This Is What Happened When We Styled People In The One Thing They "Never Wear"

Ad failed to load

Bustle and Coveteur are working together to bring you the best mix of the season's fashion and beauty releases, shopping tips, and service stories in ways that are both inspirational, and attainable. Check The Fall Style Edit channel weekly to see what we're up to.

I'm notorious for holding onto clothing I never wear for long periods of time. I'll keep a dress because it seems perfect for a future event that is not yet even planned, or a shirt because I spent so much money on it that I can't just give it away. Being attached to clothing that you don't know how to wear can sometimes be overwhelming, though. The item hangs in your closet, reminding you every now and then that you still haven't worn it. At best it can be a little annoying, and at worse it can even you feel somewhat guilty.

No matter how it affects you in particular, almost everyone has been there at one time or another. So we asked four regular people to bring in the one item of clothing in their closet they never wear, and then styled each item three ways. Bustle's Senior Fashion Market Editor Gabrielle Prescod created 12 unique outfits by pairing the statement pieces these women brought in with everyday items that most of us probably have laying around. Even if your one item is something different, these 12 looks pretty much prove that everything in your closet can be made into an outfit — or three.

Ad failed to load

Isabel's Winter Coat

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"I originally bought this item because I had just finished [watching] Scandal for the first time and I wanted a white power coat like Olivia Pope," Isabel Calkins, a writer, tells me. "I saw it at a sample sale and for a gorgeous coat, it was surprisingly cheap. I thought it would make me look super important."

Ad failed to load

Other than wearing it on her first day at a big internship, Calkins says she hasn't worn the coat (which she's had for two years) at all before our shoot.

"The problem with this coat is that it is super heavy yet there are no buttons or anything to close it and the sleeves are really short, so it is not the best coat for winter because it doesn't actually keep you warm, [but it's] too hot to wear any other time of the year," Calkins said, even though she initially anticipated it would be fairly easy to work into her wardrobe.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Coat: Topshop. Shirt: Coach. Pants: Sonia Rykiel.
Ad failed to load

For the first look, Prescod proved that outerwear on top of outerwear is definitely possible. Cinching the layered coats with a belt and pairing them with '70s-inspired pieces, this outfit got seriously chic pretty quickly.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Coat: Topshop. Shirt: Coach. Pants: Sonia Rykiel. Shoes: Manolo Blahnik.

Calkins says she was surprised by the styling, but loved how everything turned out and inspired by the creative layering that Prescod pulled off.

Ad failed to load

Rethinking your outerwear yet? Yup, me too.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Sweater: Marc Jacobs. Jeans: Ksenia Schnaider courtesy of Shopbop. Boots: Alexander Wang.
Ad failed to load

For the second look, Prescod shortened the sleeves of Calkins' coat even more, allowing a cool turtleneck to poke through.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Sweater: Marc Jacobs. Jeans: Ksenia Schnaider courtesy of Shopbop.

Paired with statement denim and possibly the most badass boots ever, this look is casual-chic in the best way possible.

Ad failed to load
Ashley Batz/Bustle. Turtleneck: J.W. Anderson x Uniqlo. Slip Dress: Frame. Jeans: AGOLDE. Shoes: Topshop.

Skirt over pants? Great. But how about a dress over jeans? This outfit, layering a turtleneck under a slip dress and that slip dress on top of her denim, was Calkins' favorite look of the three, she tells me.

Ad failed to load

"There is something super fun about a pair of relaxed jeans and a fancy coat, Calkins says. "It was a look I didn't think would look good on me yet it totally did."

Calkins tells me she plans to style this coat at home, now, and that the shoot helped her realize that playing with items she already owns could be a total game-changer.

"I honestly thought it was just going to sit in my closet forever, but this changed my mind."

Ad failed to load

Sarah's Overalls

Ashley Batz/Bustle

Sarah Chiwaya, a plus size blogger behind Curvily.com, brought in a pair of overalls to be styled. Chiwaya tells me she bought them after thinking similar pieces looked amazing on fellow bloggers — but never ended up wearing them in the end.

Ad failed to load

"I [have had] these overalls for over a year and a half... and [I'd] never actually worn them before. I've put them on plenty of times, but never made it out the door," Chiwaya tells me. "I usually relish the challenge of finding a way to style something a bit tricky — [that's] pretty much a part of my job as a fashion blogger. These overalls beat me every time, though: I'd try a ton of different combinations, and get this close to something I liked, but no matter what, I always ended up thinking 'Nope, I look like a farmer.' I think that might be because I'm originally from Michigan and overalls just reminded me of my uncle on a tractor — not quite my desired aesthetic."

Prescod styled the overalls in three very different (but versatile) ways, proving that everything you've ever thought about overalls is absolutely, definitely incorrect.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Turtleneck: Boohoo. Cardigan: Tommy Hilfiger. Boots: Stuart Weitzman.
Ad failed to load

The first look Prescod created paired the overalls with combat boots, a plaid cardigan, and a DIY sleeveless turtleneck.

