Monday, October 14, 2013

Wardrobe Rut

I know, I know. All women look at their closet sometimes and think they have nothing to wear. Sometimes it's an easy fix, buy a new pair of jeans, shoes or a cute top and you're sorted for a little while longer.

Not me, I have to be difficult. I don't know what it is, maybe it's because I'm getting older, my lifestyle is changing, maybe it's because I moved to the other side of the world and we actually have seasons here and I don't really know how to dress for them... who knows. All I know is that I have a closet full of nothing.

I have been obsessing over the Women's Fashion category on Pinterest, thinking everyone looks so cute and ooh I like that outfit - why can't I look like that? So then I try and find the exact item or a cheaper replica, and it sits in my closet because I have no idea what to do with it. 

I have felt this nagging feeling for awhile now, like I don't know how to dress myself, and I just blamed it on the fact that I've never really been 'girly' or good with fashion.. or hair or makeup.. or nails. ok, nothing girl related. But, as mentioned in my previous post, I was dreaming about our possible Europe vacation, so I was reading lots and lots of packing lists and I wondered what I would do and what I would pack. The plan is to only take a backpack or carry on and bring versatile items that can be worn several different ways. 

For further information on this style of packing head on over to Travel Fashion Girl - they have tons of packing lists and ideas.

Sounds easy, right? Except I don't really have a lot of items like that. So, I started to accumulate them. Black maxi dress? check. Gray jersey dress? Check. Various colour V neck tees? Check. Chambray shirt? Check. But, now what do I do with them?

I buy most of my things on eBay or at thrift stores. Sometimes I order online and once it arrives it doesn't fit, has a stain or other issue. The black maxi dress? I don't love it, and the elastic around the bust has snapped - not a problem right now, but it will be after a few wears. The gray jersey dress? Said it was a size medium, and there was nothing medium about it. A medium child, maybe. Chambray shirt fits (kohls) and so do the V necks (target). So... 

Anyway. I am rambling and not making my point. Basically, my closet sucks and I don't know how to shop for myself anymore.

I stumbled across Putting Me Together whilst pinterest-ing travel outfits, mainly regarding re-mixing the same piece. Since I found her, I have been intrigued. How do I get more out of my wardrobe? Why do I have so much, yet nothing to wear? What do I need to get rid of, and what do I need to buy?

First off - I took everything out of the closet and my drawers. Apart from underwear etc.

I tried 95% of the clothes on. It takes a lot of time and energy, and someone to help with decisions you are on the fence about (thanks husband). I had several pairs of jeans, dresses, and a million t-shirts. I vetoed a lot of it on my own, but jeans and dresses hubby helped with. A couple things I wasn't sure about, he nudged me either way. Some things he said get rid of that I kept, and some things he said keep that I got rid of. sssh, don't tell him.

The worst part of all this? When I moved to the US (early 2012) I came with 2 suitcases. Seems like a lot, but when you are packing for a year (and then end up staying) and you have to pack everything - jeans, pants, shoes, boots, bikinis, childhood teddy bears, jewelry, dresses - you run out of room fast. So I made sure and only brought my absolute favorites of everything. I only brought 3 pairs of jeans - all nobody - a couple of dresses, all the necessities like tank tops and pajamas, etc etc. So how did I end up with all of these clothes I don't like, or don't fit? Mum sent me a few things, brought me things when she visited, and I shopped. I shopped a lot. You can see above how well I shop sometimes, so this, my friends, is how I ended up with a closet full of nothing to wear.

Anyway. This is what I am left with. 

It still looks like so much! 

This is what I am going to try and sell on eBay - recover my losses and hopefully not have wasted too much on clothes I don't like. I listed almost 80 things!

I also have a large garbage bag full of things to go to goodwill - pointless to try and sell, but someone may get some use out of it.

This was all done yesterday, and today I went through my closet again with more scrutiny. Should I really keep this? Will I wear it? Does it fit, or look good? I was able to list another 20 things. Seriously, why do I have all of these things?

