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How to Wear a Classic Wardrobe and Look Modern

September 30, 2022

When push comes to shove, I really am a classic wardrobe curator. I do indeed love to try a trend or two each season. And I definitely want to look current. But I gravitate to classic pieces, such as blazers, white button up shirts, traditional trousers, good pumps and accessories with clean lines and elevated appeal. I know many of my readers identify. But if we’re not careful, a wardrobe heavy on the classics can generate somewhat stale, boring or even dated outfits. So how’s a woman supposed to wear a classic wardrobe and look modern? I’ve got some tips!

We’re actually beginning a new DFMD Style Mini-Series with this post. This is the first post in the 1st Annual Fall Classics mini-series. I’ll be sharing pieces from my classic wardrobe styled to look modern or at least current and polished. I’ve done similar series for the past two winters, but this is the first year I’ve shared fall classics. I hope you enjoy it!

Full Leg Pants, Tank and Blazer
Reiss light camel full leg trousers (similar option) // white ribbed tank // necklace // pumps (another option) // belt // clutch // similar earrings

As much as I love the slim leg dress slacks we’ve been wearing the past few years – and will continue to wear – I don’t think there is anything more classic than a full leg trouser in a solid fabric with a beautiful drape. I purchased these Reiss light camel full leg trousers in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and they’re only available (at full price now) in one size. I sized up for a fairly roomy fit. Oh, and I had them hemmed at Nordstrom so I can wear them with low heels and platform sneakers (stay tuned!).

Wear a Classic Wardrobe and Look Modern

I grouped the classic wide leg trousers with a simple white tank and a fairly traditional black blazer (similar). And I completed the outfit with classic nude pumps (another option) and a clutch. But I think, for all the classic pieces I’ve gathered from my wardrobe here, this ensemble does indeed look up to date and quite chic. What do you think?

Wear a Classic Wardrobe and Look Modern

So what did I do to create a modern look with very traditional wardrobe essentials?

  1. I chose pants in a very of the moment silhouette. Yes, a full leg trouser is nothing new, but this silhouette is having a moment this year. So they are the clear modern choice. That’s not to say that, for instance, these slim leg pants wouldn’t look amazing here. Of course they would. But these full leg trousers are one of many modern “choices” you could make in an outfit like this.
Classic Wardrobe Modern Outfit
  1. I chose a base layer that is very modern and fresh. I could have worn a white button up shirt or even a t-shirt. But this scoop neck ribbed tank is so on point. Really, the key to creating a modern look with a classic wardrobe is to make at least a few on trend choices.
Pull the Outfit Together with a BeltPull the Outfit Together with a Belt
  1. I accessorized with a modern belt. Adding a belt elevates an outfit as it provides a little structure. Here I felt like a wide black belt with chunky, substantial hardware was the modern choice. I know that not everyone feels comfortable belting her outfit, but it’s worth trying (see this week’s YouTube video!) Especially if you wear the belt under a jacket or other topper, you really don’t have to be especially slender. And it’s a great way to achieve those desirable proportions.
Ad Modern Jewlery
  1. I added on trend, minimal jewelry. While layering multiple dainty chains is still very on trend, the most no-fail choice is to keep your jewelry simple. So when in doubt opt for a simple but substantial chunky gold chain and pared back earrings.
Keep the Overall Look Simple
  1. And finally I kept the overall aesthetic of the outfit very simple. Sure, you could add a scarf, a lapel pin, or colored shoes to this combination. But simple pairings are very much on trend. So when in doubt, keep it simple. Look at it this way, when you look back at this photo a few years from now, this outfit will still look timeless and on trend. A perfect combination of classic and modern.
Keep the Overall Look Simple
Reiss light camel full leg trousers (similar option) // white ribbed tank // necklace // pumps (another option) // belt // clutch // similar earrings

Thanks so much for stopping in today. Like I said, I’ll continue to share classic fall outfits from my closet (here and there) through the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy this series!

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xoxo, Kay
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8 thoughts on “How to Wear a Classic Wardrobe and Look Modern

  1. Beautiful! Classy and modern looking. Would definitely wear to church but unfortunately not many other places as everything is so casual now. You look great in this outfit though.

  2. Kay
    I love the chain necklace you are wearing. I work at Talbots in Overland Park. 😂😂 Do you have an alternate necklace that you would recommend that isn’t so heavy? If I purchased this necklace I would be taking it off after an hour or less.

  3. What a beautiful outfit Kay! I am loving your post more and more each week!❤️ I love post like this, can’t wait for more ! !😍

  4. Kay, you look beautiful and SO classy! I can’t wait to see the rest of this series. Your video this week was very informative and helpful. Thanks for all you do for us ❤️