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I don’t know about y’all, but I often struggle with impulse shopping…especially when it comes to clothes and shoes. At this point, I *know* I have more than enough clothes, and I can’t really afford to keep adding to my wardrobe. In the past, I’ve often looked to Pinterest as a source of inspiration for items I want, but this week I turned to Pinterest to help me make the most of items I already have. Over the course of the week, I re-created 7 outfits from Pinterest using clothing items I already had.
Initially, I wasn’t planning to write a blog post about this. I ended up changing my mind for a couple of reasons: 1) my science-oriented content takes me a while to research. I’m currently working on several posts (including accutane, teeth whitening products, hormonal IUDs vs “the pill”, and more), but I wanted to post something in the meantime. 2) This challenge ended up being a surprising amount of fun, but also helped me grow a bit as a person (so I wanted to take some time to reflect on it).
My Style & Wardrobe
Up until last year, my wardrobe was pretty simple and unsophisticated (lots of t-shirts, v necks, and leggings). Since I was going to be teaching a college course (and wanted to dress the part), I made a very deliberate effort to rebuild and rebrand my wardrobe.
Generally, I like to ask myself 2 questions before adding any new item to my wardrobe:
- Is this significantly different from something I already own?
- Can I picture at least 3 different outfits this item could be a part of?
If I could answer “yes” to both questions, then I would consider buying it. Based on that, my wardrobe is dominated by a lot of versatile staples and neutral colors- things which are mutually compatible with one another. More or less I have a capsule wardrobe, just with a lot more items than you might see in a “traditional” capsule wardrobe. I would say my style is pretty minimalist and casual or chic (depending on the day), and I tend to avoid bold colors and prints.
Here’s a good example of what I might wear on a typical day:
Given the nature of 2020, I ordered most of these items online over the past year. The key to ordering stuff online (in my opinion) is having accurate measurements (in other words, get a tape measure! it will save you a lot of headaches). When possible, also make sure that you read the reviews to see what the material is like, whether it might be see-through, etc.
I’m also a graduate student, which means I don’t make very much money. Inevitably, that means I try and stick to affordable pieces as well. Almost everything I wear costs less than $50 (typically I try to stick below $30, if possible). Occasionally I am willing to splurge on high-quality staples that I know will last me a while, and I’ve had a lot of luck getting those types of items on sale.
Knowing that I have a pretty well-established wardrobe at this point, I wanted to create a challenge for myself: recreate 7 outfits from my Pinterest over the course of 7 days, using items I already own. As an additional challenge, I also wanted to try my best to recreate the images themselves. In other words, for each outfit I had to recreate the outfit, find a similar location/background, and recreate the pose/image as best I could.
For all comparison images, I have the original pin on the left and my recreation on the right. Due to the nature of Pinterest, I’m not sure who the original creators are for many of these pins. If you happen to know, please let me know and I’ll link to their profile/blog. When possible, I’ve tried to include links for the items I used. I’ve also included the particular colors and sizes that I’m wearing. For reference, I typically wear a size 4/S on top, 6/8/M on bottom, and W 9.5 in shoes.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I’ve probably pinned this outfit at least 10 times, so it seemed like a good place to start. I went with a top that I got on clearance a few years ago at Target, Levi’s mile high super skinny in “on the house” (the stretch on these is pretty forgiving, so I wear a size 4), and this belt from Amazon.
Something you may notice rather quickly is that I’m wearing pretty much the same jewelry in every outfit. There’s a reason for this: long story short, I’m doing a separate challenge where I wanted to test the durability of Ana Luisa jewelry for everyday wear. If you’ve read my blog post about rose gold, you’ll know that I’ve had some issues with the durability of gold-plated jewelry from other brands in the past. Check out the caption on this Instagram post for more details about my Ana Luisa wear test:
In this outfit, I’m wearing the onyx layered necklaces set, double hoop earrings (Scarlett), and the “rope slim” Gold twist ring (I wear size 7 for my middle and index finger). I also have the coin necklace set which you’ll see in some of the other outfits in this series.
With this outfit, I’m wearing WearMe Pro women’s oversized full mirrored sunglasses in tortoise/black, A New Day women’s elbow sleeve high neck rib t-shirt in black (size: S), Levi’s women’s 721 high rise skinny jeans in “soft clean white” (size: 28/US 6), and A New Day women’s Rebecca ballet flats in cognac (size 9). If you’re in the market for white jeans, I highly recommend these. They’re closer to true denim than jeggings and in my experience are not see-through. I wear a larger size because they don’t have as much give as the mile-high super skinny jeans I have from Levi’s (which are more like jeggings). As for the rest of the outfit, I’m holding my A New Day women’s bi-stretch twill blazer in black (size 4), my Ello 16 oz ceramic Aspen travel mug in white, and my Universal Thread zip closure crossbody bag in cognac.
