Unlock your style in 14 days: Sprinkle your wardrobe with seasonal show ponies

Ah, the Wardrobe Show Ponies.

They are definitely key players in the quest to unlock your style but they can make your wardrobe life oh, so difficult.

See, the wardrobe pieces are the pieces that shout at us from the racks at our favourite store – or online late at night after a few vinos.

“Buy ME”, they’re not backward in coming forward and shouting.

And buy them we do.

Hell, we buy them in every colour if they shout loud enough.

Sprinkle your wardrobe with seasonal show ponies

Wardrobe Show Ponies are like the quick seasonal hit that we go looking for as the fashion seasons and temperatures change.

They are the exciting, fun pieces we look to lift us from our wardrobe doldrums at the end of each season.

They make us smile and they let us show off any number of our multiple wardrobe personalities. Actually scrap that, they give our wardrobe personality.

Well-chosen Wardrobe Show Ponies can take our mood from zero to hero quicker than we can pull them from the coathanger.

A brightly coloured jacket, a well-cut dress in the colour of the season, a sequinned top … all these things can and will get noticed.

For all the right reasons.

Wardrobe Show Ponies tend to – but not always – have a limited wardrobe lifespan.

They are more difficult to re-invent than the LBD and sometimes a Wardrobe Show Pony is so showy you can pinpoint its arrival in your wardrobe down to the month.

(Hello, my obsession this season with all things chartreuse).

That’s not to say you shouldn’t bring a Show Pony out to play over and over again. I’m all for that.

None of this “wearing it once” caper.

If it makes you feel good, wear it. Often.

The key to the successful integration of show ponies into your wardrobe is to not be so blinded by their beauty that you buy them before you know how or where you will wear them.

Unlock your style in 14 days | Day 4: Sprinkle your wardrobe with seasonal show ponies | www.stylingyou.com.au

1. Country Road dress $149 | 2. Witchery tee $79.95 | 3. Peacock and Pearl cape $190 @ Luceo | 4. JacquiE pants $79.95 | 5. Verily dress (on sale) $115 | 6. Maiocchi dress $275 | 7. sass & bide dress (on sale) $175 @ The Iconic | 8. i Allure kaftan $189

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Style Work

I want you to go back and look at that beautifully edited wardrobe of yours. Look at your show pony pieces with fresh eyes.

1. Does the colour actually suit you? A quick hold up to your face will confirm that for you (don’t get stressed worrying about what “season” you are!).

2. Does the shape fit and flatter your body? You must try on show ponies (or in the case of online shopping, know you can easily return).

3. Does it fit your lifestyle or an upcoming occasion? For me it has to work as an everyday piece or something that I know I’ll wear to the type of occasion we most attend (smart casual). If there’s a wedding or specific party coming up, that’s fair game for me adding a show pony too.

If it’s yes, yes and yes, they must stay. If there is a no or two in there then ditch and add SHOW PONY to your shopping list.

PS. These posts may also help you in your choice of show pony pieces: Let’s go shopping for kaftans; How to wear summer shorts and pants; Let’s go shopping for maxi dresses; How to choose swimsuit cover-ups; How to wear printed pants; and How to cover up your arms.

PPS. I’ll be back on Monday with Day 5 …¬†

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SY-Style-Manifesto-150wide

 

** The Styling You Holiday Style Camp {Unlock Your Style in 14 Days} is based on the Styling You Manifesto. If you don’t have your own, you can download it here. I’ll also be giving away a proper printed Styling You Manifesto from The Smile Collective every day to the reader who catches my eye with their comments and participation.

Unlock Your Style in 14 Days (Day 3 manifesto winner): Ana, Ana could you please email me your postal address: nikki@stylingyou.com.au

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  • http://www.facebook.com/cyrhen Emily Webster

    I purchased February’s show pony yesterday :) the smudge print dress from Country Road. I promised myself more colour and to take fashion risks this year – when I say risks I mean for me. I’m a size 18 with a very definite pear shape. The smudge print is not a pattern I would have ever considered before. But with some advice from my shopping angel I was really happy with the styled result of dress and black 7/8 leggings :)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Well done Emily – that combination sounds fantastic!

  • Charein Price

    i am really enjoying your 14 day wardrobe makeover. but am too busy to take yr steps each day. :( juggling school and hubby holidays with me working (PT). i have a very limited space , so cull my wardrobe every 3 mths, also had a total size change last year so have had to start over. the basics are good and loving the maxi dresses. I really struggle with shoes. finally bought two pairs today (on my lunch break) and now hate one of them. lol. typical . they were red. i was trying to step out of my box. should really have waited for your day on shoes i am sure. keep writing. am enjoying it.
    xx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Maybe it’s the style of shoes? Not the colour? Do you think they don’t work with what you have in your wardrobe? Feel free to share a photo here.

  • http://www.mdkaos.blogspot.com/ Mummaducka

    I love a show pony! I adore that Verily dress and it was quite the show pony on christmas day- even the 89 yr old aunties were rubbing me commenting on how lovely it was and how gorgeous the fabric is. I had been saving it for that day but will now have it in high rotation! I just went over and bought a couple of allure kaftans on sale! yee ha!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I’m impressed that you held out until Christmas Day Mummaducka! And I love the reaction.

  • Marianne

    I did the wardrobe clean out the other day, then went back and looked again last night – I have a wardrobe of pretty much basics and workwear. The only things I have that would qualify as ‘show ponies’ are fancy dresses for special occasions (think formal gowns and cocktail dresses) – nothing that will work into a regular work or casual wardrobe. As much as I love to look at all the pretty things in the stores, I struggle to know what works for my body, how to make it work with what I already have in the wardrobe (although that may be less of a problem after the wardrobe cull the other day), and how to accessorise (unless it’s about shoes, and then I am fine!).
    I get intimidated by colours and patterns, and I have no idea about what shapes and cuts are right for my body – I think I will be looking back through some of your suggested posts there about putting outfits together, and will be doing some serious window shopping and trying on in the next few days to see what clicks for me, and what doesn’t.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Hi Marianne – I think that it’s great you have the basics covered and edited. It means that you’re in a good space to experiment and play with other things. I’ll be covering off on more of that next week, plus accessories. It really can be baby steps too – if you try to go from no show ponies to lots, then it won’t work for your style. It has to suit your personality – just like we touched on in Day 1. Good luck!

  • Kathryn

    I have many, many show pony pieces too and how I *love* them. They are gorgeous day-wear dresses that I wear to work. I adore brightly patterned dresses like the Maiocchi one and and they are my everyday staples. My go to labels are Charlie Brown and Leona Edmiston. David Lawrence has also had some fab dresses this season. In the chaos of the mornings at our house, I find it so much easier to put on a dress for work and then only have to think about shoes and jewellery before we all scramble out the door.

    Sadly, I don’t really have any casual show pony pieces. Although I did buy a rainbow coloured Seafolly maxi for Christmas Day (http://www.seafolly.com.au/clothing/all-clothing/festival-babylon-maxi.html). I felt amazing wearing it. That’s probably an area for me to work on my wardrobe…

    I’m enjoying the boot camp. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I have and what I need to make some pieces work better. The list of what I need is growing! Thanks.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh my goodness Kathryn, I’m in love with your Seafolly maxi! Keep going with those choices for your casual – just beautiful!

    • Stacey

      Kathryn, I’m similar to you. Maiocchi and Leona Edmiston are my go-to brands for both work and play. I love that most of their pieces do both well – good value!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Hi Kathryn, please email me your postal address … you’re today’s manifesto winner!

  • Kelly

    I love a show pony piece and have many of them. Imagine that!! But you are 100% right – if you don’t have the basics, the show ponies have nothing to go with. Love that Country Road dress! Actually I love all those things you have featured! The wardrobe edit is still on going and I am finding quite a few things I had forgotten about.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      So glad you’re finding things you’d forgotten about Kelly! Shopping from your wardrobe ;)

  • http://twitter.com/ACurvyWoman PrincessEatsPeaSoup

    I have a caftan that I bought in 2007 or 2008 that is coming back on high rotation at the moment. I give myself a pat on the back for that one. I am not hopping onto any other trend wagons right now as nothing appeals. I was doing a flash of fluro accessories in spring but by summer I wasn’t interested. I suppose if I wasn’t on a student budget I might be able to have more wardrobe show ponies. I feel like I am not a fantastic judge of what new things suit me. In the past I have like colours that have not liked me. Looking in the mirror in a shop I am often unable to make a good decision. I rely on shapes and colours that have been successful in the past to make decisions now. Maybe that’s why I hesitate to buy a show pony and stick to mainly classic colours and looks.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      And you need to know that that’s perfectly ok. The confidence will come – and being mindful of your budget is so important too with show ponies. Love that you found that kaftan and it’s on high rotation!

      • http://twitter.com/ACurvyWoman PrincessEatsPeaSoup

        40-Something student :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/GoddessMel1974 Melanie Lindner

    My show ponies these days tend to be accessories as my body/size is changing and I’m on a limited wardrobe budget. But a bright yellow belt here, a jade cotton blazer there, a fab pair of neutral wedges that can go for seasons and seasons, and I feel current, satisfy my urge to shop and don’t blow the budget.

    I’ve been eyeing off a sequinned mini dress (Portmans and others have them) but, even at under $100 for most of them, I’ve passed on this as a show pony because: a) they all seem to be straight/shift cut which does not flatter my body, b) they all require dry cleaning or other specialist cleaning which frankly I can’t be bothered with or pay for, and c) after NYE I really can’t think of anywhere/any way to wear them.
    Instead I’m sticking with my couple of rockabilly/pin up/retro style sundresses, which I can wear day or night, dressed up or down, rockabilly styled or plain, and always feel good and get compliments. They’re items that don’t really date (everything old is new again, right?!) and they suit my shape and personal style so get plenty of wear. And they’re different to what every other woman on the street is doing.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Melanie these are the perfect show pony pieces for you – they’re your style so will never date.

  • http://www.redcliffestyle.com/ Rachel from Redcliffe Style

    I love a good show pony

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh, yes you do! x

  • Jen ( SE Qld)

    Hi Nikki,

    Ok, have cleaned and culled the wardrobe out and sent a bag off to the local donation drop off zone and kept the items I am sure I will be able to fit back into within a couple of months or so ( well fitting black trousers, white CR shirt, jeans and few other tops and jackets, suit etc). Went out and spent a few dollars on some white capris to wear with my longer looser tops I half forgot I owned and had nothing to wear them with, and lo and behold walked past our local bikini shop and found a cute little white cotton embroidered kaftan reduced down. Tried it on, perfect fit, would never have thought about a kaftan prior to reading your posts, wore it out to the local last night with friends for dinner with the white capris and a little white camisole underneath and strappy heels and felt a million bucks all of a sudden, the first time in a long time.. This little top is probably a bit of the show pony you talk about, but I am going to wear it to death this season.:) Thank you so much Nikki.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh Jen, that’s given me goosebumps. I love that just a little focus and a really good find and you’re feeling on top of the world. That’s what it’s all about!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713273835 Sharon Johnson

    I’ve a kaftan similar to the allure one pictured, difference is it has glitzy jewels at neckline. I have never taken it out of the wardrobe. Alas it does nothing for my body shape. (Faults of buying online)I’ve now taken to looking at sites like Birdsnest they place a combination of clothing, accessories and shoes together to show you how it should be combined. Some good finds there.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Is it sheer fabric? That’s the key for me and kaftans showing my shape. If the fabric is sheer then the shape is created by the slip dress underneath. And Birdsnest absolutely rocks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713273835 Sharon Johnson

      Yes it’s sheer and has a black lining. I think if tied back to highlight my shape it would be a valuable summer piece.

      • Julie

        How about sewing some little loops into each side seam and threading a long ribbon through them to tie at centre back? (with loops positioned at the most flattering height for you eg. to create an empire line, or belted waist or hip). Good luck!

  • Dianne

    I think my problem is I’m too scared to buy the show ponies… Then the wardrobe ends up looking a little lifeless

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Try it with one piece in Bali, Dianne … see how that makes you feel. You have to love it in the change room though!

  • Steph

    Omg I LOVE those printed cropped pants. So gorgeous. I did my own version of project 333 at the end of last year inspires by your guest post about Christian Grey’s minimalist dressing so I am feeling quiet good about my curent wardrobe edit. Most of my pieces are show ponies but they all work together and as I have a work uniform, I like to wear fun things on the weekends

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Sounds like you’re well and truly on track Step … yes, it is possible to have a wardrobe filled with show ponies. Just takes a good understanding of yourself and your style to get to that point.

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I play it pretty safe with “Show Pony” items though I have bought a few coloured jackets and worn them lots but only stick to the colours that really suit me I have a Bright coral,jade and aqua one and they go with a dress or pants to brighten up my wardrobe.I did buy a bright yellow dress on sale from Asos,and love it but it was on sale so when I am sick of the colour I will have no qualms about ditching it.I prefer to dress up my stripey maxi dresses or a plain one with bangles,necklaces or shoes.I did get a gorgoeous kaftan though in bright pinks and yellows and greens,but with the slip action underneath I can change the look by changing the colour of the slip.
    If any one needs a denim jacket to go with their show pony looks Rockmans have a fantastic soft drapey jacket in a washed out colour that looks hot over a dress and they are marked down to $10 from $70 I picked one up yesterday browsing the sale racks with my sister and it is comfy not stiff ,great for transeasonal wear ,cause I stupidly threw all mine out.NIkki that is a great idea for a post….what to keep that never really goes out of fashion.
    Thankyou for all the reasearch you have done for us ,you always show us the loveliest of things:)I love these posts it’s like having our personal stylist in the house.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks Lisa … and thanks for the tip-off re the denim jacket. Sounds perfect for this time of year.

      • Lisa mckenzie

        Your Welcome Nikki,and it is a fab jacket :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=816154682 Karen Jenkinson

    Like Jodi … feeling the pain right about now … I get reeled in with the bait and before you know it I’ve swiped my credit card through and it’s mine … and then the sickening after thoughts start … the voices in the head start screaming at me – you’ve done it again!!! Destined to make a quick return – or worse still found months or years later in the dark back corner of the wardrobe still with tags – yes I’ve found a few the last few days!! Looking forward to sitting back and taking in days 1-5 again tomorrow and then maybe, yes maybe venturing to the shops to look for a “show pony” that ticks all the boxes :) Thanks Nikki – can’t wait for Monday!!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I totally understand Karen – they are tricky pieces to buy – hopefully as we talk about the shopping process next week, that will help too.

  • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

    This is where I start to go wrong. I impulse buy and don’t really think about what I have to wear with the piece. And I am really lazy about trying stuff on. Show pony pieces are something I definitely need to work on!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Show Pony pieces are definitely try-ons (or vow to return if shopping online) … you have to love them when you try them in the change room to know that they’re going to work for you. More on that next week!