(Hi friends! The fall 10×10 is in full swing, but here on the blog I’m taking a quick break to share some more fall styling ideas.)
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:
Shirt (conscious, gifted, 20% off with code FIVE) | Belt | Jeans | Shoes (conscious) (similar boots under $160) (similar boots under $70)
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.
Shirt (conscious, gifted, 20% off with code FIVE) | Skirt (old, linked to similar) | Sneakers (conscious) | Earrings (conscious)
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.
Shirt (conscious, gifted, 20% off with code FIVE) | Cardigan (color: camel) | Jeans
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.
Shirt (conscious, gifted, 20% off with code FIVE) | Chore coat (conscious) | Jeans | Mules (conscious)
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.
Shirt (conscious, gifted, 20% off with code FIVE) | Bralette (old, linked to similar) | Belt | Necklace (vintage, linked to similar) | Jeans (conscious) | Shoes (old, linked to similar)
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?
Ashlea milligan | clothedingold.com says
beautiful, beautiful, beautiful – as always
Hi Caroline – do you cut the hems off your jeans yourself? They look great! Also, what camera lens are you using?
I do! Then I just throw them in the wash to rough up the hems and they are good to go. And, I’m using my Olympus OMD-EM5-II with the Olympus Zuiko 14-42mm lens. It’s so versatile. :)
Beautiful as ever!! I’m on a 4-month shopping diet so I’m definitely feeling the need to restyle what I got! It’s giving me new appreciation for what I already have too. I feel grateful instead of greedy, which is a nice shift. <3
Oh Jaana, always coming in with the good thoughts. Grateful instead of greedy — YES. Makes me feel like I’m breathing a sigh of relief, you know? :)
Kathy SC says
You have long been my favorite blogger. You have a gift for taking the simplest pieces and putting them together in a fresh way. I have a closest full of nice pieces, but I like finding new ways to put them together, especially for clothing that is under-utilized. I turn to Pinterest for help. I can put in a search such as “Rust jacket outfit” and lots of options show up. Then I find the combinations where I have similar items in my closet and I save them to a Pinterest folder of my own…for example, My Closet Fall/Winter. I don’t really have those clothes in my closet, but I have things that are similar enough to pull off an outfit.
Thank you for your kind words Kathy — they mean so much to me! And I do that too! I always love that the outfit I create ends up looking quite different than the inspiration — it’s like it’s become my own, more true to my style. :)
Andreea U says
you look so cute in that skirt! love it!
Sarah Winton says
I’m always looking for ways to calm the urge to shop. I feel like I should spend some quality time in my closet as you suggest! Also, I LOVE that brown skirt. So cute!
its kinda like eating from our pantry’s!
I love a good button down! They’re so versatile! I really enjoy how you styled it with the belt and also the longer coat overtop!
Ah…we always work with a clients own pieces to restyle their home before we suggest the first purchase. Then when we do recommend an item, we like for it to be versatile…just like you have done with this lovely white button-down. We do love you in the B&W last option….go for it in your everyday life. You look wonderful!-Laurel
I love look 2 + 5 because they’re looks we haven’t seen you in yet! It’s nice to see some variety.
“And getting that feeling of a great wardrobe is more about learning to style and less about buying more and more.”
YES YES YES! I should probably try this for some of my old clothes that I used to love but am unsure of how to incorporate in my new-ish style
Hannah Cao says
I love how you paired everything up!
Hannah / Words & Latte
Cosy knits are just my FAVE! I love how you have styled this
Susan A. Martinez says
Love your bog, Caroline. En route from Austin to see my two best girlfriends (we all grew up in Lubbock together and thought we were quite fashionable in that conservative town ( this was the 80,s) anyway just taking 3 sweaters, 2 pants and one dress and a great vintage nave leather trench coat. Also, one pair black loafers and boots – done. Thanks for the inspiration!
I actually really like that cardigan, love that deep brown shade. <3
This is such a same old question. But do you have trouble keeping whites, white? I have two kids and this may be part of it, but i find whites just get wrecked way too fast to be worth it for me. I love the look of a white button down…but i fear it would get yellowed under the arms. and i cant blame that on the kids! my white tees are always a stained mess too soon… sigh.
I totally hear you. As far as yellow armpit stains, I stay away from antiperspirants, as they can be the cause of yellowing. And unfortunately, ingredients in natural deodorants can cause staining too. But I recently found that salt deodorant works for me and doesn’t leave the yellow stains! Of course, we all have different chemical compositions, so what works for one person may not work for the other, but you may want to give it a try. :)
thanks! i may do that. i had used a natural baking soda based deodorant for at least 10 years…but after my second baby a few years ago it stopped working (especially in summer heat)…body chemistry changed i guess. so i went back to the dark side…haha. maybe i’ll try this now that summer is over and won’t be so warm!
Do you love those high waisted topshop jeans?
Hi! This coat looks very similar to your seaside tone linen one. How are they different, I’m looking for a coat somewhat like both, but can’t tell the difference. They look so similar! Thanks.
Hi Marian! They are just different colors — the Seaside tones one is a more orange, while the Rawson one is more of a true tan/clay color. I think the Rawson one is a little more casual too, since it’s got so many pockets and is more of a cotton canvas fabric.
Hi Caroline! I know I’m a little late on this post, but I have a question. I purchased the same cardigan from Aritzia a few months back and I love it, but it pills constantly and is in pretty rough shape. I tried a sweater comb but it seemed to pull out more fluff. Do you have any suggestions for care? Thanks!
Hi Emily! Oh that’s always so frustrating. :-/ I just checked mine, and somehow it’s doing okay, pill-wise (not helpful, I know). I typically comb my sweaters every third or fourth wear, but with the weave of this cardigan, it’s important to use light strokes when combing it — otherwise it can pull out pieces of yarn and mess up the weave. Always brush with the weave and always brush in one direction — not back and forth. And finally, try dry cleaning it instead of washing it in the washer at home. I hope that helps! Pilling sweaters are so frustrating!