Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guide to the Styleless

I recently got a friendly little note from our local charity requesting that I donate some clothing, as I have in years past. I thought this was a good time to do some of that spring cleaning people are always talking July.

So I took everything out of my closet and drawers and began a purging the likes of which I haven't experienced since I moved from junior high to high school and declared all my clothing "utterly juvenile."

As a side note, my mother hates watching us toss clothes. She still wears some of those junior high toss-outs. If you see a woman sporting a Snoopy Chicago Bulls sweatshirt, say hey to Mommy Suburbia.

I was ruthless. Anything I hadn't worn in two years (I gave myself some leeway considering last year I was still trying to shed the baby weight) went in to the garbage bag.

Two garbage bags later I was met with a sobering fact: I have no good clothes.

I'm in that awful weight loss place where I've lost enough weight to look odd in my regular clothes, but not quite enough to be a size smaller.

I kept the pieces I could tailor, but I was still left with a closet FULL of empty hangers.

Not having an unlimited budget and being slightly wary of maintaining this size, I began whining seeking help from those closest to me to figure out what it is I needed.

My roommate is a Tim Gunn aficionado and pointed me out to this list of his 10 Essential Items Every Woman Needs:
  1. Basic black dress
  2. Trench coat
  3. Classic dress pants
  4. Classic white shirt
  5. Skirt
  6. Blazer
  7. Day dress
  8. Cashmere sweater
  9. Jeans
  10.  A comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit

 Um, you guys? I have #2, #4 and a lot of #9 in varying stages of saggy butt.
So I consulted Twitter to see what real people considered their top wardrobe must-haves:

Nope: don't have either of these!

I totally have both, but the yoga pants are super stretched out. Not appropriate for outdoor wear.

I kind of hate my black pants.

I do have some jeans I love. They are Kut from the Kloth and they're great! I wear them everywhere.

Cous Cous ate my favorite black heels. My cardigan is too big now.

Sigh, jeans are seriously the only thing I have of this list!!!

Clearly, some shopping was in order. So 4th of July I went out to the malls with my roommate, and promptly came back sobbing hysterically.

Nothing looked right. Here I was with an actual shopping budget, and a desire to buy quality pieces versus my usual cheap pants that will last me 6 months and end up in the next donation bag.

I found nothing.
Fueled by terror at my empty closet, I took to the Internet. I've always done better with online shopping, anyway. I don't have to look at the size 0, I can immediately find my size with a click of a button, and most importantly I can try it on with a glass of wine in the comfort of my own bedroom, where only the dog has to witness my sobbing.
Next week I'll show you my purchases in a feature I am calling Dress Me For Date Night.
Meanwhile, what are your wardrobe staples? Have you ever been faced with the dreaded empty closet?


Anonymous said...

I do a huge purge twice a year, so I am always facing an empty closet. Kind of scary yet liberating to wear only things that I love myself in. No more "hopeful" clothes to taunt me each day.

Aleta said...

Enjoyed your post :)

Let use know how the online shopping turns out. I'm leery of shopping for cloths online, because you can't try them on first. How old fashioned of me, right ;)

Erica@PLRH said...

Ugh. I really need to do this too but I'm at that inbetween stage with the weight loss program also. I love Tim Gunn's must-have list and I have quite a few of those items. Except for the classic white shirt. No matter how many times I try it I always looked rumpled. What gives?

Erica@PLRH said...

Oh! I look forward to seeing what you bought online.

Life As Wife said...

I'm in exactly the same spot right now. I was really heavy before I got preggo so after loosing weight and packing away maternity clothes I have nothing left. I need a personal shopper (oh and a home decorator too..)

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

Every now and then I realize I hate everything in my closet and want to do some shopping and get stylish again. It happened before I had Luke and then just recently...I have a super secret secret I'm going to share with you (via your blog on the internet cause i'm terrible keeping secrets) : I do a lot of my shopping at Goodwill. Our Goodwill is AMAZING. I've gotten things there with TAGS on lie. I wanted to start collecting pencil skirts and got one with a tag, a second one that looked brand new. If it's not at Goodwill, it's the clerance rack at Kohls. I try to buy pieces that can fit together in various ways. If you're working outside the home: two pairs of jeans....skirts in black, kacki, gray, and black...and various colors of shirts/blouses in solid colors. and collect jewelry from the clearances..just the cheap stuff. If you bought red, green, blue, black, gray and purple shirts, that's probably 30 different combination of outfits.

Mommy Lisa said...

I cleared out my closet in a tweleveyardbagsfillingmystationwagon purge this spring too.

I rely on Eileen Fisher pants, my favorite are the modern stretch crepe and t-shirts from Gap/Old Navy/Banana with cardigans. I stick with a color palette (grey,blue,white, black) and allow myself a diversion of purple, green or red occasionally - usually a shoe or cardigan. That way - everything "goes".


Sparkling said...

I am regularly faced with a closet full of clothes I just "can't" get rid of. I just can't do it. I have no 'staples' and haven't worn a blazer since like my first year of teaching but I hate them on me. I would like to run around in yoga pants all day every day, but I haven't stooped that low in my teaching wardrobe yet.

I dunno about all this "classic" this and "classic" that. Some of those classics just look awful on me.

But you are reading about someone who just "repurposed" a shirt, so what would I know?

Kat said...

Ugh...I hate the transition phase. Honestly? I would go for GORGEOUS flats, leggings/skinny jeans and all manner of tunics for the time being. You'll look put-together, and you can accessorize with whatever you have handy. You can belt, you can not belt, the possibilities are endless, really. They may not be for everyone but they've seen me through some dark wardrobe moments.

Keep your head up!

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

I feel ya. Since having Donut nothing fits the same and I've gotten rid of a bunch of crap too. My basics are definitely black pants (I have like 5 pairs!), khakhi pants--but cute ones, not Dockers type ones. I love having capri pants and tanks for summer casual wear. I have some jersey knit dresses which I love b/c you can dress them up or down and they don't wrinkle!