Need some quick tricks to “look put together” for work or school the next day and never have to stare blankly at a wardrobe that feels tired, old and worthless? When all you want is to fall asleep with the satisfaction of knowing you have a fabulous outfit put together for your meeting or date the next day, here are some handy tips to put a fresh twist on some old wardrobe staples.
This is one of my favorite ways to make an old dress feel new again (by turning it into a “skirt,” that is). Shop for dresses with a “how can I add layers to this to wear it differently?” mentality and I guarantee you’ll start to see dresses like the multi-use gems they can really be. Take a cute sweater that hits you right at the waist and throw it on over a dress that’s either a sheath — if you want to go more French-chic with it — or an A-line.
The trick with putting a sweater on over an A-line dress is to make sure the sweater and the waist of the dress match up well. You don’t want a sweater that bunches too far below the natural waist of the dress or you’ll end up looking shapeless.
Okay, lets talk about your outerwear game. We all have impulse purchases in there that we aren’t quite sure how to work into our regular wardrobe. I went through a phase where I was obsessed with Chanel-inspired coats — you know, with the shiny threads and frayed edges? So I got a mid-length Chanel-esque coat and then struggled with how to wear it without looking corny. Then one fall day I took my favorite pair of boyfriend jeans, a white tee and my Chuck Taylors and threw the coat on over the look. When I tell you it changed my life…
A few years back (maybe 4-5 years ago) there was this huge resurgence in dickie collars and they became (albeit, questionably at first) socially acceptable and borderline “cool” accessories. For those of you who aren’t familiar, see here. Anyways Forever 21, H&M and all the fashion-y-est of stores began carrying them in all kinds of cool studded styles and that’s when my baby love affair began. These offer an amazingly easy way to breathe fresh life into old crew neck sweaters and — you guessed it — even dresses. I favor peter pan collars and stud details of any sort, but with the variety out there, you’re sure to find what speaks to you and compliments your wardrobe best. And number 2: turtlenecks are the best.Winter.Wardrobe.Staple.Ever. Throw one of these babies on under a light summer dress and you’ve got yourself what I like to call a Winter Winner.
Here is Chris (left) in a summer dress with a turtleneck underneath, floppy hat, and high boots to winterize it:
You know the pair. The dark wash, skinny jeans you wear every chance you get to be out of your work attire. But you’re bored with your regular-old-jeans-and-cute-top routine…am I right or am I right? We present to you the alternative: Pull out that pair of summer cut offs and pair them with some tights and a blouse (something of the silky/collared variety works well) and your most tried-and-true blazer friend. Here we’ve got a whole new way to do denim dressy-casual. Don’t forget it’s all in how you work the shoes and accessories; you can easily vamp this up with sky high lace up booties or cahj it down with ballerina flats and a boho bag. Celebrity Stylist and Designer Niki Schwan offered up some advice on the topic saying “My favorite thing to do is rework a great favorite blazer, which can be fantastic in the work place when worn dressier, into a more casual denim look…Pairing a blazer with denim shorts [tights] and a blouse is the fashion forward way to ‘re-work’ the blazer this season.”
Take a page straight out of Vogue and work that pencil skirt that you thought was reserved for collared button downs and pointy-toe pumps out of the office and wear it with a casual twist. I love a chunky/cozy cardigan that hits below my butt, a cotton tank top tucked in and flats. Or — another alternative that makes me feel like I should be roaming the streets of Pah-ree buying fancy cheeses and being photographed by The Sartorialist — a cropped sweater and cute sneakers with a big floppy clutch.
Now obviously — more or less — the number one rule here is: make sure the length of the dress is shorter than the skirt going over it! I’ve found that this wardrobe trick works beautifully with the midi skirt (those longer skirts that hit you right at mid calf) trend that’s still going strong. Pick out a cute, too-sexy-for-work bodycon dress — perhaps one with particularly nice details/embellishments on top, but please! Not one with a deep, plunging v or completely bare back (unless you’re layering up with a cardigan or blazer or are wearing the look outside of work) — and pick a more demure, longer skirt to layer on top. Voila! You’ve got a new top that’s easy to tuck in and not as annoying as those grown-up onesie tops. Just say no to awkward tops that lead to wedgies.
My favorite way to layer unexpectedly is with my outerwear. If you have a fur (faux or real!) vest or any vest with texture, they can certainly add dimension to a coats you’re just plain sick of. As the weather gets warmer and we move into spring, experiment with layering vests over blazers or lighter jackets, too!