Getting the look
One of my favorite things to do as a teenager was to go to the mall. Big surprise, I know. Not to hang out with people though (sorry I was shy), but to hang out with clothes. Yes. It didn't matter if I had the money or not it was the fact that I had the opportunity to do what I loved, window shopping. Sometimes I would go alone, but if I had the right shopping buddy we would make a full day of it. I would go into all of my favorite stores and basically take inventory. I loved to see what was out on the sales floor and how it was being styled.
Once I figured out the kind of pieces that I wanted to wear day in and day out I started collecting them. To help keep options open I make sure to not buy too many pieces with whacky patterns or designs on them. This makes it easier to mix and match almost everything I own. With the simple practice of occasionally adding something new and donating what I don't wear anymore I have built a pretty decent wardrobe. This is how I make sure that I'm making the most of my money while only having to walk as far as my closet to whip up something "new".
Now, I don't spend nearly as much time at the mall as I do online. I think that is true for most of us. If we can skip the trip then that's just what we'll do. I am even bad about signing up to get newsletters from my favorite stores. Of course they always send you more than you bargain for: sale notifications, new arrivals, gifting ideas, and outfit ideas based off of their products. While about fifty percent of the time the emails just get deleted, every once in a while the outfit ideas really hit the nail on the head. Once I decide I really like the look I hone in and figure out a way to put it together myself. This is my version of an outfit styled by the lovely people at Madewell, but with clothes that I already own. I always like to try that first before spending money. In fact, this "new" outfit was free (so to speak).
So when I got the email from Madewell that included the perfect faded army green jeans, a striped button down shirt, and dark brown loafers, I was instantly trying to put it together in my mind with clothes that I already had. Once I "took inventory," I knew that I had some variation of all of these pieces already. Its like they were reading my mind. Each piece of this outfit has had it's time to be the center piece to other outfits. The striped shirt was once that shirt that I could've worn every day over summer. The pair of pants that I chose were originally only being worn in one wild ensemble (oops). The pair of shoes I had just recently acquired, but I made sure they would have plenty of opportunity to shine with the other pieces in my closet.
The only problem was that I loved their high wasted and faded green jeans from the email. I had to pass on buying a brand new pair for as much as they were asking. I knew I could spin the look with a pair of blue jeans and it would be okay, but it wasn't the same. Blue jeans didn't give the outfit any edge. In fact, they toned the outfit down ten fold. Finally, after a few weeks of thrifting and almost giving up (shame, shame) I put my variation together. The pants that I have are Seven7 and are pretty nice, but they are mostly cotton and not jean at all. Also, they have diagonal seams on the upper thighs that go right across the top of the pants. So they have a little extra spunk than a plain pair of jeans. My pieces are much more vibrant than the Madewell ones used in their look, a little surprising, but as it turns out they look great together. I tried it on in front of the mirror and officially had my "new" outfit with my old clothes. I'll never get tired of that.