“It’s not what you wear, but what you wear with what,” said British Vogue back in 1955, a sentiment that still very much holds true today. But while it alludes to the secret to being well dressed, for me it also has another equally important connotation. If you feel a huge sense of boredom when you open your wardrobe, and are tempted to think that by simply throwing everything out and starting again you will solve the problem, there may well be a much faster, less costly and more fun way to fall back in love with your clothes, and it’s ‘what you wear with what’ that can hold the key.
In this time-poor age, it’s particularly easy to fall into the habit of wearing the same outfits over and over again, and replacing current clothes with new buys is often seen as the quickest and easiest way to inject some excitement back into your wardrobe. But it may not actually be the individual pieces that are leaving you feeling uninspired and underwhelmed. You may simply be stuck in a styling rut.
Adopting a fresh approach to getting dressed, rather than sticking to the same well-worn outfits, can work wonders on a seemingly tired wardrobe. So before you start new-season shopping, why not take a look at your current clothes and try transforming how you see them, and yourself, with these tried and tested styling hacks…
Rearrange your wardrobe.
We tend to be creatures of habit. By rearranging your wardrobe and swapping the prime positions around you will be forced to look at things differently.
Don’t hang clothes in outfits.
While hanging clothes in outfits is often cited as a great way to save time when getting dressed, it will also stop you from considering pairing the individual pieces with anything else.
One shirt, three ways.
Focus on the details.
Even the smallest tweaks can change the overall look of an outfit and experimenting with proportions can make a huge difference to your look.
Cuffing trousers, pushing up sleeves, the way you tuck a shirt or layer different pieces together will all create new silhouettes.
Toughen up a floral piece with some black leather.
You can change the look of an item by what you choose to pair with it. For example, styling a floral dress with a leather biker jacket or thigh high black boots will create a completely different sartorial statement than if you wear it with a fluffy woollen cardigan and dainty ballet flats.
Transform a dress into an of-the-moment tunic.
Repurpose and restyle.
The trend for wearing dresses over trousers is a great example of how to make the most of your clothes. Dresses can make great tunics, and buttoned jackets can be worn as tops or, if you’re happy to show off your legs, even alone! Don’t be constricted by conventions.
Avoid saving anything for best.
Owning specific items of eveningwear is now a thing of the past for many of us, and we’re much more likely today to dress up an item of daywear for a night out. But if you do have certain pieces that you save for best, think about doing the opposite. Can you work them into your everyday wardrobe?
And finally, study the styling techniques in fashion editorials and advertising campaigns, and also look at how people you come across day to day have put their outfits together. If you see something you like, can you replicate it with your current clothes? Unlike copying what someone else is wearing, which is never a good idea, copying how an outfit is put together is a great way to get more mileage from your wardrobe. Look at the individual elements and experiment. There’s no right or wrong.
Spending time playing with pieces you already own is more likely to give you a want-to-wear wardrobe than simply throwing individual items away and replacing them. You’ll undoubtedly surprise yourself with the number of outfits you didn’t know you had. And when you do buy something new, whatever you do, don’t immediately rip off the sales tags. Make sure you take advantage of the store’s return policy and set aside some time before it expires to style your new find with what you already own, to see if it really is worth the investment.
Author: Julie Hurst