Monday, May 5, 2014

This Week in Thoughtful Consumerism, Vol. 13: The French Wardrobe Shopping Post

I promised you a post about my “French wardrobe”-style shopping this season, and I mean to deliver!  As I have mentioned before, my income this year is uncertain because of my career shift into tutoring (which I love and is totally worth it).  This means that I want to be very intentional about my purchases, even moreso than when I was working in salaried positions.

Into Mind is a great blog for thinking about style and fashion for a thoughtful consumer.  Anuschka (living in Berlin!) shared a post about different wardrobe curation strategies, and after reading it, I realized that my current strategy is very similar to the “5-piece French wardrobe” technique.  The basic idea: replace your wardrobe essentials as needed, and each season, buy five items to add personality and oomph to your essentials.  I don’t instinctively divide my clothes into basics and oomph pieces, but I like the idea of asking yourself if you can identify both categories in your closet.

I’m still trying to figure out how to define my style.  I think of it as casual-dressy, with a splash of sporty on the side.  When the weather is warm, I wear a lot of dresses with cute but comfortable shoes.  In cooler weather, I wear leggings or skinny pants with boots or flats and a cute top, generally something with some feminine details or a pretty pattern.   I tend to like clean, simple looks more than elaborate ones.  I use color to make my outfits more fun.  My closet contains a lot of pink, blue, and purple.  I like to mix a variety of neutrals with all that color to balance things (at least to my eyes!).

I have trouble dressing for weddings and other more formal events, so I’m trying to find pieces that feel like “me” while being formal-dressy.  There’s something about my casual-dressy style that has made it challenging for me to hit the right notes with formal outfits.  I have days when I think it would be simpler to be a man and wear the same suit to every wedding!

With all that in mind, let me show you what I decided to purchase this year.

New LOFT Dress

* A dressy dress from Ann Taylor LOFT.

I love black-and-white prints in general, and I fell in love with this one.  I think this dress is formal enough to wear to weddings, and I wore it to the rehearsal dinner for my sister’s wedding last week.  Check out the ruching detail on the side:

Ruching Detail

And here’s the dress in action!  My sister the bride is in the center, surrounded by her four bridesmaids.

Good-Looking Bridal Party

I think everyone looks amazing in their party dresses!  Look at how cute my little sister is!  It’s going to take me a while to get used to thinking of her as a married woman.

New Purple Top

* Next up: a drapey purple top from Kohl’s!

I bought this top on a whim.  I was in need of some retail therapy, which is unusual for me, but I do love this silky, jewel-toned top.  I like drapey, v-neck blouses, and this one is dressier than my others.

 Grey Skinny Pants

* Grey skinny pants.

I had been wanting grey skinny pants for a long time, inspired by this outfit in particular.  Pants like this pair are more of a basic than an exciting seasonal purchase, but I have been so happy with them.  The material feels like a sweatshirt, and they have a good fit and good stretch.  I wear them all the time.

Grey Boots

* Tall grey boots.

More grey!  I waflled a lot about buying these vegan boots, but now I’m so glad I did.  It’s been a wet, cold winter and spring in Texas, and these boots keep me dry and happy.  They go well with my wardrobe’s primary color palette of blues, pinks, and purples.  They look great with dark denim-colored leggings, my grey skinny pants, and many of my skirts and dresses.

Yellow Tank

* Simple yellow camisole.

Ages ago, I had a lemon-yellow camisole that I wore all the time.  Eventually, it lost its stretchiness, and I had to retire it.  That simple piece has been missed for a long time, and I finally decided to replace it.  Ta-da!

Purple Tights

* Purple/magenta tights. 

This purchase was an end-of-winter decision.  I haven’t worn them yet, but I think I’ll be glad to have them come next fall.

Skirt Slip

* Skirt slip.     

And one last basic.  I like feeling prepared, and this slip will let me wear more skirts+tights with less bunching/clinging.  It’s warm enough in Texas now that I haven’t worn tights in a while, but like the magenta tights above, I’m sure I’ll be glad to have this slip when cooler weather comes back.

And that’s it!  Seven new pieces for a grand total of $181.81—a few basics, a few fun pieces.  I feel satisfied with my new items.  Now, I’m not swearing off any more purchases until the fall; in fact, I have another post up my sleeve about the temptation that Target poses in the summer.  But I do feel that I have a closet full of great basics and fun interesting pieces that make getting dressed a highlight of each day.  I for one love the sense of stepping into my “daytime self” when I get dressed.  Along those lines, a well-curated closet is always a goal and a work-in-progress.  Just like life.

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