New Concept for Coordination

A recent contest on Pattern gave me a new way to make the most of a wardrobe – mine or a client’s. Whether you sew your clothes, buy ready-to-wear or mix the two, I think you’ll enjoy playing this game yourself – especially if you need a little emotional boost to handle the prospect of more weeks of stay-at-home.

Start with any two pieces that work together, a particular combo that makes you smile. Maybe it feels delicious against your skin.  Or maybe it’s one of your “happy colors”.   Keep your combos super casual or dressier, or mix it up.  It’s OK to be a little dressed up even if you’re staying in,  For me that’s a reminder of who I am.  And my honey doesn’t object to seeing me looking nice either.

  1. In my example I started with a charcoal gray heather ponte pant – an updated neutral in my wardrobe to match my “new” hair color.  Topped it with a jacket in a variegated rainbow stripe.  (I layered a bright tank underneath – that’s a freebie piece in this game.)

2. Next take away one piece of that combo and replace it with another item.  I swapped out the stripe jacket for a chiffon kimono in a gorgeous floral print. Remember, the pale green tank  – which echoes a color in the foliage – is a “freebie”.

3. Now the kimono is the keeper piece, so I swapped out the pant for a charcoal skirt.  And just for variety I traded the green tank for a blush one to echo the flowers.  Tanks are valuable wardrobe-extending layering pieces; these from Chicos are my personal favorite.  They add new color options all the time and I grab any that are in my color scheme.

4. Now the skirt becomes the keeper, mated to a coral serplice-wrap jersey top with ruching in the center panel.  That combo was a pretty strong contrast so I added a little scarf that included both colors to balance the look.

5. Keep the coral top and pair it with a new bottom – in this case a coral tweed skirt with fringe detail.  Now that I look at the photo, I think it needs a lighter-color necklace — maybe one with cream beads and natural shell elements.

6. Keep the tweed skirt and match it with the coral Chico tank and a muted red purchased jacket – who would have thought? – and a silk scarf with a range of red and coral flowers.

7. Keep the red jacket and layer in a paisley cowl-neck shell and black skirt …

How many outfits can you create?  And how many of them are combos you’ve never tried before?  They don’t all have to be something you’d wear around the house all day.  Even – dress-up dork that I am – looks #6 and #7 are going to wait for an in-person occasion.  But I might never have discovered them if not for this game.

If you run out of options, you can start the cycle again with a completely different pair-up.  Or maybe that’s a activity for another day.

UPDATE: My daughter started on this exercise and kept track by turning the hanger backwards when she returned a piece to the closet, spotlighting the things she hadn’t used yet.  Thanks for the tip, Katie!

For the sewing enthusiasts among you – the pattern info and details of my pieces a HERE.

And check out all the other creative contest entries HERE.

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.


  1. Dara on August 29, 2020 at 7:54 am

    My Goodness Nancy ,ALL your garments are Beautiful! And You are looking Younger as the years go by! I just signed up for your newsletter and I AM looking forward to each post. Thank you.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on August 29, 2020 at 8:33 am

      Well you are certainly my new best friend Dara. Now spread the word!

  2. Katie Knoblach on September 3, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    How liberating it must feel to have a coordinated, timeless pieces to mix and match for years to come. I sewed a mini capsule last summer and find myself reaching for my items continually. As I add pieces, it’s fun to discover all kinds of new combinations. Fun to see yours!

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