|These Jones New York Lexington Stretch Denim|
Straight-Leg Ankle Jeans I found at HomeGoods are
available for full price at Dillard's and Bon-Ton.
I have been trying not to buy new clothing this year, but a recent trip to HomeGoods broke down my resolve. A pair of jeans in a color I almost never buy fit so well that I had to get them. I have short legs and a long torso, which makes finding a perfect fit in jeans almost impossible. Because these jeans were ankle length they were regular length on me, and it is rare for me to find jeans with a comfortable enough rise (those old 1980s high-rise jeans that hit most people somewhere above the waist were the only ones that ever actually sat at my waist). Since these jeans were also more than half off the original price, I made an exception to my resolve and bought them. The only difficulty I could see was the fact that they are a pale blush pink color, and I have never had pink jeans before.
|The bird print blouse I got at HomeGoods is|
similar to this Dorothy Perkins Ivory Bird
Print Shirt, which is no longer available.
I also caved and bought a draped ivory blouse with an unusual bird silhouette print, mostly because I thought it went well with the pants (and it was also well below the original price). My husband and I had a wedding anniversary this month, and I used that as my excuse to purchase a new outfit (we went out to eat at a nice but not excessively fancy restaurant, so jeans and a pretty blouse were perfect). However, I felt that unless I could come up with other ways to wear the pants, they were not a very smart purchase (the shirt is pretty versatile, so I will not have a problem finding ways to wear it).
My favorite fashion blogger at The Vivienne Files described a wardrobe-shaping technique she called clusters as a way to organize one's apparel. I am usually more focused on color choices than outfit options when I analyze my closet and I was not sure if I liked this method or not, so I decided to try it with my new pink jeans. Going through my closet, I tried building several outfit clusters around these pants, and was surprised at how many choices I had. I am now a big fan of the cluster technique for analyzing my wardrobe (now I just need to apply this method to streamline my closet!).
So enough with my babbling on and on, and let's take a look at the outfits I was able to pull together from items I already own (I did have to substitute images of clothing vaguely similar to my apparel, as most of mine are no longer available for purchase):
|Clockwise from top: Land's End Women's 3/4-Sleeve Lofty V-Neck Cardigan in Antique Ivory; Land's End Women's Relaxed Supima Short-Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt in Brilliant Fuchsia; Dorothy Perkins Ivory Bird Print Shirt (no longer available).|
My first cluster features the blouse similar to my new one plus a bright fuchsia tee shirt, both of which can be topped with the ivory cardigan (my cardigan is more lightweight than this one, but the color is similar). Just replacing the blouse with a tee shirt creates a more casual look with the same pair of jeans.
|Clockwise from top: Land's End Women's Cotton Modal Cardigan in Black; L.L. Bean Women's Crewneck Short-Sleeve Pima Cotton Tee in Black; Pink Floral Print T-Shirt (no longer available).|
Next up is a cluster with two tee shirts, one a floral with shades of pink and the other black, both of which can be worn with the black cardigan. I think the two cardigans can even be interchanged between these first two sets fairly successfully.
|Clockwise from top: BubblesBay Sheer Chiffon Bolero Shrug in Paisley Brown; Hanes 5250 Authentic "Tagless" Tee in Dark Chocolate; Land's End Women's Relaxed Supima Long-Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt in Tranquil Blue.|
This third cluster is a lot of fun, because my second layer is a semi-sheer chiffon bolero-type shrug. The image I found is similar to the one I own in coloring, but mine has a more southwestern geometric pattern rather than the paisley print. I have worn this shrug with a pink long-sleeved tee shirt and brown knit pants and loved the look, so I am sure I will be delighted with either of the tee shirt options here with the pink jeans!
|Clockwise from top: L.L. Bean Women's Zip-Front Marled Cotton Sweater in Natural Heather; L.L. Bean Women's Interlock Turtleneck in Oatmeal Heather; Muji Women's Organic Cotton Double Gauze Shirt in White.|
My last cluster features a cardigan only slightly similar to mine, as the one I have is more of a uniform light brown heather and is not striped. The color of the one shown is close enough, however, and works well with both the off-white blouse (similar to the one just barely shown on the model wearing the jeans) and the oatmeal-colored turtleneck (similar in color but not neckline to the long-sleeved tee shirt I own).
|Clockwise from top left: Easy Spirit Jeyden Loafers in Black; Toms Fuchsia Canvas Women's Classics Slip-On Shoes; Sperry Women's Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoes in Brown Distressed Leather; Naturalizer Women's 'Saban' Leather Loafer in White.|
This last image shows shoes a lot like four pairs that I own, all of which would work with the four apparel clusters I put together (shoes really are a necessary part of any outfit, so luckily I have some that coordinate!).
Another reason I like the idea of the cluster method for analyzing my wardrobe is that it tells me which items that I already own I am most likely to reach for when putting together outfits. I like so many different colors but would really like to have a core of colors to work with, and by sorting my clothes into outfit clusters I tend to naturally select the colors I would wear most often. I can still purchase an item or two in a new and interesting color each season (like the blush pink jeans, or the plum jeans I bought last winter), but the basic neutral wardrobe colors for me will be mostly shades of brown with a few black and olive pieces, highlighted with some slightly off-white and brightly colored tops.
In fact, now that I think about it, I could put together another cluster for my pink jeans with olive green as a base... but this post has gotten long enough and it is time to move on to another topic!