The Jeans Rut
One area my wardrobe was very much lacking was in different types of bottoms. First of all, I was in a jeans rut. I basically wore a cute top and rotated among various shades and cuts of blue jeans. Eventually I broke out and got black and grey jeans–crazy, I know. And maybe when I wanted to get really crazy, I wore grey cargo pants. WHOA now. Can you even handle that?
Other than that, I never wore skirts and I don’t think I even knew colored bottoms existed! Mixing up the bottom half of your outfit is just as important as mixing up the top in order to have a versatile closet. When I was in my jeans rut the only way I could mix up my outfits was to get more new tops to wear with jeans. But if you want more bang for your buck and a more remixable closet, a variety of colored and patterned bottoms is key.
I made the diagram above to illustrate. In both pictures there are 7 pieces, but the first set only provides you with 6 outfits, while the second provides you with 12. Same number of pieces, double the outfits.
Maybe for you, it’s a khaki rut. Or only black or grey trousers to work. Or sweatpants. Whatever it is, having different colored/patterned bottoms will multiply the outfit options in your closet.
Let’s talk about some options you have.
There are so many options for pants and shorts. Some of you are adventurous fashionistas who aren’t scared of colored pants and don’t need to be reading this post. But for the rest of us, especially the people in the jeans rut, I narrowed down the pants options and decided to show casual basics that are safe and not too scary but will still give you some versatility.
Skinny jeans / trouser or straight-legged jeans / boyfriend jeans – The cut differentiates them. Some of you may prefer not to wear skinny jeans, and that’s fine. Even just between a dark washed straight-legged and boyfriend jeans, the boyfriend jeans provide a more casual feel than straight legged jeans.
Black or grey skinnies or trousers
- Only a mild difference from blue denim, but sometimes the subtle difference goes a long way. However, I’d still recommend having some options besides just blue, grey, or black pants.
Cargo pants – You may not think olive can go with many things, but it’s a pseudo-netural and can be paired with nearly any color. What’s nice about it is that it’s not an in-your-face color, which makes them a safe yet fun option to deviate from the typical blue jeans. I also think they’re a great option for moms because they’re durable and casual.
Colored pants -
If you want to be brave, colored pants are all the rage. Pick your color. Everything is fair game these days. Old Navy has a bunch of different colors right now (shop
). So does Target (shop
Here are two collages of outfits with the same shirt remixed using different colored pants:
With different colored bottoms in play, I could make four and five different outfits with each respective top, and both sets have three different pants options.
Most of what I named in the pants section are neutral colors, but having colored bottoms will really help your wardrobe feel more versatile. If colored and patterned pants scare you, colored skirts and shorts are less intimidating for some reason. Maybe because they usually only cover half of your legs so it feels like less of a statement. Also, a floral skirt seems more normal than floral pants, so skirts are an easy way to pull in patterns.
Here are some outfits with a chambray top and different colored bottoms, most of which utilize different colored skirts:
I think colored/patterned skirts can also be more office appropriate than the pant options I gave earlier.
There are lots of colored pencil skirts out there, and you can find great office appropriate outfits with lots of color on blogs like J’s Everyday Fashion
and 26 and Counting
Here are some stores with a variety colored and patterned skirts options:
Tights are another way to incorporate color in the bottom half of your outfit. I used to only wear black tights under my dresses, but using different colored tights can give you more options.
Don’t be scared of colored tights! At the very least, you can do a neutral other than black, such as grey. I used grey here:
I could even do this dress with maroon tights for another look.
Two safe alternatives to neutrals are maroon and dark purple, but they still make a different statement than black, like below:
If you’re looking for colored tights, We Love Colors (www.welovecolors.com
) has an enormous selection of colors.
That’s it! Have I convinced you to add some color to the bottom half of your outfits? It’ll make your closet much, much more remixable. (Remember how the outfit possibilities multiplied in the very first pic!)
If you would like more tips on making the most of your wardrobe, check out the rest of the Building a Remixable Wardrobe Series!
Thank you Audrey for all of that amazing info.! What did you guys think – genius right? After reading Audrey’s entire Building a Remixable Wardrobe Series, I feel like I have so many more options. And the best part is I haven’t bought anything new, it was all hiding in my closet. Go read the rest of the series and I’m pretty sure you’ll have a similar experience.