I-Shops-My-Closet fashion dilemma: What to do with a red, white and grey top?


So I have this red, white and grey top. I love this top! It has three quarter length sleeves and a v-neck that starts buttoning about 6″ from the collar, making it great for necklace wearing.

A really great red striped top has lost its partner. Time for an “I shops my closet” solution!

It’s the type of top that can double as a blouse or a jacket. I usually wear it with my heather grey slacks, but last fall those slacks were quarantined to the off-season closet until I could squeeze back into them. So…what to do with this perfectly good blouse now missing its favorite partner?

First step: Evaluate the colors in the top and examine my closet for items with similar colors.

White? I could wear it as a jacket with a white tee or camisole underneath and then pair with white bottoms.  I have lots of white tees and camisoles, but I don’t have any white bottoms. Since white tends to make things look bigger, with “alla my backside”,  I rarely wear white bottoms.

Grey? I only have the grey pants and they are on ice. All of my other bottoms are either black solids, or prints that would clash. Black would work and is one of my favorite neutrals, but sometimes I get tired of wearing black all the time.

Red?  Wait a minute, I have a solid red skirt, a red dress, a red sleeveless sweater, two red belts and at least three pairs of red shoes!

Once I pulled them out, I have about 5 pairs of red shoes and 2 red belts!

Step Two: Try on the items to see how they look together.
I slipped on the shirt and the skirt. Ding-ding-ding-ding, WINNER! Just need something to nip in the waist. The red patent leather belt? Too dark. The red belt with the silver buckle? BINGO!

Red striped top with red knit skirt and red stretchy belt. Ding-Ding-Ding!

Now the shoes. First up, The red open toe mule sandals. They’d do in  a rush. Very comfortable, just not as sharp of a look as I’d like with this outfit. The red ankle-strap closed toe shoes? Classics that give a sort of “Mad Men” feel. They’d work. Finally, the patent-leather Mary Janes. Ding-ding-ding-ding! WINNER!

The red patent leather Mary Janes add just the right playful touch to an outfit that features lots of red! Can you believe those shoes were less than $40!

What about this red sleeveless sweater?  Would it work as a vest?  I slipped it on over the top and while it does look nice, perhaps the two reds clash? What do you think? I have worn the combination before.

Looking at the red from the skirt and the sweater, they seem to clash a bit. One is orangey and one has blue undertones. I’ve worn them together before, not sure if I’d wear the skirt and sweater together again. However the blouse and sweater would go fine with my heather grey slacks or another neutral bottom.

But wait, there’s more! Remember the red dress I told you about? Belting the top over the dress netted me yet another look.

Red-striped top worn as a jacket over red dress.

And finally, one last outfit. I forgot that I had a white sleeveless sweater exactly like the red one. The white sweater over the top resulted in a look that goes nicely with my many black neutrals, or maybe even the red skirt!

White sweater vest works out great with the top. What a finale!

So this little exploratory session netted  four new looks using a lonely striped top.

Lessons Learned

  •  If you haven’t worn something in a year, instead of throwing it out as some experts say, take a second look at it. Why aren’t you wearing it? Try it with things you already own and with accessories you already have. Even if you think you might not like the look, try it anyway with just you and your mirror, you may be surprised.
  • Always try to come up with two looks per item. This helps you extend your wardrobe.
  • When buying clothes, avoid the trends. Buy things that are flattering to your figure because they NEVER go out of style.
  • Maintenance tip: Always keep your shoes clean, shined and in good repair.