even prior to “new normal”, there was a renewed emphasis placed on slow fashion and shopping your closet. the idea is simple: cut down on shopping by reusing and recycling what we already have. that can be difficult, as many if not most of us are not involved in the fashion world full-time. over the years one of the purposes of this blog has been to provide classic style inspiration that never goes out of style. just this past week, we’ve talked about my top 6 American classic must have’s and 10 classic essentials that transition to spring. my hope is that posts like these will help you establish a classic wardrobe full of timeless items that can be reused well into the future. with that in mind, today, we’re going to talk how to shop your closet. we’re going to start by picking a target outfit. i’m going to show you what i came up with, and walk you through the process step-by-step with reference outfits i’ve featured over the past few years. and if find yourself looking for more inspiration, be sure to checkout my new YouTube video, posted below.
whether it’s a friend, fashion blogger, celebrity or someone else, pick an inspiration outfit. that’ll be your target outfit and serve as a reference point for you when you go to shop your closet.
i’ve chosen one of my personal fashion mavens the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. i’ve loved her style for a long time and featured it many times across my socials. here’s my target look for today.
let’s break her outfit down.
and now for what i came up with, just shopping my closet. pretty close, right? blazer, shirt, and denim are pretty spot on. belt is close, but the wedges are pretty different. so let’s talk through how i arrived at this outfit.
i’m a big believer in building a timeless, classic wardrobe. and any such wardrobe is going to be replete with the basics. if you’re looking for guidance on how to construct one from the ground up or retool the one you have, i’ve got you covered. over the years i’ve put together a back to basics series.
all of the items in Kate Middleton’s outfit are classics that i’ve accumulated some variation of over the years and featured on the blog. let’s walk through each step-by-step with pictures from my archive.
a gingham shirt. such a classic. so preppy. one of my favorites. just like many of the above looks, i’ve brought in a brown belt as a cute little accent piece. notice the block-heeled sandals i’m wearing. they give this outfit just a bit more sophisticated elegance than it normally would have. love.
if you have followed me for any length of time you know i regularly sing the praises of the mighty blazer. my personal style is decidedly preppy and the blazer is the cornerstone of preppy style. having a few blazers in your closet is not excessive at all! see how i’ve styled dark blazers over the years.
roughly speaking, the “wash” of a jean refers to the extent to which a pair of denim has undergone a washing and treatment process prior to sale. again, roughly speaking, that washing and treatment process affects the color and softness of a pair of denim. below, i’ve put together a scale of various washes beginning with “raw denim” and ending with “bleach wash”. raw denim is very stiff, dark and has not been washed to soften and remove dye, whereas bleach washed denim is very soft and light, as most of the dye has been stripped away. most of us are probably going to stick in the rinse-to-light wash region of the below scale, but some of us may deviate to either end of the spectrum.
raw denim < rinse wash < mid wash < light wash < bleach wash
i’m such a big believer in dark denim. dress it up. dress it down. it’s probably the most flexible wash of denim you could own. see how i’ve styled it over the years.
wedges are wonderful. perfect for spring and summer. here’s a few ways i’ve styled the same pair of wedges over the years. remember, though, my pair of wedges didn’t match Kate’s at all. we’ll get to that in a moment.
ok. so, we started with a target outfit. we broke it down. and a trip down memory lane revealed that i’ve purchased many comparables to that outfit throughout the years. if you’ve worked to construct a classic wardrobe built on the basics, shopping your closet becomes a lot more doable. blazer? check. white tee? check. dark denim? check. a pair of brown loafers? check. and on and on and on. easy enough, right? not so fast. i’m under no illusion that this exercise is really this straightforward. so let’s dig a little deeper.
oftentimes, after you’ve picked out your target outfit, you’ll realize that you have some similars but they’re in a totally different color. or maybe your jeans are in a different cut. or maybe, well, you get the idea. don’t let things like the “wrong” color scheme throw you off. target outfits are inspirations only. we’re not going for a 1-1 match per se. ultimately, we’re just looking for new ways to wear our old items.
in re-fashioning our target outfit today, we could’ve just as easily swapped Kate’s gingham shirt for a solid. we could’ve kept the dark denim, but instead of a blue-on-blue blazer/shirt combo gone with red-on-red or black-on-red or red-on-black or, well, again you get the idea.
don’t be afraid to get creative. don’t be afraid to swap out pieces liberally as needed. that’s exactly what i did with the wedges. i didn’t have an identical pair, but i did have a pair that worked in the context of the outfit. and swapping out my wedge’s for Kate’s put a new, albeit slight, spin on the outfit. but it works.
