This week I’ve pushed myself to think outside the box … pulling into service some of the pieces I think are cute, but just never reach for in the morning.  But after all, that was the point of this challenge in the first place.  It’s so easy to get lazy and just “always wear what I always wear”.  Read on to see some examples of stretching my conservative, classic comfort zone a little bit …

  • This first dress is NOT a stretch at all – in fact it pretty much defines my comfort zone both figuratively and literally.  A berry sheath – my favorite silhouette – in my favorite fabric, a firm but soft, stretchable ponte knit.  A contrast center front binding elongates my shortie shape.  Semi-sheer navy legwear and the dressier suede bootie.  In warmer weather I’ll wear the dress with nude legwear and the low-vamp pumps you see in the next panel.
  • My berry lace skirt is a contradiction  with itself.  Even in cotton, the lace implies dressy.  But the back closure (which you don’t see in this pic) is an exposed jean-style zipper – inviting a more casual interpretation. The cami echoes the lining color and the print in the crinkle cotton scarf ties in the darker berry sweater.  Since I don’t own tights and booties in berry (yes, there is a shoe color I don’t own) I repeated the navy element in the scarf, hoping that the low vamp pump and nude leg would provide at least a bit of elongation.
  • The next day I decided to play up the “rough” element of the the skirt by switching to a chambray shirt as the topper.  I traded out the sleek pump for chunky booties – opting for “spunky” over elongated.

  • As long as we’re in “spunky” mode, I guess it’s time to actually wear the leggings with the faux leather front panels. This dark blue jersey top has yokes in the same faux leather and a black cami underneath kept it decent while still leaving enough open neckline to showcase this artisan necklace I bought years ago at a fair trade market.
  • Another artisan necklace – this one locally made – inspired me to look for another way to wear this shortie sweater – this time over a plain black column (it would also work over navy or chocolate brown, wouldn’t it?)
  • Date night with Mr.Wonderful, and he loved the faux leather leggings with this fun top – slubbed jersey in front, lace yokes and back panel (see that in the close-up panel).  I was so focused on choosing the right cami that I overlooked the opportunity to showcase a fun necklace.  Oh well … next time.

  • I never wore this cute panne velvet jean jacket because it looked boxy until I had it fit-tweaked by my wonderful tailor Bernardo.  But now it’s an ideal option with my skin print skirt. Antiqued silver earrings repeat the light/dark color variance in the print.  I’m so pleased with the newly-altered jacket that I actually hope for a few more chilly days so I can use it in other combinations.
  • I just love how the areas of tiny black/white dots in the scarf print repeat the tweed texture of these trousers. The fun little jacket is another faux leather piece.  Same antiqued silver earrings – my head is turned funny in this pic to let you see them … but it didn’t really work, did it?
  • Wanted another way to wear my skin-print cardigan, so instead of a plain black column I tried a print mix with the asymmetrical striped tee.  The two patterns are cute together, but add up to an awful lot of light/dark contrast.  I added a larger, shiny silver earring to keep attention at my face – you can see it in the close-up.  But I’m not sure I’ll wear this mix again.  Maybe a bright tee under the cardigan instead?  Or the same tee and the red linen jacket or green zip-front cardigan?

What combinations can take you out of your comfort zone just a bit?  Give it a try and let us hear about it.


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About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.

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