Putting Together an Outfit: Cords + Popover Tunic + Duster

Nicole from The Spirited Thrifter wrote a few weeks back about helping a client discern how to put together new outfits from her existing clothes  She included some handy rules and tips along the way, which got me thinking about how *I* put decide what goes into an outfit and whether blogging about it would be useful for others to read about.

So today, I’m going to grab an outfit pic off of Instagram and walk you through how I put it together.  I’m no expert, but I do love clothes and am usually pretty happy with my looks, so if you struggle with how to finish off an outfit, how to pair accessories or top layers with base clothes you’ve already chosen, or what “goes” together,  I hope reading about my thought process is helpful.  And if it works out I’ll do it with some more outfits.  Maybe you can even request faves from my IG!  Whoa, getting carried away here.

The outfit in question:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


And now, how I got there:

Weather? Cool in the morning, warm by afternoon – I’ll need to layer.

Any activities at work that require specific clothes (e.g. big meetings with outside clients or funerals or cleaning out storage rooms requiring a dress (fancier) or pants (more casual/flexible)?  No.

So what do I feel like wearing for my base piece (the skirt/pants/dress I’ll use to build my outfit)?   Yesterday was a dress so today I’ll go with pants for a little variety.  I haven’t worn my newly tapered cream cords yet, let’s bust those out!

What top would go with that?  Hmmm…I haven’t worn my dotted cotton popover tunic in a minute, and that pattern will contrast nicely with the solid cream down below.
Now to add that layer… The shirt’s patterned, so let’s get my one and only solid cardi out – a blue duster.  That matches the darker blue in the top and will keep the outfit from feeling all over the place color-wise.

What shoes do I want to wear with this?  Hey, those blue-grey boat shoes I just painted would be perfect for the  chambray color of the shirt.  Plus this outfit is on the casual-but-put-together side and nice boat shoes can do that.  I’m still wearing them in, though, so I need some socks…these striped ones perfectly marry the colors in my top and cardigan.

Jewelry?  An open neck means a standard-length necklace and I don’t feel like making an earring statement today. But I will choose my cream drop earrings instead of my go-to gold studs because my cream cords are starting to feel lonely; picking up the pants color with my earrings will make the whole composition more harmonious.  Bracelet/rings?  The usual – my grandma’s cuff and my wedding/engagement rings.

One last styling adjustment – pulling the collar and cuffs of my shirt out past the cardigan, then popping/folding them back respectively will add a touch of interesting on the edges of that big block of color that is my duster – and make some room to show off my bracelet.  

Et voilà!  Done.


The above process probably took about 5 minutes to decide/put on my body.  Scroll down to tell me if this kind of analysis is helpful, and if so, whether you like reading it in present tense or if that’s just annoying.


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4 thoughts on “Putting Together an Outfit: Cords + Popover Tunic + Duster

  1. Thank you for the analysis – I found it very interesting. I think detailing your thought process in present tense is very effective.

  2. Hi Leah, I was wondering if you’ve heard about the app called stylebook app. You’re supposed to take a picture of each item of clothing and you can put outfits together in the app. I’m not sure sure if the app also makes suggestions. I’ve been intrigued by the idea because while I love to thrift, I don’t want to accumulate much more (I’ve filled the majority of “holes”). I’d also like to wear my items often enough, and I don’t have that much storage space. With the app, I like the idea of spending a few minutes here and there putting together outfits instead of doing it under pressure in the morning with kids clinging to me. My main obstacle had been the fact that I would have to take a picture of every single item I own. There’s also a way of draping the clothes to make them look better even if you’re going to do it. Have you looked into this app or others? Thanks so much for your input. I filled out your survey and should have included this as one of the suggested topics.

    1. Winnie, I have heard of it, but yours is the most comprehensive description I’ve read and gives me a better idea of what it’s all about.
      I pretty much do what Stylebook does in my head, but I can see it being really useful for deciding whether to buy something at the thrift store, especially when I am too tired to summon images of all potential outfit combos in my head, or when I’ve forgotten about something tucked away in the back of a drawer.
      I agree that the biggest hurdle for me would be photographing all my clothes – especially since the light chez moi is really abysmal. I would love to know more about it if you decide to take the plunge – guest post?? ;)

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