Closet Edit Follow-Up: Blue Shirt Revival

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Last week I wrote about a new closet editing system I’d discovered on YouTube. I really like stylist Allison Bornstein’s approach to culling one’s closet. So I tried it out. I identified my “regulars” that I wear all the time, and my “never wears” that I never, or rarely, wear. Then I classified my “never wears” into an “out the door” pile to give away, a “not now” pile to store, and a “how the heck should I style it” pile. And I came up with two new outfits by pairing never wear pieces with some of my “regulars.” So that closet edit worked a treat.

Then when I was stashing my “not now” pieces in my storage closet, I found my old blue shirt. This spring when I turned my closet, I’d stored it. I still liked the shirt, in theory, and I wasn’t ready to get rid of it, but I guess I was sick of feeling guilty for never wearing it

I bought this blue Equipment shirt at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale back in 2015. In fact I wrote a post about it, and about how blue shirts seemed to be making inroads into the long-held iconic status of the white shirt. I wore my shirt a few times that year, and since then, whenever I pull it out to wear it, I end up putting it back on the hanger instead. And I couldn’t put my finger on the reason.

This blue shirt should be a classic “how” piece. So as a follow-up to last week’s post I thought I’d try to revive my blue shirt. To bring it back into the fold by, as Allison suggests, pairing it with some of my “regulars.” I’m nothing if not determined to find a way to wear pieces I still love. Does that make me obstinate and headstrong? Only with respect to fashion, my friends.

Obstinate, headstrong girl… that’s me.

I pulled several pairs of pants out of my closet as a first step, and chose three pairs that are in heavy rotation. I’ve been wearing these checked, navy and white Simone pants by Rag and Bone almost every week since I actually started going places again. Yesterday, I paired them with a navy cotton camisole, and my blue Equipment shirt, a small pair of navy and silver earrings I bought in Peru, and my old flat black sandals. I love the navy cami and the navy earrings with the pants. I could wear this outfit, but I know I won’t. It’s not edgy enough and, if I’m honest, just plain boring. I tried different bags and shoes. Nope. Then I discovered that I prefer the navy cami and pants with my white Theory blazer and my sneakers. And NOT with the shirt.

Blue Equipment shirt looks okay with checked trousers and a blue cami in my backyard.
This is my least favourite look.

Not to be defeated so soon, I next tried the shirt with my Frame straight leg jeans, and my white Theory blazer, definitely two of my “regular” pieces. I tucked the shirt into the jeans, trying for a blousy, messy tuck so it didn’t look too business-y, and to hide my middle-age middle as best I could. Ditto with rolling up the sleeves, trying for a not too perfect roll. I added my cream Michael Kors sandals. And my gold Michael Kors tote bag, so the look didn’t get too matchy-matchy. I popped on my cream vintage cuff and wore no other jewellery, besides my watch and wedding rings.

Wearing my white Theory jacket, blue Equipment shirt, Frame high-rise, straight-leg jeans, Michael Kors sandals, and MK gold tote.
This is my most favourite look.

Oh my. I love, love, love this outfit. It looks current, and just edgy enough for me. I like it with a minimum of jewellery. I like how everything seems to go without matching. And I love the really messy tuck on the shirt. I had completely eschewed tucking for years. Now I know that was as much about my skinny jeans as it was about my middle. Straight-leg, high-waisted jeans look great with a shirt or tee at least partially tucked in. Don’t get me wrong the old middle-age middle is still there, and I probably wouldn’t wear this shirt tucked in without the jacket. But as long as the jacket disguises the profile view, I’m good. Ha. I’d wear this outfit to dinner, or downtown shopping, or to lunch somewhere in the city.

The results of my closet edit made me consider my blue shirt with my Frame jeans, white jacket and gold tote.
I’m wondering if my white hair be considered an accessory.

The last look I tried with my blue shirt involved my Frame straight-leg white jeans and my Stan Smith sneakers. I wore my silver hoop earrings, my vintage chain bracelet, and a white leather one. I like this outfit too. I like the comfort, the softness of the blue and white and cream. It’s perfect for popping out to the library, to the drugstore, or for a take-out coffee in the village.

