I’ve been leaning into my fall wardrobe building with joy this year. The last two years of life changes have culminated and I feel like I’m emerging as a brand new person. I’m deeply enjoying the process of mindfully rebuilding my wardrobe for my present life and body, feeling grateful that I have the opportunity to do it. However, I’ve also been taking note when I feel like I’m crossing into over-shopping territory.
Shopping and over-shopping will have different definitions from person to person (and even my own definition changes regularly!). But overall, for me, I know I’m starting to over-shop when it’s starting to get the better of my emotions, time, money, and values.
Anytime I feel that, I step back from Instagram, from email subscriptions, from any shopping triggers — and I start styling what I already have.
Because often, when I feel the urge to shop more and more and more, what I really want is the feeling of having a great, versatile wardrobe that I love. And getting that feeling of a great wardrobe is more about learning to style and less about buying more and more.
Once I get into my wardrobe and play with what I already have, I start to find combinations I haven’t tried yet, and suddenly my wardrobe seems to expand exponentially. It’s exciting!
So today I’m styling this structured white button down from Tradlands into five different looks. I’m into their thick, structured, wrinkle-resistant fabric, and I sized up (from my usual M at Tradlands to a L) to get more of an oversized look. If you’re eyeing it, Tradlands was generous enough to give Unfancy readers a 20% off their purchase with code FIVE.
Let’s jump in and get down to the outfits:
Styling notes | I started with a simple formula: a white button down and jeans. We’ve all seen it before, so I added some interest with an unusual shoe — cream booties. Cream is a basic color for a top or a sweater, but for a shoe it becomes a subtle statement because it’s just a little less common. To finish the look, I added a cream belt. (Still love a good set of matching accessories!) And that’s it — no other accessories, no jewelry. Just a white button down and jeans paired with an unusual shoe color.
Styling Notes | I like this look, but it’s a little less wearable for my every day life to be honest. I’ve sort of gotten off the mini skirt train — for now at least — and prefer a midi length instead. Even still, I like the styling here, especially the way the rich brown skirt is bookended with white sneakers and a white button down.
Styling notes | For this look, I wanted to soften this structured shirt and make it feel cozier. So again, I started with my simple formula of a white button down and jeans. Then I added a chunky, oversized cardigan. And, well, that’s it! :) No overthinking, no overstyling — just adding a cozy top layer to a basic outfit formula. A lovely reminder that styling need not be over the top or groundbreaking to work.
Styling notes | Ah I think this is my favorite look of the bunch! Yet again, I started with my simple formula of a white button down paired with jeans. However, I wanted to play with proportion and shape, so I added this long, slightly structured chore coat. Then, since I love repeating colors in an outfit, I finished the look with a pair of woven mules in the same tone as the chore coat. It makes for an outfit that I L O V E. It’s distinctive and interesting without being zany. I could wear this outfit every day and be happy.
Styling notes | When I try to style the same piece multiple different ways, there’s always at least one look that ends up being outside of my style comfort zone — and this was it! It’s a little hard to see in the photos, but I unbuttoned my shirt much lower than I usually do, and then let a pretty black lace bralette peek out. To keep things casual, I finished the look with black jeans, a black belt, and black slides. While it’s a little bold for me, it’s a look I’m feelin’. While I wouldn’t consider this an everyday outfit, I’d definitely keep it in mind for the right time and place.
• • •
So how about you? Are you in the mood to do a little styling? Here are a few tips:
- Start with an easy piece. | Often we want to grab the piece in our closet we have no idea what to do with. But that can lead to frustration. Instead, start with an easy piece and let your successes help you build momentum for that difficult piece.
- Keep numbers out of it. | I shared 5 ways to style one piece today, but sometimes it’s best to remove the number from your own styling session. Imposing arbitrary numbers can frustrate the whole practice. It doesn’t matter if you find 5 or 2 or 10 ways to style one piece — consider each new outfit a win.
- Each outfit does not have to be groundbreaking, inventive, or radically different. | Remember how most of my outfits featured the exact same jeans and shirt combination? Styling doesn’t have to be so groundbreaking — release that pressure. Sure it’s fun to try pushing the boundaries with your clothes, like styling a dress as a top or styling a coat as a dress. But the most important thing is creating an outfit that you like and would actually wear.
So tell me, do you ever calm a shopping urge by styling items in your own closet? Are there any specific indicators that pop up in your life when you’re shopping more than feels appropriate to you? What else helps you get the most out of the clothes you already have?