Home Forums Living Spaces Clothing Closets Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

This topic contains 33 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  iiris 5 years, 12 months ago.

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  • #159913

    I don’t want to shop at just one store for fear of ending up looking like the JCrew lady or the Old Navy lady (I used to call my mother the Marks & Spencers lady, and she was mortified apparently!)

    But, trying to get my limited wardrobe to a point of stuff that fits well and suits my shape and coloring AND is in style/classic and well made is hard enough. Trying to get all of that to mix and match seems to be absolutely impossible, even with a very limited color palate. I am not about to start sewing my own clothing – I just donated my unused serger a couple months ago.

    I was trying to get away from black, but it is so reliable.

    I have done the whole neutrals plus accent colors analysis. Black is not on the list, yet it is SO reliable and easier to find/match than other neutrals. Locating an unpatterned, fitted summer blouse in lemon (or pink or gray or lavender or pale blue or pale green), right tailoring, right size, right length sleeves, washable, dryable, no ironing, decently made. GAH!

    Has anyone here found a good solution to this. I’m not in search of a perfectly perfect minimalist wardrobe, but I’d really like to stop making do and start looking a bit more stylish. And have more choice than a gorgeous skirt that fits but only goes with a single top that doesn’t fit so well. I’d prefer three skirts that all go with three blouses. Maybe I should be shopping at Gymboree?!

    And perhaps by next summer this will be a moot point because I’ll be living in MN where summer clothes are less of an issue and I’ll just wear black jeans and black sweaters year round – haha!

  • #213327

    luxcat
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    I pair two neutrals and go for an accent scarf or jewelry. I do have a couple of shirts in colors as well. There is a great article at smallnotebook.org about “casual dressy” and the “three piece” rule. I think it’s called “classic style” or something similar, it’s linked on their homepage.

    Example: Black slacks, tan/camel fitted t-shirt, purple scarf, black shoes black bag (add cardigan or raincoat if weather needs it)

    or

    …jeans (dark blue), black sweater, bright green headband (or earrings, or etc). black shoes and black bag.

    …tan/brown pants, black linen shirt, silver handbag, black shoes, silver necklace

    I refuse to iron but due to work I have finally embraced the dry cleaner for some stuff. Everything else must stand up to washer/dryer or at least washer/hang dry without wrinkling.

    I’ve found luck with a lot of places if I shop with an eye to color and fabric quality… Ross Dress For Less, Target, Coldwater Creek (mixed experiences there, some of the fabric is crap), Macy’s, Banana Republic (again, hit or miss and the fabric quality isn’t always worth the price), sometimes sportswear places have good quality non-shrink T-shirts and pullovers at reasonable prices. Also some luck with Land’s End which tends to sell clothes in not only a variety of sizes but a variety of fit types for different figures. They also have a great return policy. LL Bean is also pretty good in that department, although their clothes are a little “frumpy” in general IMHO.

  • #213334

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    Luxcat, I love you.

    Thank you. How sensible πŸ™‚

  • #213336

    chacha1
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    I am fantastically lazy about clothes shopping and have settled on a work uniform of Lucy Everyday Pants in four colors (charcoal, brown, dark blue, and grayish purple), and tops that I can mix & match to those. Super comfortable for sitting at a desk all day.

    I have way more tops than I need … at least fifteen long-sleeved tops, and that many short-sleeved tops again plus an assortment of sweaters and jackets. My favorite shirts are from Express: long-sleeved, collared cotton button-ups with fitted seams, tunic length but with shirttail hems.

    This look wouldn’t be work-appropriate on everybody but because of my build, it works for me.

  • #213337

    luxcat
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    Another “hip hip hooray” for Lucy Everyday Pants. I have four pair (2 black 1 brown 1 grey). I agree not for everyone or every situation but very handy mostly. I do not wear mine to work but they are my go-to pants otherwise. I am tall (they come in tall, normal and short lengths) and a bit heavy and they have a good bit of give/stretch where it needs giving and still look nice.

    Drawback with these pants is they have a bright orange label at the bottom. I color mine in with black Sharpie every 10 washes and it works out just fine.

  • #213338

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    @luxcat – your wardrobe sounds stunningly lovely and I want you as my stylist!

    I also am a fan of accent scarves – although I have to admit I don’t really know how to effectively tie those smaller square scarves I see around in the stores. I usually wear the longer more rectangular ones wrapped around a time or two.

