Ooh la la

Burgundy cropped sweater, plaid dress, black ankle boots, black crossbody bag — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

You guys! I got the sweater I featured in my winter wishlist! It's basically a miracle. I had been checking Everlane off and on since that post, hoping that eventually this sweater would pop back in my size. I got close once—a size larger popped back, and I was tempted to buy. But I waited...and waited...and had basically given up completely when I decided to check near the end of January—and there it was! One left, in my size! I frantically placed an order and added in a tee for free shipping. I am in love with this sweater. Now, I really, really want them to bring it back next fall/winter in black so I can pick up another! ;) (Also, I guess I have a mild obsession with red/pink cashmere? Oops...)

For its second outing (the first was to a research symposium), I layered it over my plaid dress. I was surprisingly warm; I didn't wear a coat when we were out and about, and thankfully I didn't freeze! We are in a super bad temperature inversion right now. The high temperature every day has remained around 40°F, and the air is so hazy. It's quite disgusting. You can actually smell it. It's supposed to get worse every day for maybe a week longer, so...yeah. I'm guessing we will be able to taste it at some point. Yuck!

Burgundy cropped sweater over plaid dress + black crossbody bag — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Burgundy cropped sweater, plaid dress, black ankle boots, black crossbody bag — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Burgundy cropped sweater + plaid dress + black crossbody bag — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
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Everlane sweater (my referral link) / AQUA dress via Bloomingdale's (last seen here) / Hue tights via Nordstrom Rack (exact) / Sam Edelman boots / Halogen bag via Nordstrom (similar by Fossil) / Kate Spade earrings via Nordstrom Rack (similar from JCPenney) / Moorea Seal sunglasses

Mix-and-match: Keeping it fresh—not boring

How to curate a mix-and-match wardrobe — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

My main sartorial goal is to curate a wardrobe that is almost completely made up of garments that can be mixed-and-matched with any other garment. (I say "almost" because there are the odd couple of garments that are too unique to go with everything, and, you know, not every red matches each other.) I feel like I've done a pretty solid job at that, especially when you consider how cohesive my more recent budget posts have been. I'm really starting to hone in on what I want my personal style to be; even though my style is constantly evolving, I'm not buying random, out-of-the-box pieces as much as I did in the past.

Now that I've been at it for a couple of years, I've become well aware of one major aspect: It's difficult to curate a mix-and-match wardrobe that is "fresh"—that is, with enough variety to keep it interesting—and not, well, boring.

This is one of the main reasons why I consider myself a wardrobe maximalist and can't get into a capsule wardrobe. The times I've tried a reduced wardrobe—when traveling for two to three weeks over the holidays—I've gotten bored of the clothes I packed. Sure, I love everything individually. It says a lot about a piece if I'm willing to pack it for a trip and wear it multiple times. I just like having options, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I try not to have excess and sell/donate items that are not worn often enough.

Even with a larger wardrobe, though, if I don't shop thoughtfully, I can end up with a bunch of "basic" pieces that don't excite me when I create outfits. Basic pieces kind of come with the territory of a mix-and-match wardrobe. To keep my wardrobe feeling fresh and not boring, here's how I've been working on my mix-and-match wardrobe...

DEVELOP A COLOR PALETTE, BUT DON'T BE AFRAID TO ADD ACCENT COLORS.

One of the first steps you hear when curating a wardrobe is to come up with a cohesive color palette that every garment must follow. I love having a (relatively) cohesive color palette! It makes putting together outfits in a pinch super easy. However, I like variety, as I've said plenty of times before, so every once in a while I'll add an item that deviates from the color palette. Cases in point: red mini skirt, emerald green earrings, mustard yellow scarf. All of these items go with the rest of my wardrobe but pack a little bit of colorful punch to spice things up a bit.

AVOID MULTIPLES OF THE SAME GARMENT (UNLESS IT'S VERY BASIC).

It's tempting to buy every color when I come across the perfect sweater, or insert-other-garment-here, but having the variety really helps keep things interesting. I do have multiples of basics items like t-shirts, but for the most part, I stick only one color in each garment so I have lots of options yet don't have the excess that I mentioned before. (I should note that I do have two of the same Old Navy sweater, but I purchased them years ago and haven't felt the need to get rid of either! I also have four of the J.Crew/Factory 'Tippi' sweaters, and those I would consider to be very basic; one of my 'Tippi' sweaters is in an accent color.)

ADD VARIETY BY CHECKING OUT NEW-TO-YOU BRANDS/RETAILERS.

Like anyone, I have my list of go-to stores when I'm in the market for a new garment (you can find mine in the sidebar!). Every once in a while, however, I feel a bit uninspired by what my favorite stores are offering, so I browse different brands that aren't the epitome of but that complement my personal style. My list of "secondary" go-to brands includes & Other Stories, COS, Boden, Ruche, and Express.

PLAY AROUND WITH DIFFERENT SILHOUETTES.

It's easy to curate a mix-and-match wardrobe that only consists of your favorite silhouettes (skinny jeans, flowy tops, fit-and-flare dresses, etc.). However, to keep things from feeling stale, perhaps purchase a new silhouette next time you're in need of something. For instance, try a pair of boyfriend jeans in lieu of skinny jeans. With the boyfriend jeans, you could try wearing more snug-fitting tops to offset the looseness of the jeans. Or, pick up a different dress silhouette, like maybe a sheath dress. I'm a big fan of cropped sweaters, which totally add a new look to an outfit!

IF YOU ABSOLUTELY, COMPLETELY FALL IN LOVE WITH AN ITEM THAT DOESN'T FIT INTO YOUR "STYLE", MAYBE IT'S WORTH BUYING ANYWAY!

Sometimes I come across an item that doesn't really fall in line with my personal style exactly but is still something I could see myself wearing and loving. I tend to look at the item over and over again for days or weeks and dream up multiple outfits with it. When that happens, I know it's worth purchasing. I try to avoid impulse purchases, because in my experience, they usually don't end up being good decisions in the long run. However, when you know—you know. ;) I've picked up some pretty unique pieces that I still adore to this day!

What kind of wardrobe are you curating? If you're also in the mix-and-match wardrobe camp, how do you keep your outfits interesting? :)

Season Remix: Crochet tank top

Navy cropped sweater, white crochet tank top, tan corduroy pants, navy ankle boots — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

I do realize that I wore this top last month at my academic conference in New Orleans, so, yes, I did technically remix it for winter already. However, I maintain that the weather in New Orleans was spring-like enough that it didn't seem like it was actually January. ;) The real challenge is remixing it when it's nearly freezing outside with snow on the ground...so, that's what I did!

Unsurprisingly, I pulled out one of my cropped sweaters for this look. I just love it when a little bit of the top peeks out from the bottom of the sweater. It kind of looks like they go together, right? I stayed relatively boring with this look and wore a pair of neutral corduroy pants. This is the type of outfit you'd find me in on any given day in the winter. Simple, neutral, and put-together. Instead of overthinking my outfit, I can instead overthink the math I need to do to make my research work. ;)

Navy cropped sweater over white crochet tank top — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Navy cropped sweater, white crochet tank top, tan corduroy pants, navy ankle boots — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Navy cropped sweater + white crochet tank top + tan corduroy pants — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
How to wear a crochet tank top in the winter — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

J.Crew sweater (old; similar from Topshop) / Lilly Pulitzer for Target top (similar from Forever 21) / J.Crew Factory pants (old; similar) / Sole Society boots / Forever 21 earrings (old; similar) / Moorea Seal sunglasses