Now I need to work on getting a closet I love and that works for me. My worst issue is that I see things on other people - pinterest, celebrities, even my own friends - and I want the same thing. But (obvious point coming) I am different from everyone else, not only do I have different tastes but my coloring is different and so is my body. I need to stop buying things just because they look good on other people.

So I googled a bunch of 'wardrobe essentials' and 'basics' etc. Putting Me Together was super helpful with this - she points out that everyone's lifestyle is different and there cannot be a one size fits all list. Take the white button down, for example, it's on pretty much every 'essentials' list, but she hasn't found the need for one yet. Me, on the other hand, pretty sure I could wear that almost every day. If I had one. I work in an environment that is not very business-y (I don't have to wear a suit) but not casual (no jeans, boo).

This blog post was super long! I am just rambling, trying to get my thoughts out. That's what a blog is for, right?

Here is the plan for now:
1. sell all the things that suck.
2. find all the things that are awesome.

Easy peasy.

On my shopping list:
1. More blouses; polka dot or other patterns. These are great for work, but can be easily remixed into more casual settings. Currently all my work shirts are boring and cannot really be worn elsewhere.
2. Accessories. Another thing I am no good at. But I am determined to get better. Earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, scarves - easy ways to change up outfits, but they sit in my closet and never come out. I buy things that I think look cute, but I don't actually like them and they don't suit my lifestyle or personality.
3. Skirts. I really want skirts in my wardrobe. I always disliked skirts I owned because they were too short. I'm only 5'9 so not extraordinarily tall, but it took me awhile to realize mini skirts or even 'above knee' length don't work on me. I need longer, or ones that actually sit above the knee - like lower thigh rather than mid thigh.
4. A denim jacket. I want one. That's all.
5. Longer cardigans. I have all these cute cardigans but they are too small and short. I need longer ones that go past my waist so they look better with outfits. You always see outfits with longer -like hip length - and not the shorter ones I have.

Here are some 'one piece different ways' from Putting Me Together that I am getting my inspiration from.

Polka Dot Blouse Remix
I LOVE this polka dot blouse - and look how awesome all of those outfits are. Perfect for work and for play. Definitely on my shopping list. Normally I am guilty of buying things that aren't my style or suit me well, but I love polka dots and know a simple black and white blouse will be a great addition to my wardrobe.

Lace Tee Recap

Seriously, see how awesome she is? I love this lace tee and I want one. Its great because its casual but doesn't look like a t shirt, so I could wear it to work. On the list.

Mustard Cardigan Recap

Olive Cardigan Recap

Here is where my previous shopping mistakes will come back to haunt me. I love these remixes of these cardigans. They look great on her. But, normally I would run out and buy an olive cardigan and a mustard cardigan. Then I would realize how bad they looked on me, or how uncomfortable they made me for whatever reason, and they would sit in my closet until I purged again.

I am pretty sure the olive green cardigan would look great, mainly because its a pseudo-neutral according to Audrey. But the mustard... as much as I like it on her, I don't think yellow is my color. I know it would look great on a certain friend of mine,but me? I don't think so. I will keep my eye out, maybe try one on in person, or maybe look for an alternative pop of color cardigan - like a blue or purple.

Lastly, this is possibly my favorite little collage - how to style a basic white tee. Doesn't she just nail it on the head? I have 2 white v necks (why do I have 2?) and I would throw one on over shorts or jeans and scrunch my nose up at how boring and not put together I looked. Now I know how to style it better, I can't wait for the next time I can wear one!

Styling a white tee

Audrey has a great series on building a remixable wardrobe here that is well worth checking out if you haven't already!

To end this post on a different note, a bunch of us went up to Hubers for a bit of Fall fun on the weekend and sat around drinking wine and eating bad food and having a grand ol time. I love my 3 besties. And my hubby ;)

That's all for today folks!