"Gabby's styling creativity was next level, and from the moment she hacked off the sleeves of a basic chunky sweater and turned it into a cold shoulder statement piece, I was excited to see what was next," Chiwaya tells me, adding that this look was probably her favorite of the three.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Shirt: Saturdays NYC. Bodysuit and Sleeves: Boohoo. Boots: Stuart Weitzman.
Ad failed to load

Forget what you heard about overalls having to be perfectly buckled (that seems like a fashion rule that exists somewhere). For this look Prescod proved that something as simple as adding arm warmers (they're a thing, guys), or turning overalls into an asymmetrical statement piece can elevate a look.

"I loved the idea of using those same sleeves [from the sweater above] to elevate a classic button down as psuedo-arm-warmers," Chiwaya tells me.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Sweater: Hellessy.
Ad failed to load

The final look transformed the overalls into something else entirely. Because what is 2017 if not for over the top/creative denim? The asymmetrical cold sholder sweater Prescod chose complemented the brightness of Chiwaya's mules (which she already had in her closet).

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Sweater: Hellessy.

"I often tell my readers not to feel restricted by what an item is called (i.e. wear a dress as a shirt or a duster if you are feeling it), but why stop there?" Chiwaya tells me as she discusses how the shoot altered how having a fresh set of eyes on a piece changed how she viewed it. "I'm going to make a concerted effort to look beyond type and instead envision the ultimate look."

Ad failed to load

And as for the overalls? Chiwaya tells me she's definitely keeping them now.

Elly's Pin Stripe Pants

Ashley Batz/Bustle
Ad failed to load

Elly Ayres, a Branded Fashion Editor at Bustle, scored these vintage pin stripe pants from her aunt, who wore them in the '90s as an international businesswoman.

"She told me she once ran into KISS (in full face paint and platform boots, no less) in an elevator while on a business trip, and I like to imagine it was whilst wearing these bad boys. Every rockstar appreciates a good pinstripe, especially the ones who rock and roll all night and party every day," Ayres tells me.

Styling the pants, however, proved to be more difficult than Ayres had anticipated. "I love the fit of these pants, but I’ve struggled to style them because they’re dressier than my usual look. Their lengthiness (my aunt’s a lot taller than me!) requires me wearing a heel, which is a once-every-two-weeks kind of thing for me, and then figuring out the perfect high-low mix of clothes to transform these elegant pants into an everyday look is a tricky balance," Ayres says.

Ad failed to load

Prescod took these business pants and transformed them into three looks that could be as formal or casual as you want, turning the idea of "businesswear" on its head.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Shirt: Saturdays NYC. Vest: Versus Versace. Boots: Alexander Wang.

For the first look, an oversized button-down and form-fitting vest worked together to create layers and texture in the ensemble. The outfit is playful and serious, while still being creative and fun. Plus, it's giving off excellent Diane Keaton vibes.

Ad failed to load
Ashley Batz/Bustle. Shirt: Saturdays NYC. Vest: Versus Versace.

"Layering tanks over shirts is something I’ve gotten more comfortable doing this year, but throwing the tight sleeveless top over the oversized button down definitely made me push past my comfort zone," Ayres said.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Sweater: Tory Burch. Skirt: Ji Oh. Shoes: Manolo Blahnik.
Ad failed to load

If you haven't felt brave enough to rock a skirt over pants yet, now's your chance to feel inspired. This head-to-toe outfit is perfect for a cozy fall or winter day and the sweater adds a vibe of playfulness to the look that works perfectly.

"The...looks are definitely encouraging me to get a little weird with my usually laidback style pairings. Whether that’s an unexpected outfit layer or seriously amazing outerwear pick, shaking it up and out is a great way to refresh personal style — and maybe even discover a brand new fave along the way," Ayres tells me.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Coat: Burberry. Top: Sonia Rykiel. Shoes: Manolo Blahnik.
Ad failed to load

Ayres' favorite look of all, though? This super fun clear raincoat. And, really, can you blame her?

"I was surprised by how cool these pants looked when paired with a retro-looking short sleeved sweater top and see-through raincoat. That was my dream look, right there," Ayres says. "[The transparent coat] made me want to walk off into my own personal music video."

Patricia's Vintage Bomber

Ashley Batz/Bustle
Ad failed to load

Patricia Birch, an attorney and plus size model, bought this vintage gold bomber jacket from one of her favorite, go-to vintage boutiques — especially when she's in a "retail therapy mood" (I can relate to that one).

While Birch loved the "glitz-glam" appeal of it, she tells me she had had the coat for about a year before this shoot and had still not worn it, even though she had thought of multiple outfits for the item when she purchased it.

