Every season it never seems to fail that the clothes in my closet are less than lackluster and leave me feeling even less inspired to get dressed in the morning. I attempt every season to purge the things I no longer love or no longer fit, to make space for the things that will compliment my body and bring a smile to my face. As a stay at home mom I’m not really going anywhere, and I’m certainly not worried about impressing anyone. Which has freed me to make purchases solely based on how I feel and how I think I look best. It has been a very liberating experience to shop just for the purpose of pleasing myself! I wish that I had embraced this philosophy in my 20’s, but at least I found my way here.
Join me on my Spring shopping adventure, finding pieces to compliment my current closet, body and style.
Assess the basics:
To start this adventure you should begin by purging your current closet and replacing worn out essentials. I know it can be time consuming but only if you go into it without a plan. I like to have a set goal in mind before I begin, which helps with decision fatigue going forwards.
- Keep a set number of basics.
- Short Sleeve Tees(Solid Color)-8
- Button Downs (Solid Color)-4
- Bottoms (skirts/pants)-5
- Active Wear (Top/Bottom)-4 of each
These are my numbers, depending on your needs the numbers can fluctuate. I came to these numbers over the years, knowing that I don’t always get to the laundry as quickly as I should and I tend to wear a similar outfit almost everyday. Also, I somehow manage to stain all colors of shirts, I blame it on my kids, but I’m definitely the problem. For example short sleeve tees…I have white, black, navy and grey but I have two of each. Just in case I spill coffee on one before I even make it out the door. If any of these items are pilling, have stains, etc., then it’s time to replace these basic items. I also have 5 or more striped or floral patterned short sleeve shirts but these won’t pair as easily with other items and therefore fall into my fun/seasonal category. This concept applies to all the categories listed, I’m talking solids only.
It’s time to be brutal! No clothing left untouched. I can’t tell you how many times I’m excited about an outfit I’ve chosen for the day, only to discover that the shirt has a stain or the skirt is frayed. It’s disappointing. So inspect all items to be kept carefully. Set a timer for yourself to make sure your making decisions quickly without emotion. If a piece is really special but doesn’t fit, it’s okay to relocate it to a Memory Bin, I have kept my wedding dress, a special t-shirt purchased on a trip and a dress my grandmother made. Taking them out of rotation unclutters your closet but still allows you to revisit the memory when you would like. This is also a good time to decide if an item can be repaired, altered or hemmed to better fit your needs. When you spend money on investment pieces it’s worth the work to make them right again. A good example would be to have your favorite slacks with a frayed hem made into an ankle length pant, this length is classic and complements all shapes.
Now it’s time to address the seasonal items that were on trend, but now you question the sanity of ever purchasing them. I have two pair of floral print leggings that I rocked hard about three years ago with a long tunic, you know what I’m refereeing to…this trend ended many years ago. It is time for those items to be loved by someone else, maybe as pajamas rather than clothes, but to each her own. They no longer make it into an outfit, they don’t inspire me to want to get dressed and they don’t fit the way they used to. Time to go. I’ve read over the years that if you haven’t worn something in 6 months then it needs to go. I could never get behind this kind of time frame idea. It’s really dependent on what the weather is like where you live. If you live in Canada clearly it’s been 6 months since you wore your favorite denim shorts, but that doesn’t mean they need to go. Or if you live in Florida you may only wear a favorite sweater one day out of the year, if it’s a classic cut there’s no need for it to go. The point is make your own rules about what works for you, just make some and stick to them.
I am a mom of two kids. I say this because I try to make a trip to our local donation center twice a month. I feel that I am more motivated to add to the donation pile then I am to making multiple trips. Basically, I’m really busy (with things that make me happy) and adding any additional stops to my list of errands every week just isn’t an option that I like. I first take any of the kids items that were gently worn to a local consignment shop. Then we have a local shelter for battered women that I prefer to take our items to. This way I know the items are going directly to families in the most immediate need. It makes me feel good about my decisions to let go of things, and it really helps with my decision fatigue mid-purge. Someone else will absolutely love the skirt I bought last season for a wedding I didn’t go to and therefore still has the tags on it. Maybe it’ll make them smile and that makes me smile.
Time to Shop:
My favorite place to purchase basic items either for myself or the kids is Old Navy, my backup is Target and if all that fails I go with Amazon. Only online for all retailers as their in store selection of basics is not consistent. In addition to available sizes, their return procedure is very easy, which permits me to order multiple sizes and colors of the things I would like to try. I do returns in person and shop for items that are in store exclusives while I’m there. Seriously, I way over order to make sure I end up with at least a few pieces that are perfect, at this point in my life I refuse to settle for an improperly fitted t-shirt. This allows me to try on at home and cuts down on the amount of time spent in store. Old Navy is one of the only retailers I have found that has a reliable size selection available on a wide variety of styles and sizes for everyone in my family. I have tried other options, only to find things I love and then realize they only have my size available in one color, no thank you.
I do really enjoy shopping for seasonal pieces in store. Generally speaking for seasonal items the cuts or lengths have been updated to fit the most current trend and I just don’t know how it will look or feel without seeing them in person. I worked in the retail clothing industry for 15 years before becoming a mom of two. I know that retailers purchase sparingly on these trendy items because they don’t want to get stuck with tons of stock that will need to be marked down within a few weeks. They also historically push these hot items to stores to drive foot traffic. A featured trendy item needs to be in stock in store to fill displays and driven up sales of basics. This practice has continued which is why store pickup has become a big offering. Also, items are sometimes stocked in store and then shipped to customers, rather than keeping stock in a warehouse and shipping directly to customers. Most stores will also happily order what you need while you’re in store and ship it to you for free. This allows retailors to get the best of both worlds. So shop in stores when you can, it’ll keep your local stores open and people employed.