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21 Days of Skirts and Dresses - Day 3 - Classics

Today I chose to ramp up my look a little - I had to go into the office, so I added a blazer to my skirt ensemble. I am blessed to work from home 4 out of 5 days in a week, so I can dress in a more business casual and relaxed manner, but on the days I'm in the office, I go strong! All of the pieces I'm wearing today were purchased at different times during my business career.

None of them came as a part of a matching outfit - it really PAYS to know your style and your best colors, so that no matter where you are when the urge to shop hits you, you can find something appropriate for your business and personal goals, your activities, and that fits in with your existing wardrobe. A closet full of "orphan" clothing, no matter how beautiful, will limit your effectiveness - it's hard to create a consistently attractive and polished image when your clothing is mostly hit-or-miss - and will also make you spend MORE than you might want, because the garments cannot be mixed and matched easily.

Today's outfit is courtesy of three different stores - the black Liz Claiborne blazer I found online - I believe via an email which directed me to a sale at the Liz Claiborne website. It's been over a year since I bought it, but the classic black blazer with white piping I will be able to wear for years. The sleeves are a little shorter - call them 'bracelet length' which may eventually "date" the jacket, but for now, I'm not having a problem with it.

The simple black tee I bought at the Avenue - a well known plus size women's clothing store. I bought this piece also years ago, and its a little big on me now, since I've lost 85 pounds, but still fits my shoulders fairly well (I am broad-shouldered, built like an inverted Vee with narrower hips) and the length is perfect, plus it goes from washer and dryer to closet without needing an iron, and wrinkles fall out of it easily. Sounds like a perfect foundation piece to me! I've worn this top so many times that my cost-per-wearing is probably less than $.01 by now. That is also the mark of a great piece - you love it so much and wear it so many times over it's lifetime that the cost per wearing goes down to almost nothing.

The skirt is a TJ Maxx find - they carry a line of clothes inspired by designer Willi Smith. Mr. Smith is no longer designing (he passed away a number of years ago, sadly) but there are still clothes that carry his name being produced and T.J. Maxx carries the line. At the time I purchased this skirt, there was also a dress with the same pattern, and two short-sleeved shirts (one in light purple, one in dark purple) hanging with the skirt and dress. As I've done before, because the price point was SO good - I bought it all in my size. Mixing and matching the skirt with the two blouses and adding in the dress made perfect sense - I already owned a white cardigan to match with either the skirt or the dress, and the two shirts would also mix and match beautifully with white and black skirts I already owned. I also owned several black jackets and sweaters that would coordinate with the skirt and dress for more outfit possibilities. Purple was not originally one of my foundation colors for my wardrobe (I gravitate to red, black and white) but the opportunity to create a mini-capsule wardrobe that would coordinate with a LOT of garments I already owned was simply too good to pass up.

It was a simple matter to add black and silver jewelry (necklace and matching earrings) to this ensemble, and I finished it off with skin tone hose and black flats with black jewels on the toes. The flats I picked up at Walmart when I happened to be in one afternoon shopping. I also picked up a silver grey pair - in fact, I picked up two pair of each color, because for sure and for certain, if I went back weeks or months later to get another pair, they would NOT be there.

That's another great rule of shopping - when you find something that fits you well, is comfortable, fits your image and your body, and looks good on you, especially if it's a foundation piece - buy more than ONE. Now I don't want you to have a closet full of duplicates, but when we're talking about the garments that form the foundation of your capsule wardrobe or of a grouping that you wear often, keep your style and your good looks consistent by taking advantage of great pieces and / or great prices.

In the next several days, I'll be taking my 21 day Skirt and Dress challenge on the road - I'll be traveling to Pine Bluff, Arkansas for the 2012 Skyhook event with the Black Pilots of America - my husband is an avid pilot and this annual gathering is always fun. Look for some remote check-ins, and enjoy the next few days of the challenge!

If you'd like to know my secrets for planning and acquiring a versatile and attractive Capsule Wardrobe, be sure to check out my self-study course at