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I used lockdown to style the most difficult pieces in my wardrobe

WORDS BY RUBY STALEY

Putting my forgotten pieces to use.

The thrill of finding a great vintage piece or sourcing the perfect outfit addition is unmatchable – for me anyway. But all too often, some pieces of clothing (although beautiful) just don’t work out in the way you had envisioned in your head.

Whether it’s the way something fits, feels on your skin or the position it has within the current trend cycle, everyone has those pieces they love but struggle to wear day-to-day.


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Slightly different to conditional clothing (clothing whose existence reminds us we are not where we hoped to be physically) these items are just difficult to style. They are the pieces I bought because I truly loved them and had every intention of wearing them again and again but I find them hard to wear for one reason or another.

With this in mind and to push me a little out of my comfort zone and into a better frame of mind (cheers to lockdown for putting me in a terrible place mentally), I challenged myself to style a selection of my wardrobe’s most ‘difficult’ pieces each day for a week.

At the end of each day, I decided based on aesthetic, comfort and functionality whether I wanted to keep the item or pass it on either to a circular fashion exchange service such as @circolareclub, an op shop, a friend or sell on Depop (because disposing of clothes is not the aim of the game).

Recognising the positive impact a fun outfit can have on my mood, I took my time at home during Melbourne’s lockdown 7.0 to pull together some eccentric outfits with these coveted but hardly worn finds. Without worrying that anyone will see me, I tried and tested some newfound combos – rediscovering my love for various wardrobe pieces I’d nearly discarded.

Monday – No cares in blue flares

While I love this cobalt blue, the fit and waist height of these Ellery knit flares has always hindered me from wearing them. To remedy this, I paired a loose Kanye band tee over top, creating a new relaxed silhouette, and paired it with cute fuzzy accessories for a fun pop of texture. Despite the thick waistband, I think when styled correctly, I predict I’ll continue wearing these cobalt flares again and again.

Tuesday – Red boots

These boots are cute, but I’m not a huge fan of the short cut vibe. Paired with my favourite overalls though, the heels look cute and you can’t even tell they’re short. The red stitching in the jumpsuit, as well as the beret and cropped shirt really make the bright red booties pop. I think I’ll keep them and try to wear them more with ankle covering pants.

Wednesday – Brown dress

When I spotted this dress at the op shop I fell in love with the elegant yet stretchy fabric and knew I had I have it despite its awkwardly scooped neckline. Tying a Hello Sisi crewneck over top and pairing it with some New Balances gave it a fun, tennis mom vibe. For the fabric alone, I might adjust this dress in the future to make it more wearable – maybe I’ll turn it into a single strap or strapless number before solidifying its place in my wardrobe. Until then, back to fashion purgatory it goes!

Thursday – Tie-dye midi skirt

This Lizzie McGuire-esque Auguste midi skirt is equally as pretty as it is difficult to style. Maybe it’s the length, the cut or the fabric, but for one reason or another, I find it incredibly difficult to wear and never reach for it. The outfit I ended up styling was a bit of a two-in-one situation as the blazer is something I like, but never seem to think of either. With summer coming up, I can see myself wearing this one more – it’s a keeper.

Friday – Pink sparkles and pleather pants

For another two in one ‘fit, I attempted to style this cute vintage pink sparkly tie-up number with my straight leg faux snake pants. When I found these pants on Depop, I was stoked but came to realise they have a really weird fit and the loose waistband made styling consistently unflattering. To be honest, I tried a lot of combinations for this one and I’m not sold. These pants are going in the sell pile, but I might hang on to the top for a festival.

Weekend – Velvet dress

In my 90’s loving opinion, this holographic velvet dress is simply a dream! Without anywhere formal enough to wear it, I haven’t found myself reaching for it in any sort of regular way. Paired with my new fave platform strappies and a mini cardi gives it a fun, almost casual vibe – perfect for drinks out once we can. It’s a keeper for sure.

To see more styles from Ruby, follow her on Instagram.

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