The Rule of Instead

Getting dressed is pretty basic stuff, right? We only have to cover ourselves and be clean to pass muster. But If we’re feeling a little style mojo, we can choose to coordinate, or clash, or bring a theme, or make a statement. This is why I love everything about style and fashion, even at my advanced age.

I know my mood changes and some days, neat-and-clean and don’t-frighten-the-horses is fine. Like when we’re having a stay-cation, and the biggest energy expenditure of the day is a bike ride to the taco place. A black tee, skinny jeans, and Chucks will make me happy. Oh, and lipstick, gotta have lips.

Other days, I want to elevate from OK to “oh, yeah”. On those occasions I like to practice the Rule of Instead. I reach for my usual pieces then ask, “What might work for me instead . . . ?” For example, here are some lively substitutions:

  • Instead of classic heels, how about booties? I have quite a few of these  : >
  • Instead of a pencil skirt, how about a pencil skirt with glitter? Yummy.
Halogen skirt, Nordstrom, on sale for $20. I could totally wear this with a casual
long sleeved tee and booties for a fun date night look.
  • Instead of my red lips, how about something coral?
  • Instead of a bracelet, how about a big honking ring?
  • Instead of a shoulder bag, how about a cool clutch?
Love this bright clutch from Asos, $35. It’s not too “precious” for everyday.

These “instead ofs” don’t have to cost much or take a lot of styling effort. They just require that I reach twice into the closet – once by habit and then with a new eye.

Do you have ways to pump up a familiar look, by doing an “instead” item? Love to hear your ideas, as always!

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  1. I've been a matchy matchy person for years.  One of the things that I've worked on this past year is breaking out of that.  Like yesterday, I orange accessories with green.  It feels good to do things that are a little daring.  I love your scarf, such a great piece.  And that sparkly skirt!

  2. For me it's not being in a rush and remembering that it's my choice of accessories and texture that help to elevate my outfit to 'oh yeah'.  Sometimes putting on that beautiful cuff or necklace and substituting a plain shirt for a luxe silk blouse makes a huge difference!

  3. It all boils down to what you see when you step in front of the mirror. The only hard and fast rule is, "does it flatter me?". 

    Spashionista (Alicia)

  4. Yes.  Absolutely.  A really good switcher-upper tool for the Mental What-To-Wear-Decider.  Thanks … will apply it today!

  5. I love the rule of instead, too. With my lopsided hips I don't "do" pencil skirts but that sequinned beauty is enough to make me reconsider! x

  6. What a good way to reconsider one's choices, Patti! I'll remember that!
    The sequinned skirt and clutch bag are gorgeous.  xxx

  7. I do the "instead of" more often than I do the obvious. Sometimes I pull together and outfit and go "oh no! this is so obvious, I need to change something" – which is dumb, but I'm learning to stop doing it because I adore matchy, and I'm passing up some great looks. 

    That glitter skirt is incredible – and a total steal for $20. Even a couple of date nights out would bring the PPW down! 

  8. The rule of instead -that's a great way of thinking about it! I love the glittery pencil skirt!

  9. That's a good way to think about livening things up. I usually spend too much time pondering, but maybe I'll do this *instead*!

    One thing, I need more booties! 

  10. It's those "oh yeah" items, whatever they are for us, that make personal style so much fun. They're the whipped cream on the berries. Love that skirt!

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