Before And After: An Easy Two Minute Outfit Upgrade

Most of us live non-glamorous lives, and are happy to do it. We have outfit formulas we return to time after  time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We repeat looks that we like. We can’t all be selfie-ready every morning, like the K sisters.

As a mostly-normal retired woman, I only dress up once or twice a week, for dates with my husband, or Visible Monday picture day.

This is what I usually wear on a typical volunteer-at-the-thrift day: boyfriend-cut jeans and some sort of neutral knit top. I know, big yawn, right? And before I got more intrigued by my style, about seven years ago, this was the complete look for any given “work” day:

The Before

The Before: perfectly neat and acceptable but kinda plain for a spirited woman.

I’ve learned, from reading and watching and doing, that it only takes about two minutes to upgrade my look, and make it more reflective of how I feel. Below I’ve started with my basics and swapped out a funkier shoe (my floral Doc Martens), added a favorite pendant (the future is female, yeah?), a red leather belt, and an inexpensive bangle. I swapped out the previous purse to something more stylish here, although I do carry my boring-but-good Coach bag most days.

The After
The After: it’s not wonderfully artistic but it says “I feel good.”

Now I look and feel like I’ve got some style, and I also feel more confident and ready to run into ex-husbands old friends at the local pub. Why not feel better every day?

What are your tips for upping your style on a regular basis? Stay fabulous, xo

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  8. What a wonderful reminder not to get stuck in those fashion ruts, and to make the effort to have every outfit be a little bit more special. Some good self-care, there!

  9. There is something wonderfully classic about floral Doc. Martens. To me they’re just a little contradictory (floral/ combat) and thus add a touch of fun and humor to any look.

  10. My basic uniform is also jeans and a knit top, once in awhile a blouse. I agree completely that it’s practical, versatile and suited to a casual lifestyle but easily upgraded to add style and personality. for 3/4 of the year I add a scarf to my outfit any time I leave home. This has been a signature style piece for me since the eighties. My shoes are not trend driven but also statements about my style and taste. I never wear running shoes unless actually being sporty. I always wear jewelry though admittedly it’s minimal lately. My handbag is stylish and sometimes I add a hat. Even when it’s simple, I am always wearing an ‘outfit’ and I have signature pieces. I have learned through trial and error that I am one of those people who actually looks better with less embellishment rather than more.

    • Thanks for this – I enjoy hearing about how you put your outfits together, and your use of signature pieces. xo

  11. Patti, I can completely relate to this post. There are many days where I am wearing yoga pants for most of the day, and sometimes for a portion of each day. Sweats are a go to also. But I do like to get dressed up even if it’s not for something particular special.
    I love your before and after looks. When you are as trim as you are there’s nothing better than well cut jeans and a simple tee or turtleneck.
    I do love a special bag, or shoe however and I’m sure you have gleaned that from reading my blog.
    I am actually sort of low maintenance. I twist my hair in a sock at night and that gives me waves that are easy to wear , whether it’s in a ponytail or down . My make up consists of a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, a little bit of eyeliner and lipgloss also with sunscreen . For special events I will have someone put false eyelashes on .
    When I get dressed sometimes I will just pull things out of my closet at random and see what comes of it. I know that sounds rather chaotic but as often as not I am happy with the result.
    What I love about Manhattan is that I can wear yoga pants or ball gown on the street and I won’t attract any particular attention .
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Love your tip of tying your hair up in a sock at night – and your hair always looks so good. I love everything about Manhattan! xo

  12. Love how you updated the outfit with the simple addition of some colourful and interesting accessories. And how cute is that bag! xxx

  13. This is what the typical French woman does. Basic clothes–timeless, classic. Then they add a cool detail to keep it from being boring. Like your floral Doc Martens. Or a beautiful silk scarf.

  14. Agreed. Basics are there for a reason, because we need them. It takes so little effort to throw a great scarf around your neck and shoulders, or choose a wack-a-doodle belt, or wear your funky shoes for a change, or wear a bright lipstick.

    It’s still a uniform, you still look “normal” — but you are now the crayon in the box of 64 that gets chosen first to draw with, instead of the ones that you use only when all the good colors have been worn to a nub. Better to be worn away to a nub than to be left to gather dust in the box.

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