Secrets of How to Style the Clothes You Already Have

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It’s only smart to figure out how to style the clothes you already have. While getting “new” things is exciting, it’s good for our brain and wallet to make new outfits with the clothes already in our closets.

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Quote of the day: “Did you know there’s really no difference between a flower and a weed? It’s all how we see it.” Unknown

The idea of how to style the clothes you already have is similar to this quote. Is there really a difference between a new clothing piece and something you’ve had for a while? In fact, if you really think about it, the things we already own should be easier to style because we are familiar with them.

I was inspired by another blogger, Marisa who frequently posts a Thursday Throwback post wearing the same item only differently years apart. So I had all three of us choose a piece of clothing from an older article and figure out how to give it a new look.
Before I get to the specifics on each of our outfits, I’ll share some of my ways of how to style the clothes you already have.

5 Secrets of How to Style the Clothes You Already Have

This concept is near and dear to my heart. I think it’s smart to make our clothes versatile. And when people say they only buy something that can be worn with 3 other things in their closet, I truly believe that you can do that trick for everything if you have a well-rounded wardrobe.

So let me give you the basics of how to style the clothes you already have.
1-First and foremost, stop categorizing your clothing. You needn’t call it a pair of work pants, or a workout shirt. You’re better off remembering what job it does on your body. (See the silver pleated skirt outfit for this example)
2-Make yourself try different color combinations. EVERY color goes with a minimum of 10 other colors/neutrals, so try them all. (See the pink print tunic outfit for this example)
3-Your “summer” items can transition to fall and winter with layers. It may not always work to wear your winter items in summer, but there are a couple of exceptions. (See the lilac t-shirt outfit for this example)
4-Get inspiration from Pinterest or other women. Recreating what someone else is wearing doesn’t have to mean you have the exact same items. But it can give you ways to put outfits together that you hadn’t considered.
5-Make sure to check out my series about Shopping Your Closet with ideas regarding colors, other concepts, and thoughts about getting creative.

Ways for how to style the clothes you already have

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Seasonal Change: Lilac T-Shirt

When I first suggested that we style the color lilac last fall, Lesley wasn’t too sure about it. It was not a color that she already had in her closet, and couldn’t imagine how it would fit in with her existing wardrobe.
That’s why she ended up getting this lilac t-shirt at a second-hand store.

Insider tip: Preloved clothing is the best way to dip your toe into a color or style that you aren’t 100% sure about yet want to try.

Lesley’s original post wearing this lilac top with black in the fall. As you can see, she paired it with black because when you have a color you aren’t sure about, wearing it with neutrals is the easiest step.
But look at how she took the same lilac t-shirt and made it part of a summer look.

This is secret #3 of how to style clothes you already have in different seasons. That’s why it can be advantageous to try to keep all of your clothes in one closet instead of switching them out per season (if you have room for that).

Wearing a lilac top for summer

Pop of Color for Summer

I just LOVE how Lesley took the colors of this kimono (which has also been styled previously here) to pull in the lilac and then combine it with the bright pink.
In fact, I was just admiring the outfit when I finally read what she has written down about it.

Would you be surprised to know that she wasn’t loving the look? Lesley said it was out of her comfort zone with the mix of colors. She felt like she would have rather worn a column of color under the kimono or a white t-shirt to make the kimono the focal point.

I believe we get used to certain styles and colors on ourselves and it’s not easy to switch it up sometimes. This is why it’s good to have a friend or spouse who can give you another opinion.
My opinion is that the lilac and bright pink as the foundation of this look works fabulously because the kimono ties it together. And I believe the kimono is still the star of the show.

In fact, I bet most of you wouldn’t notice the lilac t-shirt if Lesley didn’t pull it back with her hand.

Insider tip: Remember color looks different depending on its surrounding colors and lighting. When I first saw this outfit, I thought the lilac t-shirt was grey.


The extras in a look can always give it more unity. Lesley used the bright pink from her skorts and wore sandals in the same color and grabbed her matching purse.
Then for the top half with her necklace, earrings, and hat, she left the color scheme more neutral with silvers and whites.

