Monthly Makeover: How to Make an Outfit Better

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I thought it would be fun to incorporate a monthly makeover series. You know, take a basic look that I see often in my retirement community, and give it Jodie’s touch of style.

These 7 ideas aren’t even what I would consider over the top because I wanted everyone to feel comfortable trying them out. And even though I’m only showing 7 ways of how to make an outfit better, I really think there are endless possibilities.

Quote of the day: “Becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” Michelle Obama

My goal was to show a look and change out just one or two things that could really give it an upgrade. It’s not much different than how I showcased 6 different styles of jeans all with the same top half and boots.
I always think that comparisons can be very powerful in this way.

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The Basic Outfit

There is nothing wrong with this outfit. It fits, the proportions are considered golden, and is modest. For my personality, it’s a tad muted and dark, but I know that some women prefer that, especially in the winter months.
In fact, I love all of the pieces since they are in my closet and have been for a while.

Basic sweater and jeans outfit in how to make an outfit better
Jeans: Old Navy-Boyfriend Jean~~ Sweater: So old there is no label~~ Boots: Jambu from many years ago

Now let’s break down this basic look.

1-Boyfriend jeans. Not just because the jean silhouettes are changing, but I see baggier jeans on older women as a rule. These exact jeans are still available in select sizes, yet I feel like Old Navy, always has an amazing selection of denim that spans many sizes, silhouettes, and colors of washes.

2-Black, crew neck sweater. It’s something that is considered classic and will go with everything. That’s why we call it a basic piece, right? The thing is if we only wear basic items, then we can look a little basic ourselves. And while that is some women’s preference, I truly think we all have such amazing personalities that we should consider showcasing sass in our appearance too.

3-Black ankle boots. Again, another basic that bookends the sweater. Don’t get me wrong, I love these booties and wear them a lot.

4-Delicate necklace. And earrings. Can you even see my earrings? Probably not.
As I always say, accessories can really add to a look. These delicate jewelry pieces aren’t overpowering and aren’t heavy to wear. Yet proportion-wise it doesn’t fit in with the big expanse of the black sweater and the earrings are hidden in my hair.

How to Make an Outfit Better

Taking this same basic outfit, I’ve come up with 7 thoughts on how to make it have more personality. I’ll break it down and start with layering.

When I think of layering, I always like to remember there are TWO ways to layer.
Over and under.

Say it with me. “Over and under.” Now repeat that sentence every time you think about putting an outfit together. Because almost every piece of your wardrobe can be layered both over and under something else.

In fact, each of my examples could be a post on its own. There are tons of different options with colors, shapes, and sizes that would work for my idea of how to make an outfit better.
But I tried to pare it down to just the 7 that I’m showing today.

Layer Under a Sweater

Layer a black sweater
Bow-tie blouse: The Limited

Starting with the idea that I can layer under this sweater, I grabbed this bow-tie blouse. Any blouse would work, but I loved the fact that the bow could be tied in the front and take up some of that black real estate in the front of my body.

I also left the shirttails hanging out under the sweater to give it more sass. You might say that it skews the proportions so they aren’t as golden (1/3 to 2/3), but I still like it.

Insider tip: If you are always hot, you could opt for a sleeveless blouse.

Layering Over a Sweater

As I said above, there are endless possibilities just with layering under this crew neck, black sweater. Things like:
2-Peplum top where you just see the bottom peplum under the sweater (like I showed here when I said layer over it)
3-Heck, you could wear any longer top to hang out under the sweater, not just a peplum
4-Any collared shirt
5-Dickey or halftee if you don’t want a lot of layers

I’m showing 2 options for layering over this sweater. Again, this category could be a post on its own with all of my ideas that I will share below.

I narrowed it down to two options for my third piece- a vest and the other one has sleeves. Both would work. And both would be fabulous ways how to make an outfit better.

Add modern touches to a basic outfit
Vest: preloved from a friend

I also wanted to show both a longer third piece as well as a shorter third piece with these layered looks.

You could layer any length of vest or sleeved item for this idea.
1-Cropped which would even be shorter than the sweater. Leaving the sweater to hang lower adds interest just like I did with the bow-tie blouse
2-Same length as the sweater
3-Mid-thigh length (which is what I would consider this ivory vest)

And I wore a blazer, but this would also be great with a cardigan, jacket, shacket, coat, or even a button-down blouse. You can incorporate all of the different lengths too.

