Much as shopping is our lifeblood, fashion girls know you don't need to buy new clothes every season to appear more stylish. The trick to refreshing your outfits is to make what you already own seem new again. For example, that black sweater you wear every winter? Have you thought about layering it over a blouse or wearing the sweater under a pair of denim overalls? Small changes can elevate existing outfits, so you don't spend $85 buying another black Zara sweater.
Easier said than done though, right? Even the most fashionable among us struggle with mixing-and-matching the pieces already in the closet. To get out of a style rut, we'll need some outfit inspiration, which is where the ensembles, below, come in. Each photo showcases how the top portion of an outfit can be worn two different ways, simply with a variation in accessories and a switch from skirt to pants. (Six outfits magically turn into 12!) Use it as a guide the next time you're wondering aloud to yourself, What the hell should I wear??
Kept It Neutral
Neutral colors such as cream and beige are usually the base for something bolder, but when you pair them together it creates an extra sophisticated effect. Notice how in the first look, the model wears a nude sweater with a white skirt and boots. In the second look, all you need is a pair of tailored trousers and some chic loafers to completely switch up the outfit. Who needs color?
Left: , $695; , $1,690; , $1,125; , $175; , $1,306; , $590 Right: , $695; , $950; , $68; , $24; , $650; , $1,950.
Load Up on Prints
Start with a bright blouse and build from there. A plaid skirt is the perfect replacement for jeans and, when paired with a silky button-down shirt, you'll look like you've just stepped out of The Devil Wears Prada (you're Andy Sachs, of course). Alternatively, a pair of paisley-printed trousers is the perfect way to spice up your office uniform on days you're feeling sick of your regular ol' black work slacks. (If this print is too wild for your company's dress code...maybe it's time to find a new job.)
Left: , $118; , $880; , $225; , $2,775; , $528 Right: , $118; , $295; , $88; , $225; , $175; , $790; , price upon request.
Opt for Moody Tones
How to rework this printed blouse from Monday to Tuesday: Replace your pants with a skirt. Go the extra mile and switch up your footwear too, swapping a kitten heel for thigh-high boots. For those of you who just love to wear black, the monochromatic moody tones offer the same ease, but with a fashun effect.
Left: , $895; , $495; , $425; , $38; , $760 Right: , $425; , $575; , $950; , $38; ; $2,795.
Make a Splash in Red
The hue is a major fall trend, so you'll find plenty of bottoms in this color from your favorite retailers. For lazy days when you're all about comfort, go for corduroys with white sneakers. On days when you want to feel a bit fancy, slip into a pair of knee-high leather boots and add a baby bag.
Left: , $2,670; , $118; , $295; , $245; , $58; , $475; $395 Right: , $2,670; , $118; , $990; , $400; , $1,495; , $450.
Rework the Button-Down Shirt
Can you spot the button-down? This piece practically gets buried in the avalanche of layers, but that's what makes both looks work. Don't make the blouse the center of attention. Instead, layer it under or over another knitted shirt. Once you have the top portion of your outfit figured out, alternate between pants and skirt, color and monochrome to complete the ensemble.
Left: , $2,700; , $760; , $295; , $425; , $415; , $890; , $1,850 Right: , $2,700; , $760; , $750, , $750; , $1,590; , $378.
Live in Your Slouchy Sweater
This season, instead of instinctively reverting to my classic sweater-and-jeans combo, I'm swapping the denim out for a midi skirt or plaid trousers. The first outfit is one I've seen on some of my favorite bloggers—the boho look is perfect for brunch or a night out. So as not to appear frumpy, make sure the sweater doesn't overwhelm your frame. The second look is professional yet comfortable, a win-win.
Left: , $465; , $295; , $1,295; , $650; , $3,980 Right: , $465; , $845; , $1, 500; , $500; , $1,750; , $1,190.
Credits: Hair, Tommy Buckett for Garnier at Traceymattingly.com; Makeup, Christopher Ardoff for Clé de Peau Beauté at art department; Manicures, Kayo Higuchi for Chanel at Bryan Bantry; Models, Ziayla at New York Models, Zaira Gonzalez at Supreme, Taylor E at State M.