Thanks to all of you who reached out asking for ideas on how to style the bargains you found in the seasonal clearance events. I’ve created some collaged examples, using my own bargain buys to illustrate tried and true outfit formulas to make sure those new additions are getting a chance to shine.
My favorite outfit formula is an “inside column” – a color-matched or blended bottom and under-layer top, with a contrasting over-layer top and a linking accessory to finish the look. I already owned a compatible navy camisole to make a column with the navy legging. (You can click on these collages to see a larger image,)
Here are just three of the many over-layers I could pair with this column:
- Jade green collared cardigan (with navy/jade scarf as the color link)
- Duty blue faux suede cascade jacket (navy/blush/dusty blue linking scarf)
- Red linen duster cardigan (classic red/cream/navy link)
The reverse of this formula is an “outside column” – bottom garment and over-layer top, in this case a navy open-work cardi I already owned. The open-work knit allowed the two navy shades to blend easily. Then I just add a contrast color under-layer top and — you guessed it! – a linking accessory:
You may wonder how I happen to have a linking scarf for every color combo. I’ve been collecting scarves in my color palette since college – and I’m not going to say how many years that has been. They never wear out and they fit no matter my short-term weight gains and losses … so why not hang onto them? If you haven’t started your own collection yet … NOW is the time to dip into this magic source of outfit inspiration.
Right after the original blog post on sale shopping strategies, Chico’s got in a beautiful cardigan matched to the espresso brown jegging, so now I have an outside column in the brown too. The sweater is an indoor weight, so I can layer sleeveless tank underneath, knowing I won’t be taking the over-layer off. The accent color and the scarf are the eye-catching bits, so nobody is likely to notice when I repeat the espresso pieces.
- The brown cardigan – and the navy one too, for that matter – looks a lot more “finished” when I insert a 1/2″ foam Shoulder Shaper and keep the sleeves pushed up with Sleeve Bands – both available on our website.
- I ordered the jegging in my usual Chico size 1 and was disappointed that it was baggy and drab. Back at the store, the salesperson explained that you should always size down in that garment. Sure enough the Chico size 0 was perfect – both looking and feeling better. I’m in love with this garment, and they feature it in a variety of colors throughout the year – keep your eyes open for it!
I also styled the jegging in the non-column outfits below:
From left to right:
- With a single-layer print top that maintains a semi-column effect by repeating the bottom color throughout the print. Accessorized with a hand-made (not by me!) brown tassel necklace that fit right into the V neckline.
- With a brown/gray plaid cardigan (again keeping a semi-column effect), gray shell and two-tone silver necklace. I switched out the brown boot to repeat the grays from the bodice instead.
- With a soft green wrap-look top that breaks the color column, but enticed the eye upward by repeating espresso with green in a little neck scarf.
Moving beyond my column formulas, I wanted to feature the Pantone color of the year – Very Peri – which I already owned in this 2-layer tunic that paired beautifully with both new bottom garments. In the center example I used a strategy I call “bottoms-up” accessorizing, repeating the navy bottom color in a navy necklace at the top.
That’s 6 new outfits so far with the navy leggings and 9 combos with the espresso jegging. I’d love to hear how you’ve created flattering outfits with your year-end bargain purchases. Please do share.