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It’s finally Friday night. To celebrate, you bust out your hot new dress and hit the town. The next morning, killer pics of you rockin’ your new look show up on Facebook. At first you’re stoked, but then it hits you -- does this mean you have to stash your new outfit in the back of your closet, toss it in the trash or donate it to your local thrift store? No way! With a little reworking, you can replay your favorite pieces -- and your Facebook friends will never even know.
It’s really about how creative you can be. That’s the only thing that should really limit you from playing it again and again.
- Mikki Taylor, author of "Commander in Chic"
Prepping Your Wardrobe
While it easy enough to restyle your favorite looks, you need to already have a closet filled with fashion “recyclables.”
“It really starts with the right type of wardrobe,” said Mikki Taylor, beauty and style expert and author of "Commander in Chic." “My first style rule is to make sure you have a wardrobe composed of keepers and mileage-making pieces of value to work a look again and again.”
This means buying staple, classic pieces -- think an amazing boyfriend blazer or a great structured blouse -- that that you can mix and match to make style-savvy outfits again and again. “You want to pick timeless, distinctive pieces that can be reinterpreted or reinvented from season to season,” Taylor explained. And this also means you should avoid buying strictly on-trend outfits. “The pieces that are too specific or are high-trend pieces, those are the pieces that will be difficult to replay again -- and they also tend to get dated pretty fast,” she said.
So next time you hit the mall or your favorite boutiques, look for dresses, pants, jackets and tops that are going to serve you in many ways.
Your safest pick is the ever-faithful little black dress, says Cheryl Ann Wadlington, owner of Evoluer Image Consultants in Philadelphia. “It’s really worth investing in a good little black dress that you can mix and match. You can wear it for day -- and then rework it with accessories and other trendier pieces for evening wear,” she suggested. “It will last forever.”
Another tip to make your wardrobe Facebook-friendly? Taylor advises going for separates. “They really allow you a lot of wardrobe mileage because you can wear them together, wear them apart -- and mix them up with other pieces,” she said. “It’s really about how creative you can be. That’s the only thing that should really limit you from playing it again and again.”
The Rules of Re-Using
When it comes to restyling outfits, the rules are pretty simple.
“Make sure that you don’t wear [the outfit] in the same way to the same place and within the same week,” said Wadlington.
Also, be aware of who you’re going to be around when you’re reworking an outfit, adds clothing designer Abi Ferrin. “The first thing I always think about is making sure of the audience I’m wearing it with,” she said. “If you wore it with a certain group of friends, maybe you don’t want to wear it with that same group of friends.” Instead, try wearing that fabulous new blouse out to dinner with your boyfriend one night and out to the club with your girlfriends the next week.
You also need to be careful not to wear the same bright, bold or statement piece on multiple occasions, Ferrin warns. “The thing about bold pieces is they stand out in people’s minds. So if you’re at a point where you’re going to rework pieces, I recommend going with ones that are a little bit toned down -- in colors like navy, teal, black, wine or plum. You want something that’s not in your face like fuchsia or a yellow -- or silver sparkles.”
Instead, save memorable pieces for a time when you're the star of the show, like when you're throwing your own party, says Ferrin. That way, people will always remember just how amazing you looked -- and you'll have photos to prove it!
And of course, there's the most important rule: Rock what you’re re-wearing! “You don’t want to be insecure about working a great look or great pieces again,” Taylor said. “So I think it’s a confidence factor, too.”
If you’re lost and looking for inspiration and guidance on how to reuse your favorite outfits, find a style icon, Taylor suggests. “For example, First Lady Michelle Obama, she repeats looks again and again -- and she’s the most photographed woman in the world.”
What's Old Is New
So just how do you make last week’s outfit photo-ready again? For starters, strike a pose!
“You can even kind of make the piece look different in the way that you pose -- the angle, the side of the piece that you show toward the camera,” said Ferrin.
But if you want to change things up a bit more, just accessorize. Whether it’s a statement necklace, gorgeous earrings or bold cuffs, swapping out jewelry can turn an outfit into something completely different. You can also add a belt to your look, which will also cinch your waist, giving you a fabulous silhouette. An unusual pin, strategically placed, can draw the eye and win endless compliments.
Next, play with layers. Top it off with something like a denim jacket, a fur vest or a denim blazer, says Wadlington. Add tights or fun, patterned leggings to a dress if you opted for bare legs last time.
“To detract from the dress, make it about your shoes,” Ferrin suggested.
You can change up your shoes to give the outfit a completely different vibe. “Slip on a sexy stiletto for a sexy look or use an embellished flat for something more demure,” Wadlington said. “Put a boot on with it. [You] can give it that edge with a cute bootie or ankle boot, or even a thigh-high boot for the nighttime.”
One way to make a difference that doesn’t involve clothes or accessories is by playing with your hair and makeup. If you had voluminous, curly hair in your last photo, go for a sleek and straight look the next time around. If you sported an au natural face last time, go for a bold lip and bright eyes for a whole new look.
“If all else fails, you can always try to tailor an outfit to give it a fresh look and breathe new life into it,” Wadlington said.
But don’t stress trying to coming up with ways to altering an already-stellar outfit, Taylor adds. “It’s important to remember a great look is a great look -- plain and simple. “It doesn’t matter how many times you wear it, a great look is exactly that.”