When I think about the collected look I think of people with style. What gives someone style? It’s not designer handbags or the latest cute booties. It’s not the newest clothes or haircut. The people who show up looking like Deborah Harry in the same kind of jeans you gave to charity a few years ago, have style. Stylish people know what looks good on them. They keep the same chic pieces in rotation and wear them like nobody’s business. They know what to hold onto and what always looks good. Being stylish takes effort, but it’s fun, smart and can be green too.
I’m not sure how stylish I am, but I’ve been kindly included with eight bloggers to share our versions of the collected look.
If you want to have style, instead of hitting the stores, first you must clean and purge your closet. This is something I am pretty dedicated to and do religiously multiple times a year. It always reminds me to wear and rediscover things that have been lying fallow in the back forty.
When you have culled the closet hopefully find some unique things that you love and still look great. These things that have stayed with you for years, perhaps decades, if you are close to my age. Those are the things that can take an outfit from bland to standout. Those are the bits that only you have, that give style, and make your look different than the rest.
Remember anyone can buy a designer bag and sadly many women believe that is something that’s going to make you stylish.. A lot of time, it’s just the opposite. I’m not opposed to good handbags, but sometimes people can look a little like they have no taste. You can have the latest $2,000 bag, but so can 40 other people at the mall! That is not style to me.
What is style is the cool pieces you collect and pull together. My friend Elizabeth (Contessa), is not fully dressed without her piles of bracelets and necklaces and lashings of color from a caftan or scarf. Ani, dear friend and another California gal, has a look that is super delicate-with dainty jewelry and lovely, feminine soft tops paired with cool jeans or khakis. Another friend E, adores Hermes-toned orange, pairs it with grey and has made it her signature color. My pal, Jill tall and willowy, has made her gamine cropped hair and pretty tailored clothes her signature. All of these gals look stylish because of the collected bits they put together in a unique way.
My ‘collected look’ usually means a jacket, and I mix with it vintage things I’ve found, inherited, and others I’ve hung onto for decades.
My Theory denim blazer I found for $12, at thrift store is so flattering I am getting compliments on it, five years on. I like showing the cool lining on the cuffs and here paired it with an oversized white James Perse T, pearls on a cord from Hawaii and my Stella bag.
Lately, my favorite extra piece is this faux fur shrug, handed down to me by dear Elizabeth. I wore it through the holidays, but I wasn’t ready to pack it away, so have been wearing it as a topper over my black Everlane turtleneck during the daytime.
A little leopard goes a long way in the style department, and vintage versions exponentially so. (By the way, shoes are old Zara- Stella McCartney lookalikes, but similar ones here. Jeans – Madewell demi-boot.) The Coach messenger bag I wear as a cross-body. It’s an 1970’s version I found years ago at Crossroads Trading for a few bucks. It is made and designed so beautifully, it’s a pleasure to wear, and I feel very French, as they love these bags.
The coolest part about the shrug is that no one has anything like this, and of course it came from someone I adore and love and so it is like a little hug from her when I wear it.
A few more looks where I’ve mixed it up..
My moto jacket and satin skirt with vintage danglers and a 30 year old Furla handbag I saved for, can’t part with.
Another decade old dark blazer jacket, pearls on a string, and a vintage slip of my grandmother’s worn as a top, ( I hacked it off with scissors.) Madewell jeans and white booties I bought a year ago.
Same Theory jacket, scarf from Kew Gardens, and Chloe sunglasses. I love using sunglasses as a hair accessory. (Working on the selfies obs.) I added cool teal J. Crew loafers I scored at a thrift shop, but they didn’t make it into photo.
Another idea is a knit stocking cap on chilly days with big glasses. Think Ali McGraw in Love Story. You don’t always need to wear a puffer with such things. Just add a massive scarf.
For the collected look, shop your closet, add special, unique things and hang onto the cool stuff. Reuse, recycle and reinvent items. Check out vintage shops like Crossroads Trading, and online places like The Real Real and your grandma’s house and your husband and kid’s closets!
Then have confidence in your own look. Mom always told me, ‘Kim, you don’t want to look like everyone else.’ It made me upset in seventh grade, but it’s in my brain now, thank you mom. Individuality is everything when it comes to style.
My favorite Oscar Wilde quote I have pinned to my desk.
Books I love on collected style-
Now go visit these stylish blogs and see their take on the Collected Look-
What’s you collected look? Please share in the comments!
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