So I was visiting my friends the other day… having some day-wine, chit-chatting about our lives and work, throwing some snacks to the horde of children we’ve collectively amassed in hopes they’d leave us alone to visit (if that sounds crass to you, you’re in the wrong place), when Jodi said to me, “Can you look in my closet and tell me what I need to buy for Fall?”  Let me see here… great friends, great conversation, wine, occupied children and a closet edit??!  YES PLEASE.

Jodi's closet... (at this point, I'm realizing I'm in denial thinking that the amount of clothes I have is average.)
Jodi’s closet… (at this point, I’m realizing I’m in denial thinking that the amount of clothes I have is average.)

Let me tell you a bit about Jodi.  She’s the best.  I met her in 2002 at my first “real” job as an Occupational Therapist where she was working as a Speech Language Pathologist.  Looking back, I cannot believe the luck I had in working with her right off the bat because Jodi showed me what hustle and passion look like.

Jodi set the bar and she lives out her passion and hustle every single day.
Jodi set the bar and she lives out her passion and hustle every single day.

So if you think I’m too passionate and “spirited” sometimes, blame Jodi!  She moved on from that job and started her own company, From Play to Words, which is thriving and providing amazing services to kids throughout Edmonton and area.  Jodi also had three kids of her own along the way… she has moved houses few times, she travels for work and play, she teaches courses internationally and juggles the solo-parenting gig when her hubby is out of town.  Maybe if I was as busy as Jodi, I’d have a mostly black wardrobe too… (insert straight face smiley)

Presenting the sad little colour section of Jodi's closet.
Presenting the sad little colour section of Jodi’s closet.

Don’t get me wrong, she looks great in black but she’s so vibrant, I was expecting more colour.  It’s okay though, I survived a 10-item wardrobe so I knew there was plenty to work with!

Breathe, sip and bring the orange to the grey party!
Just me, in my ORANGE shirt, hanging out in Jodi’s grey section closet…

The first thing I spotted in Jodi’s closet was a chambray shirt with the tags still on.  It looked so sad and forlorn.  Jodi bought it because of how I rave about chambrays but didn’t know what to do with it.

For starts, tuck it into any one of your 400 hundred black-ish skirts to instantly look like a Pinterest model.
For starts, tuck it into any one of your 400 hundred black-ish skirts to instantly look like a Pinterest style icon.
Don't feel like tucking (because you're squandering the fact that YOU CAN tuck with no muffin-top worries)
Don’t feel like tucking (because you’re squandering the fact that YOU CAN tuck with no muffin-top worries)?  Then leave your chambray out and belt it.  With your one belt.  Insert another straight-faced smiley.
OR you can use a belt as the "transition" between a tucked top and bottom, AND you can do that even if there are no belt loops.
OR you can use a belt as the “transition” between a tucked top and bottom, AND you can do that even if there are no belt loops just FYI.
Another stylish way to wear a chambray is knotted over a dress.  It acts as a finishing layer and adds a casual touch that gives more mileage to "fancy" dresses.
Another stylish way to wear a chambray is knotted over a dress. It acts as a finishing layer and adds a casual touch that gives more mileage to “fancy” dresses.  I’m not making this up.
Jodi, these dresses over here hanging with the boy-clothes want to go out with a knotty chambray!
Jodi, these dresses over here hanging with the boy-clothes want to go out with a knotty chambray!
One of the easiest and chicest ways to style a chambray is simple - loose over skinny black denim or leggings with a pop of colour.  Thank God for those red shoes - they're fab!
One of the easiest and chicest ways to style a chambray is simple – loose over skinny black denim or leggings with a pop of colour. Thank God for those red shoes – they’re fab!  And Jodi looks like an off-duty model again.

I could have kept going with the chambray all day long.  Jodi, there you have FIVE examples of how to wear your chambray and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!  If you run out of ideas, have you ever heard of Pinterest?  I hear there are a few pins of chambray shirts there.

I had to handle a colourful top to get off the chambray so Jodi took this blousy print and I forced her to tuck it in.
I had to handle a colourful top to get off the chambray so Jodi took this blousey print and I forced her to tuck it in just so she could see the possibility!  Jodi is used to wearing this top loose and always pairs it with black but black ain’t the only neutral!  This outfit is crying for mustard pumps.  

Next I spotted another piece with the tag still on, a pretty little pencil skirt begging for me to notice her.

These look like they were meant to be together!
These look like they were meant to be together!  (the top and bottom, not Jodi and the wine though the same could be said for them)

Jodi, a small print functions like a neutral which means you can wear this skirt with ANYTHING.

