How To Style 1 Blazer 4 Ways | Project 1-4-4

Today I'm excited to share the next installment of Project 1-4-4 featuring the classic blazer!

As you know, I absolutely love blazers and count my navy one as a must-have in my wardrobe. To show just how versatile a classic blazer in a neutral color is, I've put together a different look for each season.

I hope these ideas inspire you to rework some of your favorite pieces and I'd love to see how you do it by tagging me in pictures on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #Project144

Winter

During the cooler months I love to pair my blazer with a simple turtleneck and jeans. This combo never fails to be a classic and I wear it on repeat until spring. To polish the look even further I add riding boots and a classic clutch. 

Spring

When spring rolls around I love to pair my blazer with a classic white shirt and fun skirt. To keep these structured separates more casual I like to wear them with flats and a simple belt. 

Summer

In summer I love to use my blazer as a topper when I either need to be more polished or will be spending a great deal of time indoors in the AC. To ensure that my base layers are cool enough for the summer heat I like to wear my blazer over a simple white tee and light shorts. Simple sandals and some fun jewelry help complete the look even further. 

Fall

Fall is my favorite season for wearing blazers and I've already worn this combination countless times this year. To keep my look collegiate and cool, I love to layer my blazer over a simple white top and jeans and finish it off with a great scarf and classic loafers. 

Until next time,

Audrey

Minimalist Packing Guide: 3 Days In Maine, 1 Carry-On

As I mentioned on Monday, Jason and I are headed up north to Maine tonight for a quick trip to see family (we come back Saturday afternoon). To say I'm excited for some last minute leaf peeping is an understatement and I'm packing up my favorite fall pieces to make the most of it.

Below, I've outlined the pieces I'm bringing to keep me super cozy and comfortable and I can't wait to share outfits pics once I get back. Anything marked with an asterisk* will make up my travel outfit, and I've linked the items shown (or some similar) in case you're interested. 

 

Tops

  1. White Silk Shirt*

  2. Plaid Shirt

  3. Navy Tee 

Sweaters

  1. Black Cashmere Crewneck

  2. Fisherman Sweater

Jeans

  1. Medium Wash Jeans

  2. Dark Wash Skinny Jeans

Blazers

  1. Grey Herringbone Blazer

  2. Green Herringbone Blazer

  3. Navy Blazer*

Outerwear

  1. Barbour

Shoes

  1. Chelsea Boots*

  2. Riding Boots

Accessories & Purses

  1. Fall Themed Silk Scarf

  2. Green Print Silk Scarf

  3. Red Shawl*

  4. Classic Belt*

  5. Thin Statement Belt  

  6. Clutch

  7. Crossbody Purse*

  8. Simple, Everyday Jewelry*

  9. Fedora 

I also filmed a corresponding packing video that you can view here or below. 

 

Before I go, I'd love to know if you're headed anywhere fun this fall? Have you gotten a chance to enjoy the foliage? Let me know in the comments below and follow along with me on Instagram


Until next time,

Audrey

Quality Over Quantity & Building Your Perfect Wardrobe Slowly

Recently, I was thinking about my quest for quality over quantity and what that means to me. While I mentally scanned my closet and it's contents, I started to reflect on the journey that led me to each piece. The trial and error, the hits and the misses and most importantly, the prices I paid for each.

While there's no denying that my closet is a mix of high and low, arriving at this careful balance certainly did not happen over night. In fact, the majority of my closet took years to acquire, and my more special, treasured pieces are the result of extensive planning and saving to afford.

With this journey in mind, today's post is about the delicate balance between building a versatile wardrobe of quality over quantity and working with a realistic budget.  

When you've made the choice to streamline your wardrobe, the urge to purge can be overwhelming. The hours of research and planning that lead to this decision have no doubt sparked a burning desire to finally achieve your dream closet and you're feeling totally pumped.

Unfortunately, this research may have also left you feeling a little worse for wear and like the pieces you already own just won't cut it. Rather than feel defeated before you start, I recommend that you take a step back and approach your journey to closet bliss as a marathon rather than a sprint.

With a whole lotta planning and a little bit of patience, you can achieve your dream wardrobe no matter what your budget is. To help you do this, I have put together five simple steps that helped me do just this. So, grab a notebook and pen and let's get started.  

MAKE A PLAN

The first step to any successful closet revamp is planning. 

Rather than jump right into a major closet clean-out blindly, I recommend you always start with a strategy to keep you on track.

Working with a plan will not only help you succeed, but will also help prevent you from quitting before you start because you feel overwhelmed.  