Insider tip: Even a faux/leather black jacket would add some interest to this basic outfit because you would be incorporating a different texture into the mix.

The third piece for a basic outfit upgrade
Jacket: Seen here when I added color embroidery to it


Modern shoe choices including combat boots
Boots: Embassy London-won in a giveaway

I’m a huge proponent that your footwear can be a fabulous part of any look. With the internet and new brands popping up, there are plenty of companies that make comfortable shoes that look cute too. Even if you have foot issues.

I think just the addition of a totally different color with your shoes, creates a whimsical and modern look. On top of that combat boots are beneficial for older women. Why? Because first off they are contemporary and make you look like you’re “with it”. And secondly, most of them are flat so women who can’t wear heels can indulge.

Bigger Accessories

Adding bigger accessories for how to make an outfit better
Necklace: Just Be Youtiful~~Earrings: Mariposa Skies ~~Bracelet: Local boutique

The basic outfit did have accessories, but it goes to show that not all accessories are created equal. It all depends on the outfit, right?
With this solid sweater that creates a huge expanse of black in the front of my body, it’s nicer to have a bigger or longer necklace to make more of an appearance.

The necklace is a fun “girl” necklace from my favorite local boutique Just Be Youtiful. She only has them in her store, but you can certainly reach out to the owner, Kym, and see if she has more and would ship them to you.

The earrings are leather which makes them lightweight. The lighter color allows them to contrast against my hair. That’s the thing. As our hair changes color, we need to reevaluate what color earrings we are wearing.

Insider tip: Remember, many earrings can be DIYed with paint. In fact, I’ve used fingernail polish in the past.

How to Make an Outfit Better: Hat and Belt

Now you could say that the category of bigger accessories, and the two below should be all grouped under accessories. But here again, there are ENDLESS options, so I put a couple together. Sometimes a small accessory by itself really doesn’t stand out enough to have a real part of the action.
I always think if you’re going to take the time to put on some kind of extra, then shouldn’t it be seen?

Hat and belt can add interest
Hat: Amazon here~~Belt: Ann Taylor

For this example of how to make an outfit better, I wanted to play with the sweater and use one of the half-tuck varieties. When I tucked in the sweater in the front, it was the perfect opportunity to add a bright belt. Now if I had added a black belt to match the sweater, you just wouldn’t see it. In fact, it would probably look no different than the sweater hanging normally. So why do it?

Related post: Why a half tuck can be your best friend

Then because the belt takes up such little real estate for the entire look, I also added a hat. These rancher hats are truly modern and I found a great deal on Amazon.

Insider tip: If you worry about hats looking strange on you, I think it’s all in your head, haha. Seriously, if you don’t wear them often, you just aren’t used to seeing them on you. Don’t fall for that trap that your head isn’t the right shape for them.
I know this from experience with my husband. The first time he put on a hat, we both doubled over in laughter and thought he couldn’t wear them. But now? Now he wears all different types of hats and I even borrow them.

Related post: Beginner’s guide to hats

Socks and Scarf

Show off your socks and add a fur collar on how to make an outfit better
Fur wrap: from Savers~~Socks: Nordstrom Rack

I know many women live in colder climates and having bare ankles just doesn’t work right now. But if you are going to wear socks, maybe you should wear whimsical and fun socks to show off your fun personality.
If you are going to do this, it’s also good to make it look intentional, so cuff up your jeans and show them off!

Related post: Socks and boots

Insider tip: Feel free to check out the men’s socks too. Half the time they have the best prints. In fact, I have been known to borrow Rob’s socks.

I also added some extra on the top half of the outfit too with a thrifted fur collar. Any scarf or wrap would work for this, and extra credit if the two don’t match!

How to make an outfit better: the black sweater made more interesting

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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My Goal

Thank you for visiting my space on the internet. I like to showcase how it’s never too late to look great for women of any age, size, or working with any kind of budget.
I feel I’m here to help move beyond the fashion rules of yesterday and evolve. Style and clothes are made to give you joy. Not cause us stress because we are worried about what others think.

Welcome to Jodie’s Touch of Style. I’m here to prove that it’s never too late to look great. Clothing and style are meant to showcase your inner personality. So let’s have fun and try new things.

It’s not just about me on this blog, but also my mother and friend. We get to showcase not only different decades of life but also different body shapes and unique personal styles.

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