A Quest to Rebuild My Wardrobe

For a very long time I have wanted to look like someone else. Don’t all girls relate to that? We all want what we don’t have, and for me that’s a tall, slender body with long legs and a killer metabolism. The kind of person who can wear whatever and look flawless.

I see pictures of Olivia Palermo:

Olivia Palermo

(via Pinterest – not sure the original source)

…and think, Okay! She’s a fashion icon, let me wear what she’s wearing. Skinny pants and an oversized top or sweater… and try to recreate the look. I buy the shirts and the pants and the baggy cardigans, and then get all upset and frustrated when it looks awful on me.

It’s time to face the facts: I’m 5′ 3″ with a medium build and can easily gain weight if I don’t make a conscious effort to eat heathy and workout. That is how God made me, and it’s likely not going to change. And if I don’t like who I am now when I’m 28 and healthy, when in the world will I like my body? It’s too exhausting trying to be someone else or wish away what I have, so it’s time to start figuring out what works for me.

As a budget-conscious girl, I tend to buy cheap clothes. I can name five pieces sitting in my closet that I didn’t really like that much in the store, but bought because it was on sale. I wore them once or twice, but they never looked good, so they are just sitting there, mocking me in my closet. And I feel bad getting rid of them, because I spent money on them! That is a problem. Those five pieces add up to probably $70, which would have been better spent on one quality piece I can wear 100 more times.

So in the next few months I’m planning to go through my closet, redefine my style and rebuild my wardrobe. Here are the things I want to accomplish:

  • Determine what styles and fits don’t work on my body (and get rid of all clothes like that)
  • Determine what styles and fits do work on my body
  • Figure out the best color palette for my hair and skin tone
  • Define my accessories style
  • Create a style or “uniform” that fits my personality, body type and lifestyle
  • Develop a list of items I want to buy
  • Create a 30-day wardrobe remix with the items in my closet (one for winter and summer)
  • Only buy quality clothes that fit my personality, style and body type

Phew, that list looks like a tall order. This may be a slow process, since I don’t have an endless supply of money, but I think in the long run it will save me more money and reduce my stress when I am getting dressed in the morning.

Anyone else want to join me? :)

PS – A lot of this inspiration came from Into Mind, a great blog on developing a style and minimizing your wardrobe.

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  • Loved your blog! It’s great to learn early how to accept your body and dress it for success! Can’t wait to see what you create, though I love your style and think you are cute as a button!!!

  • yes i definitely want to join you!! looking forward to following along. this is something that has really been on my mind in the past few weeks…

  • What a great idea! I was thinking this morning that I need to weed through my closet…as I realized that I have at least 10 belts and only ever wear one or two. Can’t wait to see how your process unfolds!

  • i love this idea…funny i saw pics of her recently on pinterest and thought too how amazing and effortless he looks all the time!

  • I did this last year! Over 8 months I worked on a strict “1 in 2 out” policy, which kept me mindful of what I was bringing in (particularly in the later months) and in the early months forced me to admit that I was holding on to clothes for the style/cost/emotional value that neither fit nor flattered me. Not having to try on 5 outfits before finding something that looks good/fits and not having to say “I have nothing to wear!” is a huge confidence boost, and I know my husband doesn’t miss me battling my closet daily. Happy shopping/organizing/styling!

  • One million percent. One million and five percent. I purged my wardrobe at the beginning of summer, and again at the beginning of fall. Right now I don’t have a lot of clothes – like you, I’m building slowly – but what I do have looks great. It makes my mornings SO much easier. And I’m super picky about what I add now.

    Find a couple of good friends (moms and siblings work well) and have them give you honest feedback. And ask your hubby! My boyfriend, with his honest but kind opinions, was a surprisingly big help. For example, one dress that he loved on me that I hated (due to my own body issues) ended up getting tons of compliments when I wore it to work (and with tights, it’s now an all-season winner in my wardrobe).

  • I have been working on this! 2013 was the “year of creating margin,” and one of my goals has been that all my clothes fit into my closet (meaning no storage bins in the garage or using the back of the boys’ closet). We have a small house with 5 people in it, and I don’t have space to have extra clothes stored somewhere! I did a first round of elimination as I got my regular clothes out after the baby, and I am in the middle of a second round of elimination as I go through winter clothes. I still have a little ways to go before everything fits in my closet, but I am close! I agree with you on buying fewer, nicer clothes, in the long run it saves money and I feel better in the clothes that I have.

  • I am like you and lean on places like Target and Old Navy to build my wardrobe. But it seems like after just a few washes, things start wearing down and fitting awkwardly. After this pregnancy, I’d love to re-build my wardrobe (especially work wardrobe) with ‘nicer’ things. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • well this is a bit late but…

    YAY! Honestly this is one of the best things you can do for your style. I sold or donated tons of clothes that I’d thrifted or bought on sale and decided to be extremely picky when shopping and focus on staples and quality that I know I will love for a long time. Even after only 3 moths of this, I am so much happier with my style, and I know that anything I pick out of my closet will look good. Less is more. I don’t know if you’re an all-neutrals(+blue) girl like I am, but that makes my life so easy :D

    And I’m also petite(5’2”, average, a little curvy), so I totally understand your lust for those oversized sweaters… don’t give in haha… I learned to embrace petite sizes for things like jackets and pants and DRESSES(definitely) (Loft is the best!) I didn’t realize how much better they fit until I wore them. I hadn’t really ever worn much petite before because I can get away with an extra small, and most of the bargain places I shopped didn’t have petite. Now I feel less need to buy things, and I am totally ok with leaving stores empty handed.

    I don’t know if you already do this on pinterest, but the best thing you can do for yourself is keep a board of your style– what you like and ALSO would be flattering on you. It helps organize my thoughts, and when I see something in a store, I can say, “hey, I pinned that type of item like 20 times, I think it’s safe to say this wouldn’t be an impulse buy.”

    PS wideeyedlegless.com — she’s all about minimalism and has a wardrobe series
    and thanks for the link to into mind :) :)

    good luck