Your Wardrobe: Learning to Mix and Match

Your Wardrobe: Learning to Mix and Match

I am the last one to claim Fashionista status. However, I finally realized that I needed to stop using my lack of natural giftedness as an excuse to be frumpy.

I’m not talking about dressing to the height of fashion. Rather, I’m thinking about looking pulled together in such a way that I feel confident leaving my cave and mingling with the real world. So, I decided to do something about it. And if I look like a geek, well, what’s new?

Research of the Frumpy Mom

It all started with this picture on Pinterest. I started thinking about having a wardrobe where everything went with everything else. You’ve probably heard about that theory before.

The idea of being able to wear everything in my closet also sounded appealing. As you know, my closet and I had a “discussion.” And I did some purging.

Then Hallie went shopping for me. After I posted about Hallie’s shopping trip for me, a reader pointed me to What I Wore. What a fun little fashion tour!

Between Pinterest, Hallie, and Jessica Quirk, I’ve been able to look at my closet with new eyes and see how I can put stuff together that suits me. It’s really been fun!

Shopping My Closet

I hunted through what I had, what I liked, what fit, and then combined them with some new items. Seeing pinboards on Pinterest helped me see that accessories really do make a difference. I never got that until I saw it visually on a board, like this one. It’s a simple outfit, but the shoes, bracelet, and necklace make it something more.

So, I tried to apply this same philosophy to my clothes closet. I added a few basics that I found on clearance. The results?

Your Wardrobe: Learning to Mix and Match

Here’s what my Summer into Fall Wardrobe includes:

  • 2 pairs of pants – dark jeans and black pants
  • 1 black skirt
  • 1 black dress
  • 5 tops – blue tshirt, green tshirt, white tank top, blue and white striped tank top, black tank top (not pictured)
  • 3 sweaters – black cardigan, white cardigan, green cardigan
  • 1 jacket blue embroidered jacket
  • 3 scarves – green scarf/shawl, blue/green scarfs (2)
  • 3 pair shoes – black sandals, black flats, black tennies (not pictured)

Everything can pretty much mix and match, built around black basics, which I can then, transform with different colors next season. Theoretically, of course, because what do I know?

That’s 19 items that result in a multitude of combinations. Someone out there can do the mathematical formula and figure out how many outfits that can make. This is as far as I go.

I don’t really know what I’m doing. But, I am excited to learn. And feeling kinda good about what I have in my closet now.

Update: I created a Travel Capsule Wardrobe last fall for our month in Europe and it was a huge success! I always felt put together, and I was able to pack very light.

Where do YOU stand on the fashion continuum?

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  1. I think your wardrobe looks fantastic. I also try to buy basics that mix and match as much as possible. Having scarfs or other accessories is the key to jazz up a plain black tee and jeans. Go girl!

  2. Looks like you’re having fun with it, Jessica – that’s the best part! 🙂

    As it happens, I wrote about my fashion learning curve today on the blog. 😉

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Great minds, eh? I like what you pulled together. And am interested in the push for skirts on that website you mentioned. Hmm….

  3. Oh, I’m always wishing I were more put together, fashion wise. I still have some stuff I wore in high school – and I hate it!! I’m just never confident enough in what I try on to spend that sort of money. And I can never quite find what I want a the thrift stores. I’m petite and indecisive. :p

    But my BIGGEST problem is that for the past 3 years I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding. :p And good maternity and especially nursing clothes are hard to find – and expensive when you do!

    My husband forced me to buy a new maternity dress yesterday for my shower coming up this weekend. 🙂 But I only had TWO choices that didn’t look horrible on me. Such is the life, right? :p

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I don’t know that I would call the pregnancies/nursing seasons “problems” but they do present fashion challenges. Glad to hear that hubs encouraged you to buy something new. 😉

  4. Arg. My wardrobe is a constant source of frustration. Rationally, I know that I have a ton of clothes. But I never really feel like it. I feel like I’m wearing the same stuff all the time. Accessories are a great idea — my problem is that I have an infant and a toddler. Accessories get chewed on, played with, pulled on, and generally destroyed!

