On Saturday Jane requested for me to write a post based on “Clothing. Buying (and only keeping) clothing for the person /lifestyle I aspire to be verses the person/lifestyle I really am/have.
I am intrigued with this suggestion, especially since she used the word aspire in it. I would always advise clothes shopping to stay within the guidelines of a style the person is comfortable with unless they are ready for a change. And even then I think I would ease myself into that change an outfit at a time. I would think it is a risk to step outside of ones comfort zone too hastily or you could end up with a closet full of clothes you are unlikely to wear. AKA aspirational clutter.
As I have been giving a lot of thought to clothes lately this post is going to be a little self-indulgent because I would like your views on the subject. I am just about to embark on a vacation to the USA where I intend to replenish my worn, tired wardrobe. From experience I know that variety and pricing is usually more appealing over there.
I am hopeful that I will not be forced to choose between outfits that would have me looking like mutton dressed up as lamb, a forty seven year old grandma trying to hide those extra pounds or having to pay through the teeth for something in between those two styles. Which is what I feel are my only choices here and now. I am too old for mini skirts and two young and trim to cover myself up with billowy blouses and high wasted elasticised pants and I detest the latest money grabbing fashion that would have me purchasing five layers of thin knit fabric pieces in order to build one outfit. I have a word for that fashion ~ CLUTTER ~ and clutter is bad enough when it is weighing your house down, I certainly don’t want it weight me down physically or financially. Not to mention the muscles I would probably pull with the contortion act required to get it all those layers on on top of each other.
Now with that off my chest I am going to run by you what I think sounds sensible when it comes to fitting out or culling a wardrobe.
Know and shop for what suits your lifestyle ~ I spend a lot of my time at home, blogging, cooking, cleaning, gardening and the like. I go out for casual coffee dates and sometimes dinner with my girlfriends. I grocery shop and sometime need things at the mall. My husband and I eat out on Saturdays and fine dining is also enjoyed on occasion. We go for rides on our motorbike on weekends and we take long walks as exercise. This is about all I need to cater to when it comes to my wardrobe aside from the odd function for hubby’s work or birthday celebration, wedding etc.
Get the ratio of clothing to activity balanced ~ Since I spend most of my time at home it stands to reason I would have a lot of comfortable casual clothes. For me that isn’t track pants and shapeless T’s. I prefer jeans, capris and a variety of tops. These outfits also cover grocery shopping, my volunteer job at the thrift store and even the walks with my hubby (Hence why mine are so worn and tired). My next most common activity is casual dining with hubby and friends. My nicer jeans and capris cross over into this activity with the better of my tops, plus I have a couple of skirts, three summer dresses and some leggings and two tunics dresses. The last thing to cover is fine dining, weddings, parties etc. I have one little black dress, one, maxi dress, one gorgeous evening gown some good long pants and a couple of dressier tops. Your needs would likely be quite different to mine and if you don’t know what they are it is time you figured it out. Take some time to think about what you do and what you feel comfortable in doing these activities and you will soon come up with a good clothing inventory right for you.
Chose styles and colours that suit your figure and complexion ~ Sometimes is pays to have an honest friend with good taste around to help with this. No matter what size you are you can’t change your shape. I am flat chested, I know this so I don’t wear low plunging necklines as there is nowhere to plunge to. That would look ridiculous on me. I also have red hair so no shade of orange will ever adorn this body. I also have spider vanes on my leg and I am 47 so mini skirts are also out. It pays to know that tight leg pants only accentuate a large bottom. Midriff tops don’t look good when you have belly rolls no matter how young you are. Basically, just because something is the latest fashion or it looks good on someone else or the mannequin in the store doesn’t mean it suits all figures, sizes or age groups for that matter.
It is best if you can mix and match ~ I usually keep the bottoms to my outfits neutral in colour, black, beige, white, grey, brown or denim as these colours go with just about any shade and colour of tops. My jackets and cardigans are also mostly neutral so they can be worn with most everything I own. The more that things can mix and match the less items you need. And if certain items are in the dirty clothes basket what’s left in the closet can still go together.
You can’t go wrong with classic cuts ~ It might sound boring but pants and jackets in classic cuts will stand the test of time and stay in fashion for just about ever. Put the emphasis on the petty top/blouse or accessory that goes with it. The little black dress is also a winner. You can dress it up with a splash of colour for fun. I have a red wrap and red strappy shoes for just such occasions.
Shoes need not be numerous ~ I just went and counted my shoes knowing full well I would be embarrassed by the total. I have twenty pairs of shoes.
- 1 pair motorbike boots (essential)
- 2 pair black dress boots (one suede one polished leather, both well used favourites)
- 1 pair outdoor winter boots (these could go haven’t been used in 5 years)
- 1 pair runners (Rarely worn probably could go)
- 2 pair of Keens Mary Jane style multi purpose shoes (love, love, love these but they both need replacing as they are pretty shabby and I have almost worn through the bottoms. The will be replace on my US trip)
- 2 pair casual shoes (well worn but not so loved)
- 1 pair rubber flip flop (thongs to the Aussies reading)(only worn to fetch the mail on wet days)
- 1 pair black casual sandals (love, love, love these too. So comfortable would like a brown pair as well)
- 1 pair of slippers (used extensively in winter)
- 4 pair of favourite sensible high heals (black, tan, brown and red)
- 4 assorted pairs of other high heals that I could live without. (Mostly uncomfortable therefore passed over for others. Probably time I let these go)
As you can see from this list I could easily manage with half these shoes and pretty much do because half of them are rarely used. Mostly mistakes of the past when I was willing to sacrifice style of comfort. Of my shoes I use the comfortable, versatile, basic styles the most. Most of which are black, brown or tan. I find these colours go with just about everything. The red pair are my indulgent splash of colour and will stay.
My advice is stick to your comfort zone when it comes to shoes because they are the ones that will get used the most. Take into account the clothes you have to wear them with and stay as neutral in colour as possible. Why not lash out on that one crazy pair just to keep it interesting.
Splurge a little on impractical items ~ 90% practicality with 10% indulgence sound sensible ~ keeping in mind that practicality doesn’t have to be drab and boring.
Having written all that I have confirmed my clothing shopping list. I need…
- A few new tops/blouses that make me feel good. Preferably not of T-shirt fabric.
- 2 new pair of Keen shoes
- 2 basic white T’s (not shapeless ones) to wear when riding the motorbike.
- 2 new pair of jeans as my everyday pairs are 9 years old and seen better days.
- Maybe one or two sweaters as I actually have none.
- And I may indulge in that pair of brown sandals if and only if I find a pair comparable to the black pair I own.
- Maybe one more evening dress as my husband must be getting tired of the one black dress I have worn for the last six years.
I have been watching out for most of the clothing items listed about in both the thrift store and the shops for the last year with no joy so hopefully I will have some success in the US. If not I will settle with what I have for now as I am not settling for second best unless I get really desperate.
What do you think? Am I on the right track? And Jane if I still didn’t manage to answer your question please elaborate more in the comment here and we will see if I or the other readers can help.
Today’s Declutter Item
Here are one of those pairs of uncomfortable shoes mentioned above. In keeping with this post and today’s mini mission they will be the first of many to go I am sure. I hope to be more discerning in the future. I prefer to wear out my shoes rather than waste money on bad choice.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
Dark chocolate and orange Maggie Bear icecream. I am now going to have a bowl to reward myself for finally finishing this blog post. Then I had better come back and proof read it with a clearer mind.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast