I’m sure I’m not the only one who stares into the depths of her closet in the morning and mutters the infamous phrase “I have nothing to wear!” (yep, even me). Truthfully, it doesn’t matter if you have Emelza Marcos shoe collection or are reaching for a potato sack each day, everyone’s wardrobe can use a little recharge. That’s when I start to think outside the box…

I don’t believe this phenomenon has much to do with a lack of clothes in our closets (though it can feel like it), but rather having a lack of inspiration when looking at what lies within. As a big fan of stepping outside of a stereotype, I think our clothes also don’t necessarily need to fit within the guidelines the manufacturer set for them. Maybe, like us, they want to break out and be free and embrace their own individual spirit. That’s when I started to think a bit more creatively and realized there are a lot of items living our closets that can be doing double duty and we won’t even realize it….

Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic

Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic
Outfit styled using Dressed for iPhone

Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic

There are a few tips and tricks that I’ve used (and have seen other bloggers use) that can breath new life into your wardrobe – or at least can make you realize how versatile everyday clothing items can be. I really think the best way to maximize your wardrobe is to push it beyond the boundaries of intention. Who says a dress can only be a dress, right?

Earrings as Brooches

When I was young, it became apparent that I was allergic to nickel. Really really, allergic. As in, ears-turn-red-puss-inducing allergic. It was devastating, as I watched friends skip off to Claire’s Accessories with their allowance to buy pair after pair of cheap, cute earrings. Even now, it’s very rare for a pair of earrings to grace my lobes (though I can wear the really high quality jewelry, of which I have a few select, beautiful pairs. I know, poor me!), though it still makes me sad whenever I pass a particularly adorable set.

But, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Awhile back, disgruntled over my earlobe revolt, I bought a few cute pairs at a craft fair that they swore up and down were nickel free. After my ears burst into cherry-red flames of anger, I was holding the perpetrators over the rubbish bin and stopped with a crazy thought – what if I wore earrings as brooches? I LOVE brooches! The earrings were saved from certain trash-compacting death and a new category was born. I started scouring shops for cute earrings, nickel or not! And when I spied these under-the-sea earrings at ASOS, I didn’t even hesitate. Years of ear neglect were rectified!

What I love about this is that I can mix and match several pairs and can create unique designs on my cardigans. Plus, earrings can often be much more cost-effective if you’re just starting to play around with the idea of brooches. One thing I have learned, however, is that earrings can be pretty sharp and can stab you if your cardigan isn’t very thick. So, I popped the erasers off a few of my pencils, put them on the end of the earring posts, and voilà! The perfect brooch alternative commenced.

Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic

The Unusual Handbag

I love a unique handbag – for me, they’re always the perfect opportunity to add a pop of color or be a bit daring (eye bag anyone?). But, it’s not always easy to find the perfect color or style you want. And although I’m not a huge fan of hats (my head simply doesn’t suite most chapeaus), a adore vintage hatboxes. Enter a new world of handbags.

One day, while rummaging through my closet, my stack of hatboxes caught my eye and I wondered – why not use a hatbox as a handbag? They come in a range of sizes, are often more than roomy enough for a wallet and a phone, and their flat bottom means they’re never going to tip over and spill the contents of your bag on the sidewalk. Plus, many a hatbox lost their hat-mate long ago, leaving them sitting lonely in vintage shops waiting for some nice lady to adopt them…

The sky is truly the limit when it comes to handbags – vintage vanity cases, small picnic baskets, even chic little eyeglass cases can make adorable clutches. I highly recommend testing for functionality (as much as I love the past, some things were just not made to fit an iPhone and that simply won’t work for modern-day me), but try to think a bit creatively next time you visit your favorite thrift shop. You never know what you might find…

Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic

Belts as Headbands

One of my all-time favorite accessories is belts – to me, they cinch me in at the waist and instantly pull a look together. I have a bin full of them, but it’s only recently that I discovered their alter ego: Headbands.

Seriously, if belts are Clark Kent, than their headband counterpart is certainly Superman. I find this trick works best for belts that are fabric based (as opposed to leather) and have a bit of stretch. A lot of my belts are adjustable, so I can simply move to a smaller size and slip in on. In cases where it isn’t easily adjusted, I usually fold over the excess fabric that’s hidden by my hair and pin it with a safety pin, so it sits snugly against my head.

It also works in the opposite direction – I have a ton of ribbon-based headbands that serve as belts when the mood strikes me…

Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic

Dresses Reconsidered

As most of you know by now, dresses are seriously my favorite thing. Although I didn’t use this trick with this particular outfit, there are a few other amazing wardrobe hacks that will change the way you look at your dresses!

One of my favorites is by pinup-blogger-of-gorgeousness, Miss Victory Violet. She has an incredible tutorial where she shows you how you can easily (and reversibly) convert your dresses into skirts to get more versatility out of them! It’s pure genius and I have definitely taken advantage of this.

A second trick I use a lot is wearing dresses as tops for my skirts – like I did in this post. I don’t always find that have the perfect separates to go with my skirts. A lot of times, my tops bunch up and create that ever-attractive ducktail at the back. My favorite solution? I wear a dress as a top! Wiggle dresses are the perfect fitted tops and my fit and flares often adds a bit of extra fullness to the skirt. Once I discovered this trick, my eyes were opened when it came to the variety my dresses add to outfit combinations when I consider them as tops…

Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic
Original Post: Of Cloudless Climbs
Dress (as a top): Jen Kao, made in kind for Anthropologie (similar here & here)
Skirt: Anthropologie (similar)
Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic
Dress (worn as a top): Rachel Antonoff via Modcloth (similar here & here) // Skirt: Anthropologie (similar here & here)

Honestly, I think the point of clothes is to just have fun with it. Push the boundaries. Think outside of the box. I love coming up with new ways to use things in my wardrobe and add a bit of extra pizazz into the day (the fish and starfish definitely received many compliments today!) Sometimes my creative burst fail spectacularly (warning: I should never, EVER decoupage), but they’re always fun and can lead to some pretty innovative ways to look at my wardrobe.

Outside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed AestheticOutside the Box: A Few Easy Tricks to Maximize Your Wardrobe - The Dressed Aesthetic

And really, if Willie likes it, I know I’m doing something right!

What about you? Do you have any creative ways you’ve used the items in your wardrobe? Share in the comments below – I’m always looking for tips!

 

xoxo

Outfit Details:
Dress: The Vintage Studio (similar modern or vintage herehere, herehere)
Cardigan: Alannah Hill (similar here & here)
Earrings (as brooches): ASOS (similar here & here)
Belt (as a headband): Alannah Hill (similar here & here)
Hatbox (as a handbag): Sophistihat (similar herehere & here)
Shoes: Seychelles (similar herehere & here)

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The Dressed Aesthetic