    I also really love dark grey – I think it is almost more forgiving than black when it comes to matching things. And I have a lot of t-shirts and cardigans. I’ve found that plain fitted t-shirts look good enough for my (admittedly casual) job if they are paired with a cardigan and then you have the advantage of layers for changing weather.

  • #213352

    Astreja
    Participant

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    I have quite a minimalist wardrobe — Mostly black socks; a few men’s dress shirts, either plain or striped; 3 pairs of work trousers; a small pile of T-shirts, most of which are from various community bands; several pairs of jeans; and a couple of slightly fancier shirts. I own exactly 1 dress.

    Pants are sombre, shirts are plain to medium-bright. In theory, I can grab a pair of pants and a shirt in the pre-dawn gloom and they probably won’t clash.

    I usually end up shopping in the men’s department because women’s pants usually don’t fit me around the thighs, and most of the women’s shirts are too short for my long torso.

  • #213360

    lottielot
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    Linen. Summery, is supposed to look crumpled so ironing is unnecessary, you can wash it to the point of destruction, it’s cool, and over here it seems to only come in certain colours πŸ™‚ You can wear a vest or cami for colour underneath. I seem to have a few white linen shirts and a few dark blue, a dark blue skirt with a pink stripe, a pair of wide-bottomed stone-coloured trousers, a dark blue long skirt and an olive green medium length skirt. It’s not smart smart if that’s what you want, but it works for me.
    Now all we need is summer πŸ™

  • #213362

    liag
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    Using all solids helps, as does limiting same to black, white, grey, red, blue. I like cardigans–outdoors in cool weather and indoors in AC– and rollup (or down) sleeve shirts and pretty much wear same clothes all year. All 3 of my pairs of shoes are black; socks are all the same in black. One pair of dress pants in black for almost any occasion.

  • #213375

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    I am so in need of help in this area. Any on-line resource would be greatly appreciated. Apparently over the years I have lost all sense of style, pretty much keeping kids in my home since 1989 has taken an extreme toll on my overall fashion look. I have been trying to start the “Project333”, done an extreme purge of all of my clothing (most donated because they didn’t pass the 1st rule of “fit”. This weekend knowing I would have to add some pieces for my warmer weather set I came across these pink capris(that were sure to add color). No one ever says anything about what I wear, but the one and only day I wore my new colorful pink capris—I heard lots, “wow, those sure are pink” and “New pants?” this was defiantly not the reaction I was hoping for. I pulled a rolling clothes rack into the spare bedroom and in the process of just hanging everything that does fit on it, just to see exactly what I do have, hopefully I will be able to find the right way to fill in the blanks and purchase items that will give me a decent wardrobe to wear.

  • #213376

    rutheverhart
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    Thanks for the tip about Lucy Everyday Pants! I just checked them out and will definitely get a pair when my current yoga-type pants wear out. They look great for traveling and conferences.

  • #213380

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    @lottielot (or others) – I like the look of linen, but don’t see it much. Any tips on where to purchase nice pieces?

  • #213385

    xarcady
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    lifekeepshappening, try googling “capsule wardrobe” for some ideas on how to make a few clothing items into several outfits. The idea isn’t that every single top goes with every single bottom, but that you have a couple tops that go with one set of bottoms and maybe 2 or 3 outer layers, like a sweater or jacket.

    It’s also useful to have a couple of tops that go with every pant/skirt you own, like a white shirt or tee shirt.

    I find that it takes a lot of shopping for a minimal wardrobe–every single piece has to fit well, be of good quality (because I don’t want to have to start the shopping all over again in a year), and go with multiple other clothing items. This pretty much eliminates thrift store shopping, because I could visit a thrift store weekly for months and never come across the perfect white shirt in my size that both fits and flatters.

    But once you put in the work up front, with the planning and shopping, day to day you save time because you can pretty much grab a top and a bottom and get dressed without having to think about it.

  • #213393

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    Excellent advice, @Anita.

    I think I might print out this thread next time I go shopping! πŸ™‚

  • #213407

    Netleigh
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    sleepykitten, where are you, USA, UK, continental Europe, in the Antipodes or elsewhere? I could tell you a lot of places for linen in the UK as could lottie but you may not live here?
    I love linen and feel most comfortable in it in the summer, I’m naturally a crumpled clothes type of woman. Just need some summer in the UK at the moment!

  • #213409

    ArtGal
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    I do black tops (tees, tanks, sweaters) with colors or prints on the bottom (skirts, slacks, shorts.)
    Most of my tops are less expensive (@Target) and then I splurge a little on the colors and prints…for example, black tank with frilly print summer skirt or solid bright-color shorts or black tee with nice jeans. I’m not much on accessories; maybe a belt or a headband is pretty much it.

  • #213412

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    @Netleigh – oh, yeah, whoops – I am in the USA. I suppose, then, that I need USA-specific suggestions. I didn’t even think of that – silly me!

  • #213413

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    @ArtGal – very interesting. I think you might be “reverse” of what I usually see. I feel like most people I’ve seen have the colorful shirt and then the neutral bottoms – but I really like that you mix it up with the colorful bottoms and the black tops.

  • #213414

    xarcady
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    Sleepykitten, there’s a company called Flax that makes a lot of linen and linen/cotton clothing. Also J. Jill and Talbots. Even Land’s End sells some linen shirts and pants in the summer.

  • #213423

    bandicoot
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    i fell on my feet with my wardrobe a couple of years ago.
    i found a label i loved and i bought everything to fit my new criteria.
    my clothes have to be black, gray, red, or white.
    they have to be layerable, mix and matchable, wash and wearable.
    things have to go with many other things.
    i have a personal uniform: loose wide-legged trousers, long sleeved body t or strappy tank, sleeveless tunic, cardigan or sleeveless wrap. i add or remove top layers as needed.

  • #213438

    Ella
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    It took a while, but I finally eliminated all prints and unflattering colors from my wardrobe. I’m a blue-eyed blonde, and these colors make my hair, skin, and eyes look best: black, white, gray, and many lovely shades of blue (but not navy), plus a few warm neutrals in lineny pieces and cashmere sweaters (oat, taupe). Heather grays and charcoal grays are more versatile and more becoming than flat grays, I find. Wherever I shop I just home in on those colors, then everything goes together well.

  • #213439

    luxcat
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    @sleepykitten- if you google search “tie scarf” you get a ton of great free, simple tutorials on how to tie long or square scarves. That’s how I learned!

    reading all this has reminded me that I have some items that really need to come out of the closet and into the donation bag or the trash bin… I have some faded shirts and also trying to slowly replace most of my pure synthetics with some more breathable items…

  • #213442

    Sky
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    This is all very interesting. I need to update my wardrobe and have really enjoyed everyone’s posts.

    I have mostly solid colors. Black, tan or olive pants, plus jeans, t-shirts are black, white, red and blue, a couple of print blouses and a few sweaters and fleece tops. Three pair of black ballerina flats are leather, satin and canvas, sandals and walking shoes. I live in South Carolina, USA where it is mostly warm so I wear the same thing all year except for adding sweaters, etc. All my socks are black. I have a navy skirt and sleeveless top and navy sandals for summer and a black print dress for winter.
    My favorite t-shirts are men’s Hanes V-necks. I’m tall and they are the right length.

    Wow, how boring! I really need to go shopping!

  • #213445

    TatiLie
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    @Sky: I feel like you’re describing my wardrobe (except for red. I have only one pencil skirt in red tartan).

  • #213452

    Sky
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    TatiLie, you jogged my memory….I also have a black skirt.

  • #213503

    Joless
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    I tend to stick to solids but I go the other way and instead of buying lots of things in the same colour I tend to buy the same jumper or t-shirt in multiple colours so I have a v-neck jumper in black, red, blue, turquoise, purple etc. Most things have to go with jeans so that is my base.

  • #213714

    dianejerry
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    i always wear a base of black (pants, shoes, bag, winter jacket etc.) my few tops are black or one or two grey with vee or jewel necks. i don’t like accessories and only wear my wedding band and a watch if i need to, since i find myself fussing over silk scarves, bracelets and so on. my one indulgence is the plain hand knit scarves i’m always working on, which also covers my simple hobby need.
    i love a no brainer style and can go any where, anytime with this look and feel comfortable!

  • #214448

    shebolt
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    I understand that MN has summer, just like the rest of the country. Current temps are running in the 90s.

    As for a wardrobe of coordinating clothing, it’s really not that hard. If you have a skirt that only goes with a single top, you need to rethink that skirt. A good, versatile skirt will work with many tops.

    I’ve also found a couple of fashion blogs that have helped me develop a flexible wardrobe. “Putting me Together” just did a series on a remixable wardrobe. “J’s Everyday Fashion”, skews towards young and trendy, but is good for getting inspiration on using belts, and mixing and matching pieces in your wardrobe.

