Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Myth of Mix & Match

There was a time great fashion minds wanted us to believe all our wardrobe woes would disappear with a carefully curated collection of staples— 2 pairs of pants, a cardigan, 2 blouses, tailored shirt, a skirt, two pairs of shoes— all in a basic color range: black or gray, white or beige. Maybe they'd give us a pop color to throw in. Everything had to be the best quality you could afford and fit like a dream (still good advice). There would be imperious equations with unlimited combinations to prove you would never again need worry what to wear. I went on a quest for those "perfect pieces", but was never satisfied. I was always buying another black cardigan or another white shirt or another pair of pants that would be more perfect. I ended up with a closet of clothes to wear when I wanted to disappear. Lesson learned: I'm not a basic kind of gal.

But what to do if you have a limited budget and a one-outfit-a-day lifestyle? The next advice I latched onto had me making sure any lovely piece I bought went with at least four other items I already owned. So the sheer butterfly-printed blouse did go with the green tweed skirt and the purple herringbone trousers and the brown cords and of course dark denim. But I only ever wore it with the green skirt because that combination looked dreamy. Each time I wore that outfit I either gave myself a compliment or received one during the day. Oh, I'd switch out tights and shoes and jewelry, but it was basically the lovely butterfly blouse and green tweed skirt. Lesson learned: Having one outfit that works is okay.

One outfit that works is not only okay, it's a problem solver, a time saver and a morale booster. It saves money because it won't be necessary to purchase further items to expand its wearability. In time the butterfly blouse may fly out of my radar (I tend to get bored after a while) or the green skirt may not suit the season (tweed in south Texas has a limited run), but while they work they work hard and make my outfitting effortless.

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