Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Outfit Algorithm: Dress

Mika & Gala Dress, $10, Vinnies
I have my friend to severely thank for the next series of posts. It all began on a distant star.. or with far less hyperbole, a fated train ride. We were on the topic about our jobs, mostly fixated on the more irksome parts. One involved the value of our pay and how it seemed to be eaten up almost immediately by travel and food during the week. So basically, we worked hours a week merely for us to subsist. As she worked in retail she had another wallet devourer - the fact that she had to purchase clothes from the brand as the 'uniform'. Additionally, since the brand was fairly pricey, and even with her staff discount, she found she was spending rather than saving money. That got me thinking of ideas to circumvent that. She could either rely on basics or classics to make the most of her situation or be inventive with a more unique piece. And thus.. the Outfit Algorithm series was born!

The Outfit Algorithm series would also be perfect if you feel immense guilt over splurging on a particular item - like myself and possibly for travel. Now, this acts more of a loose guideline than an actual set of rules so feel free to run wild with it. The dress I chose for the first post in the series is fairly simple in its shape, an A-line silhouette, but unique in its pastel mint colour with a leopard print. Of course you could opt for more classic colours but I thought it'd be fun to play around with such quirkiness. 

Level 1: Shoes

Bardot Boots (eBay) $25, Converse Black Faux Leather High Tops ($25)

Shoes could make all the difference to an outfit. The Converse would give the look a more preppy vibe whilst the boots would give it a slightly more polished edge. Of course, you could wear it with heels, flats, etc but I designed it with my friend in mind who had to be on her feet seven hours a day. 

Level 2: Socks

Ankle length striped socks (Daiso) $2.80, Totoro tights (eBay), Black Thigh High Socks, Heart Suspender Tights (ASOS), Grey Thigh High Socks (Dangerfield), Patterned Black Thigh Socks 

 My sister has something of a fetish with socks which appears to be rubbing off on me. Oh well, at least it's easy for me to buy her things every time I go out. Anyway, thigh length socks give outfits a slight risqué but tasteful edge, the Totoro tights, on the other hand, adds a cuteness instead. 

Level 3: Outer Layer

Acid Wash Denim Shirt (Anglicare Summer Hill) $1.45, Pastel Pink Cardigan (Valleygirl) $15,  Cue Trench Coat (Ebay) $30

Cardigans have a tendency to give outfits a certain comfort factor whilst denim shirts achieve a casualness, plus they're both lightweight and easy enough to move around in. Other the end of the spectrum, the trench coat is a classic, oozing with understated elegance. Another suggestion for outerwear is a blazer, particularly double breasted ones which gives you a more polished look. 

Level 4: Layering

Chiffon Long Sleeve Shirt (Bardot), Sleeveless Double Collar Sheer Top (Lipsy, Vinnies) $10

Long sleeve shirts layered under dresses have gripped my heart so tightly it seems unlikely to be ever released. The effect is just something so elegant and feminine. However, if that look isn't for you, a sleeveless option is provided, particularly with such a vibrant pop of colour. And collars make everything infinitely more amazing, proven scientific fact.  

Level 5: Jumpers

Dotti Jumper (Glebe Market) $2

Here is another cozy and casual option. Layering a jumper over a dress transforms it into a skirt instead. But if the dress is short, make sure to pair it with a cropped jumper so that it doesn't swallow you up entirely. Furthermore, this would go hand in hand with the previous level by having the collar peek out and bam! additional outfit! Additionally, the sleeveless shirt has the added benefit of not creating extra bulk throughout your arms. 

Level 5: Skirts

Pleather Pleated Bronze Skirt (Paper Heart, Glebe Market) $5

Doing this, converts the dress into a top and there is the added benefit of a more 'flounce' to the skirt from the additional volume, thus introducing a more A-line silhouette. A belt could be added to merge the outfit more seamlessly. But I truly love how the bright metallic bronze clashes with the more softer pastel. 

Level 5: Bottoms Up

Topshop High Waisted Shorts (eBay), Antipodium Peach High Waisted Shorts (Salvos) $8, Motel Rocks High Waisted Striped Pants (Glue) $30
With this level, I wanted to stray as far as I could from the more typical versatile colours like regular blue and black denim. However, distressed denim would be a great foil to that with its provided edge. The Topshop shorts lends a nautical vibe to the outfit due to the buttons on the front and that it sits fairly high on the body, elongating your legs to the extreme. The Antipodium shorts provide a softer form of colour blocking that is only achieved through pastels whilst the Motel Rocks pants offer more of a wackiness to it. 
Level 8: Belt It Up

Cue Peplum Bustle Belt (eBay)

I don't even want to think about how much I spent on this belt. Denial. Denial. Denial. But just look at that shape! It explains itself really, adding another dimension to simple outfits. And it just gives you this amazing silhouette. I tracked this belt down for months on eBay, to the point of obsession and when I finally landed it I didn't know whether to feel intense joy or regret. But having it in real life, quelled all my misgivings about it. Do not feel obliged to stalk this belt down, a regular belt will do. I do quite like the appearance of thin belts, as I believe that they look quite dainty and refined. 

So that wraps up the first in the series. I do hope you enjoyed it, this was incredibly fun to do even if my room looks like a bomb filled with clothes had exploded in it. Regarding the levels, they are either standalone or mixable so I believe the combination would be 1 + 2 + __ + __ = Finished Outfit. Until next time!

As it so happens, I thought of a few more outfits that could be done, answering the question once and for all why I have insomnia. The next few exemplify how the levels could be taken up a notch.

Bonus Level 1: Lace

Lace Long Sleeve Shirt (Summer Hill Anglicare) $1.45

I just love how the addition of dark lace just vamps up an outfit whilst still retaining some of that elegance - only there's an edge of subtle sensuality. You could also wear it off shoulder to increase that effect, by utilising the contrast of skin and the dark fabric.

Bonus Level 2: Blazer/Vest 

Wish Blazer Vest (Vinnies) $15

Hmm, I suppose this is already an existent level but I felt I needed to exemplify just how a blazer could toughen the look.

Bonus Level 3: Layered Chiffon Shirt

American Apparel Sheer Shirt (Glebe Markets) $10

I originally had this shirt in mind for one of the levels but I found it was much too oversized to wear underneath so then, stroke of inspiration that had me itching for the sun to rise, I tried this out. With the pattern only slightly obscured it makes for an interesting look. Or you could wear the shirt unbuttoned like a jacket so it would resemble something like a kimono. And it's not just sheer materials, you could do with with a plaid shirt, denim, etc. only the effect would be slightly different. I would say it's perfect for summer/spring but not in Australia where even the thinnest layer is suffocating, hence why I worship the aircon fervently during that time. 

Stay tuned for the next in the Outfit Algorithm series! 



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