Workhorse Wardrobe is back, and it’s time to style. it. all.
I’m strongly resisting the urge to start this post with the opening lyrics to Aaliyah’s “Try Again,” (“it’s been a long time…shouldn’t have left you (left you)…”). Okay, so I basically did it anyway. I’m just so glad to be BACK AT IT and talking about one of my favorite things: making your wardrobe work for you, and not the other way around. You’ve been working hard, and we’re finally on our last step! It’s time to style it all.
If you have no clue what I’m talking about, we’ve been working on a project over here at Curved Angles to get our closets in order. To stop the needless stress of wondering what will fit/work/go/be appropriate/not have holes/ and so on. No worries, you can catch up here, and here. Give those a glance, (make sure you get the download, it’s free and has bonus content!) and you’ll be all caught up.
Now when we left off, we’d just torn our closets apart. We’d purged everything that didn’t fit, or that we hated. If a few things have come to the surface that still don’t work, now’s the chance to get rid of them – just do a quick sweep to make sure you’re still working with a good base. I truly recommend doing this a couple of times a year, or once a quarter if you’re ambitious (which I’m not).
Organize what you just organized.
I know, I know. MORE organizing?? Yes. I’m sorry. But I’m actually not sorry because this is going to make things way easier when we get down to the nitty-gritty of putting together outfits. SO, start with the group you LOVE. That first group of stuff you put together that’s got you all hearts for eyes or at least like “yes I do enjoy wearing this.”
- Organize those by item type. All of the bottoms go together, all of the tops, all dresses, and all of the shoes.
- Then organize those pieces by style – skirts vs. pants, long-sleeved, seasonal – get creative here! There’s no *right* way to do this particular step, you just want it to be easy to find.
- Finally, organize all of the pieces within their sub-category by color. I usually enjoy a nice ROYGBIV, but again, go nuts here.
- Repeat this step with the section of stuff in your closet you’re “meh” about.
Maybe while you’re doing this step you’ll stumble across a few more things you aren’t in love with or that don’t fit, etc. That’s great! Donate ’em! And do it fast because we’re about to get to the fun part I’ve been promising: STYLE IT ALL!
Block out some time, and make some room.
Blocking off time on your calendar is necessary – even if the time you block is from 10-11 p.m. on a Tuesday. Just make sure you plan it and actually do it. The making room thing? It’s ideal but optional. Optional, because not everybody has extra space to work with (I live in a studio, believe me, I get it), but even if it means clearing off your bed so you have someplace to style, try that.
Now, let’s get to it!
Your absolute favorite casual outfit
That’s right, let’s start with what we already know. Find your absolute favorite “casual” outfit. I don’t mean pajamas (although there’s nothing wrong with pajamas, I wear them 75% of the time), I mean something you would wear to an outdoor concert. A second date. Meeting your kid’s teacher. You probably have an idea in mind as soon as you hear those things. Grab those pieces, and put them together. If you’re really feeling it, put it on. Think about WHY you love it so much. Is it the way it fits? Is every part of it soft and cozy? Does the material highlight the things you love most about your body? Is it a dark color and difficult to for your kiddos to stain with their jelly-hands? Were you wearing it when you met someone special? Spend a few moments figuring out why this is your go-to, and then – think of one thing you can either switch or add to it.
Yep, I’m asking you to take this thing you love, and switch one thing, OR add something to it. If you’re in jeans and the outfit might also work with leggings? Give them a try. Do you have a cardigan that might be adorable over that dress? TRY IT. Those slides are cute, but would ballet flats work too? Give them a shot!
That’s the name of the game when it comes to getting a Workhorse Wardrobe. All of these steps have gotten us here. Build your base from an outfit you already know you like, then switch and/or add. Don’t be afraid to start small, BUT, even though it’s tempting, make sure you’re not just adding from those pieces you already know you love. Go to the “meh” category first, and see if there’s something from that group you can switch/add. Eventually, that “meh” group will dwindle down to LOVE, and NOPE, and you can treat those pieces accordingly.
Keep it going!Don’t let yourself get stuck in the trap of switching and adding things that look exactly like your original outfit. This is your chance to get creative, to make a new statement with your wardrobe, and to push yourself out of your (mental) comfort zone! A few things to consider:
- Can I add some color?
- If you’re a Neutral Nellie like me, most of the time your beloved favorites can be a bit muted. If you have a pop of color in your “meh” category, throw it in! This might turn it into your new favorite, AND change up your overall look.
- Could it benefit from some layers/texture?
- Usually, the answer is yes. Do you have anything made of awesome material like lace, crochet, velvet, faux leather or fur, etc.? Throw it on over a staple. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that we have to build whole new outfits around interesting pieces – you don’t!
- Don’t forget to accessorize!
- Note, I didn’t say complicate, I said accessorize. If your outfit already has a lot going on, don’t feel the need to add to it, but don’t be afraid of it either. This is your opportunity to use what you have and go nuts. This includes jewelry, scarves, bags, shoes, hair accessories, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to make EVERY piece work for you.
- Bra straps are not the devil. Sometimes they’re really pretty, and letting them show in an off-the-shoulder top just means you’re getting more bang for your (bra) buck. Same goes for swimsuits (they can double as bodysuits!), or sweatshirts (I LOVE them, and they can look super chic when paired with flats and a skirt or nice pants). You get the idea.
Take a picture, it’ll last longer.
No seriously. I take a LOT of mirror selfies, and it has nothing to do with being self-obsessed (I hope). Remember that scene from Clueless when Cher says she doesn’t trust mirrors and instead takes Polaroids? She was on to something. Taking a mirror selfie does two things – it gives you an idea of how the outfit actually looks, AND, it saves it in your phone as a reference for which pieces made up what look. If you’re anything like me, you don’t always remember every piece you have when you’re considering a look. A quick scroll through past outfits could spark some creativity and help you create something even better.
Show your work.Alright, now you have a solid framework. Start where you are, start from the beginning, start over, just GET STARTED. Most importantly, I WANT TO SEE! I’m your biggest cheerleader over here, and I want to see what you’re putting together! Comment here, email me your outfits, your questions, your thoughts, tag me on facebook or instagram, just keep me in the loop! Use the hashtag #workhorsewardrobe so I can follow along! Stay tuned for new tips, some of my own Workhorse Wardrobe discoveries, and more on life from curved angles.
Until next time!