With this outfit I wanted to go for something a little comfier and cozier. I’m wearing a hat my mother-in-law made for me, my “Scientist” sweatshirt from StemBabe (I’m wearing a size M but could have gotten a S), Amazon Essential Women’s mid-weight puffer vest in black (size S), these high-waisted leggings in black (size S), and these canvas sneakers from Target in white (size 10). I’ll note that these shoes don’t have a lot of arch support, so I usually wear them with insoles.
I really liked this outfit. I’ve had this turtleneck literally since I was in high school, so I honestly couldn’t tell you where I got it. I’m wearing Levi’s mile high super skinny jeans (in “new moon”) and these women’s Bessie wedge bootie from Target in black (size 10). The coat was a gift from my mother-in-law, so I’m not *exactly* sure where she got it. I know that it’s Calvin Klein, and it looks similar to this Cashmere wool blend coat on Amazon. (Side note, I’ve decided that the Minnesotans show love by trying to keep you warm, since she gave me a hat, scarf, and coat for Christmas this year.)
This was *probably* my favorite outfit. Both my blazer and shirt are from Target, but I was really disappointed to learn they’d been discontinued. I’m wearing Levi’s mile high super skinny jeans in “Quebec Storm” and these sunglasses in gold frame/grey lens. The shoes are Nine West women’s flax dress pump (size 9.5). These are my favorite pair of heels I own- aside from being cute, they’re surprisingly comfortable. I’m also wearing the Ana Luisa coin layered necklace in this photo (whereas most of my other outfits feature the onyx necklace set).
This outfit has a few repeats from previous days, so I’ll just highlight the new items: this hat in color A-khaki and these Nine West women’s loafer flats (in size 9.5). Yes, I have multiple pairs of snakeskin shoes- remember that I study lizards (so I get pretty excited about anything related to reptiles).
Like the outfit on day 6, there are several elements of this outfit that are repeated from previous days. The new pieces here are my Levi’s womens Original Trucker Jacket in “Jeanie” (size M) and Jockey women’s cowl neck sweatshirt in “heather oatmeal” (size M). If you’re looking for an outfit that is both comfy and cute- this is the one for you.
When I initially planned out my week, I chose 8 outfits instead of 7. Apparently I can’t count, but I still wanted to recreate the image anyways.
I’ve had most of these items for a while. I’m wearing a tunic top I got several years ago from Old Navy (this is probably the most similar item they carry now). The SiiZU shawl was part of my Winter Causebox a couple of years ago, and you already know the details of the jeans and jewelry. I just liked the picture and thought it would be fun to share!
Takeaways & Reflections
There’s several things that I noticed over the course of the week:
- Almost every Pinterest outfit features a coffee cup and/or sunglasses. Don’t believe me? Go to Pinterest and check.
- My wardrobe has definitely grown and evolved a lot over the last year, and this challenge helped me look at a lot of my wardrobe staples with new eyes. In a couple of cases, I rediscovered clothing items I had completely forgotten about.
- I ACHIEVED MY GOAL. Forcing myself to wear clothes I already had helped me realize the massive potential my wardrobe already has, and I’m no longer finding myself obsessively wanting new clothing items.
- This challenge was a lot of fun, but it also helped push me out of my comfort zone. I have no previous experience doing any kind of modelling, so going and taking pictures of myself with a tripod in public is not something I felt terribly comfortable doing. I had to work through my anxieties about what people would think about me or if they would judge me for what I was doing. At a certain point, I had to accept the reality that it didn’t really matter what those people might think.
- Recreating pictures like this is NOT easy. I didn’t have anyone taking photos of me, so there was no one to tell me where to put my hands, where to look, what to do with my hair, etc. Recreating these photos involved a lot of running back and forth to my phone, but the payoff was sooooo worth it.
- I was absolutely blown away by the amount of support I got throughout this series. I honestly had *no* idea if people would be interested in this content. I just figured since I was doing it, I might as well generate content from it. I received SO MANY comments and messages on Instagram from people saying how much they loved the series (so you can guarantee it will be back sometime in the spring or summer).
What did y’all think? Are there any specific outfits you’d like to see me recreate in the future? Drop a comment, send me an email, or shoot me a message on Instagram at @missalenius_science!