I rummaged around for a suitable bag to carry. One that was NOT my Eric Javits straw tote, which I love, but which I use all the time. And I found a couple of cloth totes that I bought on our travels. One from Shakespeare and Company in Paris, and this one from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. I love the cream and blue of my bag from Bath, not to mention the quote. “Obstinate, headstrong, girl.” Remember that line from Pride and Prejudice? Words thrown at Elizabeth Bennet by Lady Catherine de Bourgh when Lizzy refuses to agree to never marry Darcy. I love that part of the book. And the 1995 mini-series. This bag has been sitting unused and forgotten since 2017. It’s high time to remedy that.

As a result of my latest closet edit, I'm wearing this blue Equipment shirt again with white jeans and sneakers.
This is the look I’ll probably wear the most.

In fact, as much as I love the outfit with the white blazer, I’ll probably get more wear out of this combination. Simply because I’m more likely to pop into the village for groceries or for coffee than I am to venture downtown to a restaurant or to shop. Still, two new outfits that I really like from one styling session is pretty good. I love both these outfits so much, I think my old blue shirt just might become one of my closet “regulars.”

In my closet edit, I found this old cloth bag to go with my blue shirt, sneakers, and white jeans.
My new going to the library outfit.

Now let’s discuss the reason why I never wore this shirt, okay? And the irony that it might now become one of my “regulars.” First off, back when I bought this shirt, it looked dreadful tucked into my skinny jeans. In fact, in my view, everything looks dreadful tucked into my skinny jeans. I tried it under my black summer blazer, but the jacket is too tailored and the shirt too over-sized to work. But with a looser style jacket like my white Theory blazer, and my straight-leg jeans the shirt looks just right.

When I first bought the shirt, I tried several times to wear it loose over jeans. And after a half hour or so, I always felt too rumpled. As if I’d rolled out of bed and pulled on yesterday’s clothes. I can’t explain why I now love it over my white jeans, rumpled or not, except to say that the change must be about me. And not about the shirt… or the jeans.

Obviously, my hair colour has changed. I think the soft blue of the shirt looks much nicer with my white hair than with my dyed blonde/highlighted/low-lighted hair. But I also think that letting my hair go white has resulted in my letting go of some of my obsessive neatness and perfectionism … just a little. Having white hair has made me examine some of my long-held ideas of what looks good and and what doesn’t on me. When my hair was blonde I felt silly in a rumpled shirt. Now that my hair is white I like it. Weird, eh?

Continuing on the theme of a follow-up to last week, I wanted to tell you that Allison Bornstein has her own YouTube channel now. She posted this video just a few weeks ago. It’s all about her own closet, and she takes you on a tour of her “regulars.” Have a look.

Allison’s closet edit ideas are great if you’re trying to do the slow fashion thing. Or if you can’t afford to shop right now. Or are not inclined to tackle the crowds in the mall. So often we think: “If only I had a different pair of shoes, or a different top, I’d wear that piece I never wear.” This method encourages us NOT to wish for new stuff, but to look honestly and objectively at what we already have in our closets. I love that.

So, my personal closet edit has been a big success. Four different “new” outfits in two try-on sessions.

I guess I’d better start going out more. Safely masked and socially-distanced, of course.

What have you been up to this week, my friends? Anyone else give the closet editing method a try? Let me know if you have and how it went.

If you are inclined to shop, here are links to some of the pieces featured in this post. Or as near as I can find if the exact piece is no longer available. These are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission. That’s how I’m paying for my blog hosting fees etc.

Frame straight-leg jeans. White blazer, not Theory, but similar and cheaper. Frame straight-leg white jeans. Rag and Bone Simone pants. Eric Javits straw bag. Michael Kors similar tote. Stan Smith Adidas.

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32 thoughts on “Closet Edit Follow-Up: Blue Shirt Revival”

  1. So much to like about this post! “New” outfits that give life to previously unloved pieces, that wonderful bag with one of my favourite Austen quotes and the realisation that your preferences have evolved along with your hair and the passing of time. Your enthusiasm for your new outfit combinations is infectious and btw, I also like your least preferred outfit – something about the different blues with the black sandals definitely appeals.

    I haven’t tried Allison’s closet editing approach yet but I will. It’s too cold and wet here to try on warmer weather clothes but the magnolias are in bloom, spring is coming and I definitely have my sights on my wardrobe. Because it’s long overdue and going clothes shopping anywhere other than in my wardrobe won’t be happening.

