How Marni Helped Me Find My 'Fashion Formula'.

Is it possible to have a ‘fashion formula’?

Grit and Glamour recently wrote a great post on her work wardrobe formula. In some ways I realise I do have a formula for work, and it’s pretty dull:
flat shoes (on feet all day) + grey/black pencil skirt + jumper = yaaaaawwwnn….

Ssh…don’t tell anyone I’m living the Librarian Cliché
I can live with this, however, and it gets me through. I got to thinking about the times I’m not at work, the times when I’m not restricted by dress codes. Am I the only one who finds her work and non-work wardrobes blending together…to the point where my conservatism definitely holds sway when I make my clothing choices?

Well no more!

After my wardrobe clear-out, I was feeling short of inspiration. Slowly stepping away from my all-black security blanket, I couldn’t decide whether to ‘ground’ my wardrobe with a few ‘staple’ items (see, I know all the terms), or inject new life by taking a more daring approach. Enter Marni.

Ah, the colours, the fabrics – the socks…
Groaning my way through past Marni collections, I started to wonder: is there a sure-fire way of capturing the quirkiness that I so love about their clothes…without spending too much cash? Adding that extra element to the equation that would result in a more interesting me? 

Some of Marni’s colour-clashing goes against all our instincts…and can a gal really get away with wearing knee socks 14 years after leaving school? I mean, yeah, Alison Goldfrapp did it, but she’s way cooler than me. And it could be argued that it you’re capable of playing the theremin with your crotch, as she is, your legwear stops being an issue:

In the end I decided that there were a few key elements to my favourite Marni looks: on the one hand unexpected colours and quirky statement necklaces and on the other, the aforementioned ribbed knee socks and ‘dull’ old grey tights, worn either with peg trousers or knee-length skirts. 

So in this vein, I went for both practicality and a touch of discord: I bought a couple of plain but versatile and belt-able cardigans, and went on an eBay hunt for brocade, silk, orange…and an odd vintage dress (I’m often happiest in a vintage dress – I can’t deny it). I wrote about the spoils earlier in the week – want to see some in action (complete with sunglasses to hide my sore eye)?

ASOS trousers, vintage blazer, New Look silk top
Vintage shoes, grey school socks

What about the knee socks? Well, in the interest of economical shopping, I grabbed a bumper pack from the nearest school uniform shop, and I was away. And as it turns out, everything looks a little bit quirky with grey tights – I have found the ‘x‘ missing from my equation.

Topshop jumper, Linea silk skirt, Dune shoes

Mango cardigan, vintage M+S dress, Zara belt, vintage shoes

Do you believe in a Fashion Formula? 
What tricks do you use to give your outfits an edge?

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51 thoughts on “How Marni Helped Me Find My 'Fashion Formula'.

  1. yeah, I’m so glad you’re doing outfit pics, and such good ones too! I LOVE the outfit with the orange trousers! I don’t think I really have a formula, unless you count colour blocking as a formula, but come to think of it, when i commented on Vahni’s post, I did say I did. hhhm, I may go back to see what I said!

    • this is what I said:

      In my private life my uniform is separates in bright, blocky colours layered over each other with more bright accessories. I don’t seem to wear that many patterns. For work, I tone it down a little and wear a lot of jewel tones (red and purple is a particular favourite) and full, fifties style skirts or pencil skirts. And brooches. Joan Holloway is my office wear heroine!

      And that’s all true! I guess I did count colour blocking as a formula. Today I am wearing yellow shirt, orange jumper, grey jeans and red converses. It would almost be worth and outfir pic!

      • Yes, it most certainly would!! Do it, do it, do it…

        You have a distinct but flexible formula, I think, due in part to your fearlessness when it comes to colour combinations! You must let me know if the green cardi is ever going to make a feature… 🙂

      • It is, just been so busy with other stuff that I haven’t posted yet. Took
        the pictures weeks ago! Monday I’m hoping!

