Building a Remixable Wardrobe, Part 4: Layering and Completer Pieces

A different completer piece goes a long way!

For the next section of the Building a Remixable Wardrobe series, I want to talk about the importance of having layerable pieces.  (Is that a real word?  Do you like how I make up all sorts of words in this series, like “layerable” and “remixable” and “reimagining”?  My spellcheck hates me.)


Layering, My Frenemy
Can I just say that I’m terrible at layering?  I don’t like having to fuss with a lot of pieces of clothing because, you know…I like to able to do cartwheels in my outfits, just like everybody else.

Anyway, in my pursuit of a remixable wardrobe, I realized that I needed to make friends with layering.  I noticed that layering brings a new dimension and fresh perspective to pieces, and I knew it was the next step to mixing up my wardrobe.  It was helpful that I also realized that you can layer in a way that’s impactful but not super fussy.  Yay!

Finding the Right Pieces
So then, I tried to layer.  And failed.  Why?  Because, like I mentioned in Part 3, I had built my wardrobe around jeans and a cute top, leaving me void of any good pieces to layer with!  I had to backtrack a little and figure out what kinds of pieces would help me be able to layer well.

And that is where we are going to start today.  I’m not here to teach you how to be a layering ninja, because I’m still not good at it, plus it’s not really my style.  What I can do is show you a few pieces that you can use for minimal layering but that will still diversify your wardrobe.

Let’s do it!


The Camisole – Boring, but helpful
I’m starting off with the least interesting of all layering pieces: a camisole, aka cami.  Do I need to say this?  Yes, I do, because I’ve heard so many friends say, “I never wear this top / I can’t find tops because everything is too see-through or low cut.”

And then I yell in outrage, “WHAT?  Just wear a cami!”  With the thin material that’s out in stores, not wearing a cami really limits your shirt options.  I like to be fairly modest, so I actually wear a cami underneath about 90% of my tops and dresses.

I stock up on black and beige/nude camis when they’re on sale for $3-5 at Old Navy, and I seldom have to avoid a shirt because it’s see-through or too low-cut.

 

from oldnavy.com

 

If you, too, have avoided tops because they were too see-through or low-cut, wear a cami underneath and let yourself finally wear those cute tops you’ve been avoiding!  Got it?  Good.  🙂

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to the rest…


The Completer Pieces
I feel like a broken record talking about “completer pieces” so much, but I love them and think they are such an easy way to remix your wardrobe.  So, we’re gonna talk about them in depth.  😀

Colored Cardigans
Cardigans are the easiest layering pieces for me, but prior to this blog I wore them in a way that didn’t serve well for remixing.  I’m always cold (yes, even living in San Diego–I’m a wimp!) so I always had a cardigan, but only grey or black–whatever matched.  I wore them only for utilitarian reasons and never thought to actually utilize cardigans as significant pieces that could change up my outfits.  They can be both utilitarian and significant pieces to your outfit.  Cardigans are a great way to add color and interest to your outfit, and doing something as simple as changing the color of a cardigan can go a long way!
For example, using different colored cardigans can be a simple way to remix a dress:
Or this example that I’ve used so much…
Different colored cardigans can also be a great finishing touch to enhance a typical jeans + cute top combo:

The two pics with the floral top are virtually the same outfit, just with different color combos!

Imagine any of the outfits in the three sets of pics above with just a grey or a black cardigan.  Most of them would be drab and monotonous!  Again, colored cardis are such an easy way to bring diversity to your outfits.
 
Patterned Cardigans
Patterned cardigans are fun because they add an extra notch of visual interest!  I only have one, my striped cardigan, but there are plenty of other patterns you can get: polka dots, floral, animal print, and geometric prints, to name a few.
In these outfits, the striped cardi is the focal point:
Imagine each of these outfits by themselves.  They would just be a plain maroon tee and jeans, a simple white tee + yellow skirt combo, and a simple grey dress.  The striped cardigan changes up each of these combos and pulls them together to create a more interesting outfit.
Fun cardigans are a very simple way to change up your outfits.  Bonus: they keep you warm, too!

