I never purchase an item intending to only wear it once. If I’m spending my hard-earned cash on clothing, I plan to get multiple wears out of it. That said, every outfit I wear is captured on social media, so I’m sensitive to wearing the same outfits over and over. In this very social world no one wants to be seen at different events with the same outfit. My fix for repeating items is to mix and match them into as many different looks as possible.
When I have a hard day of work ahead a special outfit is needed to conquer it. Avoid the “I don’t have anything to wear” feeling by starting with one item to build around. I usually choose something that 1) I haven’t worn in awhile 2) the weather calls for 3) the temperature just changed enough to allow for its wear 4) a particular item is on my mind or 5) inspiration struck! Regardless of the scenario, the common factor is that I love the chosen item. This is needed to build an amazing outfit!
Now that you have your one item to build around, use these seven tips to mix and match based on what’s already in your closet. Start building new outfits you’ll love.
Dress up and dress down
I chose a field jacket to start with because it’s one of the most versatile items in my closet and a great layering option on days when the weather report calls for a massive temperature fluctuation. The obvious pairing is casual, usually with jeans. I wanted to create a more office-appropriate look, so I dressed it up with an all black look and heels. This outfit feels chic and effortless, and I feel great in it. Think of your own layering pieces that you only wear with jeans. How can you pair those items for a fancier look?
Stick with the same color family
Through the brutal cold of winter, sweaters are the only way to go. It’s so easy to get stuck in the sweat-and-jeans rut, so I tried to come up with unique pairings to keep it interesting. I started with the pale pink sweater and was pleasantly surprised with the darker pink combo. Take it one step further by also committing to shoes in the same color family! Also consider going completely monochrome. All blacks or all whites are so chic.
Expand your neutrals
It’s so easy to always jump to blue jeans or black pants when needing to pair up a top. In this case, I started with the sweater. My birthday happened to fall on one of the chilliest days of the year, so I needed to wear my warmest turtleneck, but I still wanted it to be special. White jeans match well with light grey and really gave my birthday a little extra umph while staying warm.
Create colorful combinations
When you’re starting with a colorful piece, it’s natural to automatically jump right to neutral pairings. However, some colors are automatic winning combinations and should be embraced. Magenta (obviously) is one of my favorites. Bright pinks pair well with navy. Similarly, olive green goes well with light pinks. I’ve been on the lookout for a burnt orange top to pair with my maroon pants. If you start with an item in a bright hue, what colorful combinations can you come up with?
Wear more than one pattern
My obsession with stripes is very apparent. One reason is that stripes are as versatile as a neutrals. When I was trying to come up with outfits around this loud, polka dot skirt, they all included a white top. Then I considered mixing the dots with stripes, resulting in a winning combination. Stripes are also complementary with florals and other patterns--experiment and have fun with it!
Don’t let seasonality dictate
During the colder months, it’s easy to put your dresses and skirts into hibernation for obvious bare leg reasons. However, if they pair well with tights, add some cold weather options and you’re set! Items that work for every season are some of my most prized closet possessions because I get the most wears out of them.
Start with a shoe
As a shoe gal, the majority of my outfits start from the feet. The footwear sets the whole tone of an outfit. I remember being very hesitant about purchasing shoes outside of the neutral color group for fear of not getting enough wears out of them. My green suede booties were my first leap into colored footwear, and I’m so happy I did it. By starting with a bold colored shoe, the rest of the outfit can be quite plain and still very sassy. I find shoe-first days the easiest to style and some of my favorite outfits. Go ahead, buy the colorful shoes you’ve been eyeing!
If you’re still thinking you have nothing to wear, go shopping--but with these mixing and matching tips in mind. Fill your closet with color, patterns and neutrals that allow to you gain additional pairings for your favorite pieces. Remember to start with an item you love for successful mixing and matching results.
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