As I’ve been turning my wardrobe and shifting from summer to fall – and lately winter – I’ve discovered the beauty of “shopping” in my closet. During the turning, which sounds downright vampiric, I noticed several articles of clothing with tags dangling from their pretty collars and sleeves.

As I inspected these items I realized most of the pieces were bought on clearance or at heavily discounted rates and were for more formal occasions.

A silver grey skirt that I thought would look so cute with a nice sweater if I should go to a Holiday party that wasn’t too formal…

A cute black silk dress with a fabulous and shiny geometric pattern…for that occasion when I needed just the right LBD…

A beautiful blue dotted dress with a swoop neck collar…for that after work party that called for casual elegance…

And so I decided to shop in my closet! Each of these items was bought because I truly loved some aspect of the design, texture or color and I found that I still loved these things…I just had nowhere to wear them!

Therefore, I made a resolution to repurpose each of these items, finding new ways to dress them down for everyday work wear. Here are some tips I learned from my endeavors:

For Dresses/Skirts
• Add a sweater or cardigan
– Its winter time in the South and so sweaters and cardigans are great at dressing down an otherwise too formal skirt or dress.
– Remember – you can always pull a sweater or cardigan over a dress to essentially convert it to skirt. If the dress still looks too formal underneath a cardigan, try layering a camisole under the cardigan but over the dress to conceal the top half of the pattern or button the cardigan fully.

• Wear tights instead of sheer hose
– Sheer hose will make your look too formal.
– Tights will instantly convert an otherwise formal skirt or dress to a less formal look.

• Wear boots
– Stick with low heeled boots or wedges – higher heeled styles will confuse the look as a higher heel is typically worn during a more formal occasion.
– Be leery of boots with lots of hardware – it depends on the hardware but the boot needs to make sense with the overall look you’re trying to achieve.

• Tone down the bling
– Jewelry is a must but keep the jewelry simple or to one or two pieces. Opt for simple pieces that are bigger vs ornate smaller pieces.

For Shirts/Blouses
• Wear a simple but chic pant
– Either nice slacks or jeans – skip the “hiney” embellishments!
– No silk or shiny materials – the focus should be on the blouse – by adding a shiny or silk pant you’re shifting from casual to formal

• Be careful with skirts
– Keep skirts simple and chic – go for solid colors or simple prints
– Keep the length of the skirt in mind; long skirts tend to look more formal unless the material is very casual

• Skip the necklace (possibly)
– If the blouse is very formal – either in material or if it has added embellishments – skip the necklace and keep the earrings casual
– Large or ornate necklaces can detract from the beauty of the blouse

• Add a jacket
– A casual jacket, even a jean jacket can take a formal shirt and turn it into an eye catching but day wear approved look
– Ensure the fit of the jacket compliments the shirt – The jacket needs to accentuate the blouse, not swallow or hide it.

I hope these tips are helpful! Next time you’re staring aimlessly at your wardrobe, take a look at those items with the tags still dangling and enjoy shopping in your closet!

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My “repurposed” grey skirt!

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