"It felt like I did not have many occasions where 'casual glam' made sense," Birch tells me about her struggles with styling the bomber.

Ad failed to load

Prescod weaved the sparkly statement piece into three very different looks, all of which left Birch questioning everything she knew about what "glam" and "casual" really mean after all.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Tank: Calvin Klein. Shorts: Adidas. Shoes: Steve Madden.

The inspiration for this look was 100 percent Kim Kardashian, according to Prescod. Some casual knee-length gym shorts, a white tank, simple sky-high heels and a statement coat? Yup, that's Kim K alright.

Ad failed to load
Ashley Batz/Bustle. Tank: Calvin Klein. Shorts: Adidas.

"When Gabby put me in the long Adidas shorts I was confused but it totally worked with the heels," Birch says. "The outfit made so much sense with the bomber: the tank and shorts are sporty like your average bomber, but the heels and the gold pieces over the bomber are both glam. And I feel like that outfit could work in a lot of settings. "

Proof that you should pull your athleticwear out of your closet sooner rather than later, if you ask me.

Ad failed to load
Ashley Batz/Bustle. Bodysuit: Boohoo. Pants: Pretty Little Thing. Boots: Steven Madden.

The second look was another take on the sporty-meets-glam trend — and this one featured another pair of stilettos, this time in an ankle boot. While Birch wasn't sure about the heels at first, the final look changed her perspective on wearing them in the future.

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Bodysuit: Boohoo. Pants: Pretty Little Thing.
Ad failed to load

"I don't wear heels very often in my day-to-day, but wearing the sky-high heels on the set made me want to practice walking in them. I feel like integrating heels in my day-to-day would give me more 'look' options, which is fun," Birch says. "Wearing the heels felt like an push outside of my comfort zone. The whole shoot was a bit outside of my comfort zone...but the heels were like an extra nudge out there."

Ashley Batz/Bustle. Trench: 3.1 Phillip Lim. T-Shirt: ASOS. Pants: Eloquii. Boots: Steven Madden.

The final look is more proof that outerwear on top of outwear is always a good idea. Birch tells me this was her favorite look of the three, and that it helped her realize that the way she's been viewing her closet has been "a bit strict."

Ad failed to load
Ashley Batz/Bustle. Vest: 3.1 Phillip Lim.

"I realize [now] I've been a bit strict about how I view the pieces in my closet; categorizing pieces for certain settings (like, this skirt's a 'work skirt' and that dress is a 'party dress,' etc.)," Birch says. "I don't have to label my clothing that way. Yes, I can be glamorous in some sporty Adidas shorts. Yes, that coat can be a layer under something else. I decide what goes on my body and what can work in a setting is what I make work."

And as for how Birch feels about the bomber now? "I feel like I can wear it just about everywhere."

Ad failed to load

No matter your personal style or what outfit hang-ups you have in your closet currently, there is something kind of magical about creating a new outfit out of nothing. And suddenly feeling amazing and confident about something that used to make you feel guilty or frustrated? Well, that can be pretty powerful.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

What I Learned About Work-Life Balance After Relapsing From Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Almost two years ago, I woke up in a hotel room, groggy and dehydrated, with my clothes all over the room and my nightstand filled with mini bottles of liquor. I had spent the previous two days drinking all the alcohol in my mini bar. I'm not sure wh…
By Irina Gonzalez

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In March, So You Can Plan Your Next Marathon Now

Even though the groundhog saw his shadow — forecasting six more weeks of winter — a nice spring thaw is already on everyone's minds. Fortunately, Netflix has things squared away for March. Whether you're ready to cozy up in front of a fire or get you…
By Sophy Ziss

11 Thoughts That Mean You’re Not As Happy With Your Partner As You Might Think

Even if your current dating situation seems to be going well — you're hanging out, having fun, having sex, etc. — it's still possible that you might not be happy with your partner, and thus not truly happy in your relationship. This can be a gut feel…
By Carolyn Steber

25 Book Recommendations From Your Favorite TV Characters

Although the two may seem like natural enemies, the truth is, television and reading are a match made in bibliophile heaven. Not only are some of the best shows based on or inspired by literature, but whenever you turn on the tube you can be sure to …
By Sadie Trombetta

Bustle Editors On CPAC + 'Making A Murderer'

Adulthood is, essentially, just waiting until the weekend hits — which is why I know we're all glad it's finally Friday. Whether your plans are to catch up on all the Netflix content that'll be leaving the platform at the end of February, a weekend g…
By Danielle Colin-Thome

7 Signs Your Energy Is Closed Off To Love, According To A Psychic

Finding love requires more than just the actions of going on dates or setting up an online dating profile. It also requires opening yourself up to love and giving off the vibe that you're open. You may not even realize it if you're energetically bloc…
By Suzannah Weiss

It Took Heather Graham YEARS To Make A Movie About Women Ditching Toxic Men. The Reason? Men.

