Clothes The Front Door!

Clothes.  I love them.  And they frustrate me to NO END.  Let’s talk clothes therapy, shall we?

Here are my issues:

1. I LOVE clothes (and accessories and bags and shoes!) but I don’t like having lots of them.  It’s a “having too much stuff” issue for me and causes me more anxiety than you’d probably guess.  I consider it clutter.  I’d much rather have a super small wardrobe that has more turnover, than a closet full of tired choices that I am supposed to remix into something cute and fresh.

–By the way, there is an entire corner of blogland where ladies are *amazing* at remixing what they have.  I’m always so inspired!  Obviously, I super suck at it (we all regretfully remember my painful attempts with the Wore Zone series.  *shudder*)  The thing is, you need a fairly large “base closet” to work from for remixing to be successful.  Check out this blog and this one, if you want to inject new life into your closet by remixing. It’s seriously an awesome concept, just not for me!

2.  Back to me.  I’m cheap.  Like really, really cheap.  Being a bargain hunter should be a good thing, right?  Sometimes, though, I find myself buying lots of cheap stuff that I don’t like as much instead of investing in a few quality pieces.  Too often, my “great deals” get shipped off to Goodwill faster than you can believe and that incredible “score” was actually just money thrown down the toilet.  And now that I’m on a super tight budget, the struggle to find a good balance is even more difficult than before.  Those “mistakes” really hurt now.

3.  Along with being cheap, I shop mostly piecemeal with no further agenda in mind.  I’m always quick to buy the cute shirt on sale, but drag my feet when it comes to investing in a good pair of jeans, shoes, shorts, sweaters, etc.  You know, the expensive stuff!  I never shop for “outfits” and then I stand admist my hodgepodge collection of clothes and wonder why I have so much stuff but nothing to wear!

4.  I drool over fashion trends and think it’s important to feel stylish and put together.  I really admire fashionable people (hi, Emily!) and walk away from those encounters inspired to do better.  But, I finally admitted to myself that being fashionable is actually not a talent of mine.  I’m not good at it.  NAPPING, on the other hand, is something I do very very well.

5.  When shopping for clothes, I haven’t been good at recognizing my lifestyle needs.  When I worked in the office – I needed office appropriate attire that was also age appropriate, workout clothes, and casual weekend wear.  Due to issues #1-#3, I owned a sorely incomplete set of each and always felt frustrated and ill-prepared, no matter what the event!

So.  When I happened upon that garage sale in July – I went plumb crazy in that awkward closet of mine.  Anything I wasn’t sure what to do with or how to piece into an outfit, I priced to sell and oh boy, sell it did.  My (already small) closet dwindled to scraps!  It’s probably for the best, our closet is tiny anyway.  Mentally, it was a relief to have a fresh start.  I’m hoping that from here on out, I can work on building a closet that’s more mindful than before – all the while on tight budget.  Cross your fingers for me, because I don’t think this will be easy!

My “solutions” to Issues 1-5:

Sol1:  I realize that having a small wardrobe is a good thing – for my head, for my wallet and for our serious space limitation in this apartment.  I’m giving up on the idea of remixing and instead, concentrating on having an ultra efficient set of clothes.  I don’t mind wearing things often, as long as it’s a complete outfit that I feel comfortable in.  That’s what I’m going to *try* to do from here on out.

Sol2: This one is hard.  My budget is small.  I would *like* buy those beautiful boots that cost $250 (which  would probably end up being worth it in the end) but my annual budget would go up in smoke.  My goal is to have less stuff, but more quality pieces.  I’m going to do my best, but it’s going to be difficult to conquer my old mindset.  I’m not good at recognizing “investment pieces” versus ordinary pieces I could find somewhere else, for less money.  Have any rules-of-thumb that you go by that might help me out?

Sol3:  I have two solutions that I’m hoping will solve Issue #3.  One, I made a super specific list of basics that my closet is lacking at this moment (such as denim trousers, a 3/4 black blazer, a grey raceback tank, etc) and I’m focusing on filling those needs.  I tried to assess what items would really pull together the few pieces I have left in my closet.  And I’ve actually been sticking to this list since my budget rolled over in July!  Secondly, once the basics are filled, is to buy in OUTFITS.  The whole shebang.  I figure, it’d be way better to have only one complete outfit for each season than a mishmash of random items that don’t really work together.  Yep, you heard me.  Only ONE outfit per season!?!  You’ll see why in Sol5.

Sol4:  I’m trying to accept that, although I love the thought of skirts, blouses, heels and piles of accessories – I actually crave simplicity.  I crave flattering but comfortable layers.  I crave flats.  I crave warmth.  And I crave functionality.  If I were to characterize my style, I guess it’d be “sporty casual”.  I’m not a dress-up girl.  I’m going to try and remember that when I start mulling over that pair of mint skinny jeans, believing they are my ticket to Fashion Island.  It’s funny because my twin LOVES to get all dressed up for fancy occasions.  He would do it every day if he could!  I just find it stressful and a huge departure from my normal “style”.  And when I do have to put together an outfit, I’m going to copy someone else that knows what they are doing!

