One Little Top: Seven New Looks


What can one little top do for your wardrobe?

If it’s the right one, it can open the door to a whole host of new wardrobe options.

I have a new top. It’s not an earth-shattering Statement Piece. It’s a Supporting Piece, which is every bit as essential to a good wardrobe as showier items.

Supporting Piece: a neutral item that doesn’t scream for attention, but works with a variety of Statement Pieces to create new Looks.

If you know me, you know that I don’t believe in paying more for a quality item than I have to. I often shop outlets and discount stores. That doesn’t mean that I forfeit value for a deal. If it isn’t what you need, doesn’t serve a purpose in your wardrobe, or look good on you, it isn’t worth a $100 or a dime.

I was at a discount store when I found this top by Philosophy.


The fabric is a buttery soft modal blend. It has a softly bloused surplice front and the hem dips low in the back. It was current without being trendy. The color is a deep gray that has a warm undertone that can morph to an almost forest green. The shade was flattering. It fit perfectly. The drape didn’t overwhelm my frame and it hung beautifully. When I saw on the tag it was $16.99 I knew it was mine.

I got it home, washed it, and took the next step: I did my own Closet ReStyle focusing on my new top. I found out what I already had in my closet that it would work with and began creating new Looks for my Look Book. This is a crucial step in making the most of your wardrobe. This is the point where it all comes together when I work with clients.

Style Truth: Unless you (or I as your stylist) take the time to do the actual work of styling an outfit/creating a Look, all you will have is a bunch of pieces of clothing which you will likely end up just throwing together in the morning. This does not a successful wardrobe make.

I started with the obvious: New top, plus embellished jeans.

Embellished Jeans

These jeans are some I got from Banana Republic back in 2003 or 2004…I think. It was so long ago that I am not absolutely sure. But they were my all-time favorite jeans, until I wore them to bits. Thankfully, my gifted mother saved them with some fantastic Sashiko embroidery and patching. The yellow and black patched ones are once again my faves. These were two quick and obvious looks, but they are great for running around town, a relaxed dinner with friends, or doing a Closet ReStyle at a client’s house. (Yes. I wear jeans for those, since I’m usually on my knees styling outfits.)

Next, I couldn’t resist going for the other extreme and paired the top with my fizzy sequined skirt, black velvet ankle strap heels, vintage ring and bracelet, and funky marcasite and jet earrings.


Sometimes all you need to make a statement is the elegance of neutrals with a little shot of sparkle.


Returning to casual, but far from boring, I paired it with silk patterned harem pants, platinum platform sandals, chunky bracelet, funky earrings and a bold citrine ring. The color of the top complemented the lighter warm gray in the pants.

Harem Pants

The whole effect was eclectic and easy, not to mention fun!

Next, I used the top as a foil for a sheer silk floral jacket. This is one where the color morphed to a deep gray forest green, blending harmoniously with the floral pattern.

Simple skinny jeans and soft metallic baby doll heels strike a nice Business Casual balance. Crystal and stone jewelry adds another layer of textural elegance.

Then, I paired the top with a traditional blazer and black slacks. A satin pocket square (yes, ladies can wear them too), metallic heels, gold statement earrings, a pearl and green enamel brooch, and a pearl bracelet finish off a classic ensemble. It’s the accessories that really give this Look life and freshness.

The top and the same black slacks also serve as the perfect setting for a sumptuous velvet patterned jacket. Black ankle strap heels, a vintage rhinestone brooch, a vintage gardenia bracelet and ruby earrings keep the Look elegant.

In about an hour, I took my new top and created seven distinct looks. It was all I had time for at the moment, but there are even more possibilities waiting in my closet.

This is what styling is about: taking one simple, perfect Supporting Piece and building a beautiful, relevant wardrobe with it.   


How many Looks are waiting to be discovered in your closet? Ready to find out? Talk with me today about how I can help you build your wardrobe. Let’s get started!

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