Once you've tackled your wardrobe using the steps I shared here, you will have a clear understanding of the pieces you already have, what you need to complete what you have, and the items you would love to have but can't quite afford yet. This brings us to my second tip.

SET A BUDGET

Now that you've established your musts and lusts, you should nail down your budget.

The most important part in this step is to be honest with yourself. With all the daily expenses that life brings it's important to never go into debt for the sake of your wardrobe. 

Even though you may want a complete closet over-haul of nothing but the best, it's more important to work with what you have and build your closet slowly. The last thing you want is to rid yourself of closet stress only to replace it with financial stress.

Instead, be honest with your spending limits and maybe even cut back in other areas to save up for a few key pieces. For example, if you get coffee to go every morning maybe you could start brewing your own. Who knows, over the course of a few months you may have saved enough to buy your dream bag - without a penny of debt.

BARGAIN SHOP

Would you believe it if I told you that I paid only $100 for my beloved Gucci loafers? That's right, I paid hundreds less than traditional retail for a brand new, in-the-box pair of Gucci horsebit loafers!

How I did it, brings me to my third tip for curating your dream wardrobe - bargain shop.

From eBay to The Real Real, bargain shopping has never been easier thanks to an endless supply of online retailers. These sources for brand new to gently used designer goods make it possible to own your forever shoes, handbag or coat at a fraction of the price with some careful research and patience.

After setting my budgets each season and year, I allocate a portion to one or two designer pieces that I would LOVE to have. Then, if one or more of those pieces way exceeds my budget I scour discount online retailers. By saving searches outlining the size, color and price for what I'm looking for, I'm able to stay up-to-date on new additions and make some seriously amazing purchases at a fraction of their original price. I'm going to do another post in more detail on this soon, so I'll end it here for now.

STAY FOCUSED

My fourth tip in this process is to stay focused.

With the endless supply of PIN-spiration, fashion blogging and retailer emails, it can be so tempting to forget about your plan and budget and buy whatever's being pushed your way.

I would encourage you to resist this urge with all your might and keep your eye on the prize.

To help myself practice what I preach, I like to keep a list (with pictures) on my phone or a private Pinterest board of what I have my sights on. That way, when I'm feeling tempted I can go back to this list and remind myself of what I really want. This has saved me from making so many impulse buys over the years and I can't recommend it enough. 

BE GRATEFUL

My last tip for achieving the closet of your dreams, is to be grateful. As I mentioned above, it took me years to acquire most of the forever pieces in my wardrobe. 

That said though, it didn't take me years to be satisfied with my closet, and really enjoy getting dressed each day.

Throughout this journey I have always tried to be grateful for what I do have rather than regretful for what I don't. 

Instead of feeling unsatisfied with what I have and comparing myself to others, I have made a conscious decision to feel lucky for what I do have. Each day that I'm lucky enough to be healthy and happy is a good day in my book, so a great pair of jeans is just frosting on the cake.  

What's even better, is the moment I made this switch in my thinking is the moment I started to look at my closet in a whole new light - and so can you! 

After all, when you're feeling grateful for having clothes in the first place, feeling like you're missing out on the latest must-have just seems silly.


What steps are you taking to achieve the closet of your dreams? Do you bargain shop? I'd love to know your tips and tricks in the comments down below! 

Until next time,

Audrey

Layering 101: How To Stretch Your Basics Further This Fall

When it comes to making the most of a minimized wardrobe there is no denying that timeless classics are essential! What is often times less obvious, is the power of layering to extend those pieces throughout the entire year. So, with fall in full swing, now is the perfect time to refresh your layering skills and stretch your wardrobe even further.

Below, I have shared a quick snap shot of how I like to layer my clothes along with a more detailed outline for you to follow. I've also linked some great layered looks I have collected on Pinterest to help inspire you. 


STEP 1: Start With A Simple Base

The first step of any great layered look, is to start with a simple base of classic separates. During the fall I like to start with a white shirt and jeans, but you can just as easily begin with a basic black dress, skirt and simple shirt, tee and trousers and so much more. The possibilities here are endless, just try to keep the base layers on the thinner side so you don't risk feeling too bulky as you add more. 

STEP 2: Add a Sweater, Vest or Both  

The next step is to add a second layer of medium weight. This can be a sweater or vest or even both depending on how cool it is outside. The only thing to keep in mind here is that if you're wearing a thicker sweater like cable knit, it might work better to forgo the vest so the look doesn't become too bulky.