They say you should write what you know. But in Hollywood, that age-old advice apparently needs an addendum: Write what you know — as long as men are into it. And for actor and newly minted director/screenwriter Heather Graham — a woman who swam thro…
By Kelsea Stahler

Target Just Launched A Gorgeous New Home Brand — And Most Pieces Are Under $30

Design lovers rejoice! Everyone's favorite store for pretty much everything is about to make all your daring decorating dreams come true. Today, Target's corporate blog issued a press release that provides a peek into Target's new homeware line, Opal…
By Callie Tansill-Suddath

17 Brilliant Ways To Support Parkland Survivors Wherever You Are

Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, survivors are demanding Congress take action. A large group of students who survived the shooting are opposing politicians' "thoughts and prayers," arguing that inst…
By Sarah Beauchamp

Here's Where Your Next Trip Should Be, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

If you've been craving a vacation, now is a good time to take the plunge. According to data collected by travel site Expedia, late winters and early spring are pretty much the best times of the year to go on vacation. Based on average airfare ticket …
By Callie Tansill-Suddath

How This Quadriplegic Beauty Lover Beat Cancer & Became A Professional Makeup Artist

In 2010, one day before she was supposed to start cosmetology school, Steph Aiello was involved in a car crash that left her paralyzed from the waist down with limited ability to move her hands and one of her closest friends dead. She would spend the…
By Sara Tan

7 Common Marriage Rules That Aren't Good For Relationships

When it comes to marriage, everyone loves to give their two cents, and with all the warnings and advice floating around out there, no wonder people find marriage intimidating. Luckily, you don't always have to play by the rules, and there's some bad …
By Carina Wolff

The Infuriating Way Hollywood Movie Sets Are Designed To Make Life Harder For Women

Whitney Cummings is fed up — with the way Hollywood treats women, and in particular, the way the it treats female directors who have children. While the entertainment industry may be working hard to get more women behind the camera, Cummings wants to…
By Casey Cipriani

Why Uggs Are Never Going Away, Whether You Like Them Or Not

Uggs. The word alone can conjure up memories of teenage years, regrettable outfits, and undeniable comfort. But if, like me, you thought that you've already said goodbye to those fleece-lined tan boots, you can think again. It seems fashion has adopt…
By Lauren Sharkey

Netflix's New Romantic Movie Will Have You Crying Like It's 'The Fault In Our Stars'

Cancer movies are a heartbreaking staple of Hollywood and have been for decades. It's almost a law of nature: new year, new cancer movie. This year, it's Netflix's Irreplaceable You, a heartbreaking original about a longtime couple who get thrown for…
By Olivia Truffaut-Wong

I Got A Breast Reduction & It Was About So Much More Than The Size Of My Boobs

As a young teenager, I pretty much reached peak physical maturity overnight. One day I was wearing my first training bra a la Lizzie McGuire, and the next I was sweatily fumbling around a Victoria’s Secret with 32DD boobs, trying to summon up the cou…
By Sierra Taylor Horton

Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu Have Matching Tattoos & The Story Is So Cute

Olympic season gives people the feels. From those shipping Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to Shaun White's gold medal win on Tuesday, the feels are real. Now, there's another reason to get all up in your emotions. Adam Rippon a…
By Shea Simmons

A New Study Says Being In A Relationship Could Change Your Taste In Wine — Here's How

I’d be willing to bet that for many of you, a nice bottle of wine is awaiting you in your near future — and if you’re planning on sharing that bottle with a partner, there might be more to your choice than meets the eye: According to recent research,…
By Lucia Peters

Carrie Brownstein On Why Even The Obama Era Should Have Enraged You

An icy January morning soon after Hollywood's show of solidarity for the #MeToo movement at the Golden Globes and almost exactly one year into the Trump Administration feels like a momentous time to be sitting across from Carrie Brownstein. The Sleat…
By Samantha Rollins

Here’s What The Upcoming Year Of The Dog Means For Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

On Feb. 16 the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Dog in like the good doggo it is — we hope. A new year means new zodiac predictions for the 365 days ahead. So, what does the Year of the Dog mean for your Chinese zo…
By Brittany Bennett

7 Signs You're Ready To Get Into A Relationship, According To Experts

It can be difficult to tell when you're ready to start dating again. Maybe you're coming off of a bad breakup, maybe you've just been focused on other things. And, ironically, one of the signs that you're ready to be in a relationship is that you're …
By Lea Rose Emery

The 15 Best Fiction Books Of February Feature Tons Of Extraordinary Women

When the cold winds of February blow in, there's nothing I want more than to hide under my covers with a good book. Luckily, there's more than a few fantastic new fiction books coming out this month, so the only tough decision you'll have to make is …
By Melissa Ragsdale