What I wish I was like:
What I actually wear:

Sol5: I run in the mornings, work from home and then head to practice each afternoon.  As for the weekends, Hubs and I do yoga, go on hikes, bike to restaurants and work in the garden.  Truth is, I spend a lot – no, a majority – of my time in workout clothes at this moment in my life.  It just doesn’t make much sense to throw on an outfit with accessories, just to peel them off a few hours later for practice or a bike ride.  In the winter, I’m less active but I just want to be cozy and warm.  I don’t go out much, get dressed up or head in to an office.  So, right now, my lifestyle needs are a more adequate set of workout clothes (especially when it comes to the winter season – I hardly have any cold weather gear) and at least ONE every day outfit (for each season) that I would wear to a casual dinner or a get together.  I know my life and wardrobe needs will probably change – but for now, this is what I am going to focus on.

So, that’s my plan.  Let’s hope mapping it all out will give me some sense of direction?

Is this the most boring post you’ve ever laid eyes on or is this an issue you struggle with too?  Any tips that work for you?

19 thoughts on “Clothes The Front Door!

  1. I always though you looked put together & stylish :-) I like the idea of whole outfits. I’m find my clothes shopping gravitates towards clearance pieces that are cute, but leave me wondering what else I can wear with it. I think I may need to consider whole outfits too! :-)

    • You are always so sweet and encouraging, Tai! Now you know that I don’t know what the heck I’m doing (and wasting a lot of time/cash in the process). I’m the *exact* same way when it comes to clearance and sales – I find a cute piece but not the whole package. It just leaves me confused. Here’s to hoping this new strategy works! You’ll have to let me know if the shopping for the entire outfit helps you out.

  2. 1. You already are fashionable so give yourself a break!
    2. My formula pretty much every fall/winter day= skinny jeans, tank or tee, cardigan and cute scarf with flats or boots. If you have 2 pairs of jeans, 2 tanks, 2 tees, 3 cardigans and several scarves you have a lot of combinations! If it’s too warm for a scarf, substitute for a fun necklace!
    3. I think whole outfits are the way to go too…I need to work on this too!

    • 1. pffft!! you have to say that, being my friend and all.
      2. I love *love* LOVE your formula. It’s actually the perfect solution – have a super small wardrobe, but a handful of cute complete outfit combinations! Thank you for the tips, you ALWAYS look so put together and adorable.
      3. You could have fooled me! Miss your face.

  3. I like your style! I have had the same wardrobe for I don’t know how long…I add a few new things every once in awhile, but it’s mostly the same…it’s hard!

  4. What a fun post. You do have the ability to take great naps. ::)) Plus you always look good. ::)) First you have to decide what your needs are. Most people wear casual – jeans, skirts, sweaters, jackets, boots and flats. Casual goes to most job sites, church – almost everywhere. Formal wear isn’t often a problem for us either. I like Emily’s idea of 2 jeans, etc. Then you can spice it up with belts and scarves, jackets and sweaters. I think the main problem most of us have is going shopping without a goal and that is why we end up with one or two pieces that don’t work together. I know I have that problem with the clearance rack as well. Plus, I have noticed that all colors can be mixed – at least it seems that way. Fashion seems to dictate type of scarves, size of jewelry, tightness of jeans, length of skirt, big purses or little, round or pointy toes on shoes. So each season, you can buy one of each of the above and should be set. I think a lot of people use black, navy and brown as a base and work from there. I don’t know. I am sixty and still making mistakes. Hard to believe, I know. LOL lv mamap

    • Those clearance racks can be tempting! I’m trying to stay away from them for now until I feel like my wardrobe is filled out first and then I can hit them up and add something fun and new to the mix.

  5. I like the idean of focusing on workout clothes with a couple casual. Makes more sense financially. Workout clothes are pretty and functional. FUN! lv mamap

    • I have a few workout pieces that I really am glad I splurged on earlier this year: my nike running capris and my lululemon tank (Hubs got it for me for my bday). I’ve worn them endlessly! I need more…

  6. Thanks so much for the shout out! It’s awesome that you’re thinking through what you buy and how you wear it. Good luck as you put your plan into action! :)

    • Caitlin, welcome to my wee little blog!!! Thank you for swinging in – I’m stoked! You are *amazing* at remixing and just beautiful in general. I greatly admire that you’ve challenged yourself not to buy any clothes this year. Although hard, I think it’s really a great exercise and you’re doing awesome. Keep up the good work!

  7. I love the idea of Use cases. That makes total sense. For work. So then you create Use Cases 1. work. 2. play. 3. workout?

    Fun to think about. We can talk about it thecandace. lv mamap

    • Yep, I think Kelly nailed it – I need use cases! I think my order (at this moment of my life which could change) is: 1. Workout clothes 2. everyday clothes for each season

  8. Love this post because this is so me as well. I go on pinterest and find these really REALLY cute outfits, but can never seem to find them myself. Or maybe it’s that I am just to cheap. I love the jeans with a cute sweater and some accessories, but who am I kidding. I do daycare for a living. Sweatpants and a t-shirt is my style. Otherwise I would be changing my sweaters twice a day. I couldn’t afford that many sweaters. sigh…
    Here’s to functionality!

    • Cheers, Melissa! I totally oogle those Pinterest outfits too, knowing I’ll never even come close to replicating them. I’m too cheap, too lazy and just not overly daring/confident. I’m with you, your daycare use cases of sweats and a tshirt is the only way to go!

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