You guys, I've been so excited about this post all week long! I'm so happy to get to share it with you today, because it was soooooooo much fun to put together. Hang on, because this post is going to be long and VERY picture-heavy! (Also, apologies for the not-so-awesome photography... Tegan's gone home for a couple of weeks, and Elijah and Hannah are in America, so I had to wield the camera!)
My friend Clarisse Wells runs an amazing fashion blog called Clarisse's Closet that I fangirl follow. A couple of weeks ago she shared an incredibly helpful post about how to construct a great mix-and-match wardrobe out of a few key pieces that you can put together without too much difficulty or expense. Clarisse chose 24 pieces, including shoes and accessories, and presented three different 'remixes' of those pieces to create 28(!!!) different outfits.
I thought this was nothing short of brilliant, and I wanted to see if I could do it too. So I asked 7 of my friends if they would model for me, and then I picked 24 pieces to serve as a mix-and-match wardrobe. I imposed a few restrictions on myself:
1 -- I had to use all 24 wardrobe pieces in each 'round' of outfits.
2 -- I had to dress all 7 of my friends in each 'round', obviously without adding other pieces. The only exception to this rule was shoes; I only included 3 pairs, so some folks had to go barefoot.
3 -- The outfits that I put together for each friend had to suit their personal styles -- that is, they had to be outfits that that particular girl would actually wear.
With these restrictions in mind, I put together 21 mix-and-match outfits. If I hadn't had to dress all 7 friends each time, I could've mixed the pieces in different ways, but I needed to make sure that everybody was fully clothed! I did find that I could only create a two-season wardrobe out of 24 pieces, and I felt a lot better about this when Clarisse told me she had the same problem. We are thinking that we might try this again in a few months and put together fall/winter wardrobes too. Let me know if you think that would be fun to read about, okay? Okay! Here are the pieces I chose:
(Apologies for the X'd-out dress -- I chose that as my dress before I changed my mind in favour of the black dress, and then I forgot to take it out of the clothes pile, and THEN I put it in the photo. *facepalm*)
1 - Linen trousers (Lorelie Creations): They're cool, easy to dress up or down, and they scream 'summer'. I chose white linen trousers shot through with sparkly silver threads.
2 - Lace shirt (Upbeat Petites): A lace shirt requires layering, which means you need another piece to go with it, but it adds instant style. It can be worn over camis, vests, or bandeaus, but it can also change up the look of a dress.
3 - Jeans jacket (Sparrow & Wren Mercantile): A jeans jacket is good for cool evenings, and is a quick way to change up the look of simple pieces. If you have a lot of colour in other pieces, opt for a neutral-coloured jacket. I switched it up and went for this mint-green twill one.
4 - Basic grey vest/tank top (Upbeat Petites): Speaks for itself!
5 - Sleeveless dress (Anick's Boutique): One of the great things about summer is being able to pull on a simple, comfortable dress and look great all day. This dress is a variant of the LBD ('little black dress'), with pink and blue flowers.
6 - Metallic sandals (Lorelie Creations): All the shoes I chose for this wardrobe are sandals. It would probably be good to mix it up a bit more, but in the spring and summer, I just want to be as close to barefoot as possible. Metallic sandals can be dressy or casual, depending on how you style your outfit.
7 - Summer-weight infinity scarf (Purely Splendid): A scarf is a quick way to add a pop of colour to your outfit and give it a put-together look. This one has a variety of colours so that it matches as much as possible.
8 - Sun hat (AG Summer Accessories 2014): Cute, stylish, and practical, a hat is a great summer accessory. I chose a straw fedora.
9 - Bandeau top (QTπ Doll Clothing): Wear this under other tops, layering pieces, or even by itself if you're brave enough to bare your midriff.
10 - Cropped leggings (Dolls 4 Jessica Designs): Leggings are always comfy, and cropped ones in a bright colour keep them looking summery. You can layer them with skirts, dresses, and long tops or cardigans.
11 - Neutral gladiator sandals (Dollicious Doll Clothes): Clarisse wisely chose knee-length boots for her wardrobe, but when the weather's warm, I think boots are too hot. I chose knee-length black gladiator sandals, which give the presence of boots but the coolness of sandals.
