This last week, I didn’t take many outfit pictures, because I was mainly focused on Halloween costumes and work. When I don’t take daily outfit shots, I tend to wear pretty same-ish outfits during the week. This week The Outfit was jeans + pullover sweater + boots. It’s a good solid outfit. I could wear some variation on that theme for the rest of the fall and winter, but that would might get a little monotonous. In an effort to jazz up my go-to fall outfit, I decided to do a little hypothetical styling challenge.
My starting point is the jeans, pullover, and boots combo that I wore on Friday. The jeans are from The Gap (via a consignment store), the cotton cable sweater is from H&M, and the boots were a clearance find at Famous Footwear. It is a muted, comfortable, simple ensemble. This is the kind of outfit I’ll throw on if I need to run errands or meet up with somebody on a Saturday. My work clothes are usually a step up from this, but it was a casual Friday, so this was the look!
The outfit really is fine by itself, but it doesn’t provide much visual interest. I love each piece individually, so I figured this outfit was a perfect blank canvas for styling. The sweater is purple, but it isn’t a bright purple. This purple is on the burgundy end, which makes it a great background color for bright pops of color.
One easy way to add a bright pop of color is to throw on a big scarf!
That looks more interesting already, doesn’t it? This scarf is from H&M. It’s about the size of a baby blanket and the poppy print has tons of colors in it, including burgundy, which visually ties in with the sweater. The scarf gives a focal point to the outfit and draws the eye upwards. It not only gives color contrast, it gives good textural contrast, because the silky texture of the scarf is very different from the matte cable texture of the sweater. (A dark cable knit scarf wouldn’t show up well against this purple cable knit.)
This variation is just an accessories swap. Easy as pie! (Tangent: “Easy as pie” is kind of a confusing saying, isn’t it? Is it as easy as making a pie? Because I don’t think making pies is particularly simple. Is it as easy as eating a pie? Because I’ll agree that is a very easy and happy thing to do. I guess it doesn’t matter.)
Instead of brown boots, black flats. The shoe swap automatically sets the outfit tone a little bit higher, because they look a more feminine. Black also looks dressier than brown. To go with the dressier and more feminine vibe, I chose a whimsical flower necklace. I found this necklace at my grandma’s house and she let me keep it. The off-white contrasts so well against the purple and the 3D flowers give some interesting dimension to the look. Instead of a short necklace, you could always layer on some long necklaces – that would look great. I like how long necklaces look, but I usually end up having Thoroughly Modern Millie problems with long necklaces….
Another fun way to add some interest is to switch out your purse. I don’t switch out my purse unless it’s for an occasion, because it takes some work, but a cute clutch really makes this look into a Look!
A cool coat makes a basic outfit look intentional and interesting.
No scarves or necklaces this time. I found this great western coat in an antique store and it is one of my favorite possessions. It has woven birds flying all over the outside and a beautiful feather print cotton lining the inside. No matter what the outfit looks like, every piece of clothing takes a supporting role to this coat. That makes it perfect to brighten up an otherwise muted outfit.
Other layering pieces that add visual interest (and warmth): oversize cardigans, vests, blazers, scarves, shirt-dresses-worn-as-jackets, etc. A floral kimono-style cardigan would look really cute over this pullover. I don’t own one, but I’m sure it would look good.
Instead of layering over, this variation is all about layering under.
A collared shirt under a sweater is pretty classic. A collar gives dignity to a pullover and the pullover hides any button-gapping problems that the collared shirt might have. Win-win! This collared shirt is another vintage find. The 1970s peach-orange-brown color scheme is so groovy that it can be difficult to style in a modern way, but this look has enough retro and enough modern that it works!
Collared shirts aren’t the only pieces you can layer under sweaters. Long-sleeved dresses, turtlenecks, and striped t-shirts are all great candidates for under layers. Roll up the sweater sleeves to show off a contrasting color. Winter is coming. Stay warm, my friends.
If you feel like you are blending in with the wall and want to be a little bolder, keep the formula, but go bolder. This is still the same kind of jeans, sweater, and boots outfit, but with a much bolder color of sweater.
I love the purple sweater, but this yellow sweater has much more visual punch. The stitching details give textural interest and the color is bright, bold, and in your face.
If you love jeans and comfy sweaters, that’s great! So do I. But if you want to jazz that outfit up, it’s easy and inexpensive. Get creative with what you have around. Layer it up, layer it down. Find a printed scarf and add it into the rotation. Have fun and stay cozy!