Dressed Down Dressing Up

“Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous but it is how people dress in their days off that are the most intriguing.” – Alexander Wang

I’m pretty sure Alexander wasn’t thinking of ‘active wear’, the fashion-scourge of the suburbs, when he said this.

Sure, it is easy, fast and comfortable to pull on some lycra, sports bra and t-shirt everyday, especially when you aren’t going into an office, or wrangling sticky fingers and vacuum cleaners. Wearing this type of attire has the bonus of alluding to exercise being done –  or perhaps will motivate us to actually do it.  Except, more often we haven’t, or don’t.

Really though, it’s just not that hard to wear ‘proper’ clothes.  Buy well and you can get dressed each day quickly and practically, but with the added bonus of feeling stylish, fun, and attractive, and unlike lycra leggings, you usually won’t get camel-toe.

I give you exhibit A … or is it A, B and C?  Whatever, each of these outfits do the following:

  • show summer and winter applications using one basic piece
  • day or night/fun or work/dressed down or dressed up applications using the same basic piece
  • are worn year after year using the same basic piece (the pic with the red bag is from 2014, the pic with turquoise belt from 2015 (but the belt is from 2003).


It’s getting the basic pieces sorted that is crucial.  A good (or a few good) jeans and casual pants that work as well with flats as heels.  They don’t have to cost a fortune, the boyfriend jeans I wear are from Zara.  The low crutch pants in white are from Bassike in 2012, most likely bought on sale, but also available in a great cut and many different colours from Bohemian Traders.  You can check them out at http://www.bohemiantraders.com, or I always have a range of sizes and colours in store at Love Story (www.lovestorystore.com.au).  But you shouldn’t skimp if you  do fall in love with a basic piece, because it will pay back over and over again.

Once you’ve got a basic template, start adding.  Sure, it can be a fabulous top, or standout shoe and often you won’t need much else. But if all you can be bothered to pull on is a t-shirt and thongs, don’t just stop there as it only takes a couple more minutes to turn it into an outfit.  A scarf knotted through the waist loops, or tied around your neck, or even around your wrist takes it from ‘dressed’ to ‘styled’.  Go one step further and add a piece of impact jewellery – if you’re into fine pieces at the moment then layer them, if you like bolder pieces you only need one key leather cuff, or one big statement earring.  If you look at these pics, in all but one there is an extra element after the basic outfit that just takes it up a notch – as well as taking it from year to year through the use of current accessories like a scarf, cross body bag, nary-jane shoe.

One final tip – you may not have the time or inclination to keep up with the nuances of fashion that will give you the skinny on the skinny scarf or let you know to pack your Birkenstocks away, again, but I bet you know someone who does.  And I’ve never met a fashion-addict that didn’t want to share their tips – much the same as the exercise addict (who has a good reason to wear active-wear every day).  I just know who I rather be taking tips from.