During the months of November and December, I got a little carried away with buying stuff. Namely, clothes.
The way I define too much shopping, may be different from the way many would define it, but it felt like too much for me. Like I’d done something wrong. I felt guilty. I returned things.
I also started evaluating my current wardrobe during this time. I’d just given up capsule wardrobes, and was free to have whatever I wanted in my closet. Then, I noticed something I didn’t like.
There were several pieces that were a little more expensive, from a favorite brand, that I just wasn’t wearing. For a few different reasons, there were items in my closet that I had invested in that I didn’t want to wear. That got me thinking about all the purchases I’ve made throughout the year. The conclusion I reached wasn’t pretty:
Most of the money I spent on clothes this year was wasted.
Many of the items I purchased ended up donated, sold, or sitting in my closet unworn. The truth is, I still haven’t perfectly identified what my personal style is, and I haven’t totally figured out what I truly want to wear. Unfortunately, I thought I had it figured out. I thought that buying items from brands I loved, that were cool, that looked great on everyone else, would work.
What really happened is that I accumulated items that fit a certain image, but didn’t totally fit my lifestyle. I was forcing items to work, when they really didn’t. In the process, though, by figuring out what doesn’t work, I can continue to focus on what does work. I want to share a few of these style lessons I learned to show that it’s okay to still be on the journey of figuring out what works, and what doesn’t.
- Find the right fit. Aside from a cozy flannel and a couple chambray shirts, most button-ups just don’t work for me. I have a small build, but my chest a little larger than most my size. So, I get that dreaded boob gap. I have visions of cool layering, but in reality, I’m uncomfortable and feel confined when I do layer. In general, I’d like to pay more attention to fit. The biggest culprits are tops that are too tight around the chest and long sleeves that are too short.
- Low maintenance is key. I purchased three silk pieces this year, and I rarely wear them. The first is a blush sleeveless Everlane blouse. I love it, but the armpit area was the victim of sweat, I was constantly checking for boob gap, and I found it to be quite a bit of work to keep the shirt clean. Then, within a week of buying my favorite silk square shirt, I dropped a pen and got an ink stain on it, that I’ve never been able to remove. That one teeny tiny dot by the hem keeps me from wearing it. A green silk skirt got a few stubborn grease stains. Lesson learned: I’m not quite ready for the high maintenance of silk.
- I need to really identify my style before making big purchases. I thought I had it all figured out. When I started capsules, it was to be more minimal. Then, the capsule lifestyle led me to ethical/sustainable fashion, and I was focusing on that. Of course, I was also blogging about all of it, and wanted to fit the mold of ethical/minimal style blogger. All of this culminated with a wardrobe that wasn’t really all that cohesive, that still didn’t feel 100% “me”, and a lot of money wasted on clothes not worn enough. I need to focus on more affordable options until I feel more comfortable with my style.
I don’t want to make it sound like I failed this year, or that I hate my wardrobe. To the contrary, I feel like these lessons learned were so worth it. Mistakes often lead to the most important breakthroughs. I also discovered what I do like: fitted pants with stretch, long cozy sweaters, and flowy (not boxy!) tops. For now, I’ll be stepping back and prioritizing a little bit better, and will keep these lessons in mind when I’m shopping in the future.