Friday, June 29, 2012

A Working Wardrobe - My Thoughts After Two Years of Focus

I wanted to capture these thoughts before I lost them....

I have found some clues to a working wardrobe and I have never read them in any other publication.  I follow's youtube videos and have read Carol Tuttle's book.  I am a Type 1.  Here is what I have found that really works for me:

There are some prints that can be relied heavily upon to fill in wardrobe gaps.  I have found them to be bretton stripes, paisleys, and polka dots.  These have drifted in and out of current trends for decades because they ALWAYS work!  I think you'll notice too, that women rarely get rid of their garments in these prints - unless they are the wrong color schemes for their skin coloring or they no longer fit.  Now, when I see one of these prints at a thrift store and its not in black, I buy it.  I think toile prints fit into this category too, but I don't have enough experience with them yet.   

Chambray is wonderful.  Watch for chambray items - but not the typical mens style shirts or womens camper style shirts.  There are some wonderful pieces in wrap tops, sleeveless tops.  Also, there are good options in button down shirt dresses or wrap style dresses.   These seem to always be worn.

Bras that fit.  Shapewear that I feel completely comfortable in.  Nice socks.  Thick leggings in dark colors.

Natural fabrics, avoiding polyester if at all possible.  I have found that the pieces I wear again and again are the natural fiber blends - silk, wool, cotton, linen, rayon.  The more I focus on the fiber content of the garment before buying it - the happier I am in the end.

I like side zippers.  I watch for them.  Many well-fitting garments are designed with a sneaky little side zipper that fits under your arm.  I find that in the long run, I like these garments.  I am not sure the direct connection, but there seems to be a more important focus on fit in anything that was created with a side zipper.

Belts are important but tricky.  I am still working on this one.  Not only do you need to get the placement and width of the belt figured out, there is the sneaky little skill of working with texture -  stiffness, softness, thickness, swoopiness, type of material.  Buy every belt you come across for a while and keep trying.  Every outfit you put together, take an extra minute and try to add a belt.  Most of the time, you won't leave the house with the belt but this helps to see possibilities and hone your eye. 

Layer your summer tops.  If I would have known this years ago.....   For decades, I never wore sleeveless tops.  I'm too busty, my arms aren't toned, I look ridiculous in spaghetti straps.  Unless I just grab two tops and layer them.  It doesn't seem to matter too much what the colors are or the style.  Just put the one with more coverage for bra straps and underarm bulginess on the bottom and add a second something on top.  The double layers help to smooth out lumpiness and help disquise muffin top.  I feel cool and confident.

With shoes, I have learned that brown leathers are my absolute favorites.  And I had just a few pairs a couple years ago.  Believe it or not, it seems like if you are specifically looking for them they are scarce.  I like brown wedges, brown sandals, brown boots, brown pumps.  I like them in different textures.  I need them to be basic enough to be worn for several seasons.  Another thing I have found is that I love suede shoes!  Chocolate brown suede peep any you'd like to sell?    I'm the one trolling ebay.  Or taupe suede anything (except platform stilettos) my dreams!   

As I have written many times before on this blog, I got rid of the black clothing in my closet (three years ago this was 70% of my clothing).  I tried browns, grays and navys for my replacement base color.  I have since settled on navy.  The aha moment arrived recently when I recognized that I need several navy dresses, several navy skirts, several navy blouses, on and on.  It has taken over two years of collecting to finally replace the black with navy.  Belts, sandals, boots, slips, bras....think of all the places in your closet that had been filled with black because you were sold an idea from the fast fashion industry that every woman looks good in black.  Even after I KNEW in my heart that the black needed to be purged, I resisted buying multiples of things in other colors.  The surrender to this concept has finally completed my closet and makes dressing a breeze.  For example, I have a straight navy pencil skirt that is of a twill type fabric - not denim - great for casual summer outfits.  But this is not the only navy skirt I need.  I need calf length choices, I need frillier choices, I need a few simple prints on some navy skirts that will coordinate with other blouses.  I allowed myself to do that with black - why was I resistant to doing it with any other color?  When I purged the black from my closet, I had capri pants in several lengths, regular pants in several lengths and fabric contents, wide legs, skinny legs, pants for boots, pants for sandals.  Now I freely buy those things in navy when I come across them and finally, finally, finally I have a happy working closet!

What things have you learned on your journey to loving your closet? 


Anonymous said...

I need to find a good chambray shirt! I've not really sampled the tee layering trick, but I'm going to remember. There are several navy items I've been looking for--I'd love to find a vintage pair of navy wool sailors' britches. What size shoe do you wear? I need to know for my thrifting for others campaign.

Kitty said...

Thrifting for others campaign - is that similar to a personal shopper? Maybe we should start a franchise! I believe any woman could dress entirely from thrift stores but time is such an issue for everyone. Men - I wonder how they find anything to wear in a thrift store, there is so little to choose from.

I wear a 6 shoe and can usually make a 6 1/2 work. I especially want some strappy sandals, or pumps with some sort of kicky detail. Grab them if you see them!

If I see a fantastic pair of sailor britches I will get them for you! I did see a pair of pants with the double rows of buttons up the front recently, but they weren't navy.

I hope you're having a good summer!