Monday, May 21, 2012

Wardrobe Remix #1: The Blue Skirt

Last fall in Las Vegas I bought this skirt at Ann Taylor:

Similar from:

This is how I wore it that evening -- totally appropriate for dinner & a show.
Especially in November, when it is surprisingly cold in Las Vegas.


I had this ruffled, tiered top from White House Black Market with me, and could have worn that, but I didn't think the goosebumps would have made the top any sexier.  At home, I put this black blazer over it, which is a great look, especially for the office.  Unfortunately, I don't work in an office.

Once I got it home I didn't have anyplace swanky to wear it, so I tried a few things:

This was OK but nothing special

This was OK but also kind of boring (and also, the top is fairly sheer; I usually wear this under a sweater).  I like it a lot more with the red denim jacket, which is nice because before I actually put them together I would have been worried that the red & blue together would be a little too Fourth of July.

Charlotte created these two looks, mainly based on the baubles she found in my possessions that she wanted to play with.  The top is from Loft and has a bubble hem and flower appliques around the neckline that make it a much more interesting alternative than it appears in these pictures.  But what's inspired about putting a white t-shirt with a royal blue knit skirt?

Unless you do it this way... 
White denim topper, white tank, fine gold accessories 
(except the fancy rhinestone watch that my style advisor Charlotte couldn't resist), and choice of shoes.
Really, any shoes would have worked with this, it's so simple and accommodating.

(Similar white denim jacket at Piperlime; mine is from CAbi, not available this year)
And by the way, I should try this jacket over that tiered top that I can't wear to the office where I don't work.

But it was when I started getting a little more adventurous with putting things together that I began to really fall in love with how versatile the skirt could be.  Suddenly this bright blue color that seemed like such a statement by itself when I got it in Vegas becomes more of a neutral.


This is a top I got from the Anthropologie sale room maybe a year and a half ago (so it would have been current two years ago, I guess) I love the giant-size print and the range of colors that make it so multi-season.  There are several shoe options, of course (I showed a lot of restraint only accessorizing it with three pairs).  The Toms wedges (similar available at Nordstrom) in the center are actually striped, which looks kind of trendy with the big print, but it's so fine that it reads as a neutral.  I loved how it worked with the little stripes of light tan in the top.  

The varying options on the shoes & accessories shows how the look can be adjusted for the seasons, with the picture on the right showing a great early fall option -- toss a denim jacket or brown blazer over it to accommodate chilly mornings or evenings -- and the one on the left working well for spring or summer with the brighter colors.  I'm on the fence about the blue shoes with this skirt -- they are a much dimmer color than the picture shows, not exactly navy and definitely not a royal.  But I think they'd be a better evening option than the Toms, which I would wear for toodling around in the daytime because they're so comfortable.  (Brown Clarks sandals)

This black & white sweater from White House Black Market has a tighter waist on the black banded section with a looser, dolman fit on the striped portion.  Here I chose three different accessorizing options to show how one top can dress up and down.  To the left here, I use the same coral bead necklace and gold pendant from Stella & Dot to dress up the striped sweater & blue skirt.  The patent leather slingback sandals make it a little more restrained; the polka dot & floral wedges make it more playful.  Sitting at a restaurant the look would be basically the same, so I would probably make my choice based on the outing and the time of day, with the crazy wedges making a daytime look.

This would probably be my default, "I took very little effort" look.  The sandals are super comfy and the pendant stays pretty much out of the way.  (Thanks to my friend Jami for the adorable wine-cork pendant!)  Although it doesn't take a lot of imagination to put a black & white striped top with a colorful bottom, it's at least a little more interesting than two solids together, and the strappy sandals are sleek and just enough above flip-flops to still be casual without being too much.  This is a great coffee-at-the-playground outfit.

Tucked or untucked? Belt or no belt? 
(for the record, Charlotte prefers the belted version)

This is my personal favorite: bright pink cardigan, flowered top, bright pink shoes.  You can not put on an outfit like this and spend the day scowling.  This one I'll probably wear the very next time I get dressed.

The ideas that came together above pertained to my ordinary life here in the Bay Area, which generally includes school runs, grocery shopping, a little bit of volunteer work at our schools and the church, and my work with the Write On, Mamas!  For my usual rounds, I like to look put together, like I made an effort (I find it makes me more efficient when I feel nicely dressed), but I don't always have or make the time to put on make up or even very much in the way of accessories.

Once a year, though, we make our family pilgrimage to the East Coast, and besides the difference in climates, there is a difference in level of dress necessary for each location that we visit.

Hilton Head:
Striped tank top, hippy necklace & earrings,
thong sandals
North Georgia:
White tank top, black & white striped ruffle bolero,
vintage silver necklace and strappy sandals

Then of course there's something just fun just for kicking around the house.
John Lennon's is the yellow face.  

So happy closet-diving!  The outfits I made here depended on the shape and length of my particular skirt, but any of these would also look good with skinny jeans (or boot-cut, if you can find them) in cobalt, or a fuller-style skirt.  I could just as easily have pulled these same ensembles together using the similarly-shaped kelly green skirt in my closet, as well.  Some would look great with a cobalt maxi as well.  The point is to play with what you've got.  I learned a ton from actually hauling the clothes out of my closet and putting outfits together.  There were a few outfits that I thought I'd try that Charlotte & I just shuddered when we looked at them; a few that were just too boring to be worth going forward.  There was a lot more I could have done with this skirt, which I would not have believed before I started this project.  In fact, I had so much fun that the concept of "shopping my closet" has completely changed for me.  

Please note that I'm providing links to similar just in case... but what I'd love you to do is to actually apply this method to your own closet and see what speaks to you that never spoke before.

Is there a piece in your closet that you really like but can't seem to wear very often?  We can do something with that!  Post a description below and we'll make some time to play with it.

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