Earlier I started a little series called “What I’d Tell Myself”: advice that I would give to a younger me, if I could share everything I learned about building a wardrobe over the years. My first post in the series was on shoes – today, I’ll be covering the biggest area of my closet: clothes!
1. Accept your climate. Personal translation for me? You live in California. Stop buying coats! I have so many beautiful coats and warm toppers in my closet that get no use. And, on the rare occasions that I do go somewhere cold – well I enough coats to cover a lifetime of trips to cold climates and for all different sorts of occasions. I’ll make one exception here, if the perfect leopard print coat ever appears.
2. If you find great evening wear on sale, get it. I never think that I’ll need gowns, which is why through the years I’ve inevitably ended up shopping last minute to find dresses for very formal events requiring long dresses. Each time I swear that I just saw some great gowns on sale, yet at the moment there are none to be found. Everything I do find ends up either being full price from some brand like J. Mendel and the cost of a small vehicle, or something that a 16 year old would be wearing to prom. So…when you see that beautiful Akris gown hanging in your size on the sale rack for 70% off? Just buy it. Eight months later, when your friend decides that instead of a casual wedding in Napa they’re going full black tie, you won’t have to panic!
3. Buy nicer “lounge” wear, pronto. After a long day at work, as soon as I get home I have the exact same routine – take off shoes, drop off my bag near the door, and head straight to my closet to change into my lounge gear/pajamas. For the longest time, that meant my husband’s old ratty Penn t-shirt and a pair of probably ten year old Abercrombie track shorts. One day, I realized that I was spending all this money on new clothes that I wore briefly outside – yet the clothes that I wore sometimes all day, and almost every day, were in truly deplorable shape.
My advice to my earlier self – buy nicer “home” clothes! You wear them all the time, they’re pretty cheap even at full price (just go to Eberjey for some great sets) and you won’t have to be embarrassed when the UPS guy comes or when friends unexpectedly drop by.
4. Limit “passion purchases” to one per season, maximum. I say only one per season because even in an ideal world I think passion purchases should be allowed, even if you rarely wear them. Part of the fun of fashion is falling in love with beautiful items – even if you don’t have anywhere to wear them. I have a few items in my closet which rarely see the light of day but which still make me very happy just to look at. Nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s within reason! If you have a closet filled with sequinned, hot pink items you never wear then yeah…you may have a problem. But if you can just limit your “passion” purchases to say – just one per season? You’ll still get the thrill of spontaneous, fun items and your wallet won’t hurt too much.
What would you tell your younger self about clothes and the right items to add over the years?