Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Glam on the Go: 7 Ways to Amp Up Your Wardrobe

Want more ensembles? Comin' at ya!

I'm just going to come out and say it: I love clothes.

Not just the clothes, but how you can mix and match them, what accessories to pair them with, and how they can make you feel ready to take on the world. 

I'm not a person with a never-ending budget, so shopping for clothing is also about getting the most for less. This is particularly true when I'm shopping for outfits I regularly pack in my suitcase for work conferences, short jaunts, or weeks on the road.

I've been on a countdown to fly out to California to see my family this week and as it's the holiday season, I've thus been on the hunt for outfits I can bring home for the occasion. When you have three younger sisters, it's also about what you bring home to share with them. And let's be honest: the four of us girls like to taunt each other with unique finds (while I figure out ways to sneak them into my suitcase before they notice).

Today on What Would Jane Do, I'm bringing you some of my tips for finding outfits to help you stand out from the crowd this holiday season. 

Full disclosure, I'm no fashion expert but I love having fun with outfits and working with what you've got. I have what can described as a quirky style, and will wear the heck out of the things I love. You can click the link to see all my favorite everyday ensembles.

From family gatherings, to ugly sweater parties and big city celebrations, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you dress for you. If you feel like a rockstar, then there's no doubt you'll be just that as you ring in the New Year!

1. Treat Thrift Stores Like Treasure Hunting

Seriously, there are some great things to be found in thrift stores. After living in San Francisco, these quickly became my places to not blow my budget and still find some staple pieces. I would highly recommend that you ALWAYS wash what you buy before you wear it, but don't let the term 'second-hand' have you turning your nose up. There are some fabulous brands at even better prices to be found in these treasure troves. All you have to do is be on the lookout for them.

For the winter season, thrift stores are a great place to look for warm sweaters that can be worn with a variety of outfits. My go-to are the heavily textured ones that hit you at the waist, which when paired with a collared blouse and fancy necklace can dress up your basic jeans and boots ensemble. 

Still not feeling like you want to dig through the store? Consider planning a clothing swap with a group of your girlfriends. We do this pretty often within my group of friends and it's a blast every time, especially as you go home with new clothes you didn't have to pay anything for. I don't know about you, but just because it's second-hand doesn't mean it's not "new" to me! Add some wine to the mix and you're in for a solid evening.

2. High Waisted Skirts and Ankle Boots

I discovered this combination while I was in Australia earlier this year, and fell absolutely in love with it. If you aren't a fan of short ankle boots, consider a knee-high boot instead. High waisted skirts range in length, and I'm a fan of ones that hit right above the knee. This is ideal when paired with knee-high boots, so your legs aren't completely lost in the outfit.

Combine the skirt and boots with a blouse or cardigan of a different design for contrast, some opaque tights, and you'll be looking comfortably glam for that holiday family gathering. It's also an added bonus when traveling, as wearing tights will save you having to be barefoot when passing through security at the airport. Boots off, boots on, and done!

3. Skip the Expensive Jewelry

Bangles, necklaces, earrings…I'm a fan of all of them. What I'm NOT a fan of is when I end up losing expensive jewelry or misplacing it somewhere along the way when traveling. This is why I almost always end up purchasing "costume" jewelry, better known as cheap jewelery. It's fun, it can be funky, you can find it almost anywhere, and best of all: I don't cry when I lose it or it breaks. The perfect relationship.

4. Pop That Color

It used to be my natural inclination to only purchase items in shades of black, white, and neutral tones. No idea why. My mother would constantly comment that I needed to incorporate more color into my wardrobe. While neutrals make for great staples, don't be afraid to pump up your wardrobe with some fabulous pops of color. I'm talking a bold red, luscious mint green, sunshine yellow…take your pick! My preference is to either use these as accents or as the main statement piece of an outfit. If the winter weather is getting you down, consider this your spring dreaming pick-me-up. 

5. Scarves for Daysss

My roommate and I were noting the other day that our coat rack has slowly but surely turned itself into a scarf rack. From a warm infinity scarf to a silk wraparound, we're pretty obsessed with these neck accessories. And why not? They're a traveler's best friend for starters, and I rarely leave the house without one. Feeling a bit chilly in airport? Scarf. Require some extra coverage for that religious site you're visiting? Scarf. Need a makeshift pillow on the airplane? Scarf. I could go on for days.

Added to that, there are so many varieties of scarves to pick up that you're sure to find something that you like. Both a fashion statement and winter essential, there isn't much you can't do with a scarf. 

6. Mix, Match, and Do it Again

As I mentioned, I'm  a person who shops on a tight budget. Or at least I try to. I also don't shop to fill my wardrobe with designer labels. Nope, not even close. For me, it's all about finding  pieces  you love and can wear in a variety of ways. When I'm traveling, particularly for work, it's important to only pack what is necessary as I don't have the space for extra "just in case" outfits; this is why having pieces that can be mixed with another outfit or reworn in a different way are lifesavers.

If you're traveling far for the holidays, be sure to keep this in mind. If all else fails and you have sisters like mine, there will be plenty of closets to raid when you get home ;)

7. Be Comfortable, but Take Risks

This more than anything is what enables YOU to wear the outfit, and not the other way around. Whether you're making your way down a city street or headed to grandma's house for Christmas Eve, be comfortable in the ensemble you create. If you're going to wear it in the first place, shouldn't you also enjoy it? Also, if pumpkin pie is on the menu, you'll wishing you were comfy after the third (fourth?) slice. Or is that just me?

At the same time, don't be afraid to also step outside your comfort zone once in awhile. Try new styles, add more color, and get experimental with designs! The result will be a wardrobe as eclectic as you.

Wishing you all a happy holiday, a fabulously glam New Year, and many more adventures to come!