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How do you jump start your style?

Categories: basics



I’m in a style rut, you all. Ok actually, right this moment, I am in a pair of yoga pants and the universe’s most comfortable hoodie because I haven’t had time to get dressed today, but you get my point. I’m starting to feel like I wear the same things over and over again, and it’s getting a little bit boring.

I need to amp up my style. Somehow. Ideally, without buying anything new. Is that even possible?

Yes. Yes it is.

You all know that I’m the poster child for the Carefully Edited Closet. I wear everything I own and I have a genuine affection for each piece. I take extra good care of my clothes, because I don’t want to be constantly shopping for replacements. And on a normal Monday morning, I really like that getting dressed doesn’t require any huge expenditure of thought or creativity.

Except that recently, I’m starting to bore myself.

About twice a year, typically in the late winter and the early fall, I get the urge to give away everything I own and totally start over. There’s a good reason for this; where I live, both winter and summer seem to hang on for about a month longer than is really reasonable. My brain is ready to move on to a new season and a different set of clothes, but the temperature makes that virtually impossible. (For example, it’s going to be 80 degrees here today, which means that as we go into the last week in October, I’m still wearing my summer clothes. I hate that.)

Instead of donating all my clothes to charity and running up my credit card with a new wardrobe, I try to focus on reinventing what I have. This means doing two things: remixing the pieces in my closet, and rethinking my accessories.

The accessories are the easy part; I’ll put on an outfit I’ve worn a million times before (sometimes literally, yo) and then change up the details: a scarf instead of a necklace, a big necklace instead of a small one, earrings and bracelet, for a change. I don’t know how truly different my look is, but I feel different, and that’s the whole point.

I particularly like to pair really over-the-top accessories with basic outfits, like jeans and a tee and a faux-diamond cocktail necklace. I mean, why not? Monday is just as good a day as any to amp up the bling factor. Right?

The second option — remixing pieces in my existing wardrobe — is more time-consuming but has a bigger payoff. Taking the time to curate new outfits — pairing a skirt and tee that I’ve never worn together, for example — gives me one more option for a go-to, stress-free outfit. But because those pieces are in a new-to-me combination, they feel — well, new. And because they are existing pieces from my everyday wardrobe, they look like other things I wear, which means that no one is overwhelmed by the change in my look.

Because here’s the thing: I don’t really want to start dressing like someone else — I like my carefully curated style. But I want my look to feel new and different, without the stress of shopping for actual new pieces. That’s the tricky part.

Eventually today I am going to get out of the yoga wear and put on some real clothes. I’ve been thinking about what’s in my closet and how I can remake my summery duds for this last day of hot weather; I’m kind of excited to see what I put together. I think a new-to-me outfit is precisely what this Monday needs.

How do you remix your closet? What are your secrets for keeping your look fresh without running to the mall?

Photo via Stella & Dot

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4 comments so far...

  • I’ve been hooked on pinterest for just this very reason. I’ve found so many great ideas for how to put outfits together using things I already own. And, of course, it’s inspired me to go out and look for things that I don’t have but could use to spice things up.

    Amy S.  |  October 25th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

  • First time reader so I may be preaching what you already know, but have you ever used polyvore? I’ve found almost everything in my closet on it (or close equivalents) and I can play with outfits without ever getting off the couch. It’s lead me to some of my best outfits.

    Carolynasaurus  |  October 28th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

  • Where do you donate your clothes? I find that my closet is full of clothes that I’d like to get rid of (because I don’t wear them), but I hesitate because I feel that their donation to well-know charities is not valued. Last summer I donated clothes to a charity where I watched them unceremoniously pitched into the back of a truck. When asked what was in my bags, the response of the employee/volunteer was “Clothes? Oh. Over there. Not in the store.” What DOES happen to donated clothes? Where is the best place to donate? Which items should be tossed rather than donated (underwear, I’m sure)?

    Cheryl  |  October 29th, 2011 at 8:11 pm

  • Fantastic post, Susan…. It kept me from purchasing something I WANTED but didn’t really NEED! With Christmas around the corner this is exactly the type of style advice I need. Keep the remixing coming…..I would love to see your results!

    Rochelle  |  November 3rd, 2011 at 12:39 pm

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