After the inventory and purge in week one followed by the basic color palette foundation built in week two, we can now move into adding some colorful and patterned pieces to the mix. Jessica and Audrey both spend plenty of time covering this topic, so feel free to check out their useful resources to determine which additional pieces will work well for your style. With a simple variety of pieces now available, it’s time to get creative with the pieces we have.
My favorite way to play with my wardrobe certainly is layering. I love that layering adds depth and interest to any outfit. Matching or contrasting pieces can give so much character to an outfit. Advanced layering (a bit out of my league but something upon which I occasionally stumble) creates fabulous outfits. Here are a couple of my favorites that I loved:
Beyond being fun and fashionable, layers are very functional. Layers can help make pieces seasonless to stretch your closet across many seasons, and they can help transition items between style genres (from casual to corporate, for example).
Blazers, cardigans, and tights (my favorite layering staples) help turn summery skirts and dresses into fall and winter classics. While tights won’t touch my legs in the summer months, the blazers and cardigans also keep me toasty in the over air-conditioned offices all too popular in the summer months. I rely on my blazers for days when I want to look a bit more professional and pulled together. They add a notch more structure and polish to any outfit and a properly fitting blazer will nicely finish off many a frock for an important client meeting or presentation. I rely on my cardigans in the office for more casual days when the business casual dress code still reigns king but I know I can get away with a slightly more casual or comfortable look.
In the Remix It Up series post I shared a while back with this cobalt blue Tahari dress, you can see the beige blazer over the blue dress (bottom right) adds a more sophisticated touch than either the pink or yellow cardigans, both of which more the meet the definition of business casual conservative but don’t take my polish the extra mile.
Layering the red shirt over the dress entirely changes the appearance of the dress allowing me to utilize it as a skirt – more versatility! And as I mentioned earlier, layering the floral or green blouses underneath the dress creates an added dimension of interest and stretches the summery dress into spring or fall.
I didn’t wear tights in this particular remix because I completed it during Chicago’s very brief warm summer period (which I am beginning to think lasts for about 72 hours). But black or brown tights (and maybe double tights) easily make this dress suitable for even the coldest days of the long, frigid winters that slowly crawl through town, as I styled it previously on a much colder day.
A pair of tights makes just about any cool skirt or dress comfy and cozy for cold winter months (and they may be the least expensive item of clothing in my closet – a great bang for my buck!). I have several pairs of black and brown tights on which to fall back when I have already incorporated a wealth of color into my combination. But you may be able to sneak in a few fun colors if you’re in a corporate environment that isn’t too conservative. Colors like maroon, navy, forest green, or dark purple provide some creative freedom without screaming “stare at my legs” the minute you walk off the elevator. I tend to stick to bold and muted colors (as you can see below) because brighter colors, no matter how basic and toned down the rest of my outfit might be, would speak too loudly for my office. Each office will vary but traditional corporate offices operating under a business casual dress code won’t likely encourage bright pinks, cherry reds, and the like.
Depending on the climate in which you live, extending the life of clothes to various seasons may not be as applicable to your wardrobe. In my neck of the woods, where temperatures fluctuate over one hundred degrees throughout the year (likely the case in many of your current settings), stretching the pieces across seasons becomes imperative to stretching your budget and making the most of the wealth of clothes you likely already have residing in your closet.
Further, we can all benefit from finding ways to make a traditionally workwear piece functional on the weekends, or vice versa. Hopefully you can use some of your corporate chic gear to stretch into your casual and weekend looks!