That said, if your sweater is on the thicker side and the weather isn't too cool, it can be nice to add a vest topper and forgo a coat. 

STEP 3: Add a Blazer, Jacket or Coat

Now that you're bundled up in a neutral base layer and complimentary middle layer, you can add your top layer. Unlike the first two, this layer will likely be removed if you become too warm, come in from the cold for an extended period of time, or the weather just improves throughout the day (as it tends to do during the fall transition).

My favorite pieces for this step are a great blazer (navy, herringbone and tweed are my faves for fall), my waterproof Barbour jacket for those overcast afternoons and even my camel coat as fall begins to drift into winter. 

STEP 4: Add Accessories

If you've reached this step it means you have achieved a combination of separates that create a seamless layered look. While you could easily stop here, I like to take things one step further and add some finishing touches like scarves, belts, fedoras and gloves.

As with any look, accessories add that little extra something to your outfit that takes it from basic to fabulous so have fun here. Plus, carefully chosen accessories can make a simple white shirt look completely different each time you wear it - and that is the real trick to doing more with less. 

- Layering Inspiration -

 

I also put together a little video of some layered looks for you! You can watch it below or on my YouTube channel. 


I hope these tips have inspired you to layer your favorite pieces and I'd love to know how you do it by tagging me in pictures on InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

Until next time,

Audrey

6 Comments

Shop Your Closet: 4 Free Ways To Update Your Look

As we transition into fall it can be tempting to shop 'til you drop in order to prepare for the new season. While there's no denying that adding some new items to your closet can be fun, seasonal shopping can also be a slippery slope that causes us to buy pieces we just don't need. 

To help myself avoid this closet conundrum each season, and save myself from buying things I don't need I rely on four tricks to refresh the pieces I already own. All-in-all, these easy pointers help me view what I have with fresh eyes, and allow me to shop my closet for new looks. The end result is a total closet makeover that didn't cost me a dime.

So, as you plan your own fall closet I would encourage you to try out some of these tips before hitting the mall. Who knows, you may end up saving yourself some valuable closet space - and cash to boot. 

1. Belt It

By far one of my most used tips for reworking old pieces is to belt them. Whether that be a dress, skirt, shorts or pants, belts have a wonderful ability to add just the right amount of interest to an otherwise boring look.

For example, I have three dresses in my fall capsule that can all easily be worn alone but with the addition of a belt I'm able to completely change the feel of the piece.

Case in point is my favorite shirtdress. By wearing it alone with a straw hat and sandals during the summer it feels warm weather appropriate, but when the cooler weather comes around I like to add a rich brown leather belt for a whole new feel. Suddenly, my basic dress feels ready for a blazer, riding boots and crisp fall stroll rather than sandals and the beach.

Another great thing about belts is that they can make separates look like one complete piece by wearing them with monochromatic items. I've worn this look countless times here on the blog and have linked a few examples below, along with some of my other favorite belted looks to help inspire you. 

2. Layer It

My next tip for refreshing my old standbys is to layer, layer, layer. I love this tip for reworking my tops that are light to medium weight, and can carry me throughout the entire year.

Take a simple white top for example. By wearing it alone with shorts or a skirt in the spring and summer, this simple top is lightweight enough to feel warm weather ready.

Now, take that same top and add a blazer and sweater and it can take you throughout the fall and winter without skipping a beat. The same can be said for all neutral button downs, cotton tees and silk shirts or camis. The possibilities are truly endless here, so have fun and experiment until you find a few combinations that work for you. Below, I've linked some of my favorite layered looks from this past year. 

3. Tuck It

Like layering, my third tip helps to revive my basics in countless ways. When I find myself unsure of what to wear, or just feeling like my pieces have become stale I like to tuck them. Whether it be tucking my shirts into my jeans or skirts, this tip helps stretch my pieces by changing their silhouette.

Plus, like I demonstrated in my last summer capsule look, this tip can even make separates look like one piece - stretching them even further. 

Another example of this is how I often rework my favorite cotton button down. Recently, I wore this top untucked over shorts for a relaxed feel. That same top took on a cozier feel by tucking it into my jeans and layering with a quilted vest.

Below, I have included some of my favorite tucked, and un-tucked looks.  

4. Accessorize It

My final tip for reworking my pieces is also my favorite. If you've been following me for a while now then it should come as no surprise that I LOVE accessories.

I have waxed poetic countless times about the power of accessories to change up even the most basic pieces so I'll just leave you with this - once I fully integrated accessories into my look, I never looked back.

