In Which Bethany Learns How to Dress Herself

Or, “Why Everyone Should Be Friends with a Fashion Blogger.”

If you ever asked me to describe my personal style in one word, that word would be “nonexistent.” I am not, nor have I ever been, in any way fashionable. I have zero confidence when it comes to clothes, and since clothes shopping tends to be an exercise in emotional torture for me, I prefer to avoid it whenever possible. Because of that, on the rare occasions that I do buy clothes, I buy basics — not even classics, but basics. Plain shirts, plain sweaters, plain everything. The more basic the item is, the longer I can wear it without it going clearly out of style, and the less shopping I have to do: perfect.

My style is also nonexistent because to be honest, I have no clue how to put together an outfit. I’ll never forget the incredible sense of pride I felt last year when getting ready for a friend’s wedding rehearsal. I had planned on wearing a sundress, but it was unseasonably cool that day. In a moment of inspiration, I put a cardigan on over the dress and wore the dress’s belt over both the cardigan and the dress. It was literally the first time in my life I had put together an outfit.

On Saturday, Erin came over to give me one of her Chicago Blogland-famous closet consultations, where she goes through the clothes I already own and shows me how to mix and match them to create new outfits without spending a single penny. Lesson #1: monochrome.


Colors in the same family match each other, creating a wealth of layering opportunities for a closet like mine. I tend to go on color binges–I bought exclusively blue for a long time, but have since moved on to purple–which means I accumulate a lot of similarly colored items in my wardrobe.


Fortunately, I can wear these together! Who knew?


But monochrome isn’t the only way to layer things. Neutrals also work, such as white under color…


or color under neutral.


One of the other good lessons I learned is that just because something is patterned doesn’t mean it can’t count as neutral. I have a black and white skirt, for example, that I’ve always only worn with a plain black top because I didn’t know how to wear it any other way. Maybe with some color?


Look at that!

These are just a couple of the outfits Erin put together using my limited wardrobe. I honestly don’t own a lot of clothes, so I was a little worried that she wouldn’t have much to work with. Not true at all! There’s no reason why I have to wear each individual item in only one way, and Erin did a phenomenal job of showing me how to get significantly more mileage out of what I already own.

Do you have a good sense of how to put together an outfit?
What’s your favorite item of clothing? 

23 thoughts on “In Which Bethany Learns How to Dress Herself

  1. that looks like so much fun! i have a friend who helps me clean out my closet periodically – it’s an invaluable asset for someone like me who has no idea what they’re doing. i love sweaters – i literally wear a cardigan everyday so i’m totally with you on layering. it’s the only way i ever put together an outfit.

  2. Nice! I love reading fashion blogs and getting outfit ideas. Or just copying my own outfits. Seriously, sometimes I’ll put on an outfit and be like “man, I am so great at dressing myself” and realize I’ve practically worn the same outfit already, but instead of a pink cardigan and black shell with this skirt & tights combo, I wore a raspberry cardigan and black button down. Oh well!

  3. YAY! Erin is seriously the best. I can honestly say her closet consult transformed my view of style 360 degrees! You’ll be happy when you realize Erin’s little voice is in your head every morning when you pick out an outfit. I’ve been so much more adventurous lately and getting SO many compliments.

    YAY for LOOP LOOKS! You are gonna look SO fab!

  4. Erin is soo good at closet consultations! I have no clue how to put together outfits either, my brain just doesn’t work that way, but Erin always does a great job of making a few pieces into a great looking outfit!

  5. Your outfits are way cuter than mine could ever dream of being. I’m not good at shopping or putting clothes together. I need someone to come and coordinate outfits for me! If only I lived in Chicago…

  6. So happy you got some good outfit ideas now! Erin is so good at it. I love that she helps us all out 😉 I do not have a good sense. I am in jeans and tshirts most the time at home! 🙂

    • I feel ya. I get SO sick of my clothes by the end of a season (i.e.: right now), so it’s a great feeling to be able to mix things up. Erin also showed me that I can totally wear my summer clothes during the winter as well as long as I’m layering them (like short sleeves under a cardigan or something), which was great news! Guess whose wardrobe just effective doubled in size! Haha.

  7. Haha I totally relate to this. I’ve just started being able to put accessories together with outfits. I’m all about jeans, shoes that go with everything and simple, solid tops that are earth tones.

  8. Pingback: How an Email Changed My Life | accidental intentions

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