  5. I am in the same exact spot!! Except you are about 3 steps ahead of me. I LOVE the clothes you have picked to mix and match. Black is my absolute favorite color to mix and match. At this point, I am taking some tips from you and I may just have to consider you a fashionista!!

    Keep up the good work!!

  6. Danielle B says:

    I’ve really struggled in this area, especially since money is so tight. But God recently showed me that the reason I don’t take the time and effort in looking put together was because I didn’t value myself enough to care.
    I’ve always struggled with low self-esteem, and having three back-to-back pregnancies and gaining weight each time just made me feel even worse. I had to get a new outlook. If God thinks I’m of enough value that He keeps forgiving me, teaching me, and loving me, then I’m of enough value to spend a little bit of budgeted money here and there to look at least put together, and hopefully pretty.

    As if to bring the point home for me, I know God gave me a pair of shoes this weekend. We were in Target and were checking for any clearanced out shoes for the children. There were none, but as we were leaving the aisle I saw a pair of the cutest brown flats- the ones that are so popular right now- with the cutest “bow” near the toes. I just loved them, but they weren’t my size. So we walked down another aisle, and there sitting on the shelf, seperated from all the others, was a pair of the clearanced brown flats for $4- and in my size. I put them on, and I felt “cute” for the first time in six years. I actually cried.
    God cares so much for us, if we’ll just grasp a hold of that vision. He loves it when we appreciate ourselves for the wonderful creation we are, and looking put together is one fruit of really valuing ourselves. I believe He even smiles when His daughters get a little giddy over clearanced brown flats.

  7. I’ve always struggled with coming up with “fashionable” outfits. I have ideas, but they each seemed lacking somehow. Like you, it wasn’t until I found Pinterest and started looking at some of the style boards that I realized that the accessories are truly what “makes” the outfit. It takes me from frumpy to (not fabulous) but well-put together and not ashamed of myself when I walk out the door.

    Anyway, I’m trying..

  8. I am officially inspired. : )

    Wow. You have done great!

    And I thought I was pairing down, you have me beat by far, this is so good that you are posting this, I will show my grown daughters too, they will love it and be inspired as well I’m sure.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Well, just know that I do have some winter clothes — and some “play clothes” for cleaning, cooking, and doing messy things. This isn’t all I own, but it’s the workable set for this season. 😉

  9. My closet needs a huge purging. Usually I give the clothes I no longer want to my youngest sister. She’s 12 years younger than me and she loves getting some new to her pieces.

    I love pinterest for fashion ideas. I just get so frustrated when I see something I love, click and find it’s no longer available. It’s a lot easier for me to see what I like when it’s put together in outfit form like on those pins than in is to figure it out in store. I often get lost.

    Limited is a pricier store, I usually only shop when there’s a great coupon or sale going on, but they are super helpful there and will look through their “look book” of outfits with me so I can show them what I like/don’t like and then help me put outfits together. I love having a few really great outfits over a closet full of stuff I think is just okay.

  10. Last fall I did a huge wardrobe overhaul and it reminded me I actually do pretty well on the fashionista front (relatively speaking, ha ha) *when I put in the effort*. It’s so easy in our Lives As Mom to get into the jeans/yoga pants/T-shirt rut, isn’t it? Not that those things are bad, of course. But I know I got in the habit of not bothering to pull myself together.

    For me living in a cooler climate makes it so easy. A cute coat or jacket and scarf make me feel so put together. Even if I am wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt. 🙂

  11. I LOVE fashion. I never thought I would (or could!) live on a minimal wardrobe. But due to various factors (watching my budget, weight loss, change in school/work plans), I have been wearing a very minimal wardrobe for a couple of years now. One pair of “good” jeans (plus a few more pairs for cleaning and only wearing around the house). One pair of shorts. A few skirts. A half-dozen shirts. One sweater. A few pairs of shoes. I realized that, like your clothes, my wardrobe fell around a few colors (blue denim, black, and various shades of deep pink). It definitely makes getting dressed in the morning much easier! I accessorize with earrings, necklaces, scarves, and headbands, and I’m not sure anyone notices that I wear a very limited supply of clothes. Besides, as long as I’m clean and presentable, does it matter if I wear the same thing every other day? I admit I’m getting bored with my limited collection, but while it lasts, I’m saving money, cutting back on consumerism, and minimizing my daily decision-making. For now, it works!

