Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reinvent your existing wardrobe

My wardrobe history is a little embarrassing. When I was living with my parents, shopping was my thing. I bought an item of clothing most weeks, and cleaned out my closet often (and things weren’t actually thrown away, just stored “for later use”). And yet, my style wasn’t any better for my frequent shopping. It was probably worse, because all I could afford so often were cheap clothes, usually tops.

Another problem is that I didn’t experiment. Every item of clothing had its set purpose. Tops didn’t get worn if they were too loose in the waist or too short. All my pants and skirts sat at the hips and bare-midriffs aren’t really my thing, so I thought those tops were useless. I was very conservative with colour coordination, so that limited my outfits, too. The extent of my layering was ‘I’ll wear this long tee under this shorter one’. When my closet got full, I thought that I should throw out anything that didn’t fit into this mould.

I get that not everyone wants to dress outrageously. But there are ways you can experiment with your wardrobe while keeping a simple style. If you’re more confident you can be as risky as you want.

Part of my current closet - skirts and tops

Your clothes are more versatile than you think.

Think about why you don’t wear something in your closet. Then try ways of wearing it that rectifies the problem. Too revealing or short? Wear something underneath or over the top. Too big? Cinch it in with a belt or a high waisted skirt. Sleeves too long? Snip ‘em shorter (jersey will usually hold up with raw edges, but you might want to hem other fabrics). Neckline too high and doesn’t suit you? Wear something low-necked over it and you’ll have a more flattering silhouette. If it’s simply uncomfortable and you can’t fix it, then get rid of it. It’s not worth having.


Combine colours and patterns you never thought would match.

Try a tee under a tube or singlet top.

Tuck a dress into a skirt.

Pull up a low-waist skirt and hold it up with a belt.

Cinch in your waist with a ribbon or belt.

Try a top over a dress.

Layer two skirts.

Mix styles. Wear a dress with army boots, or denim with a business shirt.

Layer items that are different lengths.

There are no rules in fashion. There are opinions and there are trends, but neither should fully dictate what you wear. Wear what you love. Sometimes you might regret it (I sometimes do after walking out the door) but don’t let that get you down. Someone else might think you look fabulous. Be confident. Fashion is fun.

If you have any other experimentation ideas, please do comment.


Anonymous said...

What a great post, you gave some really great tips that are pretty obvious when you read them but things that most people just wouldn't think about when getting dressed/cleaning their wardrobes.

I used to be the same when I was in my early teens, I would go to Valleygirl/Supre/The Victoria Markets and just buy heaps of crappy random tops and things, never really trying to figure out if it would go with anything else I owned.

Last year I started reading blogs and shopping at op shops and online, which really helped me to figure out what I liked and what i didn't, and develop some kind of sense of style.
I still buy heaps of random stuff that doesn't go with anything, but I'm getting alot better. Style is ALWAYS a work in progress.

Ali said...

great post! I have a lot of singlet tops that I wear backwards... gives a straight neckline instead of a V...
oh and when tops are too short or too small I cut them straight up the centre front and either hem them or bind them. ta-da, cardigan! haha.
actually I usually do some sort of adjustment to all my clothes, it's addictive once you start! and everything looks so much better!

blossy girl said...

you have some great ideas :) i am always saying i'm sick of my clothes when i have plenty! especially as i'm trying to save money at the moment, this really helps. go you :)

Hayley Lau said...

fashionfake - I definitely agree that style is always a work in progress and I'm glad you're getting better with your spending! I found it a lot easier to do when I moved out of home, because I really couldn't afford to buy a lot, and then it got easier still when I treated every purchase as an ethical dilemma (wasted resources, global warming, sweatshops, etc.)

Ali - wearing things backwards is such a great idea! I'd never thought of that, and I can already think of things I own that would work that way. I started learning to sew by adjusting clothes, it's a great way to turn things into regular wearables.

Blossy Girl - I still say I have nothing to wear, I think it's a girl thing that we do regardless, haha. Glad I helped!


I agree there's no rules in fashion...otherwise it's boring non... continue to experiment & show our individualism! feel free to visit my site & hope to hear fm you dear... Lovely & fab weekend to ya'

Vegan and Vintage said...

Love this post!

I feel like I know exactly what you mean! now that I know how to design a pattern and make my own clothes, I am more aware of what actually suits my body shape and always can put together may different options.

I remember about five years ago, I was a lot thinner and had much more of a disposable income, I went shopping almost every weekend but still felt like I had nothing to wear!

I think the best advice is to work out what works best for you and forget about trends, be yourself!

Bobishi said...

Thanks Hayley! I have a favourite top that i never wear because it is too short, but the fabric is awesome... after reading your article and the comments I am off to go cut it up the middle and make a super cute cardi:) Thanks guys! :)