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5 Tips to Help You Stretch Your Wardrobe

February 21, 2022
the Winter Classic Style Series 2nd annual

Well if all has gone as planned, I am on the Atlantic Coast of Florida today enjoying the sunshine and a little warmth. We’ll be shooting photos of spring outfits this week, too. So I think this post is probably my last winter outfit to share in this year’s Winter Classics style series. But, since many of us are tiring of winter clothes by now, I thought I would also take this opportunity to share 5 tips for stretching your wardrobe so you can easily create interesting looks with the clothes in your closet.

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Winter Classic Look with Navy Trousers
pants low stock (similar) // sweater (similar more in stock; similar better price) // similar boots // scarf // similar shoulder bag (another option; more economical option) // similar earrings // similar watch (use code KAYHRMS for 15% off your order)

In this Winter Classics style series I challenge myself to create modern classic looks put together strictly with items from my closet. I think if you look over the outfits I’ve created this year and in last year’s edition, you’ll see that they contain many similar elements. They also consistently resonate with my own personal style. And these are outfits I really enjoy wearing. In fact, this year I still wore many of the outfits and pieces that I showed in last year’s Winter Classics posts.

So how am I able to create so many varied outfits with items from my closet? Believe it or not, it’s gotten much easier in the last couple of years as I’ve done this five things.

#1 – Stretch Your Wardrobe by Planning It

Until about a year after I began blogging in this space, I never really planned my wardrobe at all. I just purchased whatever struck my fancy. Then I experienced frustration when I stepped into my closet and had nothing to wear.

Stretch Your Wardrobe By Planning It
pants low stock (similar) // sweater (similar more in stock; similar better price) // similar boots // scarf // similar shoulder bag (another option; more economical option) // similar earrings // similar watch (use code KAYHRMS for 15% off your order)

But the next year I took the time to discover and consider my body shape, proportions, coloring and personal preferences before purchasing new clothing. Then I even calculated in my lifestyle, something I had been stubbornly ignoring before. Yeah, previously when I went shopping I convinced myself I had a glamorous life where I needed lots of things that really didn’t work for my true lifestyle. So instead I nailed down exactly what kinds of outfits I needed to wear frequently and began planning a wardrobe for those outfits.

Stretch Your Wardrobe by Planning It
pants low stock (similar) // sweater (similar more in stock; similar better price) // similar boots // scarf // similar shoulder bag (another option; more economical option) // similar earrings // similar watch (use code KAYHRMS for 15% off your order)

It was hard to narrow down my true wardrobe needs at first. I still wanted “all the pretty things,” truth be told. But I’ve learned that when I specify my true wardrobe needs I’m able to build a more functional wardrobe that I can really wear and enjoy.

Need help building a more functional wardrobe? Check out the posts in this series, Building a Wardrobe That Works for You. But start here.

#2 – Stretch Your Wardrobe by Limiting Your Color Palette

It sounds counterintuitive to restrict yourself if you’re trying to stretch your wardrobe. I think that’s why I used to get so stumped as I stood in my closet feeling like I nothing that “went together.” I mean I had one of everything in every color! So how was it that nothing paired?

Stretch Your Wardrobe by Limiting Your Color Palette

So then I restricted my color palette to three neutrals and four signature colors. Originally I limited my wardrobe to just black, grey and white neutrals and chose pink, red, blue and green as my signature colors. Yes, those four signature colors look a little different in the fall and winter than they do in the spring and summer, but there’s a lot of crossover, too.

Stretch Your Wardrobe by Limiting Your Color Palette
pants low stock (similar) // sweater (similar more in stock; similar better price) // similar boots // scarf // similar shoulder bag (another option; more economical option) // similar earrings // similar watch (use code KAYHRMS for 15% off your order)

When I limited my wardrobe to a more narrow color palette, I found that more things could be worn interchangeably. And it also made it easier to buy and wear accessories. More on that in a bit!

Now in this past year, since I had rounded out my wardrobe in those three neutrals, I decided to branch out and incorporate navy and brown into my neutrals palette, too. I did that for a few reasons. Primarily, here at the blog I wanted to be able to show styles in those colors because many readers enjoy wearing navy especially. Two, I just really like navy, especially in spring. And three, brown was and is really trending. But otherwise, I think keeping your color palette narrow is such a smart way to stretch your wardrobe.

