The Good Ick #11: Mindset Shift. Style, Not Outfits.
The Good Ick #11: Mindset Shift. Style, Not Outfits.

Many people get anxious when shopping, and it’s for myriad reasons. Maybe you simply don’t know where to start and what styles or designers work for you. Or maybe you know all this, but you’ve trouble reigning it in, and the pile up in the closet can aptly be described as nauseating. The culprit? You’ve been shopping for outfits, rather than style. And I’m not a blamer, we can talk forever about whose fault it is that we think this way. The bottom line is it’s up to you to change it. I’m going to use a cooking analogy here - even if you are not a cook, like me, I think it will give you a good visual. Shopping with the mindset of outfits is like visiting the grocery store and shopping for a recipe. Maybe it’s even two or three recipes, let’s say. But now you’re back home, you have a great dish made, and the recipe for two others. But after that? You find yourself looking for additional recipes. And needing new ingredients. And the cycle goes on. But what if you just had this really well stocked kitchen. Everything you needed. And then, when you want a new recipe that excites you, you step out and buy the one or two missing elements needed. Or you’ve become such a good cook, by way of this analogy, that you can make incredible substitutes and invent new dishes all the time. I have exhausted this analogy by now, you get the point.

To have a visual discussion here, we discuss the simple, but never basic, bias dress.

illustrated woman in a dress

When you have a piece in the closet that speaks to the core of your adjectives (chill, modern and classic), you think of it less in terms of the outfits you’ll make with it but rather the moments in which you’ll live in it. Sometimes with a little more spice, more adventurous mixing, or less, depending. But each time, it becomes something new, framed by your environment and inherently rooted in your style. I’ll explain more. Below is an assortment of pieces that you’re likely to have in your closet, in some way shape or form:

purse, earrings, sneakers, belt, blazer, heel, socks, shoes, flats, button down, t shirt, earring

The lived in trainer, the perfect blazer, the oversized white shirt, the refined but modern tee. Some pieces of great jewelry, the good socks and belt, and a range of heels and flats. All of these together, these simple ingredients if I refer back to the initial cooking analogy, reinforce your style. Creating the looks that are just simply…

illustrated woman

The dress becomes the underpinning that you use to show your range of personality. If your personality is refined but not so serious, playful but not childish, luxurious without the attitude, then this is how you can express that. It’s not about cataloging this exact tee, tennis shoe and earring together for “outfit 1.” It’s thinking broader about your style so that when you walk in or open your closet, you just know the ingredients that come together to make something that conveys the feeling you want.

Same goes for when you need something for that proper work dinner - belted up into a midi, paired with a check blazer and a silk sock, we’re all business in the chicest way. Same dress, different vibes.

illustrated woman

When you have that core element, you are set wherever you are. An amazing party at Villa d’Este? You don’t have to run out and buy something new - it’s about having those pieces you love, that you bought when you found them, not to make specific outfits or to go to a specific event, but because you knew somehow they’d find their way together. When I found this men’s Saint Laurent sequined lapel tuxedo blazer on sale years ago, I didn’t have an event to go to. But I knew that somehow he would become best friends with some of those fundamental pieces in my closet. I was right.

photo of amy smilovic in a mirror

And HERE’S the super bonus. Nail this and you’re set even when you get the costume party invite. Let’s go with a 20’s theme here. There’s no run out shopping for drop waist flapper dresses or scouring the costume rental sites when all you want is to be fully part of the moment but still feel like yourself. The dress, tossed on with really inexpensive kitschy flapper themed items. The good high low. Still yourself but on point. And there’s a rubber band hack for how to shorten the dress like this if you check out our IGLives.

illustrated woman in 20s costume

I can’t remember the last time I shopped for an outfit. And while keeping pics on my phone of outfits I’ve loved is helpful, it’s immensely relieving to know that the ingredients are all here to keep making new recipes for whatever I’m craving that day.

illustrated woman

Even if it’s something simple for an early evening stroll through a cobble stoned city on vacation. My style. Built slowly over time. Pieces added when I’ve fallen in love with them. And not by accident, the best ones tend to be PDW, 12moers or at least 8 moers, and most importantly CMC. This, coupled with love for the actual pieces, is when I know I’ve found the perfect ingredient to add to my proverbial kitchen.

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