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? :)