lessons in clothes and shopping

Every summer, right on schedule, I have  a crisis of clothing. I love layers and for many years I tried the ol’ cami under a cardigan with jeans until I just couldn’t take it any longer, usually sometime around late August. I did that until last summer and our move to Austin. Last summer, I realized that I just did not know how to dress for our really quite wonderful climate and ended up (unhappily) with a uniform that wasn’t comfortable or chic.

“What do you mean I can’t wear long-sleeved, silk blouses and black jeans in hundred degree weather ?!”

Since then, I’ve worked at a delightful boutique with smart, stylish ladies and learned a few lessons that have changed my approach to dressing and shopping. This summer I feel more confident about what I am wearing and buying. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Listen to Your Closet

My closet was saying, “For heaven’s sake, stop buying grey/black sweaters!” A quick look showed me that I must have bought every dour sweater to cross my path in recent years. Taking a moment to look at my closet and learn from it was a good place to start. Ask yourself, what haven’t I worn in the last 6 months and why? What am I missing? What do I have too many of? 

Love It or Leave It

In the boutique, we had an almost cliched expression that you’d hear all of us say with our clients, “If you don’t love it don’t buy it.” Being certain of your purchase upfront usually leads to being happy and satisfied with it months later.

This is a personal example, but maybe it will be helpful for other people. I’ve learned that I appreciate and love my clothes more when I purchase a complete outfit and when I do not buy impulsively. For example, I fell in love with this top from Lauren Moffatt. I pinned it to my “Wishlist” board months ago with the plan of asking for it for my birthday or Christmas. I kept going back to look at it and each time I checked off a few important items:

-Did I still loved it? Yes!
-Did I have the right undergarment for it? Yes!
-Did I know how I wanted to wear it and what I would wear it with? Yes!


Outfit Sources: Top, Skirt & Sandal

I felt good about ordering the top, because not only was it on sale, but I still liked it months after first seeing it, had the necessary parts to make a complete outfit with it, and had places and occasions to wear it. Lauren Moffatt is also one of my favorite designers and I love having a piece from one of her collections.

It can be hard to say no to that amazing, ON SALE, beaded vest, for example, but if it’s only going to hide in your closet you’re better off without it.

Pay More, Buy Less

I find value in buying fewer, more high-quality garments even though it means spending more. In the olden days, like last year, I would scoop up enough pieces to fill a closet inexpensively, but I often ended up coming home with garments that I thought I loved in the store, but would never choose to wear or even ended up not liking very quickly. Spending more money forces me to be more careful in my selections and I’ve actually become less wasteful. Give yourself a little time to think about what your buying.

I hope this post was helpful and not too rambling. I’m always happy to answer questions in the comments!

One Response

  1. Great tips! I’ve been learning quite about this myself lately. I went through a slump of choosing “classic” and “matches everything” clothing, which left me with nothing interesting! I’m enjoying some color and patterns now.
    (LOVE the outfit, too!)

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