    I used to love reading fashion features in newspapers and magazines but they are harder to find these days and the ones I come across are aimed at much younger women. Thank you for filling this void with your detailed and thoughtful posts.

    1. You are most welcome, Maria. Thanks for the kind words. When the weather is nicer in your part of the world and you do try Allison’s method, be sure to get back to me and let me know how you get on.

  2. Here a wild and edgy idea: in the first picture, what if you were to wear the camisole OVER the blue shirt?

    And, what if your hair style were to become a bid edgier–maybe a bit spikey?

    1. And, perhaps a red bag (or maybe mustard) with the last picture. The blue and white bag is lovely but too matchy.

      1. Or, perhaps the blue shirt could be tailored a bit so it is not quite so full.

        And, perhaps I could gather ALL of my thoughts before I make my first comment.

  3. I am thrilled you love your fabulous white hair! Does Stu like the new you?
    It’s interesting the change we go thru with hair colour…especially with our natural tones… total freedom. Perhaps you’ll let your curls show next?! That will change the feel of your wardrobe again. 🙂
    The blue shirt suits you perfectly and I love all the looks

    1. Me too, Robin. I remember raving about your wonderful white hair. Stu really likes it. I’m trying to let the bangs grow, while at the same time keeping the sides and back fairly short, and cutting off more of the blonde/brown each cut. Eventually I want to do a really soft loose look, with longer bangs, pushed back off my face. I know exactly how I want it to look, I’m just not there yet.

  4. I can’t read “Obstinate, headstrong girl!” without hearing it in the voice of the wonderful actress who played Lady Catherine in the 1995 mini-series. My youngest daughter recently sent me a link to Jennifer Ehle reading P&P on YouTube, and she once in a while pauses to share a bit of trivia from the mini-series. I’ve only just started listening, but am definitely planning to continue!

    I love your blue shirt in all of the combinations you tried. It’s a perfect shade for your colouring!

    1. Me too, Denise. Whenever I say that line I hear Catherine de Bourgh say it. I’m going to look for that YouTube version of P&P. That will keep me occupied on the exercise bike for a couple of weeks. Ha.

  5. As someone who has been called obstinate (and selfish and hard) for quite a part of my life, I salute the carrying of the bag. And love that blue shirt, perfect summer shade. I have one similar, from Gap, and I wear it with great joy. Do you have a navy blazer because that would be a fine combination too? I was out for a socially-distanced coffee with friends yesterday, one of whom has let her hair grow out to a stunning silver grey during lockdown and also had a perfect short crop. She is so happy with the result and seemed much more relaxed about herself in so doing. Her husband (older than her by some years and very grey himself) still asks her if she wouldn’t dye it again…because it makes her look old. I would, without doubt, in my headstrong way, thump him quite soundly indeed. He is not a gentleman.

    1. I may try the shirt under my navy blazer. With jeans and boots and a scarf in the early fall. Funny that you should mention that husband with respect to his wife’s grey hair. Hubby thought my growing out grew made me look older, initially. He wondered if I was ready for grey hair. Then once I had it cut he loved it. Not sure if he changed his mind, or is just being supportive. 🙂

  6. You crack me up with all your outfits. They seem an obsession with you. But I just wanted to tell you that for the first time I ordered 3 tee shirts from Everlane and loved them! Thank you for all your pictures of all your outfits. I like your hair the way it is too.

    1. Ah well… outfit dreaming has long been a passion of mine. I do have other interests, though. Ha. Glad you liked the tee shirts, Judy. Everlane’s pocket tee has become my go to shirt now, supplanting my old friend Vince.

  7. First thing, I totally agree with Annie above. I would give him a whack as well for that comment. Anyway, the look with the white jacket is so perfect on you and the white jeans look is one I am going to work into my own look as well. I have a few more of the ‘how’ pieces to work through and a bit more clearing out to do, but must say, this is terrific process for tidying up the closet. Like many people have said, I just don’t need all the ‘stuff’ anymore and am discovering how great that is. As usual a fun and informative post. Oh, also, I have just cut off shoulder length hair into a very short look, cut out ears and all, but want to have the bangs to my eyebrows at least so I will have to grow a bit and have a detailed conversation with my hairdresser. You must let us know how your chat with yours goes.

