I would like to say my wardrobe improved vastly once I graduated but sadly, it really didn't. Sure, I had my moments, if I had a new top and I wanted to strut around in it. But over the years, I've found myself drawn back into a simple wardrobe of worn-in jeans, simple tops, sweatpants, flip flops, clogs, etc. This is partly because of the fact that also over the years, my position at work has slowly turned into an almost completely at-home position. I work in the office just one day a week now so I have few reasons to wear real clothes each day (and it isn't just me - ask any of my colleagues and they'll all tell you they work in their pj's too!).
|I'm not sure it's actually possible|
to have too many cardigans!
Because I wanted to be super smart about what I bought for myself (and I had yet to discover Pinterest - more on this later!), I consulted the internet for the pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe. What I found astounded me. I used this list here and heavily edited it to fit my own specifications of what I wanted. In fact, what I wanted went something like this:
- Boxers (4 more pairs)
- Sweatpants (2 more pairs)
- V-neck sleep t-shirts (a LOT)
- V-neck regular t-shirts (in all colors ever created)
- Cardigans (in every color ever imagined)
- Jeans (at least 2 more pairs)
- A great pair of boots
- A pair of slip-on shoes/clogs
- A couple of printed shirts
- Collared, button-down shirts (2)
How do you build your own dream, but real wardrobe? First, go shopping in your closet and dresser. Yes, I know that everyone always says this. I would roll my eyes when I read that. But then I actually did it, and I discovered I had a lot of clothes to donate to Salvation Army. And I also discovered a terrific shirt I had bought at Old Navy (on clearance no less!), washed it, put it in the closet and never wore it, but then I wore it one day. And the angels sang! It is now one of my favorite shirts.
So, get off your behind and go shopping. Try on your clothes if you need to, but if you know you're done with a shirt, whether because you never liked it and didn't wear it or because it's worn out, put it in the "donate" pile. If you come across a lot of items you haven't worn at all or you haven't worn recently and you think you might, group them together in your closet. Give yourself a few months to wear the items. If you don't wear it, toss it at the end of three months. If you do wear it and you like it, keep it. If you wear it and don't like it, toss it. I just did this with a shirt last week on Thursday, and I hated it. The second I got home from work, it went straight into a bag for Salvation Army.
Once your closet is full of just clothes you love, figure out what it is you like about each piece. Write those things down. For instance, I loved that a lot of my clothes were made from just cotton or a very high cotton blend. I also liked that my clothes were mostly one color. I liked that I had a couple of items that had a nice print on it. I added the things I liked and didn't like to my list of items to look for while shopping so I would be able to smartly choose not only which pieces I needed, but which specific cardigan to buy out of the options available to me.
What do you see missing from your closet? This is where your shopping list will be created. I knew there had been specific occasions where I had wanted to match an item I didn't even own what I was wearing. I wrote down everything I could remember about what I had wanted to go with my current clothing options. I also consulted the list I mentioned above to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything I really did need/want that would fill out my wardrobe. I would just say to really take any list you find about what someone else thinks you "must have" in your closet as really someone who doesn't even know you saying what you need. I felt the list I found was kind of crazy, and I would never recommend you just take a list created by someone else and go buy the items on it.
|A look I found and love on Pinterest|
I've still got a long way to go with filling out my wardrobe, and really, it's probably something that will never be truly done. Clothes get worn out, your style may change slightly, your job situation could change - who knows? But my options are growing, and I love that. I don't know if the people I work with think I look better coming to work once a week, but I feel better about myself. That's what really counts.