You may remember a recent experiment that I undertook with my pal Cat: I gave her style prompts for a week and she used my Spring Capsule post to check out the items in my capsule in order to pick my outfits. It was fantastic and I decided to return the favour!
Because Cat doesn’t have a capsule wardrobe, instead I asked her to pick out 7 items that she has in her closet but wasn’t wearing enough because she wasn’t quite sure how to style them, or needed new ideas. I used those 7 items in combination with style challenges to create 7 new looks for her– check them out!
So, first of all, which items did Cat give me to work with?
1. Colour-blocked dress
When Cat chose my outfits I provided the majority of the styling unless she indicated otherwise with keywords like, “chignon” or “bold lip”, but this time I provided Cat with full styling suggestions, inspiration photos, and YouTube tutorials.
Basically, I wanted to take Cat’s style identity (gamine and minimalist with a love of stripes and graphic tees) and push it, whether it be by adding jewelry or trying new hair/makeup looks. I combed through Cat’s Pinterest account to make sure I had a good feel for her aesthetic and then set to work creating my own “mood”, or inspiration, board.
Cat’s Pre-Experiment Thoughts:
For every minute of excitement I’d had in our previous challenge, where I got to choose Kala’s outfits, I felt equal anxiety for this one. Not having a capsule wardrobe felt like a disadvantage – aren’t my clothes haphazardly strewn together in a mess of colours and styles? How could Kala make coherent looks out of these given my lack of planning? I worried that she’d be bored, frustrated, or both. I peruse Kala’s instagram all the time these days, marvelling at the bright colours she wears and variety of styles she plays with. Like I said when I was picking her clothes, I feel a bit predictable. When I was younger, I often yearned for my school to adopt uniforms. Though this was largely because of my intense longing to go to Hogwarts, I realize now it was also because I wanted to absolve myself of making fashion decisions. And, anxiety aside, this week allowed me to try that out for once!
Kala’s Thoughts: Cat has this super cute colour-blocked dress and I immediately thought, “how would I wear this dress?” Answer: with a blazer, some nice, polished makeup and maybe a statement piece. I titled this look “Navy and Coral” in order to meet a style challenge. So, I asked her to pair the dress with her navy, fitted blazer and some oxfords. I also wanted to see her wear this super cute hexagon necklace (long necklaces and my body type don’t go well together so I wanted to live vicariously). For hair and makeup, I noticed that Cat pinned a number of Carrie Brownstein images and gave her the loose textured hairstyle seen in the above mood board and indicated that she should keep her makeup glowy with a coral-toned lip.
I’ve rarely seen Cat so glammed up and professional looking and lost my mind a little when she posted the resulting image: Cat the Cool Business Girl.
I deeply appreciated that Kala started me off in familiar territory: jewel tones, some menswear inspired pieces, and easy hair tutorials. The dress is one I’ve only worn with chambray shirts on top before, and had only recently cleaned up from a greasy burger stain (In-N-Out burger, represent!). I loved trying it out in a more formal context and was surprised at how polished it felt. To keep things from being too boring, the shoes I chose are actually covered in glitter ($3.99 at Value Village, too!), but I still felt ~*professional*~. The whole outfit was very comfortable and I would definitely wear this again.
Kala’s Thoughts: I had only ever seen Cat wear this dress for fancy occasions, like our dinner out when I visited her in Cali, so I knew I wanted to make it more casual. I also wanted to give Cat the Parisian style aesthetic she loves (see the top right image in my mood board), so I went with one of my favourite tricks for both dressing down and getting more wear out of special occasion dresses: layer a top so that it works as a skirt. I am now thoroughly convinced that Cat should either keep layering this dress or invest in a red pencil skirt! Legs for days!
I wanted Cat to go with black eyeliner (cat eye!) and bold red lipstick, and boy did she ever deliver! To continue the trend of making this dress more casual, I had her pair it with her red Chucks: Parisian On the Go! This outfit feels the most like Cat’s aesthetic to me.
