Style and Styling

Give Your Basics Personality!

Making ordinary pieces YOURS!

Happy day, reader dear!

When I do a talk, or take mini-wardrobes places for demonstration purposes, people are always surprised at how ordinary my clothes are. People assume that if you are an Image Consultant/Stylist/Personal Shopper/Wardrobe Consultant/etc., you have an enormous wardrobe, full of expensive, interesting and unusual pieces. I am sure some do! But this one doesn’t. What I do have is a habit of making even ordinary pieces mine, by wearing them my way. (Do I hear Frank Sinatra singing in the background?)

In the interest of transparency, this post will sound very me, me, me. Not because my style is better than yours or that you should style like I do. It isn’t, and you shouldn’t! It’s simply because my style is about me. And yours should be about you. Today’s post is simply meant to be an example… So, let’s go!

There’s not much to it. All basics. A V-Neck Pullover, Levi’s and Loafers. So what is it about this outfit and how it’s styled that makes it mine? Well, that boils down to personality. As Polonius says in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, To thine own self be true… And my self is a details geek!

The light here makes this sweater look less plum and more raspberry… But it’s doing the same thing to the swatch, so it’s okay!

First, all the pieces are in my colors. My coloring is Sublime (cool, soft and light), and I am at the point in my life where I just don’t want to waste money buying pieces that don’t make me look and feel my best. Yes, the jeans are a little dark, and so is the sweater, but this fall, I am playing with the darker colors in my palette. (To understand why, read here!)

Can you see how the deep reds on the left of the fanned palette melt into the background? Yes, it’s darker than my palette, overall, but I’m okay with that for a couple of pieces! The denim needs some more fading, but the LG and I are working on that, and the grey loafers are the same as the darker grey in my hair.

Besides color? It’s about the deets, peeps! I don’t like long sleeves on me; I only wear long sleeves when I am outside in frigid weather. (Like playing in the snow.) I’m not interested in drawing a horizontal line across the widest part of my thighs, so I always cuff or push up a long sleeve to make it suit me and my style. I won’t buy a long sleeved top if I can’t wear it my way. Also, I love a little sparkle in every day, so a few necklaces of the sentimental sort and the earrings (in the top pic) are today’s choice. I’m also a little Type A (and embrace that), so I wear a watch pretty much every day as well. The exception? On holiday!

Other personality quirks? I wear “real shoes,” as my mother used to call them. I’m just not a sneaker girl. I do wear sneakers (trainers or joggers), but only for sports. Participating in them. When attending, I wear real shoes. Real shoes are my true.

Why did I choose this pair? They’re certainly not your traditional loafer! The standard penny loafer style has too high a vamp and too heavy a look for my personality. I prefer the airier look of a lower vamp shoe. The buckle detail at the front is what makes it look less like a ballet flat and more like a loafer. Truth be told, if this outfit hadn’t been in the middle of my 10X10 Challenge, I’d probably have chosen my grey suede wedges. I do so love a little heel!

Another my true detail from the shoe shot: the frayed crop. I don’t like long trousers. This breaks every flattery rule, as my legs are on the short side, proportionally, and I am petite, so getting all the extra length possible is usually the ideal. So why cropped trousers and jeans? I like how my ankles peeking out gives jeans and trousers a more feminine look. I’m happy to sacrifice a couple of inches for that! And although I can’t stand holes in my jeans (No distressing for me, thank you!), a little fray feels fringe-y and fun. Feminine and fun are more of my true.

Need a little more my true? When it was time to head to the store, I threw on a scarf and a hat to add some drama while warding off the chill.

So not only is style about knowing yourself and your body, it’s about selecting your basics and customizing and combining them to suit you. And only you! (Which is the reason those Must-Have lists make me crazy…) I have my own Must-Have list, which it’s probably time to revise!

I know it takes some time, but it’s worth the effort to get to know yourself, your preferences, and the whys behind them. It makes for fewer shopping mistakes, better wardrobing, and easier dressing! So how about you? What are your style musts and nevers? Have you given them any thought? Or do you just buy and hope for the best? Do let me know in the comments below! I love to hear from you…

Stylishly yours,


  • Lise

    Thought provoking post. After quite some thought I realised my basics should always be a bit on the edgy side – more rock chic(k). Thanks!

    • closetplayadmin

      Great realization, Lise! Hopefully that will help you get more wear from the pieces you buy. Accessories are a good way to add a edge to those less interesting basics, too.

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