From scarves, to statement necklaces and hats, accessories are often the missing link to take your look from boring to bold, and I never go without at least one. 


I hope these tips have inspired you to rework your closet this season without depleting your bank account. With a little creativity, I'm sure you can skip the mall and shop your closet for some fresh looks that don't cost a thing.

If you apply any of these pointers to your own wardrobe I'd love to know! Don't hesitate to tag me pics on Instagram so I can get some inspiration from you. 

Until next time,

Audrey

Comment

Closet Clean Out 101

Ralph Lauren Blazer

The new year is upon us which means it's time to clean out my closet! As you know, I aim to keep my wardrobe at a minimum and only fill it with classic, high quality essentials that I can mix and match for endless possibilities. To maintain this approach, it's crucial that I clean out my closet at the start of each year with a critical eye. This yearly purge allows me to donate, sell or trash any pieces that are past their prime and to see which pieces are in need of mending or tailoring to extend their lives. Plus, a January clean out helps me create space for any Christmas additions from December and to start planning for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Staying on top of this "one in/one out" mentality each new year ensures I am never left with an overflowing closet of wasted items and can instead enjoy my wardrobe to the fullest. To help you tackle your own closet clean out and start the year off on a streamlined foot, I have outlined the steps I take below. 

Step 1: Empty Your Closet and Drawers

The first step in a quality closet clean out is to completely empty everything. Remove all the clothes from your closet and drawers and lay them neatly in piles on your bed to sort through. I like categorizing my clothing in like piles to make the next steps easier - i.e. blazers with blazers, t-shirts with t-shirts etc. This helps the next step move more quickly and feel less overwhelming. 

Step 2: Try Everything On

The second step in this process is definitely the most time intensive, but it is critical to ensure that you have a successful clean out. To make this step as painless as possible, I typically put on music or a movie to keep me from feeling trapped in the task and go to town trying everything on. To help me keep everything straight in my mind, I try on like with like - all of my t shirts or blouses and then move to blazers and jackets followed by pants, skirts and shorts and then finish with shoes and bags. I also try to try on blazers with shirts and sweaters underneath so I can accurately evaluate how they wear. Finally, while trying on each item I try my best to evaluate it with an honest, critical eye and ask myself a series of questions before making a final decision. These questions are as follows.

1. Do I love it? 

2. When was the last time I wore it? If I haven't worn it in the past month or so and it isn't out of season, (i.e. a spring piece I haven't worn in a few months because it's January) then it goes. 

3. How many other items can I wear it with? I like to be able to mix and match as much as possible so it is imperative that all of my clothes can be worn with at least two other pieces. 

Step 3: Sort Your Clothes Into 5 Piles - Toss, Keep, Donate, Mend or Tailor and Revisit

As you go through step 2, sort your clothes into 5 separate piles for the third step. 

1. Toss: This pile is for anything that you no longer wear and is beyond repair for resale or donation. 

2. Keep: These are the items you love and do not need to be tailored or mended. These are typically the essentials that you come back to time and time again and are the first to pop in your mind when you envision your wardrobe. 

3. Donate: This pile is for anything you either no longer love or doesn't suit your current lifestyle, but is still in good enough condition to be loved by someone else. 

4. Mend or Tailor: This category is self-explanatory but is crucial for maintaining a well-rounded, timeless wardrobe. Whether an item has a small tear, you have lost or gained weight or it just needs a little oomph to be perfect again, tailoring and mending helps to extend the life of your wardrobe without having to buy a bunch of new items.  

5. Revisit: In this pile, put any items you don't instantly go crazy for, but can't part with yet. I like to put these items in a suitcase or at the back of my closet and then revisit them a few weeks to 2 months later. During this waiting period, I can usually distance myself enough from the piece to re-evaluate objectively later. Another thing I like to do when I revisit this pile is to honestly gauge how many times I thought about each item while they were out of sight. If the answer to this question is none, I know it's time to say goodbye. 

Step 4: Put It All Back and Plan for Tomorrow

The last step is certainly the most fun and rewarding. Now that you've successfully sorted the items that you will keep, toss, donate and mend, you can effectively evaluate where the holes in your wardrobe are. It's at this time that I pull out my pen and paper and list out what I need to extend the versatility of my existing items, as well as which classic and trendy pieces I need to keep everything current for the upcoming seasons. Once I'm confident that my list is complete, I put everything back in the closet and dresser and start mentally preparing outfits while I enjoy my new organized wardrobe. 

 

Until next time, happy closet cleaning!