12 - White blouse (Sparrow & Wren Mercantile): Always a wardrobe staple, you can wear a white blouse alone, as a layering piece, or even as a jacket. This one is a cotton dotted Swiss top.
13 - Dark-wash jeans (Liberty Jane): Choose your preferred cut; I opted for a slightly relaxed cut. A dark wash is much easier to dress up than a light wash.
14 - Simple necklace (Lorelie Creations): Wear it with everything for a polished look.
15 - Dressy shorts (QTπ Doll Clothing): A pair of tailored shorts can stand in, when it's hot, for a dressy pair of trousers. You can even look for a shorts suit, which would allow you to mix and match both the shorts and the blazer. I chose these cuffed pleated suit shorts in light grey.
16 - Simple print top (QTπ Doll Clothing): A simple print, like the tiny black polka-dots on this collared sleeveless top, can mix and match with other prints as well as solids.17 - Layering piece such as a waistcoat/vest (QTπ Doll Clothing): Another good way to change up the look of more basic pieces. Don't be afraid to layer a sleeveless waistcoat with a sleeveless top; it looks great!
18 - Colourful solid top (Liberty Jane): Looks great with any neutral or matching pattern. I chose a casual sleeveless vest/tank. This one is actually reversible, which lets it do double duty in my wardrobe, but I stuck to the fuchsia side for all these looks (I didn't want it to seem like I was cheating!).
19 - Floral shell top (Our Generation "Play It Cool"): A shell is dressier than a knit vest/tank, and often a bit sheer. It's a great layering piece. This one is opaque enough to wear on its own even without a layer underneath.
20 - Long skirt (Cutie Pie and Me): There are so many ways you could go here! Choose a fun maxi skirt or high-low skirt. This one is very sheer indeed, which limits it to being a layering piece in my wardrobe; you may find it easier to choose one that can be worn alone.
21 - Colourful sandals (AG Weekend Fun outfit): Is there a non-neutral colour that seems to keep showing up in your outfits? Find a pair of shoes in that shade so that you can liven up your feet's wardrobe too.
22 - Knee-length skirt (Clarisse's Closet): Again, you have infinite options on this one -- colourful or neutral, dressy or casual, basic or outfit centrepiece. I had to pay homage to my girl Clarisse and choose this amazing gold and fuchsia sari wrap skirt. (I think I could actually use this inside-out, too, so that only the gold was showing, but I stuck with the sari side for this post!)
23 - Light cardigan (QTπ Doll Clothing): Spring days and summer nights can be cool, so it's good to have a cosy cardigan in your wardrobe. I chose this white knit one with grey textured stripes.
24 - Denim cutoffs (Liberty Jane): These are as essential as jeans in a warm-weather wardrobe. Choose a pair you love and you'll live in them.
Here are the looks I pulled together -- three sets of seven outfits.
Honor = 7, 9, 17 & 24
Reilly Wren = 8, 12, 13 & 21
Vesper = 2, 4, 10, & 20
Quinn = 18 & 22
Eve = 5 & 14
Amy Jinn = 12, 21 & 22
Vesper = 3 & 5
Quinn = 8, 10, 19 & 20
Eve = 7, 13 & 18
Rachel = 1, 4, 14 & 23
Eve = 4, 10, & 23
Amy Jinn = 7, 11, 15 & 18
Honor = 1, 12 & 20
(Sorry about Amy Jinn's arm on the right side of this photo! I accidentally gave her the wrong instructions of what to put on, and decided I didn't much love her outfit, so I had her change it before I took the photo above this one!)
Quinn = 3, 13 & 16
Reilly Wren = 2, 5, 6 & 8
Vesper = 9, 17, 21 & 22
One thing I hope to do if I try this again is to take more risks with colours. I love wearing lots of bright colours myself, but not everyone does -- Rachel, for instance, almost never wears colours; she just likes black, white, grey, and navy blue best. Since everyone has such different taste in colours, it was very hard to pick a palette that would've suited everyone's preferences, so my wardrobe leans heavily on white, black, and grey, with fuchsia, blue, and mint as the accent colours.
Do you think you could build a summer wardrobe using only 24 pieces? Try the challenge for yourself! I'd love it if you'd share the links to your photos if you decide to give it a go!
If you'd like to see more individualized pictures of each outfit, here you go...