    From the blogs and my own experimentation, I’ve developed an intermixable wardrobe. I’ve found that I tend towards lighter neutrals like tan, cream, camel, and pale grey, instead of the standard black and dark grey. So I’m slowly replacing my base pieces (trousers, blazers, pencil skirts, shoes) with lighter neutrals.

  • #214454

    shebolt
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    Reread the first post and noticed this: “I have done the whole neutrals plus accent colors analysis. Black is not on the list, yet it is SO reliable and easier to find/match than other neutrals. “

    One thing I learned from “What Not to Wear” is that neutrals all work. If you are not able to match non-black neutrals, then you aren’t thinking of them as neutrals. And don’t think about matching your neutrals. Think about coordinating. That makes it so much easier.

    I don’t have a single complete suit, but I have suiting separates in various neutrals and can pick out any jacket and any skirt/trouser and they work. If I have a pair of camel trousers, I don’t need to wear a camel jacket or sweater. I can pair it with navy, cream, black, brown, and so on. I can also pair camel with any color – teal, red, olive green, orange, blue, etc., and it works. And then I can take any of those colors: teal, red, olive green, orange, blue, and pair it with my navy pencil skirt, or my pale grey a-line skirt, or my oatmeal trousers. And sometimes I use olive green as a neutral.

    See how this works? I think the easiest thing to do is stop worrying about everything matching, and start trying to coordinate your pieces.

  • #214495

    lucy1965
    Member

    Co-ordinating clothes as well as good fit/color/quality/style

    I’m going to steal awurrlu’s idea, if sie doesn’t mind — as soon as I have money to spend on clothing again.

  • #234265

    iiris
    Member

    Oh, I wish I had more time but there’s dishes in the sink and I’m going to get yelled at about them (by me, but still, yelling is yelling)… After spending years looking for my own personal style, trying to fit into the H&M/Zara/everybody’s-wearing-the-exact-same-thing-regardless-of-what-fits-them mold, I’ve finally come to my own. The time I’ve spent working in a clothing store have helped, too.

    I’d like to get into this deeper, but here’s a few points to consider:
    – What do you like? That is, what kind of style and aesthetic appeals to you. For me, I like solids. Stripes are good, as long as it’s just two colors. And if I’m feeling crazy, I go for polka dots. Take a look around Pinterest and Polyvore and make mental notes (or actual ones!). The “guides” always say to browse some magazines, but that’s bull. The magazines are about the latest and the trendiest. You get a very limited offering. Think movies and picture art. Anything there that appeals to you?

    – What kind of life you’ve got? That is to say, what kinds of activities you need to be able to do with your clothes on. What’s the dress code at work? Do work out a lot (and if so, how do you get there? I’m not going to wear my heels and skirt to take the buss from home to tennis class, I’ll be in jeans and a hoodie!) ? Do you need cocktail dresses or stuff to paint the living room ceiling in? Be realistic.

    – But don’t limit yourself. One thing I often hear from our customers at the store is “is this too young/flashy/grandma/casual/insert-what-ever-you-have-ever-said-here?” And the thing is, it’s so very rarely about the actual piece itself but what you do with it. Chanel-style jacket? Pair it with khakis and a silk blouse and you’ll look 67, even if your driver’s licence puts you at 27. Pair it with a fitting pair of jeans and a nice t-shirt, with an overly embellished necklace, and you’ll look a very stylish 27 having a nice Sunday brunch. Black dress too short? With the 4 inch heels it is! Not with ballet flats.

    – Surprise yourself. Once you’ve got the basics, the cornerstones of your outfits in place you can throw in the odd curve ball (but only if you absolutely love it!) For me, my style is … well, I guess you could say nautical preppy without the actual boat-thingy (afraid of water, the irony!). Classic cuts, simple, fitting, navy blue, red, white and black, you’re getting the idea. I just bought a bright green blazer. It’s very simple, sleek, understated. Apart from the can-be-seen-from-the-Moon color. I also have a cocktail dress that looks like a flower store threw up on it. So so far from my usual things, but I do pair it with a solid color blazer or a cardigan, simple shoes and bag, low-key jewelry. So don’t be too you. Mix it a little to keep it fun for you. But only with things you absolutely adore!

    A good guide with color analysis and decluttering tips and loads of other stuff is http://www.thechicfashionista.com/wardrobe-essentials.html

    Now I need to yell at myself after all.

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