Somehow, this broke my brain. I’ve never worn a long-sleeve shirt overtop of a dress before and it didn’t occur to me that it was possible. Now? I love it and want to make fake skirts out of every dress. It initially worried me because the dress sleeves are 3/4-length, but somehow it worked out ok. Armed with my trusty converse, I felt up to the challenge of doing cat-eye liner and making a half-up half-down hairstyle work. The liner was shaky (full disclosure: I have never made wings that are the same shape on each side and am still convinced it’s a form of sorcery) and the hair definitely felt less Audrey Hepburn and more dishevelled by the end of the day, but I loved this look.
Kala’s Thoughts: When Cat chose my outfits I picked one day and really played up the dark lipstick– I wanted Cat to do the same! When I saw her metallic pleated skirt I knew I wanted to mix it with one of the tees she loves to wear. I went with this cute black SASK tee from a local company: Hard Pressed. It sounded like a basic pairing so I asked her to go over the top with the styling.
Slicked back hair and dark lipstick paired with booties kicked this simple tee and skirt into high fashion! With Cat’s gorgeous complexion everyone simultaneously christened this look Dark Willow.
Damn. Yet another thing I wouldn’t think of myself, and I loved it. I’ve been meaning to get better use out of my Kat Von D liquid lipstick I purchased one fateful night, images of Cool Girl mood boards and modern-day witches swirling in my head. And here, finally, was the best opportunity to do so. The t-shirt’s a standby for me (so comfy, plus maps!) and so is the skirt, but I’ve never combined them and would feel to plain doing so without Kala’s styling suggestions. The lipstick and black booties paired up to make me stomp around my apartment like I owned the place (until I remembered I had downstairs neighbours and was stricken with regret and paranoia). I also really liked the idea of making my hair straightened and slicked back, but it was tricky and I don’t think I quite got it right. Still, A Very Good Look.
Kala’s Thoughts: I was with Cat when she bought this super cute green dress. This was probably my most experimental look for Cat. I thought she could pair it with her chambray top and Birks for a casual look.
For makeup, I wanted a green and gold scheme to go with her super cute golden snitch earrings and gold headband. She kept the makeup glowy with a nude lip– in retrospect I might have gotten her to go with a light pink lip and different hairstyling, but I think she looks cute: Casual and Closet Fangirl.
Maybe it was the fact it was nearly the end of the work week, but this was a tricky day. I couldn’t get the topknot high enough on my head, the headband ended up giving me a headache, and my chambray shirt looked funny no matter how I wore it. Although I love this dress, my Birks, and the delightful Snitch earrings I wore with the outfit, I didn’t feel like I pulled this outfit together right. I am, however, exceedingly proud of the makeup I did for it – especially because I don’t actually own nude lipstick. Instead, I fashioned myself some good ol’ makeup fakery with beige eyeshadow and clear gloss overtop of it. Never would I have said I would buy nude lipstick, but after trying this out, I finally see the appeal!
Kala’s Thoughts: This eyelet top could have been styled very femme with a skirt and soft hair and makeup, but a I decided to go late 90’s nostalgia. I wanted to give Cat an opportunity to wear her skinny jeans (her usual uniform), so I made the eyelet top the backdrop for her Star Trek infinity scarf and gorgeous red bag.
Then I went full 90’s with space buns (which she nailed!), big hoops, and red lipstick! I also really liked her addition of a grey cardigan to complete the look: Cat meets Space Buns and Scarf.
Ok, before I even begin with the rest of this outfit, can we all take a moment to fully appreciate the wonder that is this scarf? I don’t know who makes Star Trek TNG character patterned fabric, but whoever did deserves eternal gratitude and a lifetime supply of Deanna Troi-style jumpsuits. Big ups to Kala for making the fabric into a wondrous scarf! I love it profoundly. I also – not coincidentally – love this outfit. It’s comfy, but with some fun twists added to keep me from reverting to Default Cat Mode. In particular, this hairstyle was a real twist (HAR HAR). I had never heard of space buns but found the name delightful, like we’re living in the hairstyle wonderland of the future. I think I used up a full pint of hairspray trying to get them to stay in place, but would definitely try them out again. Since doing this challenge, I also noticed that Cara Delevingne wore them out so I feel exceptionally with it and trendy for them to have graced my head in the same calendar year as a famous model.