shopping your closet doesn’t mean you’re never going to buy new items for your wardrobe again. of course. but going through the exercise of identifying target outfits serves as a forcing function to shop your closet and to determine what exactly you’re missing—what gaps exist. shopping your closet in the way outlined here will make you a smarter shopper in general, because it will help you avoid redundancies in your shopping. you’ll know whether you have a classic blazer or not. and if you do, you can focus on obtaining the pieces that you don’t. seems simple, right? it’s not. being an organized and focused shopper takes work, but it’s my hope that today’s how to shop your closet will help you become a better shopper in the long run.
even with everything that’s going on, we’re continuing to show up for you in both new and familiar ways. i guess you’d say the blog is social distancing at its best. right?! yesterday we brought you a beautiful spring outfit featuring a lavender poncho. but today, i wanted to mix things up a bit. since i’ve committed to classic fashion since way back when (can you believe it was during my teenage years?), i love to trot out oldies but goodies. there’s something comforting about slipping into a favorite outfit especially during trying times. a comfy outfit is like comfort food to me. and believe you me, i would wear either of these OOTDs in a heartbeat today especially when working from home. so here it is. timeless classics: stripes, plaids, and blue jeans.
when i’m looking for a little bit of cozy and a little bit of light and i’m certainly looking for both these days i always head to the classics. and what’s better than stripes, blue jeans, plaid and a pair of chucks that always have that too cool for school vibe? they’re like old friends that i never tire of. this photo set was taken on the streets of San Francisco with mr. style behind the lens. a few may be blurry…but hey, that was a part of our learning curve and i wouldn’t trade them for anything.
the second photo set was also taken on the streets of San Francisco just a block or two away from our apartment. i cannot even believe mr. style and i moved over four years ago to set up life in Athens, GA. best decision ever!
sweaters have been always been a go-to for me. again, there’s something comforting and cozy about a cardigan, crew neck or v-neck, and give me a turtleneck at any time of year. sleeveless turtlenecks are a favorite during the summer months but animal print looks fantastic 365 days a year. don’t forget that accessories like jewelry, belts, and shoes add that little something extra to any outfit.
hello, monday! it’s the last week of january, ladies (can you believe it?!), and we are kicking this week off in easy black and white style. all this month we’ve been talking about the basics, in weekly installments of back to the basics on the sunday brief. you can check out yesterday’s post on outerwear. and catch up on the rest of the series: tops and bottoms.
another topic this month has been new beginnings: refreshing and rejuvenating our lives for the new decade. we have talked about the many ways to do this, from diet and exercise to a closet cleanse. and i have shared tours of my home – hopefully, to inspire you to look at ways to change up the decor in your home to reflect your personality and create a comfortable place for you and your family. in case you missed any of my home tours you can find them here: living room, home office, home gym, and my custom closet.
outfit of the day: classic black and white
today’s outfit is tried and true: always in style and always classic. the top was last seen tucked underneath a gorgeous houndstooth coatigan. but it’s a star in its own right. and we all know that black pants are a wardrobe staple. having a classic straight-cut black pant means you can mix it with a white top that is as timeless as a classic button-up, or you can try an on-trend style that incorporates something unique. this not only keeps your black and white ensemble current, but it is a fun way to add some pizazz.
my white top today has details that are easily classic as well as on-trend. the sleeve has a running stripe for contrast, which circles the wrist and creates a beautiful, light ruffle at the wrist of the sleeve. throw a blazer or a coat over this top and the wrist ruffle would be a beautiful accent to the end of the blazer sleeve.
and of course, a black and white outfit is the perfect canvas for animal print. i opted for leopard print loafer flats (old, similar here) – perfect for the office. i love the contrast of color and texture when i wear animal print with a straight forward color palette like black and white.
reach for the basics
when monday rolls around, the last thing you want to do is wonder what to wear. starting your week off with a chic black and white outfit will take the guesswork out of what to wear. and when you have the right basics in your closet, putting your outfit together only gets easier. and who doesn’t want that on a monday? start your week on a high note, think black and white!
as we say goodbye to january, we will finish strong with more about the fashion basics, with more tips and tricks to energize our healthy lifestyles, and a great recipe to end the week on fridays with oscar. stay tuned to the blog in february – we have so many fun and exciting things coming up! have a great start to your week, ladies!