Need a little help selecting the colors for your refined color palette? Check out my post, How to Choose the Colors of Your Wardrobe.

#3 – Stretch Your Wardrobe by Having the Essentials

I didn’t even know what wardrobe essentials were when I began this style blog almost four years ago. Yeah, I’ve come a long way, baby. Now I try to help my readers and YouTube viewers make sure we all have the closet essentials that will make our wardrobes more versatile.

Stretch Your Wardrobe by Having the Essentials

Wardrobe essentials are those quite unglamorous pieces that you need to wear with the more interesting and fun pieces to create real outfits. Before I was so guilty of not having these in my closet when it came time to create an outfit. But now I make sure I have the essential solid colored sweaters, trousers in my chosen neutrals, layering tees, classic jeans and basic footwear to pair with my other garments.

Each season I provide either an updated wardrobe essentials blog post or video. For winter wardrobe essentials check out this video and this one on outerwear. Watch for my updated Spring Wardrobe Essentials post soon. And email subscribers can get downloadable, printable wardrobe essentials list here (you’ll need the community password!).

#4 – Stretch Your Wardrobe by Investing in Quality Key Pieces

If you want to stretch your wardrobe it will need to be one that you don’t have to replenish every season or year. Trust me, if it weren’t my job to share new fashions here at Dressed for My Day, I wouldn’t purchase nearly as many clothes as I do each year. In fact, I keep my personal closet very scaled back. I pass on much of what you see me purchase or receive from brands to a friend and then a favorite charity.

Stretch Your Wardrobe by Investing In It

But I do indeed purchase a few very well-crafted and beautiful garments and accessories each year. These are always items that I am reasonably sure will hold their value for ten or more years. Not only will they hold up, construction-wise, but these have to be pieces I will wear frequently because they fit my personal style aesthetic, lifestyle and, of course, my body. I bet I’ve already worn this tweed Veronica Beard blazer a dozen times in the few short months I’ve owned it. And I have worn it with jeans and multiple dress slacks.

I shared more about how, when and why I purchase a few investment pieces each year in this post. And one of the keys you’ll read there is that I never pay full price.

#5 – Stretch Your Wardrobe by Strategically Stocking Accessories

In the past I was guilty of buying accessories based purely on whether or not I liked them. Shiny things grab my attention! But since I began blogging here, I’ve learned that strategically collecting accessories ensures I have the right shoes, handbag, belt, scarf and/or jewelry to wear with the multiple outfits I put together. I suggest narrowing the tones of leather and suede you purchase to just a few, trying to accumulate handbags, belts and shoes that at least “go together” even if they don’t completely match.

How to Stretch Your Wardrobe
pants low stock (similar) // sweater (similar more in stock; similar better price) // similar boots // scarf // similar shoulder bag (another option; more economical option) // similar earrings // similar watch (use code KAYHRMS for 15% off your order)

Then look for classic jewelry and scarves that fit your personal style aesthetic and also add interest, light and color to your outfits, pulling them together beautifully.

I hope these tips have helped you. They may be basic reminders for many of us, but I have to assume that some readers may be experiencing the same frustrations I had just a few short years ago. Trust me, that can change. If you’ll follow these five tips – and put the work in – you absolutely can stretch your wardrobe and feel better about the outfits you’re able to put together.

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Blessed for My Day

As I watch the waves tumble in at the shoreline and then slowly disappear back into the sea, the steady repetition this natural rhythm calms me and gives me peace. The soothing predictability of the crashing waves remind me of God’s faithfulness and strength, His persistent love and daily mercies.

But other times I’ve been at the beach when the sea grew dark and the waves became seemingly out of control. The water foamed and roared and threatened to destroy.

Whether the rhythm of your days is blissfully predictable and calm right now or unruly and frightening, I can assure you that God is with you. He is immovable and all-powerful. He is faithful and good. Do not look for your circumstances to settle in order to regain a sense of control and equilibrium. Instead, run to your very present help in trouble. Your God is a mighty and strong refuge, available to you this day and every day.

