October 19, 2015
Welcome to another SmithellaneousThrifty Style Post.
Today I’d like to show you how helpful it is to have both understudy (less noticeable) pieces and star (more noticeable) pieces in our wardrobes.
Why is that so important?
Well, if you have only one or the other, you’re going to be frustrated every time you get dressed. Quite simply, a whole closet full of understudies (basic pieces) means you have nothing that shines and a whole closet full of star pieces ( i.e., interesting toppers and more noticeable pieces) means you have no basics with which to pull them all together.
And trying to put two star pieces together is almost like trying to paint on a canvas that already has something on it when what you really need is just a blank canvas. The basics are our blank canvases.
We ALL need a little zippety-do-dah in our wardrobes. Depending on our temperaments and styles, some need less and some need more but it’s important for every wardrobe to have some sizzle pieces, as long as there is something to balance them with.
The first step to finding balance in these two areas is to walk into your closet and just stand there and take a gander. (Gander is Southernese for “look around.)
After you have sufficiently gandered, figure out if your closet is star-heavy or understudy-heavy.
Once that step is taken, tuck that answer into the back of your brain and then you’ll know exactly what to do the next time you go shopping. If you already have loads of stars, steer away from stars and start looking for basics pieces that will help make those stars work.
And if you already have so many basic pieces that you are overcome with malaise-laden yawns every time you open your closet door–well, start doing some star shopping!
To illustrate, I”ll show you a few understudy/star pieces from my closet.
For the purpose of this post, my understudy pieces are going to be a plain sleeveless brown blouse and a straight brown skirt, both indubitably boring and both indisputably non-memorable.
So why would I even bother to buy such boring pieces?
It’s because there is magic in them thar understudies!
They are, by their very nature non-memorable, which means they can be worn over and over again with different star pieces and no one will ever notice the repetition. That is extra good news if you have a limited budget and/or closet space.
Here are some outfits I made using the same brown base under a variety of star toppers. (Let me mention that you can use any neutral color for your base color. If you look better in black or gray then your understudy pieces should be in those colors instead.)
And since this blog series is about thriftiness as well as style, I will add the prices of the pieces in each photo. The sleeveless tank (by Chicos) was $4 and the skirt (by Jones of New York) was $5. (If you are more of a pants person, you could easily switch out the skirt for a nice pair of dress pants and get the same effect.)
And one more thing: For your basic pieces, get the very best quality you afford. (And if you shop at thrift or consignment stores, you can get excellent quality for just a few dollars.) There is no sense in putting gorgeous toppers over cheap, poorly fitting, poorly manufactured garments. It will just throw your lovely look off and we sure don’t want to be responsible for the throwing off of lovely looks!
A coral jacket and coral necklace.
A more casual coral jacket (by Chicos) and a shorter coral necklace.
Although it’s hard to tell in the photo above, I switched out the nude shoes to a stacked heel which is a little more casual than the pump. (Since the jacket is more casual.) And speaking of the jacket, I really love it because I can just as easily wear it with jeans or even sweat pants.
Floral jacket (which also goes great with jeans.)
A favorite jacket of mine that I bought new (but 70% off) at Chicos.
Paisley jacket. (I LOVE all things paisley.)
With this jacket, I wasn’t sure if I should button it or leave it open. Here it is buttoned.
Here it is opened.
You may remember me writing before that dark colors shoes visually chop off the end of the leg. I wore the dark shoes just to show the difference.
Going a little on the wild (animal print) side!
I love scarves and thought I would add one to this jacket.
I have a confession to make about this scarf. I bought it at half price last year ($15) for a Christmas present. However, when I got it home and tried it on with a few things, I made the Executive Gift Giving Decision to not give it away but to keep it. It’s one of my favorite pieces. (And last week, I found the exact scarf in a darker color at a thrift store for $3. You KNOW I snatched that thing up!)
And lastly, here’s what I wore to church yesterday. (I took the outer coat off when I got indoors.) Can you tell that I really love browns and golds?
Total cost of outfit (including coat and leather boots) was $20! Hooray for thrifty beauty!
Thrift stores, fuzzy socks
and conversing with my Yorkie
are all on the list of things I love.