Outfit Remix

Building a Remixable Work Wardrobe Series Part 1; Assess what you have

January 20, 2014

I have mentioned this before but one of my shopping Resolutions for 2014 is to focus on business wear or work appropriate clothing. In fact I will go a step further and say I want to start  building a remixable work wardrobe that will allow for easy mix and match within my work-wear as well as mix with my weekend casual looks too.

I have spent the past 5 years on an extended maternity leave as I stayed home after my daughters birth in 2009 and continued to stay at home with her through my second pregnancy. Now it is 5 years later my oldest is in Kindergarten and my youngest will be starting preschool. So this year I am phasing back into the work world.

But what will I wear?

The first step in this building a remixable work wardrobe series is to take a look at what you already have in your closet. Ask yourself these 2 questions:

building a remixable work wardrobe, build a work wardrobe, remix, mix and match

PS feel free to pin the above image to refer to from your phone while undergoing the following exercise.

1. Do you have clothing left over from your former work life?

If the answer is yes you have more work. If the answer is no then you are starting from scratch in your effort building a remixable work wardrobe.

If the answer is yes, pull everything you have that is work appropriate and put it on your bed and start trying stuff on.

Be very critical of each piece. Does it fit? Do you still like it? If the answer is yes to both questions keep it. If the answer is no give it away (assuming it is in good condition, otherwise toss it). This is the perfect time to go through an exercise that I like to call recycling your closet.

If you are not sure invite a friend over for a critical eye, or take pictures. One thing I have learned from style blogging is that even when looking in the mirror I can think something looks good, until I am photographed. It really highlights when an outfit is not flattering.

When I did this exercise myself I found out I had much less work appropriate clothing than I thought I did as some items didn’t fit any more, others were damaged, others were just not all that flattering.

2. Do you have casual items that can be re-imagined?

Calling these items casual might be a stretch but you likely have items in your wardrobe already that could be paired with more traditional business clothing like trousers, suit jackets or pencil skirts.

Things like colourful silk blouses, tweed blazers, thin wool sweaters, even printed pants. All these items are the perfect things to mix and match to give your work wardrobe more versatility.

Again try all these items on, make sure they fit and of course are something you like enough to wear regularly.

Once you have determined what you really have identify the holes in your work wardrobe you need to fill. Is more of what you have pants? Blouses? Blazers? Knowing what you have allows you to by default know what you don’t have or rather need to buy.

So where would you start building your remixable work wardrobe?

  • Pheebs
    January 20, 2014 at 10:16 am

    THANK YOU for this blog post!!! I’m halfway into this same project and am really excited how yours develops 🙂 About a year ago, I stopped buying any clothing that wasn’t (a) wearable in at least 3 different outfits, and (b) really high-quality. I work for a well-established non-profit, so while we’re not in suits, I do need to look nice… which is HARD on a non-profit shopping budget 🙂

    Thrift shops, a smalll colour palette (read once about picking ONE neutral and a couple of colours, plus one pattern – works like a charm; I use black, red, purple, and a black-grey striped shirt), and cool scarves and necklaces somehow work together to seem like I’m not constantly wearing the same 5-6 pieces of clothing.

    There is also an invisible belt that’s been a godsend for all my thrifted pairs of work pants (why are good trousers so expensive?!). It keeps the waist tight but doesn’t show under work shirts. It’s one of the few things I did buy new with no regrets. I won’t type the name in case you have a no-brand-names policy, but Google “Canadian flat belt” and you’ll find it. It’s not one of those plastic ones.

    TL/DR: Small colour palette, thrifted high-quality pieces, good accessories.

    • Jane the torontoShopoholic
      January 20, 2014 at 10:27 am

      I am so glad you are loving this blog post! I will have to take a look at the belt because I tend to avoid them because I hate how they protrude!! In terms of holding up my pants anyways. They are great for remixing an outfit though 🙂

      • Pheebs
        January 21, 2014 at 11:18 pm

        I’m going to email them and tell them to send you a belt – they seem like a smaller company who could use the exposure (if you liked it, of course). Seriously, it was a game-changer for me.

        Also thought my aunt’s truly genius tip about how to pare down your wardrobe quickly, and mostly painlessly: take out ONLY the things you love, wear all the time, and which fit… or will fit once you get them tailored *that day.* Then, in one huge, satisfying armload, put EVERYTHING else in a box, tape it shut, and shove it in a closet. If you haven’t looked inside it in a month… it’s dead to you. Bring it to Goodwill, and shop for the couple of “missing key pieces” that will make everything else in your closet go together.

        So much more effective (for me, anyway) than pulling out every item, trying it on, and keeping a bunch of stuff that I’ll still never wear.

        • Jane the torontoShopoholic
          January 22, 2014 at 7:01 am

          If you are starting with a bunch of things then for sure that is a great way to go. I think I had maybe 4 pairs of pants, so trying them on was pretty painless. So I guess the approach you take is dependent on what you have at the time. And if you are currently using the clothing when you start. I pretty much live in jeans right now so not trying on my old work clothes wasn’t an option because I really had no clue if they remotely fit or fit my style now.