Creating all your outfits from scratch is time-consuming (and a bit overrated). Instead, make good use of your closet with mix-and-match dressing and lots of layers. To highlight the joys of creating a lot of looks with a little, we worked with content creator David Phu (@swanandsunrise) on styling several key pieces six different ways.
SWITCH IT UP
Using just a few pieces to create many looks is its own art. As someone who’s always looking fresh on the ’gram, we were curious about David’s perspective on mixing things up and recycling key pieces. We asked him for his take on giving your wardrobe that much-needed refresh, what’s worth investing in and the surprising staple every closet must have.
Style Tip: Start with a white tee and add interest from there. When paired with dressier pants (think wool or chinos), the simple top makes your look approachable and versatile. If you get bored, change it up with different accessories.
First, we asked David how he’d elevate super laid-back pieces for the holidays—sweatpants for a party, for example—something that can feel hard to do, but is surprisingly simple. “If I wanted to dress up a casual look, I would first look at my shoe choice. I feel like shoes can define and elevate a look into something more formal or can help pare down a look into something more casual. Along with that, layering is a huge tool for creating that vibe you want,” David says.
Style Tip: For layers that pop, try mixing the high and the low. Case-in-point: David dressed up a comfy outfit by layering a blazer on top, then finished off his look with a fresh pair of sneakers.
To be sure we weren’t missing anything in our investigation into how David looks like such a boss, we asked what one piece of clothing everyone should have in their wardrobe. His answer hints at how he keeps things fresh season to season: “Honestly, probably just a tank top,” he says. But, he clarifies that any old tank won’t do.
“I’m not talking about that three-year-old tank top you got for free at summer camp, but one that’s more form-fitting. I think a tank top is a great way to start playing with contrasting silhouettes and also forces you to start layering.”
After you secure your base layer, the wonderful world of layering is yours for the taking.
LOOK TO LONGEVITY
The better your pieces, the better your outfits. But that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. We asked David what staples are worth investing in and what elements to look out for when shopping.
“Definitely jeans and a nice tee. You don’t have to go overboard with spending money, but finding a pair of jeans and a tee that fits your body will never go out of style,” he says. “You can dress it up or dress it down or play with the fit. It’s definitely a go-to for me.”
“Sustainable dressing is falling in love with the pieces in your wardrobe.”
- DAVID PHU
Where does David get his style inspiration? “Everywhere around me! From my IG feed, to random Depop stores, to aesthetic photos of street fashion from decades past, or even color combinations I see in old, run-down buildings, I’m always surprised at what catches my eye. A lot of times, I’ll take a photo or a screenshot and it unintentionally turns into a discombobulated, crazy-but-aesthetic vision board.”
LAYERS FOR DAYS
We asked David for some layering tips for cooler weather. His answer? Start with the base, then build from there.
“Every piece you layer should be there for a reason and can influence the vibe your ’fit gives off,” he says. “But at the same time, just have fun and go crazy. Honestly, I feel like everyone goes through a phase of throwing everything on themselves when first trying to layer. All that experimentation and expression helps you figure out what you like and what you want to keep for your personal style.”
Style Tip: Mix several sweaters for a look rich with texture. And don’t be afraid to try unexpected combinations: color, pattern and fabric are all fair game here.
KEEP IT CONSCIOUS
Finally, we wondered how David mixes his style and his awareness of the planet.
“Sustainable dressing is falling in love with the pieces in your wardrobe. Not just liking a piece of clothing for one ’fit or one trend, but really falling in love with the colors, the fit, the silhouette and how it makes you feel. I have a few pieces of clothing that I thrifted in high school that I still use in my ’fits today and will use in my ’fits to come.”
Style Tip: Want to get more mileage out of your wardrobe? Swap out an outfit staple or wear one layer over another and you’ve got a whole new look.