 

Blazers + Jackets
Do I need to tell you how much I love blazers and cropped jackets?  I’m a broken record, truly.  You can get a fitted cut, boyfriend cut, tweed, corduroy, linen, colored, blah blah blah.  There are so many options and they are so versatile!
Blazers and jackets can be worn over anything:
  • jeans + shirt
  • dresses
  • skirts + shirt
I didn’t create a picture because there are too many possibilities.  I mean, even if you look at these two pics from Part 3 of this series, not only do those outfits use different colored bottoms, each one also has a different completer piece.

 

Pics originally seen in Part 3 of this series

 


 

Vests
I didn’t own a vest because I thought they were the biggest waste of money.  As someone who’s always cold, I didn’t want to pay for a garment that had no sleeves because I needed all the warmth I could get.  But seeing Kendi remix her army vest in 50 billion ways gave me a change of heart as I baffled at how many ways you could remix it.
Here are a few ways you can wear one:

 

While something like a cargo vest is absolutely versatile, what I actually appreciate about it more is how distinct the feel of a vest is compared to a cardigan or a blazer.  A vest can change an outfit SO MUCH.
For example, in the second pic with the vest + tank top, the base of the outfit is exactly the same as shown earlier in this post in the cardigan section–the outfit with the green cardigan.  But the respective finishing pieces of a cardigan and a cargo vest make the outfits feel so distinct that you don’t even notice that the jeans and top are exactly the same.
Side by side:
Likewise, check out how the blazer and army vest each create a distinct outfit over essentially the same combo of a striped tee and jeans.

 

Hopefully you now understand why I talk about “completer pieces” so much!  They can totally change up your wardrobe, so utilize them!

Long Sleeved Button-ups

And finally, moving away from completer pieces, let’s talk about long-sleeved button-ups.  I didn’t own any before this blog, but I’ve found them to be extremely useful in changing up my outfits.  Button-ups are nice because, while the completer pieces I previously mentioned go on top of the rest of the outfit, button-ups do both, layer underneath something and layer on top of things.There are so many types of button-ups to choose from: the standard white button-up, silk blouses (or ones that feel similar), gingham/plaid shirts, chambray, etc.

Here are a few examples of how to layer a button-up:

 

Layering Under
One thing to note is that when layering under a sweater or cardigan, I love to let part of the shirt’s sleeves poke out past the sweater or cardigan’s sleeves.  I think it’s so cute and adds another dimension to the outfit.Layering Over
I typically used to think of layering button-ups underneath things, so I was amazed to learn that you could wear them over things like dresses, tees, and tanks like in the bottom row of the picture above.  This opened up so many more outfit possibilities for me.Bottom Row, pic #1
In the first picture of the bottom row, I’m actually wearing a dress, not a skirt.  I layered a white tank over the dress, and then layered the denim top over.  I don’t have good dresses for layering a denim shirt on top of a dress, but I think the look is really cute.  Here are better examples from other bloggers:

1 – unknown, found at seek first
2 – M Loves M

Bottom Row, pic #2

I tied the denim shirt over the same dress in the very first set of pictures of this post.  layering the denim shirt on top totally makes the dress look like a skirt!
Bottom Row, pic #3
And finally, a plaid button-up open over a tee or a tank.  I love the easy, laid back feel of this.
Try experimenting with your different button-ups, like the ones mentioned before: standard white button-up, silk blouses, plaid, gingham, and chambray tops, etc.  There are a lot of ways you can use them to remix pieces you already have!

This post was way more involved than I intended it to be, but hopefully you’ve gotten a sense of how you can utilize layering not just to keep yourself warm, but to remix your wardrobe as well.
Have a great weekend, and happy remixing!

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