Here’s an easy way to make a simple outfit chic and complete

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I never tire of hunting for new clothing. It’s so much fun for me to check my favorite retailer’s websites daily, pore over Instagram and search happily through Pinterest for new outfit and styling ideas. My closet will never be totally complete, but over time it’s gone from needing many many items to fill it to needing just a few key pieces each season and some experiments to see what stays and what goes. I usually buy more than I need anyway but I am slowly learning to slow my shopping roll.

Over the last few seasons I’ve been challenging myself to live out of a small capsule closet. This is for two reasons. Firstly, my boyfriend and I moved into a rental apartment with only three really tiny closets. His closets are barely wider than a door inside, and while mine is technically a walk-in it’s got less space than my previous double-wide closets did. Keeping fewer items in my closet is therefore necessary for my sanity. Secondly, living out of a small portion of my clothing helps me rediscover my joy for items I’ve forgotten about and cast aside. When I pull them out of our basement storage locker, it’s either like seeing an old friend after a too-long absence, or I realize I never loved the item in the first place and it gets returned (if still new with tags), re-sold or donated. The result is I pay more attention to buying versatile pieces and pieces I can wear on repeat without drawing attention to the fact that I’m repeating them.

So as Fall begins anew and I’m pulling out stuff I already own there is a simple recipe for making an outfit feel new over and over again: accessories swapping! A new pair of shoes, new jewelry or a new bag can make an outfit feel fresh each time I wear it.

Right now a common outfit base starts with two neutral clothing pieces and then very fun accessories. In this post, I’m going to explore that via a trend I’m already seeing a lot for Fall: very simple outfit clothing, very trendy and boldly patterned accessories!

The outfit topping this post is a great example of what I’m talking about. It starts with neutrals via the Spanx Faux Leather Leggings ($98) and the Brushed Fleece Tunic ($78). Even the sunglasses, the Kaibosh Remix Sunglasses ($171) are fairly achromatic. Granted, I’m not sure if leather leggings qualify as a neutral everywhere but here in NYC they’re nondescript — swap in black jeans or regular leggings to make the mental leap with me if needed.

It’s the shoes here — the Bettye Tweed Sneakers ($98) — where things start to get very interesting. All of a sudden there’s new texture, colors and fun being introduced to an otherwise unambiguous outfit! The look above doesn’t feature a bag but if it did I’d hope it’d be the Stargazer Dionne Saddle Bag ($188). You can add jewelry or sunnies as needed, but this post is going to focus on shoes and bags.

The rules here are there are no rules beyond having fun! That said, here are some guidelines that help me stay on track…
1 – No competing prints. So if the shoes have a big print, the bag has a medium or small print, or vice versa.
2 – When one item has a really bold pattern, I go for a solid color in the other item. So for example the Khanna Clutch ($68) has a ton going on! With the grey version of the bag, I’d wear a pair of shoes with a pattern contained color (meaning it appears in the bag) such as grey, black, tan, or light blue to pull out a color from the bag, or a complementing color such as lavender, cobalt or light sage green. If you’re at times feeling clueless about color combinations my color palettes Pinterest board should help!
3 – Mixing textures is another great way to help a simple look pop. Think tweeds paired with quilted fabric, brocades paired with stripes or studs paired with braids.

Here are some ideas for casual shoes and bags made for mixing together with a simple, neutral outfit. My three favorite combinations from the assortment below? That’d be the
1 – Gola x Liberty Floral Sneakers ($78) + Amber Round Crossbody ($40)
2 – Charlotte Stone Jane Brocade Boots ($348) + Tonal Floral Crossbody Bag ($158)
3 – Tretorn Marley Velvet Sneakers ($98) + Maria La Rosa Tweed Clutch ($348)

Above, thanks to Boden we have a more work-ready idea of the same neutral outfit, in this case with jeans, a fit sweater and cute patterned flats. All it’s missing is a bag!

From the work-ready pattern shoe and bag boutique below, here are a few of my favorite combinations:
1 – The Bisue Ballerinas Floral Loafers ($138) and Ceri Hoover Simone Tote Bag ($328) in bayberry
2 – The Chelsea Crew Lola Velvet Heels ($88) and Autumn Colorblock Spiga Crossbody Bag ($298) in blue
3 – The Corra Tapestry Ankle Boots ($158) and Morgan Tote Bag ($68)

What’s your favorite shoe and bag combination? Don’t forget you can get 20% off any of the Anthropologie in this post (and all full price Anthro items) with the code NGX0917GRT through September 18.

9 Comments

  1. Angela
    September 14, 2017 / 6:14 pm

    I am very happy to see the Spanx Faux Leather Leggings in this post.QVC recently had them as their "Today's Special Value". I ordered a pair and I can't wait to get them. I had previously purchased a pair regular Spanx leggings. I love them so much. Hands down my favorite pair of leggings ever. This post has inspired me to put together a fun outfit for tomorrow using some of your ideas. Thanks!

    • September 14, 2017 / 7:32 pm

      Excellent! I agree, they are great — though I found them to run a bit small.

  2. Lindinha
    September 14, 2017 / 10:20 pm

    Ooh la la! Everything is soo yummy 🙂 My faves ❤️are the Maria La Rosa Tweed Clutch, Aida Backpack and Hunt The Plains Boot!

    Btw I hope i don't regret typing this but Anthro's new arrivals are looking more promising each day and my W/L items are selling out at full-price. From my order yesterday (which included the lovely Matt Bernson Suede Moccasin Boots) nothing was really disappointing although 2 items didn't work for me. When I returned them, I ended up spending more $$ in-store on both sale and regular priced items!
    Haven't done that in years lol. Do you think there's any chance Anthro might go back to 40% off sale?

    • Lindinha
      September 14, 2017 / 11:01 pm

      Oh, I forget to mention a few other improvements I observed 🙂

      1. Given an exact arrival date in order confirmation.
      2. I suspect that you can hold things in your cart now. I put a "last one in stock" dress in my cart and right after the listing said "sold out." I thought I had lost it to someone much nimbler than me but I was able to checkout with it just fine. Hmmm…
      3. This season's in-store shopping bag is gorgeous!! Still deciding what I'm going to do with it because I surely can't throw it away.

    • September 15, 2017 / 8:33 am

      I am cautiously moving towards optimistic but I've been burned too many times before to say they are doing well yet.

      Great picks!!

  3. Christina
    September 15, 2017 / 1:09 am

    Oh, wow–the outfit color palette on Pinterest is so helpful! What beautiful examples from nature. Thanks for sharing, Roxy!

    • September 15, 2017 / 8:34 am

      You're welcome! They are very helpful for me when putting together looks.

  4. Denise_S
    September 15, 2017 / 8:33 am

    Anthro Day 20% off full price showing on website!

  5. September 15, 2017 / 8:35 am

    Looks like Anthropologie is doing a 20% off full price styles weekend! I'll have a full post up in a few hours.