsidelines.com

  3. Great post...so fun to see you work with someone else's clothing and demonstrate how you think about style.  I definitely use these tips myself...I just packed for a week-long trip last night and had the challenge of picking pieces that can be mixed and matched...and pack easily while still looking stylish :D  I'd love to see you post about remixing like that!

    <3 cambria

  4. I should do that one day and see what I have because I always feel like I'm wearing the same thing over and over and over!! Great post!

  5. Hi Audrey! I was wondering if maybe you could do a segment on putting contrasting colors together.  I have a hard time seeing what colors go together well.  For instance, in the pictures above, I would definitely think to put the brown/tan jacket with the pink dress but never the yellow jacket. Or even the flower dress with the orangish cardigan, I would never have thought that would look good, and it does.  I'd love to see a segment on this to help me out, just like all of your other segments have!

  6. 7TwentySomethingsWednesday, March 14, 2012

    Wow you did an awesome job with these! I love love love thank pink dress she has! Good job adding it with some layers. 


  7. Hi Nicole!  Yes...you're not the first to ask about that, so I'll work on a post regarding colors.  It might take a few weeks, but it's on my radar for sure.  Thanks!

  8. Oh my goodness! I love it all!
    My roommate and I have actually done this to our third roommate. Maybe I should blog about it like you do :p

  9. love the ideas!

  10. I love all of these ideas...I love that skirt she's wearing! So cute!

  11. LOVE IT!!!!!!!  The outfits ALL look stellar!!

  12. I loveee this! I have seen so many other bloggers try to do this with peoples closet and they always end up making people buy new clothes! I love that you worked with what she had and made everything look so great and versatile!


  13. What a great, useful post!  It's always so helpful to see options on a person rather than in a store window.  Loved! 

  14. I can't believe Kelly wasn't wearing skirts before. If I had her legs I'd want to show them off :)
    I have been wanting to go through my closet and put together new outfits for Spring and you've given me some extra motivation!

  15. Such a great post! Loving the outfits with the patterned skirt - so fun :)

    The Other Side of Gray 

  16. Jessica LawrenceThursday, March 15, 2012

    Hi Audrey. Great post and outfits. I have a question about skirts. I have a few great skirts that are clearly supposed to be high-waisted with shirts tucked in, but I can't ever get comfortable with tucking in my shirt. Do you think some shirts are better for this? Maybe looser shirts or something? I feel terrible that I never wear all these cute skirts I have because I can't figure out what to wear on top! I would love if you would do a feature on that someday. I always love how you put your outfits together.

  17. Love this - she looks so great in all of these outfits! And I love that they're totally do-able outfits and concise, simple tips for someone who is branching out. Also, so interesting to see that she had some great pieces - makes me want to go through my closet again and re-imagine some looks...

  18. love love love all of these great tips!!! seriously loving this remixable series on your blog, i need major help!!

  19. Audrey, what a great post!! I love the things we came up with together and even found a way to wear my "easter" cardigan that Virginia wasn't too fond of :) lol.
    Thanks again for the help, you're awesome!!

  20. Haha...to be honest, I thought there was potential in that cardigan, but I could also see why Virginia had problems with it haha.  Glad you found a way to make it work!

  21. LOVE this post!  What great tips!  You did a great job.  (And I love the blog!)

  22.  Thanks can't wait to see it!

    Great post today with the layering, going to print it out to help me with my spring wardrobe! 

  23. Great model, great pieces, great outfits!

  24. What an awesome sister-in-law, that skirt is to die! Who makes it?

  25. I simply adore your style. You help me a lot when i run out of ideas. Have you got instagram account? If so, whats your username?

  26. Thank you! :) and I do I have an instagram account: moomooaudrey

  27. Of course, this group of inconvenient facts won't stop Zombie UHW from trying to consider credit for a person else's
    actions, though http://iPir.at the obtained cash could
    be used for spending various small phrase expenses promptly.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips