The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Does this Outfit Work? Playing with Colors

I'm always awed by the beautiful photography and impeccable, eccentric styling at and in their catalogs, yet I rarely carry that inspiration into my own wardrobe. Why is that? I could use the excuse that their clothing is too pricey, but with a little creativity, I should be able to come up with some similar looks on a budget. Here's a quickie outfit I put together using items that can all be currently found at, plus the actual flower headband from Anthropologie. Do you think it captures the feeling of the original or are the subtleties lost? If you like either outfit, all items can be accessed via the widget below.

Hi BB!

If I am putting together an outfit, I always make sure that the colors are reciprocated in each other. In the original, you see that a very similar shade of blue used in the top can be found in the small squares of the skirt. (Headband and shoes also capture colors found in the skirt - I think you've reciprocated this well in your ensemble). In your version, there are two blues, but the shades aren't very similar. So, in my humble opinion, I personally would be cautious about mixing those two items. But I'm too cautious when putting outfits together, anyway, so ignore my advice if you don't feel the same way! Just wanted to share my thoughts :-)
#1 Leia (Homepage) on 2009-03-12 16:41 (Reply)
I positively adore Anthropologie. I've only purchased one outfit from their store at full price, an already put together outfit they had featured on their web site - this winter - and I have yet to wear it. I think I'm afraid, but it's fantastic and I'm determined to wear it at least once before it warms up too much here in Denver. If you have a physical store near you, though, they have AMAZING sales. I've never had one near me and when we moved to the Mile High City I was amazed at the deals they carry in their huge sale section! Be sure to ask which day they mark down merchandise because their sale items move quickly!

I think you did a fabulous job capturing the essence of the outfit overall. The top and shoes are wonderful. The only piece that doesn't feel quite right is the skirt. It's multi-colored, yes, but the silhouette isn't quite right and I think part of what makes the Anthropologie skirt so chic is the artistry of it. Perhaps a less expensive piece with a slightly different print, even if it isn't a geometric one but has the structure of the Anthro skirt ... A textured solid might even work. Outside of that - wonderful! I'm always trying to recreate outfits I see there without much success. I think you put it perfectly ... "Subtle." It's harder to style yourself than they make it look! I'd love to see more Anthropologie-inspired looks - Keep it up!
#2 Katie on 2009-03-12 16:41 (Reply)
BB, I am going to have to give the F21 look a no go in my book. Others I am sure would love it, though! The anthropologie outfit works for me because even though the pieces are a bit (dare I say) matchy matchy, the cuts a modern and a bit interesting with the tulipy skirt and loose ruffles. It keeps the look sharp! The one on the right looks too calculated for my style.

If I was going to 'work' this look, I'd take the F21 top and match with some high-waisted neutral shorts, and then some rockin' bright sandles, or those amazing pump/ankles boot/peep toe fabulousness that Rachel Bilsen was photographed wearing with some boyfriend jeans recently. (
#3 allison (Homepage) on 2009-03-12 17:00 (Reply)
I think both outfits are fabulous, but they give off different vibes.

The first one is rather fem. and quirky, while the other strikes me as something fun and flirty.

Love 'em both!
#4 Chanel on 2009-03-12 17:33 (Reply)
I think they are great outfits. I like your version better, actually. Very modern and those shoes! What a steal!
#5 Nicole on 2009-03-12 18:40 (Reply)
I adore Anthro, but I like yours better. I think it's cuz I am more partial to polka dots than to graphic squares but that's just me :-)
#6 Wanderlusting (Homepage) on 2009-03-12 18:44 (Reply)
Since you're asking about color...

I should start this comment out by saying that I have ZERO natural talent when it comes to matching things. I've had to study and research quite a bit to get any good at it. Because I have to work at it and (unlike a lot of people I know) can't just look at something and know how to style it, I have developed all kinds of little tricks to figuring out why things work or don't work.

The one real issue I have with this outfit is the color of the shirt vs. everything else. The shirt is a "clean color", while all of the other items are "dirty colors". I don't really know how to explain the difference, other than dirty colors look dirtier. Helpful, right? Ha ha. This is the best article I could find to explain it:

Anyhow, dirty colors and clean colors don't mix well. Even if the combo (in this case, blue and orange) should match, if one is clean and the other is dirty, they'll almost never work together.
I tried to put some examples together of what could work. Try to ignore the prices on these things... I'm sure you can find a reasonably-priced counterpart to most of these things :-)

Here's the picture:

You'll notice that the picture on the right has the same skirt, shoes and headband as your original outfit. The only thing I changed was the shirt.

All of the shirts on this side are similar to the one you chose; interesting neck detail, short sleeves, and can be tucked into the skirt.
My favorite of the five shirts is the blue one on the top right. It's a little quirky, and it's a fun contrast to the orange skirt.
The purple shirt pulls from the dark colored dots on the skirt without being too matchy-matchy; I'm not crazy about the fabric of this top, though. The red and beige shirts also match colors in the skirt, and are an easy match. The beige one would be a "blousier" silhouette than the others. The green is a contrast, but it's a little more obvious of a color choice than the blue, I think (I don't care for this fabric, either).

On the left, you'll see that I kept your shirt, but tried some different patterned skirts in clean colors. My favorite is the floral one with the shirt- like the anthropologie outfit, it's a clean and cool color palette, the skirt has a lot of white in it, and there is a little bit of the shirt's color in the skirt pattern along with some bright pink for contrast. It comes across as fun and springy without being obnoxious, and it's all very cute.

I had a pretty tough time with the other skirts, but I hope you can see what I'm going for- multiple contrasting colors and fun cuts.

You probably noticed that I used the same shoes and headband you picked, but in better colors for this outfit.

Leia's tip about reciprocating colors is a good one to use; it pretty much guarantees a color match. Also, if you have a scarf or a necklace or something that has the shirt color and the skirt color in it, you'll usually have good results. Audi from Fashion for Nerds is really good at this. For example, in this outfit, she has the light brown from the sweatervest, the pink from the hat, and the purple from the skirt all in her scarf, pulling the outfit together:
She gives an excellent tutorial on how to do this here:

Hope that helps... sorry this is so long!
#7 Kelly on 2009-03-12 19:40 (Reply)
You've given me a lot to think about! I love your outfits on Polyvore, wonderful ideas.

I'm blown away by everyone's responses, this has me thinking that I need to create a forum or something so we can talk about topics like this at greater length...gooooood stuff :-)

#7.1 The Budget Babe on 2009-03-13 12:06 (Reply)
lovvve the skirt, the shirt and the shoes not so much though
#8 gina (Homepage) on 2009-03-12 20:01 (Reply)
I actually love the shoes...I should. I own them! Can't wait to wear them once it gets warmer, and they're super comfy.
#9 taylor (Homepage) on 2009-03-12 20:11 (Reply)
So close ... but not quite. I love the subdued feel of the Anthro outfit, and the recreation is fun and funky but MUCH brighter.
#10 Sal (Homepage) on 2009-03-13 10:44 (Reply)
I love your version (love the Anthro original too) ... especially because I think yours would be easier for real women with different body types to carry off. The Anthro look, while very cute and unique, I think might look good only on rail-thin figures, though there's nothing wrong with that! :-) But the lines in your look are more streamlined, and therefore might work better on a variety of figures.

The only minor change I'd make to your version is what some of the other posters have suggested -- change the color of the blouse to match a color on the skirt. But overall, it's rad!
#11 Anusha (Homepage) on 2009-03-13 11:14 (Reply)
I actually prefer your version!
#12 crystalcorrin on 2009-03-13 11:33 (Reply)
Kelly, I love your post. The same concept but it matches!
#13 (Homepage) on 2009-03-13 11:53 (Reply)
i like the f21 outfit better than the original. i would wear that in a heartbeat.
#14 al on 2009-03-13 14:03 (Reply)
I don't think your outfit works, primarily because the top is a cool color and the bottom is A BUNCH of warm colors. The original version was strictly cool colors. I like the original better.
#15 t on 2009-03-13 16:30 (Reply)
Leave a comment
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.