What Makes It Work, Redux

There are a lot of basics in my wardrobe, a lot of neutral pieces that go together just fine, and make dressing easy. But, as I wrote about in a previous post, the basics-only outfit can definitely lack ooomph. To  keep my wardrobe economical and still interesting, I ask myself in the groggy weekday morning, “what would make this outfit sing a happier tune?” My previous example was of an ultra-casual tee-and-denim-skirt look. Here is a Polyvore I put together for a work outfit. My workplace is fairly casual:

What Makes It Work II

I started with a slim khaki skirt and a feminine top. I cheated a little for visual puposes: I would probably wear a navy or ivory top instead of this pretty turquoise one. OK, I am a color-coward, at least when it comes to my main pieces. Oh, and this top is not in my budget either!

For the office, I need a little cover up, but instead of a blazer, like this, I chose a soft knit. Either would be fine, and definitely adds some polish. The bag is (forgive the cliche) To Die For, but I could better afford the one below. I like a light or printed bag for summer, even though they don’t hold up to heavy use as well as the winter bags.
The jewelry is the easiest and most creative part for me. I love the earrings and cuff shown. They are “investment pieces” but I could just as happily do these:

I wouldn’t do my trademark pendant with this ruffled blouse but with a more plain tee, I might call in Mr. Owl:
The booties really make this outfit special, IMHO. Since I sit most of the day, they would probably be OK comfort wise. But on a walking day I would probably switch out to a nice wedge sandal. I’d better spring for that pedicure stat!
How do you pump up your basics for your work looks? Do you love color?
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  1. Angie, thanks for visiting! Your recent wardrobe purge was inspirational. I love your emphasis on fine material and fit, and the evolution of your style. And, I love your island!

  2. I'm on a minimal phase in my style journey right now so I plan for my to tell the story because they will be of fine quality and fit and materials.Because it takes time and money to build a wardrobe like that Ι try to have statement shoes and bags.I was never afraid to use color I just don't feel drawn to it now.

  3. Anne, I do think we have similar tastes; I've admired lots of your outfits.

    As Terri said above, turquoise is flattering to many skin tones so I'll bet it looks wonderful with your hair/skin. Today I am bold! (not) in navy top and gray pencil skirt : >

  4. Love that outfit! I tend to not "pump up" my basics nearly enough, I fear. But when I do, I think my tastes are very similar to yours. I definitely go for tough shoes, special earrings, and casual, chunky bracelets!

    Oddly enough, though, turquoise and teal are two of my basic top colors. Despite my own fear of color, those ones always seem to work for me — even with my reddish hair and pale skin. (Go figure! I don't understand it, either).

  5. Terri, you are right of course. I *do* love color in my home, in my accessories (see purse)and on others. Maybe I haven't bought the *right* colors for next to my face, so I fall back on my neutrals. I think I'll explore more in a post! Thanks as ever for reading and adding to the discussion.

  6. Why couldn't you wear this turquoise? It's beautiful and I think it is flattering to a lot of skin tones. I know that Paula (above commenter) has helped coax me out of my style rut. She is wearing a color like it today.

  7. Hi Paula! You look great in color, and I admire your fearlessness. Even neon holds no fear for you? – go Paula! Yeah the shooties are pretty fabulous, but I don't own them . . . yet.

  8. Hey Patti~Its Paula over from FOF! Thanks for coming over~
    I am a color lover and dare-devil. There is no Color that scares me or is not my friend. Sometimes I go too far and I can be a crazy lady–that can be fun! I love neon. That's how I pump up an outfit–I'm not so into accessories..
    LOVE those shoes–I hear you on the comfort issue! Ttys~

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