Cultivated Wardrobe Outfit Ideas

Mixing High + Low End Pieces

mama style / mixing high + low end pieces

mama style / mixing high + low end pieces mama style / mixing high + low end pieces mama style / mixing high + low end pieces

One goal I had in pursuing my year round capsule wardrobe — or my “all seasons” capsule wardrobe as I’m calling it — was to incorporate as many high quality second hand pieces as possible/made sense. Over the past couple of months of searching, I feel like I’ve developed some skillz (yes, the z is intended) in finding gently used or even like new (to down right new!) high quality pieces to add to my capsule for literally a fraction of the price it would cost to buy these pieces brand new. #selffive  

More on those “skillz” in a future blog post ;)

Anywho.  All that talk about “high quality + high end pieces” aside… one of my favorite hacks to this whole capsule wardrobe process has been to always include a few low end/low quality pieces.  Say whaaat?

I know, I know, But hear me out.  Through some experimentation, I’ve discovered a few things about this seemingly counter intuitive advice about including some low end + inexpensive pieces in your capsule wardrobe:

1. Doing so allows for you to experiment with styles you think you might like, but have never tried out before. Take for instance the felt hat I’m wearing in the outfit above. (If you remember I don’t include accessories in any of my capsules but the principle obviously still applies here.)  I love hats.  I often wear them out of my inability to allot enough time to tame my bedhead before leaving my house — but also because they have the uncanny ability to elevate an outfit from predictable to at the very least, interesting.  Maybe even remarkable.

I’ve never owned a felt panama hat before and was not about to drop some serious dough on one given the fact that I very well might not like it at all — not to mention it’s a trend.  (Trends automatically warrant purchasing low quality pieces for me.) 

2. Pairing low end pieces with high end pieces in the same outfit auto-magically boost the appearance in quality of said low end piece.  For real, try it if you haven’t.  It works. Magic before your very eyes. ;)

3. It’s the best way to assess what types of high quality pieces you want to add to your capsule wardrobe(s) in the future.  This one sounds a lot like the first item I mentioned right? It is, but it isn’t… The focus here is different for me because I’m pursuing a completely different kind of capsule wardrobe.  I’m more in for the “long haul” if you will with the whole year round capsule thing.

You see I don’t need to experiment to find out that I like the t-shirt dress style.  I know I like the t-shirt dress style. In fact it’s totally me. What I don’t know, and hope to find out, is just how high quality of a t-shirt dress do I really need?  What if the one from Old Navy is completely on point and holds up really well? Do I need to look elsewhere? Do I need to spend $50-60 versus $5.10? #oldnavycashforthewin

I’ll have to experiment some, but I’ll figure it out.  All the while using these three tidbits of course. ;)

What do you think about mixing high end + low end pieces in the same outfit? In your wardrobe overall?

P.S. Want an on point nursing friendly outfit tip? Always — and I mean always, always, always — go with the button down.  Chambray + gingham are my personal favs ;)

Hat: Target

Top: J.Crew, thrifted (same/similar here)

Sweater: H&M

Bottoms: Gap, old (similar here)

Shoes: Madewell (out of stock? but similar here)

Tote: Nordstrom (or splurge here)

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  • Reply
    April 11, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I love hats! My issue is that I have a giant head so I can only ever buy men’s hats. Turns out they don’t make felt Panama hats for dudes- bummer. But yours looks great.

    • Reply
      April 12, 2015 at 7:11 am

      You might be in luck then because I have a huge head too! Lol.

  • Reply
    Andrea Hartman
    April 24, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Wow, I can’t believe you got that J.Crew top thrifted!! I just bought the same one (on sale) for about $51! I totally believe in the power of thrifting high end, in fact some of my very, very favorite items are thrifted. And today I got the steal of a lifetime, new (okay, maybe worn once? the tread wasn’t even worn outside yet) Madrid Birkenstocks! For $27. I am still fawning over them.

    • Reply
      April 24, 2015 at 4:49 am

      Um, score? Haha! And yeah… I may have spent a little too much time on eBay to find this top… Lol. But I managed to find it for $10.50 (shipped!) so all in all it was probably worth the extra time. Plus it’s a total thrill for me ;)

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