Outfit Re-Do: Bright Colors and Prints

Jul 15, 2021

Two weeks ago, I posted a daily outfit from Cupcakes & Cashmere that Emily wore in 2015.  I took the basic concept, updated it a bit for 2021, and made it more professional.  The reader comments on that post got me thinking that this might be a great new feature.  We all have outfits from years past that we loved, but just don’t feel current.  So let’s spruce them up, shall we?

This outfit from Seersucker + Saddles has a lot going on.  A dotted skirt, pattern-mixed with a clutch.  A dramatic chambray bow blouse.  A bright blazer.  Chunky bangles layered on her wrists.  And a lace up sandal-boot combination that feels very mid-2010s.

To update it, we have to decide what we’re going to keep and what we’re going to lose.  For me, the shoes should go — bye, Felicia.  The bracelets should be more subtle.  The dots feel a bit dated as well, but they might just need to be more subtle.  I like the pop of yellow.  So let’s start rehabbing the outfit.

There were several ways I could have taken this look.  So I decided to make two looks.  Both professional, one more staid, one a bit bolder.

Left // Veronica Beard Blazer // J.Crew Camisole // Ann Taylor Trouser Pant // Sarah Flint Flats // Wolf & Badger Croissant Hoops // DKNY Top Handle Bag // Chopard Scarf

The first outfit takes the yellow blazer and updates it in a deeper saffron color.  It’s a great blazer for any season.  But you might prefer something brighter like this L’Academie Blazer or this BCBGeneration blazer.  Plus-size?  Try Kasper.

I used a chambray tank to give you that great denim blue and some texture.  If you want something more substantial, try this linen blouse or this Frame short sleeve blouse.

The whimsy is what really makes the first outfit unique, so I brought in a bit of that with the earrings and the scarf.  I would tie the scarf around the handle of my bag to create a moment for a fun print.  If you wanted to tie it around your neck, in your hair or your wrist, that’s in play too.

Add a simple flat, and you are good to go.  If you need an option for wide feet, try this Vionic kitten heel.

For styling, a red lipstick with yellow always looks awesome.  I would also keep the hairstyle simple and natural.

Right // MM LaFleur Adelaide Dress // MM LaFleur Woolf Jardigan // Aldo Cehova Bag // Marc Fisher Pump // Madewell Bracelet Stack // Chopard Scarf

This outfit is a little more staid.  It mixes the blues from the first outfit but has only a pop of yellow.  The dress is the fantastic Adelaide dress from MM LaFleur and the jacket is the Woolf Jardigan (Jacket + Cardigan).  If the Woolf is a bit long for you, the Sant Ambroeus Jardigan is also a nice option.

Looking for a different style of dress?  It was tough to find this color, but I did locate a dress from Cacharel.  And MM Lafleur has another style in the same surf color.

Finishing this outfit off with the yellow bag with the scarf tied around the handle gives you a a pop of color and a bit of print.  It also allows you to wear this outfit to a very conservative office while maintaining a little bit of fun.  That’s why I chose a yellow bag instead of a shoe.

Lastly, I finished it with a delicate stack of chain bracelets.  That feels more on trend than the chunky stack in the inspiration photo.  But if you want something more substantial, I’d go with this Missoma bracelet with sculptural links.  It’s more modern and more impactful style.

For the hair and makeup, I would wear my hair up to accentuate the twisted neckline.  And I would keep the makeup fairly staid, but maybe add a red wash on my lips.

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Career Style, Style, Work

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  1. Catherine says:

    So I’ve realized I have no idea what shoe trends are current and what are on their way out the door! Can anyone boil it down for me?

    • Susan says:

      I’ve been reading that booties and bootie hybrids are on the way out…not a day too soon in my opinion! No shade to those who love them but they cut me off at a really bad spot and they give me a sensation I can only describe as…foot claustrophobia. Feel free to laugh.

      • Anna says:

        Omg what’s replacing them?!?! I’ve been looking for booties that work with my big calves for literally the last five falls/winters and still haven’t found something worth buying.

        • Susan says:

          Anna, let me first disclaim: I am no fashionista. LOL.But my niece and youthful stylish coworkers say that the death of the skinny jean/pant is leading to the death of the traditional bootie. They’re leaning more toward the combat boot look (I think Abra just posted some in the Nordstrom sale post). Work wise, I am not so sure. Last season I went with some more straight leg traditional work pants (thanks, Ann Taylor) and skipped the booties for traditional ish heels. Abra, thoughts to comment??

          • Belle says:

            I think we’re going to see boots designed to be worn with wider leg styles for sure, what that looks like, I don’t know. I’m not sure skinny jeans will die entirely. The TikTok generation is a bit fickle about fashion, so this conversation could be moot in two years.

    • Evelyn says:

      I was on the Nordstrom site last night and with over 1200 different pairs of booties, I would say they ain’t going away any time soon,

  2. Kate says:

    I love the concept of this post! Would be really glad if this became a regular feature.

  3. Firstgirl says:

    Love this as a new feature!

  4. Susan says:

    Love this post!! It’s hard to keep up with trends and styles…I don’t consider myself a trends-person but there is nothing worse than looking dated!!

  5. Niki says:

    Add me to the love this feature list!

  6. Leigh says:

    Love this! Made me think of the J. Crew bubble necklace and other “iconic” items.

  7. Allison says:

    This is a terrific feature. Please do more!

  8. RAchel C says:

    Such a fun idea for a post! I would also love a slightly different take – how do you take a beloved piece that is slightly out of style (say that polka dot skirt) and make it more modern? Sometimes I have sources I love but want to make them a bit more current.

  9. Diane says:

    I love this too (especially since i bought the MM LaFleur dress yesterday) and as a blog reader since at least 2009 who has bought lots of your recommended pieces over the years, I would like to see updates of some of YOUR old posts and how you would style them in 2021. I think this would tie in well as another poster commented on how to incorporate much loved pieces with new items. I still have this J.Crew medallion top from 2013: https://caphillstyle.com/capitol/2013/03/14/two-ways-j-crew-medallion-top.html

    • AB says:

      This is a great idea! Update some old 2/3/4 ways posts! I have LOTS of items recommended from those going back what… 10 years? I would love some fresh ideas for some of the great ones. I often go looking to old posts for inspiration because I was always inspired by the color combinations I would never come up with myself. So sad the polyvore pages are gone ????

  10. CL says:

    Oh gosh – so I think I would wear the 2015 outfit now, with the exception of the shoes and clutch, because I like it. I love polka dots – how is the skirt dated, exactly? I don’t want to look dated!

    • Belle says:

      If you like the outfit as it, the skirt and blazer could easily work together. I would just buy a blouse that’s a little less voluminous. The skirt is cute, but the styling is very extra in a time when people are going for a minimallook.

    • Jess says:

      I thought the same thing! I’d wear this exact same outfit minus the shoes and bag.

  11. Naomi says:

    Love this post! Quick question, Abra – is there any way for you to make the image slightly larger? This may just be my computer, but it’s a pretty small view of your updated outfits, and I’d love to be able to see them a bit bigger. Again, may just be me (and I can’t *believe* how old this request makes me feel…).

    • Belle says:

      It fills the entire middle column. So the only way to make it larger would be to recode the site.

      • Jules says:

        At least on mobile (maybe also desktop) the image will be ‘larger’ to look at if the ‘before and after’ were top and bottom, not left to right. So the image would be vertical not horizontal…

        • Belle says:

          We’re in the middle of a redesign, so I’m just going to dump the sidebar in post. But if that takes a while, I’ll keep that in mind.

  12. Chloe says:

    LOVE these looks!! I have that JCrew cami in approximately five colors. It works with. everything … though is a little low cut, so not too great for work!

  13. Annie says:

    Like this so much! I think probably because it’s a sophisticated take on integrating bold color.

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