We raided one another’s wardrobes and dreamt up (mostly awesome) outfits from the depths of our stashes. Thusly, we devised the buzz word, “dig”, to refer to that one element that takes your outfit to the next level. Say, “you’re digging with those new shades,” or, “those crazy-ass wedges are the dig.”
Similarly, wear a dress over a skirt. Who knows? (Like this denim jacket/dashiki/ikat skirt combo in Square Dance.)
Sometimes (but not always), you can update an outdated cut of pants by pegging them for a straighter, more modern fit. (Like my old men's jeans in The Granny Smith.)
A job for the tailor or those really skilled on the sewing machine. It always works. (Like this Salvation Army find in Le Smoking Room.)
However, the best way to make a color look good is to add another color; so add a flash of somethin’ somethin’. (Like when I added some gray and brown with blues in Seaside Manner.)
Throw a flower jacket on with a flower print scarf and large flower earrings, or a silver metallic mini with a gold tank top. Just be sure to temper it with something solid. (Like with gray sweatpants, as in Power Flower.)
If a jacket (trenches don’t count here, btw), dress, or skirt comes with a matching belt, it’s usually no good - for that piece! Reuse the thing for something entirely different, and bring in your own fantastic belt from the bench. (Like in Reader Dig Explained: Blueberry Cream.)
If you feel like your closet is pretty well stocked, only buy pieces that play nicely with your preexisting stuff. Buy clothing that makes you wear the entire depths of your wardrobe well and more often. (Like when I bought my Kenneth Cole ankle boots, seen first in Inspector Gidget.)
Take a few minutes or hours on a Sunday afternoon; try on all your skirts, make a mess, take risks, record everything. On Monday morning, you’ll come to your closet with a better idea of what to reach for.
Nothing degrades the look of a great outfit than a big sloppy X of thread on the back flap of a coat. Also, after you buy a new jacket, try and wiggle your finger into the pocket if it's sewn shut. You may find that there is a pocket underneath. Cut! This Ann Taylor cape had manufacturer's seams on the pockets and the back flap.
More than half of the time in my regular, non-sketched life, I’m reaching for one of these as the base of an outfit. Figure out what elements always work and let yourself play around within those parameters. (Like in the oft-worn J. Crew men's shirt in Long Weekend on Lake Gaston.)
I start with a really long piece of string, and use just enough for a little button or tear. I cut back on time doing annoying chores such as needle threading. See what other closet hacks I propose in this post.
Make sure every clothing item can work double duty, bring enough accessories to keep things fresh, and save room for souvenirs. (Like in Reader Dig Explained: Winters in Goa - A Study in Packing.)
Make it work in your real life with sharply tailored separates. (Like in Reader Dig Explained: Business on the Bosphorus.)
They take up less space than teeshirts, plus it's way more fun to be half nude when you have options. (Like when I jumped off a dock in one of my many options in Lake Effect.)
The same darn coat can feel new with a steady rotation of scarves, hats and gloves. (Like in this getup in Reader Dig Explained: Snow Angel.)
You can wear a black sundress a million ways, with a million different accessories, as long as you get the dress right in the first place. (My favorite one is from Target, which I wore in The Ruins, Incognito.)
Be bold with lipstick, coordinate it with your outfit, and watch that you don't get it on your teeth. (My guide to lip color in Reader Dig Explained: How to Wear Lipstick.)
Just keep everything else casual, like wearing it over a turtleneck or striped shirt with jeans or a day skirt. (Like in Reader Dig Explained: Puck's Midnight Dream.)
If you live in a climate that includes five plus months of summer (or even four, lucky you), I suggest you find a ridiculous fan and carry it in your tote at all times. Or, buy a handful and leave them in all your different pocketbooks. (My typical Spanish tourist fan is all ablaze in Sevilla with Frida.)
My mom and I both slip on bracelets that stay on from Memorial to Labor Day. How about a pin that follows you through the fall, or a cache of crazy hats that brighten up the darkest days of winter?