I am a huge fan of the First Lady, patron saint of sedentary children and fledgling fashion designers, and it was from her example that I learned how transformative a belt can be (for an outfit, not a person).
Consider this charming blouse with many fine attributes: small Peter Pan collar, fabric covered buttons, shininess. But a little shapeless, no?
And suddenly, with a belt, it’s 50 times cuter.
The belt and the blouse were purchased years apart with no plan to wear them together, so here I must present the case for a little Directionless Shopping.
Consider: You may want to buy a few belts to have on hand even if you are’t entirely sure about what you will wear them with. I would recommend an assortment — varying in width and color — because . . . you never know. I would suggest, at a minimum, two black belts (a skinny one and wider one between 1-1.5″), one animal print belt, and one belt in your favorite color.
So now that we’ve smartened-up our blouse, how do we finish? A cropped cardigan is one possibility (to show off the belted blouse), but I like this jacket, which has a graceful shape and great details.
Lots of buttons here, which begs the question: How many are too many?
The answer is: It depends. Buttons should be functioning, which these are. And while they are intended to both serve a purpose and add interest, they shouldn’t stand out unduly. These buttons, covered in self-fabric, add depth without much contrast. The buttons on the sleeves, moreover, are only visible from the back or sides, so they add interest to views that otherwise are unadorned.
Blouse: Theory; Belt: JCrew; Pants: JCrew; Jacket: Vanessa Bruno; Bag: Coach Gramercy Satchel (2015); Shoes: French Sole New York