One Reason Why Everyday Baiscs Are Stealing the Show

Apr 4, 2015


We all know the stars in our closets: Those chiffon dresses that flirt with our ankles as we walk, colored in the palest of morning pinks. Those watercolor skirts, borrowing colors from paintings and spring nights. Those cherry red coats and cheeky fur collars, helping us get through yet another cold and grey Wednesday morning. We know exactly who the MVPs are when we throw open our closet doors, and we'd gladly dive into their sleeves over and over again.

But do we know who are the ones that keeps it all together? There are some staples hanging in the back of the closet, waiting to tie your look together but getting none of the recognition. When I'm out shopping I usually try to only pick up the holes in my closet, but sometimes you see a dress in the window and it's game over. All lists and plans are crumpled and you're running away on some wild affair (all the way to the cash register). But today I'm here to talk about those staples that, without us really noticing, are total game changers. They take a "oh, pretty cute" outfit and transform it into a "God I wish I had her style" kind of look. Let's see just what that is.


I teamed up with New Old Fashion Vintage to see how we could take a simple floral dress and give it some oomph. I don't know about you friends, but the floral dress is like my sweatpant: When I don't feel like thinking all that much about my look that day, I just swan dive into a vintage maxi and head out. But that can get boring, quick. So how do you add a little sumin-sumin to a piece that's so tested and true?

Simple: You figure out your layers. And I have just recently discovered that there's one layer that will bring a lot of gravity to an outfit without making it look too overdone. Ready for it? The long cardigan!

If you don't have this already in your closet, go close your laptop, put on your shoes, and get one. This goes with absolutely everything and its long length makes the proportions in your outfits interesting. It cozies up a maxi, brings something different to the table with jeans, and gives some length to flirty minis. It's a workhorse but isn't boring like the usual staple; it adds plenty of that sought-after oomph. 



PS: For all my mommas, Amelia, the owner of New Old Fashion Vintage, is also a third generation shoe maker! She and her sister make vintage-inspired leather shoes for children of all ages at Zimmerman Shoes, so if your peanut needs a new pair, check them out. 


Let's discuss: what was the last look that you played with different proportions? Inspire us!

PS: If you'd like more dress layering ideas, go on and read:


  1. I agree, I have staples that I always need-- just the black cardigan or the pair of black pants-- much needed for the whole outfit.
    Melanie @

  2. These are some beautiful basics which, when paired together, look anything but basic! Love the print on the dress and that bag is amazing. Have a super great weekend, Marlen! xo


  3. Another simple, yet stylish look. I'm really loving that belt too!

  4. Oh my gosh those baby shoes are so adorable!
    Also, your look is so is your writing style! You have such a way with words--I'm so happy to hear you're selling a poetry book! That is so exciting!

    <(') hoda | joojoo azad

  5. Lovely outfit!
    Have a nice Easter!
    xx, Flora

  6. Love me some long cardigans! Your floral layers game is on-point lately! I really love this look!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

  7. I love the look of a long dress and long cardi! :) I think on a shortie like me it helps add the illusion of length. That is a very pretty dress too! :) I've been trying to figure out the standout pieces and the awesome basics that go alongside them in my wardrobe for a while now, and get rid of the 'meh' stuff. It's been hard going!

    The personal stylist was a great help! A little bit expensive, but I had some money for 'pampering' for Christmas that I figured would be good spent on some wardrobe detox time! I think I might ask later in the year for some shopping help, right now I'm trying to focus on putting all the new learnings and outfit ideas into practice with what I already own! :)

    Hope you have a happy Easter!

    Away From The Blue

  8. Aarrrgghhh, I've been wanting a long cardigan for a while now! With warmer weather approaching and my bohemian style coming back, I'm really tempted to get a crochet one...hmmmmm..
    Haha, and "a wild affair all the way to the cash register..." that line had me giggling out loud. Your imagery always tickles my brain in the most pleasant way and I'm so happy to read your content every time I visit! :)

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  9. That dress is so pretty, I love it with the long cardigan

  10. Simple done right. Perfect cardigan!

    - Anna

  11. Yupp yupp, it's definitely the basics that bring our closets together. I picked up some long cardigans this past winter and I'm obsessed! Thankfully most of them are light enough to continue wearing in the spring. I absolutely love how you paired yours with a midi length dress here :)


  12. You've styled that dress so wonderfully! The long cardigan looks fantastic on you. And you're right, everyday basics are really the unsung heroes of our wardrobes!

  13. YES, YES!! I live in my long cardigan... in fact I'm wearing it right now. Love pairing it with dresses, skinnies & long camis. This is such a beautiful look Marlen - you're always flawless!! Happiest weekend, girl! xo

  14. Wow, i love this floral dress on you. That pop of red made everything classy! :)

    I'm now following you on bloglovin'. Hope you'll do the same!

    Looking forward to see more of your posts :)

    Have a great day ahead!


  15. I agree, the basics are the secret stars! There is nothing better than a simple cozy grey cardigan to go with a lovely floral dress! I've started stocking up on exactly this kind of basics for the Australian auautmn now, so I can wear my summer dresses on the cooler days too.
    You look pretty in the photos as usual Marlen! Love the subtle girly touch of the floral print paired with all the solid black and grey!

  16. I need more basics and closet staples in my life!!! Over the past few years, I have been making an effort to stock up since, before then, I only bought statement pieces. I only have one long cardigan as of now, but it's in mint green. I'm really feeling like I need a grey, camel, or black long cardigan in my collection. And just when I was trying not to shop for a while....

  17. Those are the cutest little shoes she makes! Also, the long cardigan is gorgeous. I may have to keep my eye out for one, love the way you styled this one! -♥- Rachel (For the Birds)

  18. I kind of dig a long dress with a slightly cropped cardigan. It creates a bit of an edge, without being over the top. I've never tried a long one before. Hm.... you've got my creative juices flowing. (; I too feel that way about a nice flowy dress. Ironically it's what I chose today. They are simple enough to provide that zero thought effect without trying. All hail the creator of the flowy dress!

  19. lol @ a floral dress being like your sweat pants, that you wear when feeling uninspired. You might be the only person I've ever heard say that!!

    I have a couple longer cardigans that I've lived in this season. They are the perfect layering piece over anything. I would love to find a longer, "duster" length one like this though! I mean, it's like wearing a robe!

    ♥ perfectly Priya

  20. I have a couple of somewhat longer knit cardigans that I just love! One is a pale beige with lots of texture, the other is a deep navy with gold accents designed in the sleeves - I love them so much! Yours looks like a lighter version though - good for springtime!

  21. I really need to get a long cardigan that has a simple shape and color,all my cardigans are too weird and quirky :D Love this ensemble, you did good girl, I want to tear everything off and wear it myself! :D


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