What to wear, what to wear? Your wardrobe may surprise you

We all struggle to spot the fresh outfits hiding inside our own closets

By Mariel Abbene, Columbian staff writer

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Have you ever woken up in the morning, washed your face, brushed your teeth and then sat in front of your closet, wishing a fabulous outfit would materialize in front of your eyes? I’ve been there. It’s hard to pick out an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable when your closet seems tired and boring.

In lieu of going to the mall and buying an entirely new wardrobe, I thought I’d share some tricks that I use to create an outfit when I’m really stuck.

Build around one item

First of all, choose an item that you really like. It could be anything, from a killer pair of boots to a new sweater to a cute pair of glasses. Hopefully there’s at least one clothing item in your closet that you can get behind. Don’t be afraid to grab something fun, sparkly or colorful.

The next step is to start building an outfit around what you selected. Look at your item: What colors are in it? What texture is it? What colors go well with it? Is there anything unexpected you could pair it with? Utilize any neutrals you have, even if the rest of your outfit is all black. After all, black is the new black, folks.

After that, accessorize! Use the same techniques in the previous step to choose jewelry, a hat or a scarf. Don’t feel the need to go overboard, but sometimes the perfect pair of earrings or a cute hat can really make an outfit.

The last step is important: Don’t stop at the outfit itself. Outerwear matters! What a shame it would be to put together a great outfit and pair it with a junky raincoat or sad cardigan. This might be a hole in your wardrobe (which is understandable because coats can be a big commitment), so if it is, take note for later. There are tons of great resale stores, such as Buffalo Exchange or Goodwill, where you can find great-quality, super-stylish jackets.

After that, you’re ready to go! Grab a snack, get out there and rock what USED to be your tired, boring closet.


Mariel Abbene is a designer and illustrator at The Columbian. You can reach her at mariel.abbene@columbian.com and follow her Everyday Style blog at blogs.columbian.com/everyday-style/