Making the most of your existing wardrobe | Lisa Stockman

My biggest joy comes when I get to roll up my blazer sleeves and teach clients how to create new looks with their existing wardrobe. When I was with a client last week, I realized the styling principles I taught her about putting outfits together aren’t common knowledge. So today, I’m sharing with you 5 tips to make the most out of your existing wardrobe.

You might have heard the statistic most people wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. This is certainly true for my clients when I first visit their wardrobes. The reasons are typically because; they are unsure of what really suits them, they hang onto pieces that worked under different life circumstances and they make impulse purchases when they have “nothing to wear”.

I honestly believe you don’t need to have a big wardrobe to have a collection you love and actually wear. Creating this type of wardrobe is how I help my clients and it starts with defining their personal style and using this information to cull and reorganize their wardrobe to suit their lifestyle needs.

As a conscious shopper and someone who dislikes waste, I try and breathe life into my client’s current wardrobe by showing them new ways to wear what they already have using styling principles. The response I get when I put pieces together using these principles is “I would never have put that together!” or “Wow, I love that combination – let’s take a photo so I don’t forget”.

Here are five tips and examples of each I used with a client this week.

1. Don’t wait for a special occasion

Often people buy something for a specific occasion but don’t wear it again – what a waste! Think about how you can dress a special piece down with denim, different accessories or shoes to wear it more often.

My client had a black and blush lace top that was purchased for a wedding as part of a set with a matching skirt. I showed her how the top could be worn with jeans and a blazer for evenings out.

2. Go Tonal

Tonal dressing is when you wear the same colour in slightly different shades from head to toe. This is a timeless, elegant and easy way to look well put together. They key is to pick one colour and use different shades of the colour textures to create a little interest.

My client had a pleated green velvet skirt I put together with a green woolen top and dark green leather belt.

3. Mixing Prints

Mixing prints has been a big trend both in street style and on the catwalks in 2020 but trying it yourself takes confidence. My tip on mixing prints is to remember its all about balance. If one print is big, wear it with something of a smaller scale, and if one is extra loud, find something more subtle to tone it down.

In this photo I’ve pared a wide stripe with a soft paisley using colours that work well together, navy, white and orange.

4. Blazer Basics

Blazers are a foundation piece in any wardrobe. They can be worn with everything from shorts in summer, with denim and trainers for an everyday look or over a cocktail dress for evenings out.

To make a blazer look more styled, roll the sleeve and push it up over your elbow. For a more sophisticated look, close the top button and cinch in your waist with a belt over the top.

In this photo I’ve shown my client the difference in sleeve length and the power of a belt over the blazer.

5. Buckle Up

Speaking of belts, they really are a great way to elevate any look. Think of belts for form rather than function. Belts are there to add personality, colour or elevate an outfit. If you need a belt to hold up your jeans, pants, skirts or dresses, you’re wearing the wrong size garment.

My client had some belts she loved but didn’t know how to wear. I put a few looks together to utilize the belts and add a little extra personality to her outfits.

So next time you feel like you have nothing to wear, use these 5 tips to put together new outfits – I’d love to see what you create.

Lisa Stockman

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