Style 101: The Completer Piece

Since the weather’s right for layering, it’s the perfect time to talk about one section of a wardrobe that makes it super easy to look put together: completer pieces!

I mentioned them in Part 4 of the Building a Remixable wardrobe Series (HERE) and since then have only mentioned them here and there through out the blog.  It’s been a while since I’ve explicitly posted about them and I’ve been getting asked about them by some new faces around here.  So, here is all you need to know about completer pieces!

What They Are and Why They’re Awesome
Completer pieces are things like blazers, cardigans, vests, and other jackets like denim, bomber, moto, or utility jackets that you can layer over a top or sweater.  Besides keeping you warmer thanks to the extra layer, completer pieces do what their name says–they complete an outfit!  I find they do so for a couple of different reasons.  First, the extra layer provides more visual interest.  Second, often a piece like a blazer, vest, or jacket will provide structure to an outfit which helps pull everything together.  
They Define Your Outfit
Completer pieces can also define your overall outfit, taking two basic pieces like a t-shirt and jeans and making them appropriate either for a night out or for chasing small kids, depending on which completer piece you choose.  For example: 
How blazers, cardigans, and jackets complete an outfit
Above I’m wearing a striped t-shirt with jeans.  If you throw on a cozy cardigan and booties, you have a casual, laid back outfit for hanging out with friends.  If you throw on a blazer and pumps, you’ll have a shaper, dressier looking outfit.  With my utility jacket and sneakers, I’m in one of my go-to mom outfits for keeping up with my toddler.  The base is the same–a tee and jeans–but the completer pieces (in addition to shoes and accessories) play a large part in defining the outfit.  Isn’t it amazing?  And soooo simple!  
If you want to pull together your outfit, throw on a cardigan, a blazer, a vest, or a jacket!  There are a lot of different kinds of completer pieces, but if you’re looking to build this section of your closet, here are my favorites and why.

Cardigans – I find these to be the most comfortable because they are flexible and soft.  You can wear thinner cardigans, more fitted ones, cropped ones, or oversized ones like the one above which are the ones I’ve been preferring lately!  I used to only have a black and a grey cardigan, but then I realized how different colored cardigans totally change up your outfit!  
One note: Because cardigans are softer and sometimes more drapey, sometimes they can drag down an outfit.  If you’re still feeling unpolished, even in a casual outfit, try adding something with a “harder” texture, like a belt, leather or suede shoes, a leather banded watch, or even a small simple pendant necklace like the one I’m wearing in the picture above. Even a tiny thing like the pendant necklace can go a long, long way.  
Below are a few different cardigans that I love:
Links to Shop:
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Ways I’ve worn cardigans here:
Mustard Cardigan HERE  //  Maroon Cardigan HERE  //  Grey Cardigan HERE  //  Tan Cardigan HERE

Blazers – Did you know there are a lot of different types of blazers?  Maybe that sounds like a dumb questions, but there was a point where I had absolutely no idea that blazers didn’t all have to be super professional looking.  There are very professional ones that are part of suits.  There are twill ones that can be worn in business casual settings or for a night out.  And then there are ponte or knit blazers that are suuuuuper soft, feel like sweatshirts, and can provide you the same polish of a sharp blazer but be flexible enough for you to chase a kid around in.  YEAH.  I had no idea until a few years ago!
Blazers are the easiest way to sharpen up an outfit or help you look a little more sophisticated, professional, or pulled together–even the soft, sweatshirt-like ones!  
Below are different examples of blazers:
Links to Shop:
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four  |  five  |  six
Ways I’ve worn my blazers here: 
Navy Blazer HERE  //  Grey Blazer HERE  //  Black Blazer HERE  //  Grey White Striped Knit Blazer HERE.

Vests – I used to think vests were pointless because they didn’t keep your arms warm.  I was sooooo wrong!  Turns out they’re perfect for a warmer climate like San Diego, where I live.  It also turns out you can wear them over sweaters which are thicker than a normal shirt, so my arms are still warm.  It also turns out that they’re just darn cute!
In the spring and summer you can wear a utility vest which is thinner.  In the fall and winter (though, maybe not harsh winter areas!) I loooooove puffer vests!  Old Navy has one that I’m in love with that comes in several colors, and it’s often on sale between $15-$22.  J.Crew Factory also has one that I just added to my wardrobe that I am also already in love with, though it is more expensive.  (Wait for it to be on sale between 40%-60% off!)  Both the Old Navy and J.Crew Factory puffer vests are thick without being super bulky, they are flattering for despite being a puffer vest, and the Old Navy has fleece lining on the inside and inside the pockets and the J.Crew Factory has beautiful quilted detailing.  See them below:
Links to Shop:
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Ways I’ve worn my vests here: 
Black Vest HERE  //  Navy Vest HERE  //  White Vest HERE  //  Utility Vest HERE

Utility Jacket – I talk about this a whole bunch, but I just can’t imagine my life without one.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s probably the completer piece I choose most often.  Olive, surprisingly, goes with everything.  When I need a light layer and nothing else really works, usually this one does.  Also, it provides a tiny bit of structure, so if the pieces I’m wearing need that, this fits the bill.  Not to mention it’s the best choice for mom life.  It has huge pockets for storing all that crap you need to carry when you’re with kids (or maybe that’s just my child?  haha) and they’re usually pretty durable against dirt or sticky fingers!
I’ve been asked a ton if I could actually wear one all day, like I would a cardigan or blazer.  The answer is YES, absolutely, but it depends on how soft your utility jacket is.  Some are very stiff or thick and heavy, and I probably wouldn’t wear one of those all day.  The one I have is moldable, lightweight, and fairly soft, so when I wear it I typically do wear it all day, even indoors.  After having that one for a couple of years, this past year I found one that’s even softer!  Like sooooo soft.  Didn’t know they even came that soft!  Anyway, just something to consider if you’re looking into one.

Links to Shop:
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Ways I’ve worn my utility jacket HERE.

Moto Jacket – Lastly, I have a couple of faux leather jackets that make outfits instantly cool and chic.  I grab one of these most often when I need to dress anything up with a cool factor for a night out, whether that’s a plain t-shirt and jeans or a lace dress at a wedding!

My jackets are super old from Forever 21 and Shein, and I need to replace them but I’ve been having a hard time finding good affordable options.  Below are some that people have liked, and I’ve tried a couple but they are too broad in the shoulders for me.  They could work out for you though since lots of other people like them.

Links to Shop:
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three  |  four

Ways I’ve worn the tan moto jacket HERE.  Black moto jacket outfits HERE.

Please let me know if you have questions about completer pieces, and I’ll do my best to answer them!

If you like this post, stay tuned…
Also, if you like posts like these that are more directive and lay out style help and outfits in a plain and simple way, stay tuned for an upcoming Style Challenge program that I’ll be launching shortly!  If you register for the Style Challenge you’ll get a guide to build a winter capsule wardrobe, 45 days of outfits with those pieces (!!), and you’ll get to do it with a community of other women who opted into the same style adventure!  Oh!  Plus, there will be weekly giveaways to my favorite stores like Nordstrom, Old Navy, ModCloth, and LOFT for anyone who registers for the challenge.

Basically, if you’ve wanted more hands-on style direction, if you’ve wanted someone to tell you what to wear each day, if you’ve wanted someone to curate your wardrobe for you, if you’ve wanted someone to put together outfits for you, DEFINITELY consider this Style Challenge and look out for more details about it in the next couple of weeks!  


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