WARDROBE REHAB: SIX RULES FOR ADDING PRINTS TO YOUR WARDROBE

You may have noticed a trend for minimalism when it comes to colours and prints, particularly in the last few years and in the online fashion community. And whilst I’m all for simplifying your wardrobe and making it easier to get dressed in the morning, prints and bright colours aren’t the devil. Quite the opposite in fact – done right they can form a key part of your wardrobe, and also add emotive elements to your style, helping you to feel great in the clothes that you’re wearing.

But how do you make sure that the print you’re adding to your wardrobe will help you to create a closet that works for you, is adaptable, flexible and fun? In the last few years I’ve added a handful of prints to my wardrobe, and assessed over time which have become staples and which have fallen to the back of the closet. Through this process, I’ve come up with a set of rules I apply when print and pattern choosing. They have helped me understand that for me, leopard print done right (like this Coach Wild Beasts bag) can pretty much be a neutral, and palm print will be worn over and over (and over), while other printed styles, not so much. Apply the following rules to find out what works for you and your wardrobe.

Minimalism

Wearing: Grana boyfriend shirt, Riders by Lee black jeans, The Mode Collective Heels, Coach Bag.

Assess before you buy
The biggest mistake you can make in the quest for the perfect wardrobe is to buy things willy nilly and on a whim. But you guys know that right? I’m all for seeing something I like, and taking a little while to think about what I’m getting. When buying prints, it’s particularly important to take a moment and don’t get swept up on a whim – they’re the things that are going to be hardest to integrate into your wardrobe day to day.

Think about when you’ll wear it
Prints generally act as key statement pieces in your wardrobe – that floral skirt you love hopping into on holidays or those ikat shorts that work so well on the weekend. Because if this, understanding when and how you will wear a printed piece is key to having a wardrobe that works for you. In my experience prints are suited to fun times where you can experiment – weekends, holidays, Hawaiian office parties (:)), but it’s up to you to decide where prints suit your lifestyle the most.

Pick your item type carefully
A printed dress or romper will be easier to wear because you won’t have to match it with anything, but will also be suited to less occasions because they’ll be harder to dress up and down. On the other hand, small printed pieces like separates will have greater versatility. Down the minimalist end, printed accessories are great for experimenting, pair a printed accessory with a a neutral outfit like I have here.

Understand whether it’s a classic or a trend print
As with any style, some prints stay in fashion, while others are more are trend lead and and reflect a certain moment in style. What you want to do is fill your wardrobe with classic prints that rarely go out of style – for me that’s simple leopard prints, floral prints and plaids. Other prints may be a reflection of the current trends that due to their specific-ness as a point in time will date more quickly, and these are the ones you want to be careful about.

Decipher the colours within the print
The key to buying prints that fit seamlessly into your wardobe is to pick ones that will be easy for you to wear. Ok duh. While there are many factors that relate to this in relation to shape and fit of a garment, I’ve noticed that the colours within a print affect how often I will wear it more than anything else. I’ve learnt to pair prints with block colours, and because I wear mainly neutral block colours like white, black, navy and denim, choosing prints with simple palettes and backgrounds, I’ve managed to get a serious amount of wear out of certain prints I’ve bought. These shorts have been worn over and over – the white background means they can be paired with anything, this printed dot top suits all my neutral separates, and this leopard bag (above) with its black undertones also pairs well with most of my closet. When in doubt, go for simple palettes that pair well with other items in your closet.

Pair it with 4 outfits
As always, before you slap your plastic on the table (or count out your small change) to buy your new printed piece, make sure you actually have other keystone items to wear it with by creating 4 outfits in your head before committing. This will a) have you on your way to wearing it in no time b) tell you if there is a thing you need and c) warn you if you have nothing to wear it with.

A great option for experimenting with prints is to hit your local thrift store and buy some to try out. I love vintage prints!

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Q: Do you have any go to prints that have become like neutrals to you? Or do you struggle when it comes to prints?

Photos by Bryant Lee. This post is in collaboration with Coach.

QUICK DIY: WOVEN LEATHER BRACELET

Many of you will be familiar with my love of leather craft, it’s been a dream for a while to delve further into the opportunities with such a perfect and versatile material. More on that soon (can’t wait to share!), but for now I thought I would share a super simple, and quick, DIY featuring some supple nude leather. Perfect as a way to start experimenting!

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

You will need:

  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) x 20cm (8 inch) piece of leather (or vegan leather)
  • 1 m (1.1 yards) of leather cord
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Multi-hole punch
  • 1 button stud
  • Strong craft glue, such as E6000

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1.  On the back of piece of 1.5cm x 20cm leather, mark a dot every centimeter down the center.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Take your multi-hole punch and punch holes over the dots you have marked.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

3. On one end of the leather, punch three holes in a larger size to fit the button stud.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

4.  On the other end, add a button stud to the last hole.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

5. On the reversed side, next to the three large holes you have made, take your leather cord and tie a knot on the forth hole. Do not trim the end of the cord.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

6. On the front side, start weaving the cord around the piece of leather from top to bottom.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

7. Keep going until you have completed the full length.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

8. Then on the reserved side, tie another knot leaving a bit of cord.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

9. Trim the end of the cord a little smaller and glue it onto the leather. Repeat this on both knots. Allow to dry.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

10. Take a small pair of scissors and cut small slits into the three large holes, this will make it easier to pull over the button stud.

How to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.comHow to make a leather woven bracelet www.apairandasparediy.com

What other crafts and materials would you love to see or do more of yourself? x

 

STUDIO DIY: QUICK DESK ORGANISER (USING BOXES!)

Chances are you’ll be no stranger to my love of using boxes to make a space more interesting, but recently I got around to using them to make the studio more functional as well. I had been contemplating putting in some shelves above my desk for a while now,  just never got around to it. But sometimes the need for organisation strikes me and I can’t stop until it’s all ship shape. Although, to be fair this urge is pretty infrequent and, in full disclosure, most of the time I revel in my mess! This project probably can’t be classified as a project at all – simply stacking some wine crates to make shelves and packing them with my favourite things. But fun and useful none the less. And absolutely perfect to refresh your home or dorm desk as part of going back to school, or just simply getting organised.

Quick Desk UpdateQuick Desk Organiser

If you’re after a few other studio ideas, check out my Note Board, Hanging Shelves and Round Hanging shelf. Talk about shelfies!

HOW TO TRACK THE SUCCESS OF YOUR BLOG CONTENT

So, you’ve put in the hard yards, taken and edited the photos, written and proofed your copy, and pressed publish. Go you! But the fun (aka work) doesn’t stop there. The next step is for you to track the success of your content, so you can understand if it’s what your audience likes. Because (as we all know) that the key to having a successful blog is content that keeps people coming back, you want to give your readers more and more of the great stuff, and less of the stuff they feel ‘meh’ about.

I thought I would share with you what I do to understand if a post has been successful or not.

How to track the success of your blog content

Comment number & contents

Ok so we’ll start with the most obvious metric – how many people take the time to comment. Although comment numbers have decreased in the last few years as people have started to use other forms of media to react (insta, twitter, Facebook etc), a truly good post will illicit comments. The trick here is also to understand not only the number but the contents of what people are saying. A great post will have highly engaged commenters asking questions and getting involved (what are they asking for?), rather than lots of short mentions.

Pins

I’m a pinterest addict. Not just because of the quotes and pictures of puppies, but because of the research it allows you to do on whether your content is resonating with your readers. I use two different ways to do this. I use this site in the weeks following a post to gage how many people are pinning from that specific page. I also look at all the pins originating from from my site here (to do your own do this: www.pinterest.com/source/yoursiteURL) which is sorted in chronological order. I think this is important because with the former you get a specific view of a post, and with the latter you get a general view about what people are loving from your site as a whole. The second function also lets you see what content is trending (note that posts from 5 years ago show up all the time) which is key to giving people more of what they want. If a post gets no pins it could be because of a lack of readership, because you didn’t have any great images for people to use or because your post didn’t have any meaty, sharable messages. We’ve all been there, onwards and upwards! As a user of Coschedule (highly recommend!) you can also see which are your highest pinned posts, from which you can ask yourself what it is about them people like. My highest pinned posts? DIY Scalloped Heels, the DIY Ladder Wardrobe and How To Care for Your Succulents. I’ll ask myself, what did these posts have that my readers liked so much?

Google Analytics

There are a million different things to look at over at GA (I’ll go into that one day) but when it comes to understanding the success of a blog post, or the success of various content types, I often just look at a few things. Go to Behaviour>Site Content>Pages and have a dig around. Firstly, I look at the specific URL for the post, and see how it performed over the course of the following weeks. And then secondly I also look at the overall content for the blog, to see which posts are doing the best across the site – often you may find posts trend well after the date of publishing and it’s important to understand why (was it a referral from a bigger site? Are you getting those hits from Google?). Although you want diversity in what you do, if there are ten posts that are old but popular month after month you could ask yourself what they have that your other posts don’t. My top posts for the last 6 months are How to Pack, DIY Lace Bralette, How to Email Someone and How to Care for your Succulents. I’ll ask myself, what did these have that other’s didn’t?

Social Sharing & Interactions

Make sure you are assessing over time how many people are sharing and interacting with your posts across various social networks – Twitter, Bloglovin, Instagram and Facebook are a good place to start. You want to gage what people are saying both on your own social posts (i.e. the ones where you are encouraging people to click over) and on their own profiles (i.e. when people share the posts with their friends). You can get a quick idea of how many shares are happening on your post in the Calendar of co-schedule.

Click & Conversions

For monetised posts (i.e. ones that are sponsored or affiliate linked), you want to be clear on how much value you add. The number of clicks you get on any outward links is a good metric for whether people were tuned into what you are saying, so make sure you’re tracking those babies using a link shortener. In addition, a harder metric to get your hands on but a very useful one is about conversion, meaning how many of your readers bought, subscribed or in some other way engaged further from what you are saying. Understanding this is key to getting a good idea about the value you can add – so make sure to ask your clients if you can about conversion. Sales you make through affiliate link companies are the same as conversions.

What it boils down to is that in order to build a loyal audience you need to consistently generate content that gets them coming back – and for me that’s about finding that apex of attributes that your readers like. And you may just be surprised about what they like. You also want some case studies so you can understand and argue your value when working with brands. And don’t worry or let it get you down if you’re not experiencing success all the time – not every post you write will be a winner. But when you do create one, you’ll want underastand why, so you can replicate your success over and over. Or atleast try to!

As an ode to the post, in a month I am going to do an update about how this post went. We’ll look at whether it resonated with you. We’ll ask: if so, why? and if not, why? Stay tuned!

Do you have any other ways that you track/gage the success of your content?