November 15, 2016
I have a confession to make.
At this particular juncture in my life, I am only wearing about 30% of the clothes that I own.
Yep. That’s it. Just a measly, little ol’ 30%.
If you’ve ever been in my shoes, you have probably already guessed the reason so let’s say it all together:
Between menopause, a stalled metabolism, weight gain-causing medications, IBS (which causes 6-month-ish pregnancy bloating) and the COPD and RA that keep me from exercising as much as I’d like, I am currently at a weight that has pared down my wardrobe to the barest of the bare minimum.
And since I am not, as a rule, awash with cash, I can’t go out and buy a whole new wardrobe in another size which means I am in a frustrating wardrobe season.
Back in the summer, I could put on one of my five elastic waist, colorful skirts with a cute blouse and I was good to go. But fall? Yikes! Fall means trading out cotton skirts for pants and pants are the worst and hardest things to fit.
Last week, Steve and I had an event to attend with a particular dress code. I went upstairs to get dressed with my outfit idea in mind which included a certain pair of pants and shirt. Alas, when I (attempted to) put on the pants, I discovered that they were downright unbuttonable. And they were all that I had that was suitable.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been in Full Out Closet Panic Mode, but that’s where I was that night. Pulling things out, discarding them, pulling more things out, discarding them.
Here is my closet midway through the aforementioned Closet Crisis.
This is what my closet normally looks like. I’ve moved out much of the stuff that no longer fits but there’s still probably half of this that doesn’t work for me right now.
I always try to look on the bright side of things and it occurred to me while I was trying to concoct an outfit for work yesterday that this current style season is forcing me to think creatively and really challenge myself to come up with imaginative groupings of a small number of clothing items. I am appreciating all over again how adding jewelry and scarves and third piece toppers can freshen up often-worn items.
So that’s my intro to today’s style post: a little vulnerability is good for the soul and since you all have become my friends over the years, I wanted to share my style struggles with you. Thanks for listening–I feel better now!
Style is a word with half a billion definitions which basically means that clothes that work great for one person are not always well suited for someone else.
A perfect illustration is the contrast between two bloggers I follow. They are both modern, stylish women but their looks could not be any more different from each other.
The first blogger is Tania Stephens from 50IsNotOld. Her style is creative, colorful, and fun. She wears layers of stacked, dramatic jewelry and each of her clothing items are distinctive, which helps create her unique style vibe.
While I may not always love all of her outfits, I am always inspired by the way she incorporates color and quirkiness into her style. She has definitely found what works for her, her lifestyle, and her personality and her choices makes me smile. (To see larger photos, click anywhere.)
On the opposite end of the style spectrum is Susan Street at SusanAfter60. (I have mentioned her here before.) She has inspired me for several years now, because of the changes she has made in her health, her life, and her look. (She recently turned sixty.)
Susan’s style is sophisticated, streamlined, and understated. Wearing flowy, long tops over narrow pants is her signature style. Her focus is buying items of clothing without a lot of identifying features so that she can mix and match them more easily. When she adds interesting, elegant accessories, each outfit becomes gorgeous.
Susan is very much about minimalist jewelry and accessories and has often said if you have one large statement piece of jewelry, make sure everything else is small and less noticeable.
I have heard Susan’s advice in my head a thousand times while shopping or getting dressed. She offers very practical advice– like this, for example:
“Notice that by adding the denim jacket over the long tunic I am dividing my body in thirds visually. Three is always more pleasing to the eye than two equal halves.”
The reason I am featuring these two bloggers is that they so perfectly represent the importance of finding your own look. If you were to put Susan in Tania’s clothes or vice versa, they would both look ridiculous. Their styles are perfectly suited for their personalities and their lifestyles.
As you look for your personal styleprint, think about which three or four words describe you. You’ll be amazed at how much those words will guide your decisions as you shop, curate your closet, and create a cohesive, workable, enjoyable wardrobe.
Here are a few style words to get your thinking process started:
Ladylike, modern, edgy, bohemian, classic, refined, artsy, dynamic, romantic, playful, monochromatic, cultivated, timeless, sophisticated, contemporary, feminine, unexpected, vibrant, distinctive, dynamic, fun, elegant, colorful, quirky, eclectic, glamorous, understated, whimsical, dignified.
At this point, my style words would probably be colorful, whimsical and feminine. (I also love clothes that incorporate asymmetry, but they are a little hard to find.)
(Unless noted, all clothes are thrifted and cost an average of $3 to $5 per piece.)
When I bought this yellow blouse, it had an opening in the front with a tie to close it. I took it to my seamstress and had her remove the tie and sew up the opening. That simple change enables me to wear scarves and necklaces with the blouse, which adds a whole lot more flair to an outfit than a simple tie ever could. (Note: This idea doesn’t work on some of my similarly styled shirts because the opening is a bit more “curved” and wouldn’t close properly. But it worked perfectly for this blouse.)
Here’s another example with another necklace. A scarf would also be pretty.
I absolutely love this skirt. It’s softer than you can imagine, almost like a t-shirt material, and it drapes and moves beautifully. It’s the next best thing to wearing pjs in public–it’s just that comfortable! The dark color is slimming and goes with everything.
I just got this skirt a couple of weeks ago and fell in love with it at first sight.
I experimented with a few different pairings. (The fuzzy socks are NOT part of the look!)
Since the skirt has a bohemian flair, I thought the artsy sweater went well with it.
Although my first choice is always incorporating color into my clothing, I also love to wear monochromatic outfits.
I experimented with add a light sweater in order to get more a “column of color” look.
And speaking of monochromatic, I just picked up this brown skirt last week; it has a lace overlay which is a fun change of pace.
One of the things I try to do when going monochromatic is to change up the textures of each piece to add a little interest to the overall look.
Here’s the scarf . . .
the skirt fabric . . .
the blouse fabric . . .
and the boots. (These were a little more expensive than my other thrifted items at $7.)
Lastly, here is a series of photos with the different ways shoes can change an outfit. (Some looks are just included for contrast; I probably wouldn’t actually wear them.)
I included a close up of some of the more interesting shoes. (Note: the blouse is not thrifted; it’s from Stein Mart.)
What about you? What percentage of your closet do you think you are wearing right now? Are you happy with that percentage?
Do you know your style words? If so, please share! I’d love to see if you have words that weren’t listed above.
And remember this: Whatever your weight, size, or number of items in your wardrobe, YOU are beautiful!
Other posts in this series: Small Changes Favorite Style Bloggers Stars and Understudies Proportions and Alterations. Mom Jeans In the Middle Patterned Pieces Two is Best The Rear View and Flowiness Take a Picture Already!
Thrift stores, fuzzy socks
and conversing with my Yorkie
are all on the list of things I love.