If you haven’t updated your closet in a few years and aren’t really sure what’s worth keeping or tossing, here are some outfits I’ve worn in the past and how I’m updating them now to be more modern.
Last year I started an outfit update series on Instagram. I replicated old outfits from a decade ago, but updated them to be more modern. You can see it all HERE.
Lots of you tell me that you struggle to update your closets, so here four old outfits with really popular items you probably owned and wore, and I’ll show you how I updated them to be more modern and classic.
Check out the pictures and the explanations to show how and why I updated certain items in my closet.
I hope this is helpful!
How to update your outfits to feel more modern
Upgrade your staple pieces
Lots of you have asked about shorter fitted cardigans like I’m wearing in 2011. Although they’re a fine choice, a longer, slouchy cardigan is more modern. While colored jeans are actually coming back, I like a pair of classic blue jeans better. A dark wash pair is perfect for fall and winter and goes with everything.
Keep Accessories Simple and Fun
I was SO pumped about that belted scarf situation in 2011, and although I actually think it looks cute, I would NEVER wear that combo on a regular day. It’s just so much going on and completely unnecessary. I want my outfits to be comfortable and wearable, and a belted scarf is not. But I do love the pop of leopard, so I wore my leather crossbody bag with a leopard strap and it’s the perfect bit of pattern.
Balance the tall boots with jeans
Tall boots are classic and currently popular, but feel outdated when worn with jeans. Also the tall boots just feel too heavy for this outfit. A less clunky shoe makes the bottom half of the outfit feel less heavy.
Upgrade the Base T-shirt
The biggest change is the tee. A slouchy tee like the one in 2013 is too long for a shorter jacket, and that kind of thin fabric can be super clingy and unflattering. I swapped for a tee with closer fit and more structure. Always a better option as you get older!
I love the plaid bomber jacket, but I updated it with a little more structured option. Blazers are super trendy (and classic), and it gives the jeans and tee outfit a super classy feel.Both jeans are great, both boots are great, and I went with a smaller, more structured bag cause I’m out of the diaper bag stage.
Colored tights were EVERYTHING back then. While I think a pop of color is cute in an otherwise neutral outfit, the colored tights had to go…they feel dated. Instead, I chose a pair of tan ankle boots that are classic and keep the outfit simple.
I tried a couple of striped top options in the 2023 outfit, and with a more micro pleated skirt (in comparison to the wider hand-done pleats), I felt like it was too busy with stripes and pleats. So I went with a basic gray pullover sweater and I love it. Simple and comfy. You could definitely do a pop of color in the sweater, and I probably would have otherwise, but I was trying to keep it as similar to the original outfit as I could.
As I mentioned above, the belt was literally there to keep my skirt up, but also it creates a giant dark stripe across my middle, which is weird in the outfit. I ditched the belt for a cleaner look. Of course 2023 Merrick added a pair of gold earrings cause that’s my signature earring and just adds a little sparkle up by my face.
Find a Better Fit
While leather jackets are timeless…these are not the same jacket…I bought a cheap faux leather one back then and updated to a really nice one later, but the cuts are almost identical and still work well 10 years later because the jacket fits me and isn’t oversized or cropped.
Also, look at the fit of the top from 2013 to 2023. Your outfit looks so much more polished when your top isn’t hanging out the bottom of your jacket. You don’t need to do a full tuck necessarily, but don’t let it hang out the bottom!
Stick to Neutrals
Even though colored pants are coming back, I think it’s best to stick with neutrals. I won’t be wearing purple pants this time around…olive, navy, brown, blush…those are the colors that are more timeless. Also, I updated the fit to a cropped wide leg cause it’s more modern (although we still love skinny jeans around here, don’t freak). Instead of a wild statement necklace, I went for classic gold hoops and bracelets.
What do you think of the updates??
I hope seeing these four examples was helpful to show you what pieces you should add to your closet or retire and update!
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