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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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.
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.
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.
#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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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