Options of how to style the clothes you already have

Color Combo Switches: Pink Print Tunic

Charlotte’s item to wear for this idea of how to style the clothes you already have is this pink print tunic. In all reality, this “tunic” was advertised as a dress and it even had slits in the upper arms to create an open-shoulder look.
My mom used her sewing skills to close the material on the upper arms. Even though it was meant to be a dress, it seemed too short for that so she shortened it about 4-6 inches knowing she would wear it more as a tunic.

You can see Charlotte’s original outfit post here when we were discussing wearing capris with bright colors.

This is secret #2 for how to style the clothes you already have by pairing them with different colors.

Recreate an outfit with a piece from your closet

Color Combinations with Pink Prints

The most obvious color to pair with this pink print tunic is definitely another color that is in the print. And my mom has shown 2 ways to do that with her first outfit showcasing a light pink, and the second look with white.
Not only that, but I had her change up the type of bottoms to wear with this tunic. The first time she wore capri pants, and this second time she wore a skirt.

As you can see, both bottoms have the exact same proportion of 1/3 compared to 2/3 the length of the tunic.

Even though this tunic seems like something that would be limited to wear, I think there are many options. To give you the proof that I could find 10 colors that work with this print, let’s start with neutrals like navy, denim, dark brown, black, or grey.
And I think you could pair other colors with this too. If you wanted to keep it more subtle, then olive green, burgundy, or dark purple would be nice. And then if you love lots of colors together, I would suggest yellow or turquoise.

If those different color combinations seem too crazy and bold, I understand. My style definitely has gotten bolder over time because I see how good it looks on others and want to recreate it. One trick to make it seem intentional is to use your accessories to tie it all together.

The Rest of the Outfit

Charlotte played off the bright pink for her accessories. The hat, earrings, necklace, and purse all coordinate with the darker pink that is in the tunic.

And just like in her throwback photo, my mom incorporated some print mixing with her footwear. Let’s give a big round of applause for using this trick. It’s such a great way to add some fun to a look (and I think it’s one of the easiest ways to dip your toe into print mixing).

Older women on how to style the clothes you already have

Dressy to Casual: Silver Pleated Skirt

I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone like you wouldn’t believe over these years of blogging. While I was working as a dentist, I kept my clothing style professional and relatively conservative. I didn’t wear very feminine things and I would NEVER have worn a pleated skirt because I didn’t consider it flattering.
Luckily we can evolve and I have evolved to realize that I don’t need to look thinner or taller in order to look nice!!

Original post wearing this silver pleated skirt as a comparison of purchasing clothes on Amazon vs another retailer.

This is secret #1 for how to style the clothes you already have by taking what we consider a “dressy” item and wearing it for a casual day. Would you have thought to wear a pleated skirt with a t-shirt and sandals??

Straw hat for summer outfit

What to Pair with a Silver Skirt

Silver is not a “color” that looks wonderful near my skin. But that shouldn’t stop me from wearing it on the bottom half of my body. Heck, I still wear silver jewelry too although I have been known to paint it other colors using fingernail polish.

In my throwback outfit, I kept the colors more muted, so for this look, I decided to style bright colors instead.
This print t-shirt gave off summery vibes and the best part about the print is? You can’t see my sweat stains (trust me that this was a HOT day).

More Color with Accessories

Since the t-shirt is full of bright colors, I mixed up my accessories to incorporate some of the colors from the shirt, and even one that wasn’t.
Both Lesley and I laughed that we both wore our bright pink sandals.

Insider tip: This Italian Shoemaker company is one of the brands Lesley and I both have in multiples because they are comfy and cool for the summer.

My purse is bright lime green and even though there is no lime green in the shirt, it mirrors the feeling of the overall vibe.

I did grab a neutral straw hat since there were lots of colors elsewhere.

Insider tip: Many stylists say not to mix warm and cool colors in a look, but I think it can be done. The proof is in this outfit where the silver skirt is a cool color and the t-shirt is warm.

Tips of how to style clothes you already have

Sure, we can wear and re-wear the items in our closets in the same ways and with the same items, but it’s certainly more fun to switch things up.
I always have many ideas about how to do this, so if you have questions, always feel free to reach out and ask.

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Style clothes you already have

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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.

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