I’ve been on the fence about whether or not this would actually be of interest to people…but a good friend said that *she* would be interested, so…here goes!
Long ago, I used to do what I call “recreational shopping.” By that I mean that I would go to the mall, without necessarily anything specific in mind, just to see what there was. Inevitably I would see things I liked, many things, and I figure if I LIKED them, that they would work in my wardrobe, because…If I Like All the Things in My Closet…Shouldn’t They All Go Together? So I would just buy things indiscriminately because I liked them, with no real thought to whether the purchases made sense.
It took me many years and MANY wasted dollars to realize that the answer to that question is NO. And I’ll be honest, it wasn’t out of any real wisdom that I came to this conclusion, it was more out of necessity. Once I was divorced (21 years ago) and a single mother of a young daughter, I no longer had “unlimited” (not that they were ever unlimited but I had not yet learned The Very Hard Lessons about overspending and DEBT) funds for my recreational shopping. Now I had to make my “first real office job” salary stretch as far as it could. So recreational shopping became a thing of the past and I had to learn how to build a working wardrobe as efficiently as possible. And it took me almost all 21 years to do that, ha ha!
Hang on, I could tell my stories all day long…let’s get on to the list making!
I start by assessing what’s already in my closet from last year – most seasons the majority of items stay, and I only let go of the few things that are no longer in good condition, no longer fit, or are just things that I find I no longer reach for in my closet. It’s okay to fall out of love with things! They served their purpose for awhile, but when it’s time to move on, let them go, maybe to someone else who will enjoy them more.
Then I consider each and every item in the closet (and drawers). How many outfits can I make out of this item? Just one? Then I consider what new item I could bring in to make that already existing item more versatile. Will the new item go with multiple items already in my closet? That’s a plus. I don’t want to buy something new if it’s only going to go with one other thing. I want every piece to do double- or even triple-duty. I want a closet filled with mostly basics, that will mix with almost everything else.
So now I’ve gone through all my items and made a list of missing pieces. The pieces that will go with what I already own to make new outfits.
Here’s my list for this spring/summer
- black and white striped top, summer weight
- basic white tee
- basic grey tee
- 2-3 patterned tops – floral, paisley, something with some color
- 1-2 patterned kimonons
- oatmeal/tan lightweight cardigan
- white summer weight pants/jeans
- black summer weight pants
- sagey green summer weight pants
A dozen items might seem like a lot (it does to me) but I know from experience that I’ll be lucky to find just a few of these items – due to size, cost and personal taste. This list doesn’t include shoes and accessories. I’ve already shared some of my shoe and bag wish lists with you here and here.
I’ll confess, I got a little confused with what I was posting this week. I wrote this post several week ago and I should have shot a little video showing a couple samples of how I put these steps into practice…but instead I shot a try-on haul of items I’d bought trying to fill out my shopping list above (because everything came in within a few days and I wanted to try on so I could return what I wasn’t keeping and start over).
So just imagine, if you will, me taking my Bobeau sleeveless floral top out of the closet, inspecting it, thinking of what I might wear it with besides just my medium wash skinny jeans. Sage green cotton pants! And those pants would also be perfect with the black and white striped top I don’t have (ha) AND the navy and white striped top I just ordered. And then I’d move onto the next item. Make sense?? It’s not nearly as much fun as just perusing online retail sites or catalogs and going I like this and this and this and this and ordering a bunch of random unrelated items…but it’s much more organized and you’ll end up only with things that actually go with things you already own. Cuz I don’t feel that I need or want dozens or hundreds pieces of clothing. I want to wear everything I have a LOT. Getting my money’s worth and not having any wasted investments hanging in my closet.
Here’s What I Bought and Tried On:
Loft Plus Textural Sweater Tee, size 24/26
Loft Plus Girlfriend Chinos, size 24
Old Navy Relaxed Plus-Size Sleeveless Boho Top, size 3x (floral no longer available)
And there’s a video! Caleb makes a couple cameo appearances 🙂
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