    1. So happy you like these editing posts, Diane. I sometimes worry if maybe people are sick of hearing me talk about my quite limited wardrobe. Good luck with the hair chat. Carmen and I are still in negotiations about mine. Well… more accurate to say that I am in debate with myself, and she is listening patiently. 🙂

  8. Beautiful blue shirt – I love your combinations! Have you tried the first combo with white tankshirt instead of navy or black?
    I have linen M&S shirt (from when we still had their store,a couple of years ago)- but it is interesting that with my blue eyes,blonde hair and fair complexion I don’t feel that it suits me perfectly (as it should)
    I’ve been shopping,with the mask- I wanted oversized navy or black wool blazer for quite a long time- ,and ,partly, because I wanted to support our textile industry as well. There are only a few brands left….so,I’ve found one black,in a very fine wool,120,in men department of Varteks,I never button it up,so I don’t care. There was a very nice,female blazer in blue-white stripes seesucker fabric,so I take it home as well.
    I’ve bought only a few items this year,only lingerie and one lounge wear thing. With covid situation,I wear only a few outfits…..all silk dresses are waiting next summer
    Dottoressa

    1. I imagine you missed wearing your silk dresses this year. Think how happy you will be to be reunited next year. I’m thinking I need a white linen, collared shirt, one that is really casual. I think it will complete my new-ish look. Shopping in the men’s department for oversized blazers is a great idea. I must try that.

  9. Finding the blue shirt tucked away must have felt like a bit of ‘free’ shopping. The colour look wonderful with your lighter hair and certainly the ways you have styled it are fun and relaxed–with a bit of edge (Theory jacket).
    Have always tended to do some of what Allison recommends (e.g. keeping like things with like, similar colours together, etc.). Lost a lot of weight and need to replace most of my clothing, but am doing so slowly and methodically. Will consider Allison’s plan as I make any purchases, so thanks for the link.

  10. I added a new category ‘not now and probably never’ for all my remaining career clothes. It was very liberating to take them out of my closet but not give away or try to consign just yet. I’m afraid the whole consignment market will be transformed if it even survives. Sorry for your friend’s shop. Thanks for the tutorial on freshening our style within our closet. Eager to get started!

  11. Well;;; keep in mind I am french so take this with a grain of salt.
    But I think this blue shirt would look good in spring, with a light yellow jacket. Not too pastel-y but with caracter to balance the cold blue of the shirt.
    And during autumn (sorry fall), I would wear it with a burgundy or maroon jacket (hope I am not mixing my colours in english). Certainly nothing purple.
    I would even try some rust.
    That said, you may not be in that king of colours at all as they may seem quite “bold” (I do wear orange and rust and some yellow so this is my opinion).
    Some would say, wear pink with this blue but well, for me it would be too “cute”.
    But again it depends on what shade of pink.
    What about a nice tweed jacket if you so wear some? Even when I a not working, I do wear jackets and derbies, even when grocery shopping.
    In my opinion, you should never dress down just to comply with everybody else and not “stand out” but dress, UP (not dress up following american way).
    Again, this is my opinion. Sorry if I disgress.

    1. Agree with many of your suggestions. Except for the rust and yellow. Colours that are usually too warm for me. 🙂 I have a lovely dark green tweed Max Mara blazer that I am hoping to pair with this shirt in the fall. Agree… pink with light blue… too “lady-like” or little girlish for me. I don’t dress to comply with everybody else, but in what I feel good in. At least I think I do.

  12. I admit, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the change in your hair color, but it is beautiful, really makes your skin glow! Unfortunately, mine would become steel gray, not very attractive with my complexion, so I’ll continue to color it.
    After your review of the Everlane boxy tee shirt, I bought 3 and just love them. Lightweight, but not sheer. Thanks for the tip.

    1. So glad you like the tees, Barbara. As for my hair, if I didn’t like the white I’d be on Carmen’s doorstep begging her to colour it again. We should always do what we feel is best for ourselves.

  13. I feel like yes, the white hair looks great with the blue, and the level of contrast there, and the increased edginess of your white hair, definitely supports a wrinkle or two!

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I’m still working on the cut and style I want. But I am loving how Emma Thompson and Gillian Anderson have embraced their white hair being swept off their faces. Odd how the white hair makes me feel younger, almost. Ha.

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