Well, since it’s a big ol’ American holiday today, I’ve decided to showcase a few outfits which are particularly patriotic, and use them to dispense styling advice.
If you’re not familiar with Polyvore.com, it’s a pretty amazing site. It’s basically a massive searchable database of clothing available for purchase on the internet. You can narrow your search by keyword, type of item, price, etc. If you like buying clothes on the web, it’s incredibly useful (tip: if you “like” an item on Polyvore – by clicking on the red heart – it will send you an email notification when that item goes on sale).
I use Polyvore to assemble outfits and give styling advice, using their “set” and “collection” software. If you click on any set below, it will take you to view it on Polyvore. When viewing on Polyvore, hovering your cursor over an item will bring up the price and maker. If you click on an item, it will bring up a larger photo and further information. Click again, and it will take you to the website where you can BUY that item! So if you like an outfit I’ve assembled, you can go to Polyvore and buy the whole thing, right there and then online. Pretty cool, huh?
As a general rule, I try to keep my Polyvore sets as affordable as possible. I’m on a mission to show that you can dress well without breaking the bank, after all! I try to keep all items under $50, sometimes going up to $150 for a great item, like a coat, shoes, or handbag. Occasionally I’ll use expensive designer items IF I’m doing a “fantasy” or “dream” set, or if I simply cannot find anything else to illustrate the point I’m trying to make.
So, patriotic clothing for the Fourth of July!
I composed this set in response to a question about accessorizing a red polka-dot dress. The asker wanted to know if it would work with a blue belt and neutral shoes. To me, that sounded a bit schizophrenic – like the shoes were chosen by one personality, and the belt by another.
What I’ve tried to illustrate here is how personality is reflected by our styling choices:
- The first set is for a more reserved woman. The dress is the star. The accessories are neutral but high-quality. This is a simple, elegant look.
- The second set is for a more quirky, funky woman. There are many patterns, but it works because the palette is limited to red and white and ONLY geometric patterns (dots, stripes, chevrons).
- The third set is for an outgoing woman with a big, bubbly personality. This is for the life of the party, the ultimate hostess. She is not shy or afraid of being seen. There’s a lot going on here, but it works because the blue accents on the dress are solid in color. I’ve reserved the multicolor patterns for the shoes alone (note that earrings + brooch + belt + bag + shoes = 5, and polka dots + patterned shoes + blue accessories = 3).
There are 4 pairs of shoes with each set NOT because these are 8-legged spider-women, but because (in my opinion) shoes are never, EVER universally acceptable. Some women can only wear flats, some won’t leave the house without heels, some can wear heels if they are wedge, and everyone prefers a slightly different heel height. Our shoe preferences are as unique as our personalities, so I wanted to give several options with varying styles and heel heights to show how many different shoe options work with each look. You should never feel limited by your shoe preferences – there IS a flat shoe somewhere which will work with that evening dress, and there IS a heel that will work with your yoga clothes.
This set was assembled to illustrate a favorite styling trick of mine, something I feel very strongly about, and something I’ll probably illustrate over and over.
THE RULES OF FORMALITY NO LONGER APPLY.
Life used to be divided into distinct parts, with a strict dress code for each: you had clothes for work, clothes for church, clothes for dinner parties, and clothes for casual wear. Life no longer falls into these categories. Our lives have become a hybrid, as we may have to attend a meeting, run errands, AND spend time with small children without being able to change clothes. You don’t want to look like a slob, but you don’t want to ruin your nice clothes or feel uncomfortable or over-dressed.
My solution? Get more wear out of your wardrobe by mixing your more formal clothes WITH your casual stuff. T-shirts look great under blazers. A t-shirt under a strapless dress makes it more comfortable, less formal, but also more modern and youthful. Sports shoes can be really cute with dresses and skirts. Simple things like layering a striped T-shirt under a plain one and accessorizing with bright-colored earrings and sneakers can make a very casual outfit chic, because it’s obvious you put thought into it and didn’t just throw something on.
So, go to your wardrobe and mix it up! Try a faded old T under a tweed jacket with dark jeans. See if your keds work with that sundress. Try your short-sleeved T-shirts over the long-sleeved ones. Have fun!
One of the outfits from the set above caught the eye of a friend of mine, so I put it into a separate set (with a new T-shirt and a red wig) which is perfect for the 4th of July, so I’ll leave you with this: