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How to Elevate Your Basic Outfit In 3 Ways

Betsey Johnson Jeweled Heels

Chances are you have a pair of black jeans and a white t-shirt in your wardrobe or some version of it. You’ve worn both these items together many times, sometimes with booties and a sweater for a casual dinner out and maybe with sneakers and bomber jacket for running errands on the weekend. That’s because they’re easy pieces to build an outfit upon. They are reliable basics. Here I offer three different looks that will elevate your basics without spending an arm and a leg.

Basic Outfit


  • Black Thrifted Citizens for Humanity Straight Leg Button Fly Jeans

  • Although they are straight leg jeans, they were a little too baggy and way too long for my frame, so i tucked in my tee to accentuate my waist and cuffed the bottoms to add a little drama

  • White cotton v-neck t-shirt from Target

1. Funky Fresh

Visit your local thrift store and rummage through the dress section. I found a 90’s black & white houndstooth double breasted dress complete with shoulder pads and ribbon belt. I’m pretty sure the ribbon was originally meant to be tied in the back - very 1994. Here it’s been repurposed as a floor length jacket and loosely belted with a pop of red from the vintage neckerchief, vintage belt, black & white booties and Luv Bomb pin. TBH this is not my favorite outfit, but it’s different and fun. It takes courage to take fashion risks. Although they may not always pay out, the risk is always in your favor. You’ve expressed yourself to the world through creativity and individuality. Cheers to that!

  • Amy Beyer dress purchased on Poshmark

  • Booties purchased on Poshmark

  • Scarf purchased at DAV Thrift

  • Vintage The Limited belt I purchased in 11th grade

  • Luv Bomb pin purchased at reggae show

Fun fact: My husband is a reggae artist and has made many friends in the reggaie community. It is through his love of music and love for the good in all mankind that we came across this cool pin. Longtime reggae artist Rocker T created the #LuvBomb campaign; LuvBomb is a brand of apparel and accessories, aimed at uniting all walks of life. Exploding the use of labels, and restoring the human connection.

2. Preppy Edge

Concert downtown and drinks afterwards? Friday night sushi and champagne? Birthday brunch at the newest spot in town? Yes, yes and yes! Pink Girls meet the T-Birds in this fun look: vegan leather jacket, Betsey Johnson jewel encrusted heels, leopard print hard case clutch, silver metallic skinny belt and a beetle brooch.

  • The jacket was purchased second hand on Poshmark.

  • The heels were a birthday gift to myself, purchased on Amazon

  • The beetle brooch was purchased handmade from Beadniks Retirement Sale

  • Clutch purchased on Poshmark

  • Skinny silver metallic belt purchased at Target

Fun fact: The beetle known as Sternocera Ruficornis is found in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and is a popular street food. Vendors remove the beetle’s exoskeleton and serve the soft body grilled on an open fire. The hard body is made of beautiful iridescent blues and greens, but are of no use once the body is removed. Jewelry makers can purchase them rather inexpensively and use them to create lovely pieces like this one. I love this brooch because it is so unique, and because it’s also a little weird that I’m wearing an actual bug, eyes still intact. Ew!

3. Modern Vintage

By far my favorite look here! A comfortable solution for a night out with the girls without compromising your glamour: Off-white faux fur cropped jacket, vintage silk scarf, vintage kitten heels with felt pom poms, and a tan & black polka dot J Crew envelope clutch.

  • Forever21 jacket purchased second hand from Poshmark

  • Vintage shoes purchased second hand from Poshmark

  • J Crew clutch purchased second hand from Poshmark

  • Silk scarf purchased at thrift store in Reykjavík, Iceland

  • Small mirror compact from Bygones vintage clothing store in Richmond, VA

  • Sunglasses purchased at H&M summer 2017

Fun fact: I lived in Richmond, VA for 5 years during college. I grew into my own there and my deep appreciation for vintage blossomed. If I wasn’t spending the small amounts of extra cash I had to travel, I was at Bygones purchasing whatever priceless piece of history that fit and I could afford. I shopped here so often that the young woman who checked me out recognized me and gifted me the mirror compact. Not a big deal, it’s quite inexpensive, but it told me she appreciated me as her customer. That was 15 years ago; I still have the mirror and when I visit Richmond I stop into Bygones each time. (And then I dash across the street to Bev's for an oreo expresso milk shake. Trust me - your life will never be the same again after this delectable treat.)

How do you elevate your basic items? Share your outfits with me on Instagram #EDRelevateyourbasics


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