Remember back in September, when we all could not wait to cozy up in our fall boots and chunky sweaters? That memory seems so naive now that we’re almost six months deep into cold weather—and on the 89th rotation of our favorite sweatpants. Yes, it’s officially that time of the season when you realize your well of new, cute outfit ideas is bone dry.
Tempting as it may be, you don’t have to rush out and buy a bunch of new things to beat the boredom. As Ashley, the YouTuber known as bestdressed, demonstrates in this brilliant video, a few strategic styling tricks are all you need to refresh your closet. (And safeguard your tax refund.)
In fact, she managed to create 50 killer outfits from pieces she already had—sustainability FTW! Do the math and you’ll realize those are enough options to get you into mid-May without having to repeat a look. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the video, which are worth bearing in mind next time you’re about to send an “I have nothing to wear…” SOS to your group text chain.
1. To get more wear out of your going-out dresses, add a turtleneck
“I’ve seen a ton of 15-year-olds on Instagram who are cooler than I’ll ever be layering a turtleneck under a graphic t-shirt,” says Ashley. “But honestly, I have no idea how the f*** to do that without looking like a Target employee during the holidays.” (Same, girl.) Her solution: Putting turtlenecks under slip dresses and other going-out frocks, which instantly makes them feel more daytime-appropriate.
She’s also a fan of wearing turtlenecks under crewneck sweaters, especially cropped ones, and pairing them with short skirts—this keeps them from veering into elementary school librarian territory. (Her favorite turtlenecks are these thin, ribbed ones from Urban Outfitters.)
2. Don’t underestimate the power of jeans and a tee
As Ashley points out, everyone has a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. The key to making them feel less snoozy? “Go HAM on accessories,” she says. Add big earrings, statement sandals, and a dark lip to a blue-denim-and-white-tee combo, or pair a graphic tee with black jeans and patent boots for what Ashley calls a “more styled, city-chic look.”
3. Style dresses as shirts and skirts
If you have a summer dress that you’re dying to wear, Ashley’s got a smart hack: Tuck it into jeans and wear it with sneakers. (Just make sure it’s relatively short and fitted to avoid creating a fabric diaper under your denim. Not a good look.)
Another option is to turn a warm-weather dress into a skirt. You can do this by throwing a t-shirt over the dress and knotting it at the waist, or putting on a loose-fitting sweatshirt.
4. Steal some stuff from a dude’s closet
If you’ve exhausted all the options in your own wardrobe, Ashley recommends borrowing from your dad, your boyfriend, or your best guy friend. As she points out, a simple men’s button-down shirt is a jackpot of styling options—you can belt it and wear it as a dress with boots, or keep the first few buttons open and tuck it into a high-waisted skirt or pants. (To keep the latter look from feeling too corporate, she cuffs the sleeves and pushes the shirt back for a slightly off-the-shoulder neckline.)
Ashley also likes pairing striped, old-school tube socks with jeans and sneakers—yes, the same ones popularized by your softball coach back in the day. “Just make sure to cuff your jeans to show off your socks in proper ’90s fashion,” she says. Velcro dad sneakers optional.
5. Wear scarves somewhere other than your neck
If you’ve got a silk scarf that you don’t know what to do with, Ashley suggests wearing it as a tube top with jeans and a leather jacket. Another idea: Wrap it around your waist to create a sash belt for a plain dress.
6. Don’t be afraid of monochrome outfits
How to wear all one color without looking like, as Ashley puts it, a Power Ranger? Choose pieces in varying shades of one color, like a skirt, shirt, and jacket in different purples. “It still overall reads as monochrome…and adds some dimension to your outfit,” the vlogger says. For a similar effect, you can also mix patterns that share a common color or do the denim on denim thing—pair a light and dark wash or mix in other textures to break up the look. (One example: a shearling-lined denim jacket with a short denim skirt.)
7. Turn to your lingerie drawer for cute outfit ideas
No, really. My favorite outfit in the entire video was a black slip worn over a white tee, then paired with loose-fit chinos and loafers. The slip itself would be kinda inappropriate to wear around town on its own, but here it looks impossibly cool. Or take Ashley’s lead and wear a fitted turtleneck under a corset, with black jeans and combat boots. “I think corsets are a great way to add a pop of color and texture to an otherwise pretty plain outfit,” she says. Okay, so maybe I’ll be buying one thing with my IRS refund…
If you’re more of a bralette girl, here’s how to work them into an outfit. Plus, five ways to wear an oversized blazer, spring’s easiest trend to pull off.
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