Sorry for the lack of post yesterday; I stayed home sick and spent the day in my grubbies. Thankfully the cold I felt coming on didn't quite materialize, so I'm back on my feet today.
Today's outfit was built around this little snakeskin-pattern minidress that I found at a thrift store about a month ago; this is the first time I've worn it. I knew I needed a layer underneath, but quickly eliminated anything loose-fitting, lest my outfit end up looking like something from Eileen Fischer, god forbid. Intending this outfit to be a mix of neutrals, I started with a layer of basic black: cabled knit leggings by Kersh and drape-neck tank from Sunhee Moon. I added this khaki button-down top by Susina to lighten up the outfit, and put some more browns into the mix with this faux-croc belt, Bata boots, and Lucky bag. I realize the colors are tough to see in the pictures; the contrast is much more obvious in real life. Wearing this little minidress with boots makes me feel a bit like Peter Pan.
I thought today I'd share a few tips on building outfits. I always struggled with putting together very polished-looking ensembles, and it's really only in recent years that I've developed any confidence in my abilities. Here's the strategy that works best for me:
1. Allot some time to the process. I usually set aside time on Sunday or Monday evening to plan my outfits for the next several days. I start by checking the forecast so that I'll have a rough idea of what items I'll have to work with. If I try to throw together an outfit in the morning when I'm in a rush, the creativity will most certainly be stymied.
2. Get in the right frame of mind. Again, this is a creative process. If you're feeling stressed out or bad about the way your body looks, it will severely impair your ability to put together interesting looks. Sometimes I have to quit and come back to it later if I'm not in the right mood. I think that looking forward to this weekly ritual and having fun with it is at least half the recipe for success.
3. Set the stage. Sometimes this can help with item #2. I start by putting on some fun music and mixing myself a cocktail. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like a little alcohol. Not too much, though, or else you can end up with creations that you're not brave enough to wear when sober. Trust me, I know about this.
4. Pick a starting point. I'll either pull out an underutilized item, start with something new that I haven't worn yet, pick one of my favorites, or build on a combination I've discovered randomly. Sometimes an idea will hit me when I'm reading another blog or out shopping or whatever; I usually write these down and end up with little scraps of paper in my closet that say things like, "orange dress + turtleneck" or, "purple top, green pants." I'll pull these out when it's time to plan the week's outfits. Another strategy is to mark photos as favorites on Wardrobe Remix, or to bookmark pages from style blogs and the like, and consult those before beginning.
5. Try anything and everything. I take my starting item and hold it up it next to other things in my closet, including things I don't think it'll go with. It helps if everything is visible and easily accessed, rather than being buried in a drawer or under a pile of other clothes. Sometimes I'll find a good combination right away, and sometimes it takes several tries. The point is to keep experimenting; after all, you've allotted yourself the time to do this, right?
6. Accessorize. Once I have the basics together, then I start playing with additional layers and accessories. Is a necklace interesting enough or does the outfit require the additional texture and pattern that a scarf can contribute? Is my waist well-defined or do I need a belt or a vest? Can I make the outfit cuter by adding a hat? Can I add a little splash of color with a different pair of shoes? Generally it's the accessories that elevate an outfit from good to great, and that allow unlikely color combinations to make sense.
7. Save! Once I have my outfit assembled I hang everything together, including nylons, jewelry, handbag, and whatever else. I will most certainly forget something if I trust it to the caffeine-deprived, groggy state I'm in every morning.
I hope someone out there finds this helpful!