Posts Tagged: accessories

Reader Request: Remixing Distinctive pieces

remixing

Reader Darby emailed me this question:

I have a little black dress that I love. It fits me just right and is very flattering. My conundrum is, it has quite a distinctive cut-out neckline that I find limits how often I feel like I can wear it. Do you have any ideas of different ways to restyle a distinctive dress for party season so that it looks different each time?

In an ideal world, wearing the same things over and over would be a praiseworthy practice. And in daily life it often is, especially now that we’re learning more about the impact of fast fashion and valuing creative remixing. But when it comes to holiday parties, many people feel odd about doing the same outfit or dress for the entire season. And like Darby, I’m betting some of you have a dynamite dress/top/necklace that you’d like to wear to every fête and festival, but would like it to look different each time. Hopefully, I have some tips and tricks that will work for you, too.

Layer

The more elements to an outfit, the less obvious it becomes that one is being worn on repeat. If you’ve got a boldly patterned blouse you want to keep in constant rotation wear it under a sweater, with a blazer or jacket, under a sleeveless dress, with a variety of cardigans. In Darby’s case, adding a dressy jacket or bolero that doesn’t totally block the distinctive neckline could work, as could adding a shawl with metallic thread or a gorgeous pattern.

Draw focus elsewhere

This kinda defeats the purpose of having an item that’s eye-catching and unique, but goes toward getting gobs more use out of it. Say you’ve bought a sequined skirt that you want to wear to four parties in a row. For the first, let the skirt be in the spotlight. For the second, wear with a bold-colored, but solid top. For the third, do a subdued palette and giant, sparkly earrings or a statement necklace (if it doesn’t feel like sparkle overkill). For the fourth, add a dressy printed scarf to the mix. For Darby’s LBD, she could do a bright red belt or phenomenal shoes, though necklaces and scarves would help her distract from the dress’s defining feature, too.

Vary your hair and makeup

We’ve touched on accessories a bit already, but other finishing touches like hair and makeup can really transform how an item or outfit looks. That tuxedo jacket you love? Try it with an updo and red lips, then hair down with neutral lips. It’ll probably look completely different because you do. If you’re into colorful eyeshadows or interesting hair accessories, those can help you create varied looks, too. This is the most subtle of the three options, so you might want to do this AND one of the other two.

And, of course, there’s always the “don’t worry about it” option. Honestly, anyone who cares about seeing the same party dress twice within a season should really get a hobby. Guys can wear the same suit every time, and there’s really no rule saying we can’t wear the same dress/suit/pants every time, too, if we want to.

Any of you looking for ways to rework and remix distinctive items, for parties or everyday life? Will any of these suggestions work for you? Others to add?

Image via The Outnet

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Selective Drama

Selective Drama 1

I don’t think of myself as a Drama Queen. I’m usually pretty even-keeled and cool-headed; I figure life hands us enough drama already so why manufacture it?

But I’ll admit to loving clothes that add just a little bit of drama to an outfit, and this long cardigan does just that. I’ve tried to balance the boldness of the sweater and striped tee with softer grey pieces, and have added some gold with the bracelets for a little warmth.

Selective Drama 2

Earrings: Alexis Bittar // Scarf: Eileen Fisher from last year, similar // Long Cardigan: Eileen Fisher, (similar style from Asos) // Top: R13, similar from Gap (long sleeves) // Bracelets: Stella & Dot, few years old, similar and Aurelie Bidermann // Jeans: NYDJ // Shoes: several years old, surprisingly similar from ECCO.

I purchased these shoes in Paris in 2008. They’re a brand called One Step which I’ve never seen anywhere since. At the time, I’d been on the hunt for a pair of “shooties” in this shape but with lower heels that anything I’d found up to that point. I spotted these in the window of a small shoe shop in the Marais, and it was the start of a beautiful and lasting romance.  OK, so maybe I got a little dramatic there. ;-)

Selective Drama 3

Do you have a favorite “dramatic” piece in your wardrobe?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for unefemme.net. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.
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Already Pretty contributor Une Femme is fifty-seven, married to the same wonderful monsieur since 1995, the mother of a special-needs teenager and two hooligan dogs, a full-time administrative professional, a coffee-holic, Paris-obsessed, native Californian, and a petite and curvy femme d’un certain age. She believes that personal style is an essential form of self-expression, and started her blog, une femme d’un certain âge, in 2007 hoping to start a conversation about style for women over 50.

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How to Switch Handbags Quickly and Easily

Not so long ago, I owned one handbag. ONE. It was a black hobo with two external pockets, and I used it for everything. But when I began to want my bag to align more closely with my outfit, I realized that one slouchy black leather hobo didn’t actually feel right with everything I wore. And now, several years later, I’ve got a lovely collection of bags. I would say that I generally swap bags every day or every other day, even on the weekend. My bag choices are similar to my other accessory choices: I want them to feel harmonious with my chosen clothes. And that means the one-bag-fits-all philosophy no longer works for me.

I’ve gotten loads of questions over the years about how I swap bags so frequently without leaving items in various unused bags, wasting gobs of time in transferring items, or just getting frustrated and fed up with the process. I’ve tried to answer them individually, but now I’m going to answer them generally and visually. And the answer I’ll give? Compartmentalization.

how to switch handbags

This is what you’ll find inside any bag I carry every day of my life. OK, in the dead of winter there might be gloves/mittens and sometimes I’ll shove a book in there. But this is the bulk of it. Eight items: Sunglass case, wallet, makeup bag, checkbook (I’m old-fashioned) handkerchief (I’m allergic), phone, keys, miscellany pouch. All of them easy to grab and transfer. When switching, I’ll dump everything on the bed, put the previous bag away and pick my new one, pop everything inside and go. Usually takes three minutes or less.

makeup bag

The black bag is my LeSportsac makeup bag and there are probably five or six glosses and balms floating around in there, but I also keep a Tide pen, Band-Aids, fashion tape, a pill case, a foldable brush/comb combo, anti-shine powder, nail clippers (no lie), and lots of other stuff. I may not have kids, but I’m as prepared as many moms for everyday personal emergencies. This little makeup bag came with a larger handbag, and it is one of my most valuable possessions. I have had bottles of hand lotion and cheek stain burst in there dozens of times, and the inner coating has prevented any leakage. I LOVE YOU, INDESTRUCTIBLE MAKEUP BAG.

compartmentalized handbag

The polka-dotted pouch is my real secret weapon. Inside is my gum, tissues (sometimes you need something disposable for your nose issues, ya feel me?), business card holder (I didn’t mean to match my phone case and card holder, it just happened), and ANOTHER pouch that holds the various loyalty/rewards cards that would otherwise bulk up my wallet. Many items, one pouch. Mine is Cath Kidston and the smaller one hails from Etsy. I recommend oilcloth or other coated materials that are water repellent. Not that it’s wet inside most handbags, but just makes them less likely to get gunked up quickly.

And there you have it: My not-so-secret secret to swapping bags on a near-daily basis. Could this system work for you?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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