Finding Your Foolproof Outfit

The answers to the ultimate question: “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!”

by Stacy Cox

“I am having a fat day!” One of my frequent battle cries. Sound familiar? These are the gasps of exasperation heard ’round the world each time one of us feels fashionably challenged. The reasons for our distress run the gamut:

1. We’re PMS-ing and feeling bloated. One of God’s evil little reality checks, agree? 
2. We hit the snooze button one too many times and got up a smidge too late.
3. We’ve fallen behind on surfing StyleBakery (perish the thought) and are plum out of inspiration.

Lately I’ve been wondering, “what’s my go-to outfit?” for when I want to look amazing without using up a ton of brain power. Just like kids don uniforms to go to school, we need options in our closet that have us rephrasing “I have nothing to wear” into something positive like…well, I will get back to you on this new mantra.

LET’S SEE, SOMETHING TO WEAR… We all have button down shirts in white, black, navy. They are reliable and classic but too safe and ultimately boring. So, build some color into your wardrobe this fall. Select a few tops that are versatile enough to throw on with jeans, pants or skirts. I love this Italian Deco Tank from J Crew (1) – it will earn you compliments with each wear.
For moms busy carpooling kids and running them around town after school, a fun scoop neck button sweater from Hawks by Geren Ford (2) is great with jeans and pants. Offered in two colors, it’s helpful to see how to dress it down with a tank or up with a collared blouse. You look hip without trying too hard.

It was only last year that I discovered the virtues of Old Navy and added the store to my fashion repertoire, but better late than never! This tunic and sash comes in colors “spilled wine” and “dark sea blue” and offers up the versatility required of a go-to piece. Of course the top will look fab with jeans, but it will look equally lovely with a slim pencil skirt or trousers. It’s from Old Navy’s Plus Size collection and but if you don’t happen to be plus size, you may still be able to capitalize on this look. Try the smallest size available and match it with some tights and boots and work it as a mini dress!


I recently read in a fashion mag that it was time to retire our fedoras as they are on the way out, but that’s pish posh ladies. Fedoras are a staple, a classic when you require instant edge and style (and are having a bad hair day). A hat like this one from Banana Republic (4) delivers, whether you add it to jeans and a sweater or your black suit. It offers form and function to get you out of a rut in a jiffy.

By now you’ve heard that scarves aren’t just for winter anymore. Celebrities like Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jessica Simpson and other stars with a variety of names other then “Jessica” are adding flair to some pretty low key outfits by simply layering a scarf into the mix. I refer to the technique as “fashion diffusion”. Gap has some great options in this category. Buy one in plaid (5) and you kill two stylish birds with one stone.
If you’ve been keeping up with your fall fashion advice, you’ve likely heard about the statement necklace. GET ONE! You won’t believe how useful it is when you want to jazz up any outfit imaginable. I purchased my statement necklace over the summer (I was ahead of the trend, cool right?) and the compliments I get wearing it leave me with a smug grin. First of all, everyone thinks it cost me a fortune. Nope, it was a reasonable $59 dollars at Banana Republic. And the best part is, no one even cares what else I have on – I could be naked and no one would flinch. Rather, they just want to know where they too can get the “gorge” necklace. Ready to invest? Try this cabochon statement necklace (6).
Lamb’s Camden Open Toe Bootie (7) is an editor’s pick on and I can see why. The shoes are so hot that everyone will be looking down at your feet, giving little care to what’s on your “hanger”. Wear your PJ’s to pick up your kids from school, go ahead, get crazy, but you will be the envy of the other moms if your feet are sporting these beauties.

The message is getting clear here… accessories, little touches and details are important. I didn’t mention the power of sunglasses and handbags, but they too work wonders as “fashion diffusers” by infusing luxury, style and lift when you are feeling clueless. All of these wardrobe magicians can take boring outfits from zero to sixty instantly, garner you compliments from strangers and get you out of your fashion “911” each morning.
  • steph

    I desperately need PMS outfits – thanks for posting this very useful piece!

  • Whitney

    Regarding statement necklaces: if you want something truly unique, is a great place to look! They have handmade jewelry that’s usually priced well.

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