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. ~ Psalm 46:1-3

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xoxo, Kay
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15 thoughts on “5 Tips to Help You Stretch Your Wardrobe

  1. Great post, Kay. I behave paired down my wardrobe and need so much less. I am certainly more careful about my purchases and having more white tops and blouses has helped too. Accessories perk up outfits so not too bring but add interest. I live in Delray Beach,Fl and hope you enjoy the whether and all Fl has to offer. Just got back from visiting St Pete. Saw Chihuly and Dali museums and relaxed at the beach. Great dining spots too. Have a blessed week and know you inspire so many. Enjoy the break!

  2. Bless you dear, Kay! Thank you for reminding us that God is our very present help in trouble. My devotional said this morning we only need to remember to be happy and calm…God does the rest!
    Enjoy the sunshine!

  3. Thank-you for this post. I have always shopped and bought whatever caught my eye. You have helped me so much to start with the basics and build from there. I still find myself falling back on old habits from time to time but not as much!
    Have a great vacation and thank-you for all that you do.

  4. Great tips Kay! As I was putting my clothes back in my closet after the carpet install, I pulled out all of tops that were not in one of my signature colors and they are being donated. I am so much happier when I walk in my closet now because I really like the colors I see and I am not so confused with what I see. Enjoy the down time at your parent’s FL home!

  5. Hi Kay. Know you are having a great time in Florida with your husband and parents. A winter storm is on its way here today in MInnesota. Enjoy the sunshine and I am just a little envious right now. Bless you.
    Like you and a lot of women we are indeed tired of our winter clothes and I am so anxious to start wearing my Spring outfits. I am in the middle of a purge but last week was busy and I was sick with a cold for 3 weeks and no energy. Feel so much better, so here I go. I am really trying to be more careful in my wardrobe selection also.
    Sometime we forget to reach out to God in times of trouble or strife. Thanks for reminding us of this.

  6. Hi Kay! GREAT post. Recently, another fashion blogger I follow said to store everything by color, not type. Seeing my closet this way really opened my eyes to how things could be paired together more easily. I had lots of white, yellow/mustard, raspberry, navy and black. I would love to see an article showing your neutrals in tops, jackets, pants, denim, shoes and accessories. Sort of a Well Curated Closet tour and explaining how these support your life. I’m still not sure how to design based on lifestyle, especially since mine just changed as I retired.

  7. I started to use your tips a couple of years ago and they have been immensely helpful. Thank you! It really helps to simplify and have items that I actually wear and that work together.

    I chose black, olive, brown and some navy to account for denim for my neutral colorss. My accent colors are green, teal, red, rust and peach. I also use leopard and zebra prints and floral prints in my neutral and accent colors, for some tops and scarves. Recently, I have added some solid blouses in my neutral colors so I can wear my printed scarves and because I have many tops with prints. I love my Everlane blazer in olive and J Crew blazers in my neutral colors too.

    Again thank you so much for all of your tips and resources. Blessings, Beth

    1. I hope you’re having a warm and wonderful trip so far, Kay!
      This lifestyle wardrobe planning has finally clicked for me as well, and now retirement seems much more relaxing, lol. Thank you for your guidance and lovely sense of style!

  8. Kay, I am glad that you and James arrived safely in Florida and are enjoying your much-deserved vacation. Hello to your parents–I know that they have been a great influence on you. I am a real fan of that scarf that you are wearing in today’s post. I thought it worked equally well with the more spring-like plaid blazer that you showed recently. Thanks as always for the work that you do for our benefit, even on your time-off.

  9. Hi Kay,
    I hope you are enjoying Florida. I love browsing through your posts and the lovely outfits that you put together. I like your mention of “signature colors” when creating a wardrobe. Have you ever had your colors analyzed? I find your colors are all over the place. Your picture with the pink sweater for your website profile is beautiful so I am assuming you are a cool undertone. If you ever want some in depth information on colors, check out this website Imogen had done my colors virtually and I am loving them. I do realize you have affiliate stores you work with and want to show all types of outfits including colors that may not be so great for you personally so yes, I do understand that part. 🙂 Have fun and enjoy the sunshine state!

    1. I actually have neutral undertones so o generally wear what are considered both summer and winter colors. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. I understand having your colors analyzed if that’s something you enjoy. But I believe in wearing colors that make you happy but wearing them strategically, so not necessarily close to your face.