2016 saw big changes at Style at a Certain Age. the blog relocated from San Francisco, CA to Athens, GA. some of you scratched your head as to why. but i can assure you it was the right decision. mr. style loved, loved, loved Athens, and i do too. it’s such an easy city to live in, and there’s lot’s going on on any given day from the amazing Georgia Bulldogs football team to a vibrant arts and entertainment scene thanks to the Classic Center. my book club attended David Sedaris in early December. Travis Tritt is making a pitstop in Athens as well as Jerry Seinfeld. but the smash-hit Waitress is coming to town, and the event list goes on and on. but let’s not forget Oscar now has a yard to call his own. i’d say Athens was and is a win all the way around for the Djalali’s!
instead of the streets of San Franciso as the backdrop to our photos, the streets of Athens came alive in 2016. and every now and again we traveled to Hilton Head, Savannah, Atlanta, and Charleston
early in 2016, i shared my style formula with you. it’s an outfit that can be put together at a moment’s notice to step out the door armed with confidence. dark rinse denim, a flowy silk blouse, tweed blazer, and pumps. add a few pearls or your favorite gemstone and a bold shade of red lipstick. how easy is that?
shirtdress season was a hit in large part because a shirtdress is a versatile wardrobe staple that can be worn solo or popped over a pair of cigarette pants. this olive green shirtdress if from Eileen Fisher but take a look at similar dresses here, here and here. denim jackets look great with anything and everything, and they’re the perfect third layer when temps are chilly.
summer neutrals was a big hit as it showcased a classic color combo i reach for time and again – gray, camel, and white. these colors are perfect any time of year, including summer. add leopard accessories and your style game is strong. i’m also a big fan of tortoise, whether it’s a pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses or bracelets. they say the devil is in the details, and i quite agree.
even though i’m classic style through and through i still keep my outfits on-trend and current. who wants to get in a style rut and look stodgy? said no woman ever! so the pops of pattern post showed how to pattern mix the classic way. take a simple button-down shirt and pair it was a jazzy print. either a skirt or pants will work with this style formula. take your pick. add a pair of nude pumps, a classic cardigan, a few fun accessories, and you’re good to go.
here’s another style formula i rely on – denim, sweater, and a moto jacket. and y’all love the post rockin’ robin. what’s easier than adding a silk scarf for a pop of color? there are so many variations to this outfit – classic cap toe shoes or booties, blue denim or black, crewneck or turtleneck – so pick your favorites and tweak the outfit to your liking. style is always about your personal preferences, so go have FUN!
all right, gang, that’s a wrap for 2016. tomorrow we’ll tackle 2017. before we go, we compiled a few more posts from 2016 for a little style inspiration. let me know which post struck a chord with you. happy wednesday, ladies. it’s time to put a smile on someone’s face, including yours.
today, i’m traveling down memory lane. at the end of the year, it’s next to impossible not to take a moment and reflect on the previous twelve months. and we’ll be sharing a fun series in the next week or two as we wrap up another year and another decade. can you believe it, ladies? in a few short weeks, 2020 will be knocking on our door. so we thought it would be fun to share the top outfits of the decade starting with 2015 all the way through 2019. it’s been a fun project flipping through old blog photos! sometimes, i slap my forehead and wonder what the heck i was thinking. but, hey, it’s fashion. it’s totally okay to make a mistake. that’s how we grow and continue to streamline our style. but i couldn’t resist sharing this photo set that was taken at the inception of the blog. if you can believe it, the photos remain a Pinterest favorite. not long ago, i shared this pic on Instagram, and it was a hit over there too. do you know why this outfit has staying power? it’s classic through and through.
there’s no denying that a simple ootd is sometimes the best ootd (outfit of the day). what’s better than a chunky turtleneck and blue jeans? especially this time of year. and you can amp up your style game by slipping a plaid flannel shirt underneath.
i know, i know, some of us loathe distressed jeans, and some of us love them. personally, i think they add FUN to an outfit. and we all need a playful side of our wardrobe. no matter what age. but whatever your opinion is of distressed jeans, we know that different styles of denim come and go. but we also know blue jeans are here to stay. amen! they’re a wardrobe staple. and they were born and bred here in the USA, thanks to Levi Strauss.
so what are the key components of a classic outfit? wardrobe staples that have staying power like a chunky turtleneck similar here, here and here . for an oversized look, i’ll jump up one size. plaid shirts similar here, here and here are a perennial fall/winter favorite year after year. and cap toe flats similar here, here, and here are a classic staple thanks to the infamous Coco Chanel.
all right, ladies, another sunday is in the books. there are only two more left in 2019. i hope you’re all enjoying these precious last days of the decade. let’s make every minute count.