Kala’s Thoughts: David Bowie had recently died and my Facebook was full of articles about his influence on fashion and androgynous style, so as wanted to pay tribute (see mood board) by having Cat play with hard and soft lines. I love this lavender, polka dot, button up shirt with her complexion and decided to soften it (and pattern mix) by pairing it with her floral purple skirt and black flats.
I wanted to continue the juxtaposition with her hair and makeup. I thought she could go with a faux undercut to get appearance of a short, clean cut look (which Cat killed when she had a pixie cut!) mixed with the volume of the other side of her hair. I love the pink lip colour she went with for this look! Wear more purple Cat ’cause anytime can be Purple Pattern Party time!
When I wore Day Five’s outfit, my partner exclaimed “This is my favourite!” when he saw me. But then Day Six rolled around and he said, “No, wait, THIS is my favourite!” – so Kala really kept out-doing herself here. I loved the introduction to pattern clashing, which I’d never been brave enough to try before, loved the styling suggestions for my buttoning and shoes and hair (though in retrospect I could have done better with the faux undercut had I waited until my hair was dry before pinning it). I would definitely wear this again, too! My only regret is that I didn’t incorporate some form of glitter into the outfit in honour of David Bowie. Next time, maybe!
Kala’s Thoughts: Cat knows how much I love a floral print so when she told me she had recently bought a floral sleeveless blouse I decided to incorporate it into our Closet Takeover! I took the slightly long cut of the top and paired it with another pair of her jeans. The added some jewelry, red lips and sandals to play with the white and red print. I love the way the straps on the sandals pick up the tapered line of her jeans and pull red back into the picture. Flower Power for the win!
Kala does indeed love a floral print, but this top’s new to me in part because I don’t typically wear florals and wanted to try. I love the collared/sleeveless aspect and the sandals and jeans combined made me feel very summery. I felt slightly less than stellar about the combination of floral print and faux pearl necklace – like I mentioned last closet takeover, I veer more towards gamine or tomboy and less towards the overtly feminine. I ended up feeling kinda Betty Draper. I think I’d pair the necklace with more streamlined pieces or solid colours in the future, and I’d keep the floral print blouse as the focal girly point.
Kala: I had so much fun dressing Cat and pushing her to try new combinations and styles! My top three favourite looks were the Purple Pattern Party, the Space Buns and Scarf, and the Parisian on the Go! The Instagram response has Dark Willow beating out Purple Pattern Party for slot #3. I think my all-time favourite is Space Buns and Scarf because it is still within Cat’s aesthetic (jeans and top) with some extra styling for makeup, jewelry, and hair. My big take away from this style experiment is that acting as a personal stylist is super fun and that Cat should wear more colours and experiment with her hair and makeup because, as evidenced, she can pull off a wide range of styles and still maintain her gamine babe aura!
Oh man. So the biggest takeaway for me from this week was that doing your hair every day is HARD. I am so, so lazy when it comes to my hair. I grew out a pixie cut primarily because I hate having to get regular haircuts (shh, don’t look at my crunchy split ends). And yet, I will now begrudgingly admit that I see what a big difference it can make in the way an outfit comes together. Damn your wisdom, Kala! Otherwise, I loved most of these looks and can’t wait to coerce Kala into telling me more neat ways to shop my closet and innovate so that I can outpace Cara Delevingne’s stylist 😉 Thanks, Kala! The anxieties I had at the start were firmly quashed by the careful planning she did for each outfit (including awesome links to mood board images and tutorials for the hair, my goodness). And I left the week feeling like I’d gotten to play with different aesthetics, almost masquerading as different people. Apparently a capsule wardrobe isn’t as important as just thinking a little bit about how the things you own could be put together. Items you might wear a certain way all the time are likely more versatile than you’re giving them credit for – they definitely were for me.
Which look was your favourite? Do you have an item you are having trouble styling? Do you want to see more style collaborations like this? Let us know in the comments ❤️