  2. Hurray for the orange trousers!! I have a serious pain in my backside to get some bright trousers.. Im thinking hot pink! I love all of these looks on you, especially the glasses. I actually wear glasses but I dont like phtos of me wearing them! Geek chic I am not. I have a lot of different looks for day work, dressy, casual, girly, masculine. I dont think I have any set formula. I often think about posting up my other outfit looks on the blog, but, not sure if it would fit in…

      • Tempting! I suppose there is no harm in giving it a go once in awhile!

        Jessica Robinson

  3. It’s valuable and fun to experiment and explore. Like you, my job requires very conservative wear so that’s where I started out, but I gradually added accents and new touches, seeing what worked. Now, my clothes (both public and private) are much bolder and express a heightened confidence I lacked before. These experiments above are promising!

  4. I love this post! You look beautiful, I loved the different looks. I dress up for work every day, (get`s me through the day lol), and for me it is all about flowy dresses, lots of mixing patterns and wegdes. Happy Friday to you darling!

    x Anika

    • I wish I could dress up for work. It being a customer service job, I have to run around all the time…I miss my heels. They are certainly part of the formula I miss!

  5. “Am I the only one who finds her work and non-work wardrobes blending together…to the point where my conservatism definitely holds sway when I make my clothing choices?”
    No you are not! Thank you for reminding me to avoid falling into this trap!
    I for one have always been a bit baffled by Marni apart from swooning over the clog shoes – you however seem to get it and I like the results – especially the mid length skirt and the mid calf socks! Alison Goldfrapp had better watch out!

    • I’ll get practising on the theremin then… 😉

      I can imagine you’re not a fan of Marni – but then I’m baffled by leather trousers, which you look fantastic in!

  6. I’ve recently re-embraced knee socks (or, over-the-knee socks) as my new spring look and they do give everything you wear a bit of an edge. I’ve had to endure some less-than-flattering comments occasionally from my co-workers whose wardrobe comes primarily from Eddie Bauer or Land’s End (sporty, practical, comfortable), but I have to admit, I feel kind of sassy when I wear them. That doesn’t really answer the formula question, I don’t know that I have one–I just put stuff on until I arrive at the thing that best reflects my mood of the day. LOVE those orange trousers – definitely keep doing the outfit posts.

  7. The middle outfit is VERY Marni, though I love the orange trousers best. I’ve never though of using ‘formulas’ before, but it seems like a good way to push yourself out of your comfort zone x

  8. Wooo finally the orange trousers, they are even nicer than I imagined and perfect with those stunning shoes!! Loving the skirt and socks outfit too. Belt it is my formula, doesn’t matter what just adding a belt generally solves most problems x

    • You look great in belted styles, too – I love them but haven’t quite nailed that look yet. Glad you love the trousers – worried I built them up a bit much!

  9. You’ve got to love Marni…
    All the little quirks and colours look fab on you! I love all three of these outfits, but
    especially: swishy ballet skirt + grey school socks = ace combo


  10. I love a fash formula, I use them all the time. Mainly following a similar process to you – Marni is very useful, as is Prada and I also like a ballet/fiesta spin on things an then 30s/70s

    Love your posts and the Liberian glasses xx

  11. It seems I thought I had already commented, but had computer problems here’s what I said:
    Wow! This is such a lovely post. you inspire me to break out of my shell to do outfit posts. I like your fashion sense! -xxoo

    • Why thank you! How kind. I have to say, doing these shots pushed me out of my shell too – otherwise the orange trousers would have just hung unworn in my wardrobe…

  12. first, you look great – you really cracked the code and made Marni work for you! i’m big on fashion formulas, templates, recipes, rhymes – i find it helps the left and right brains to ‘talk to each other’, if that makes sense. a lot of mine is utility/military/denim with one piece of edwardian/victorian fluff. so, lug boots, cargo trou, khaki jean jacket and edwardian style lace trimmed embroidered camisole. also, i’m very big on newts.

    stated another way: Amelia Earhardt is flying over the veldt and breaks down over Karen Blixen’s plantation, where a fancy-dress dinner is in progress……..more posts like this!!! steph

  13. Pingback: Dressing for Your Shape #2

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