You can add a blazer *even* if it has pin stripes.
You can add a blazer even if it has pin stripes.  That’s called print-mixing and you’ll get schooled in that shortly!
This top doesn't have white in it but it still works... why?  Because the skirt is a neutral.
This top doesn’t have white in it but it still works… why? Because the skirt is a neutral and the common black unifies the pieces.  And might I add, this is so much more interesting than basic matchy matchy.
I spied this cobalt top hiding, folded on Jodi's shelf.
I spied this cobalt top hiding, folded on Jodi’s shelf.  Pairing contrasting colours (cobalt and red) against a neutral backdrop looks awesome!  So much more interesting than black shoes!
You can mix and match neutrals (I think of it as "neutral soup" - it all tastes looks good together)
You can mix and match neutrals (I think of it as “neutral soup” – it all tastes looks good together) so swap in olive, navy or brown without changing the colourful elements.  And we all know I love olive and red together.
Not sure what to wear with a colourful piece?  You can a) go matchy-matchy, b) go neutral with a black shoe or c) go contrasting
Not sure what to wear with a colourful piece? You can a) go matchy-matchy, b) go neutral with a black shoe or c) go contrasting

Next, I wanted to get Jodi to try some more print mixing.  First lesson: stripes is the pattern-mixing default.  Any pattern + stripes = stylish.

Stripes + florals = perfect.  I loved how the stripes were big and the flowers were big in this ensemble.
Stripes + florals = perfect. I loved how the stripes were big and the flowers were big in this ensemble.
But you can also do different sized prints.
But you can mix different sized prints too.

There was only one problem.  I think that was Jodi’s only striped top.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe we’re friends.

She did have a striped skirt that she typically wears with a black top.  Classic patterns pair well - stripes and florals, stripes and polka dots... Again, you can use a belt as a transition between patterns.
She did have a striped skirt that she typically wears with a black top. Classic patterns pair well – stripes and florals, stripes and polka dots… Again, you can use a belt as a transition between patterns.

I wanted to show Jodi a couple other style tricks…

Plaid + pencil skirt = fashionista.
Plaid + pencil skirt = fashionista.
Mixing neutrals looks chic.  Black + brown or black + navy or black + grey are all winners.
Mixing neutrals looks chic. Black + brown or black + navy or black + grey are all winners.  (and NOW you tell me you have a brown belt too!  I’m too happy to see another belt to be mad that you were holding out on me)
No-fail fashion formula: short over long over skinny.  Works every time.
No-fail fashion formula: short over long over skinny. Works every time.

I would have added accessories to all these outfits except…

I would have added necklaces to these outfits if not for this...
Marie Kondo is crying right now.

Er, Jodi, you know that huge blank wall in your closet?  Put something there to hang your accessories.  Here’s a link to a few ideas.  If you can see them, you will use them!  If you have to dig, you won’t.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  Accessories help you to achieve the “rule of 3” in an outfit – you need a minimum 3 layers or 3 notable elements for an outfit to look and feel complete.  And Jodi, while you’re thrifting for something to hang your necklaces, for the love of God, get some scarves.

In the end, I’m not sure Jodi *needs* any new pieces for Fall!  She has a ton of outfit options just by shopping her closet and doing a little mix and match, trying some new combinations!  We did weed out a couple outdated pieces that are older than our friendship and I made a list of things to keep an eye out for:

  • mustard, cobalt or and other colourful shoes
  • more striped tops
  • skinny black denim or skinny ankle-crop black dress pants
  • a slightly longer true pencil skirt
  • classic black blazer
  • classic white button-up top (which can do everything your chambray can do)
  • interesting colourful prints with some black
  • SCARVES
  • BELTS – especially a wide black and wide brown belt
  • something to hang necklaces – do it quick before I come over and use tacks

I bet Jodi could find ALL of the above at a thrift store for less than $100 and that would exponentially increase the value of her wardrobe!  In fact, Jodi, we should probably go shopping!

Shop Your Closet

 

5 Comments

  1. Kim Christopher Reply

    “for the love of God, get some scarves”! Ha ha ha ha 🙂

  2. Pipp McCowan Reply

    “Throwing some snacks…..”hahahaha. But on a serious note, you inspire me to be a better thrifter and consume less.

  3. Jodi Sommer Reply

    This was the best experience EVER! Everyone has to pay Nicole to do this! She pulled and put items together with such ease and finesse. I got tired of hearing myself say “I would NEVER have put this together!” I think the pictures speak for themselves. She refreshed my wardrobe without me buying a single extra item – but I’m super excited to search out her suggestions to make it even better. Nicole has a true calling – everyone needs her! Thanks a million – it was amazing and so fun!!

  4. The Spirited Thrifter Reply

    Aw thanks for the kind words! You’re making me ☺️! It was fun! And I’m serious about shopping!!

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