  12. I really need to try this. I seriously hate getting dressed! I was pregnant last fall and have lost all the baby weight, so this is probably the perfect time to do something like this!

  13. I need to go through my closet again!

  14. Shannon L says:

    After many years of neglect, I’m trying to get to a place where I’m comfortable with myself again. I’m starting small with eyebrow tweezing and shaving my legs once-a-week(I seriously hope I’m not the only one who struggles with that). I’ve cut back on my portions and am trying to make better choices. My wardrobe is basic. I mostly wear dark-colored, plain t-shirts that can easily be worn with a skirt or a pair of jeans. Bottoms are dark jeans and khaki shorts, pants. Shoes are 1 pair sneakers, 1 pair brown sandals, 1 pair black flip flops, and 1 pair black heels and black boots that make me feel great. Then I have a full-length khaki skirt and one capri-length black skirt. 1 camel colored cardigan and that completes my wardrobe. Also, all my jewelry is silver. To dress up, I wear a dark tshirt, dark jeans or skirt depending on occasion , silver necklace and boots or heels. Around the house, its a tshirt, shorts and a ponytail. Shoes are slipped on before walking out the door and taken off when we come back inside.

    I know I have lots of room for improvement, but I’m taking babysteps. Next on my list is to start painting my nails. Then make-up. GASP!

  15. I found something pretty easy and amazing – just go to The Loft outlet stores and buy your wardrobe there – the accessories go with the outfits (use the mannequins as a guide). The clothes are made to fit real life women and it is one store – in and out and the shopping is done. I got a coupon and discount and I will not shop at another store. No need! But I would love a personal shopper and a personal decorator.

  16. Can someone share how pinterest works. Are you comfortable with the Information that they want etc.

  17. Cynthia Earp says:

    I loved your post, and think it is a wonderful Idea. I am sick of the clothes in my closet,
    and buy most of mine from thrift stores also. ( I am trying to lose weight also). I am going to try the i year approach too! Thank you.

  18. Cynthia Earp says:

    I loved your post, and think it is a wonderful Idea. I am sick of the clothes in my closet,
    and buy most of mine from thrift stores also. ( I am trying to lose weight also). I am going to try the 1 year approach too! Thank you.

  19. Overcrowded Closet says:

    I WISH I could go minimalistic when it comes to my wardrobe. I have a large walk in closet STUFFED with clothes and even when I try to purge…..doesn’t make much of a dent. However, between my fashion retail job, my home daycare job, my being mom, my ever up and down 2 sizes, & my love of fashion …only owning 3 pairs of anything IS NOT a possibility. I buy clothes because I feel good in them, which then adds an emotional attachment. ..which makes our hard to toss. ..any tips?

    • I think it depends on you and what you want. There’s no law that says you should be a minimalist. If you have the money and storage for your clothes and your shopping and fashion interests aren’t hurting your relationships, I don’t know that you need to change. However, if there’s stuff you know you’ll never wear, there are probably people who could benefit from your donating them.

  20. I have always tended to stick to mostly neutrals with some blue & green added. Living in Africa has taught me to add lots of color to my wardrobe- that is lots of color for someone like me. I’m still way behind when compared to my African friends. Now I try to have some basic pieces that I know are comfortable and I feel confident wearing them. I try to find a balance of having things that are so comfortable that I’m not adjusting them or noticing them all day, and things that minimize body flaws and look nice. When buying new things, I’ve learned to try them on first. That cuts down on ordering on-line unless it’s a brand & size that I know will work. I know that you can return things on-line or to a store, but I never do. When I try on clothes, I also do a few little exercises in the dressing room (arm circles, squats) so that I get an idea of how they fit. I take comfortable clothes seriously.

  21. Anna Brown says:

    awesome, I love the lime green… also a bit of a maths geek, you have 45 combos of just top, pants and sweaters! Haven’t got as far as scarves and dresses but if just changing scarf counts as different outfit combo , you’re on your way to 200 options! Great Ideas, I’m going to go purge my wardrobe….happy scrimping 🙂 x

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