putting together a fabulous wardrobe, part 3

by crumpetsandt

so today we will be tackling (3), which is future shopping maintenance of one’s wardrobe!

this step is just as important as the first two steps, if not even more important; after purging one’s closet, it doesn’t make sense to go and fill it again with things that will just need to be purged again at a later occasion.  thus, how can we establish good style boundaries and purchasing habits that will be sure to keep your wardrobe in tip-top shape?

when shopping (especially at sales), ask yourself:

a) does this piece fit me properly, or will it need to be altered (cost effectiveness)?

this question is directed more at clothing than accessories/shoes….ask if the piece fits you like a glove or gives you the look you want (some people want an over-sized look, so the fit aimed for would be different)…and don’t buy the item if it’s too SMALL.  if it fits well, great!  move on to the next question.  if the piece doesn’t fit the right way, look at the price tag and establish if it’s a worthwhile purchase when you include alterations into the price ($10-15 for hemming, $20 or more for taking in and other changes).  usually the answer is no for items with a >$20 alterations add-on…if that’s the case, PUT IT BACK!

with shoes, if the shoes in question are half a size too big, the pair might be salvageable but putting in some sort of insoles ($5-10 depending on which types).  if the shoes are too snug, DON’T even think about it 😉

b) does this fit into my desired/established style profile (look, color palette, etc.)?

always stick to the style you have already decided upon; the emotional surge that comes from a sale can leave you disoriented and illogical (been there, done that).  focus on the aesthetic look and color of the piece: is it a good fit for your style?  if yes, move on to the next question.  if no, put the item down and run, RUN away!

c) can i make at least 3-4 outfits with the current pieces in my wardrobe?

this last question is especially important because you want to get maximum utility out of your potential piece.  if you can’t think of at least 3 outfits with current items in your wardrobe with this new piece, DO NOT purchase the item!  yeah, it sucks, that feeling but believe me, it’s better than losing your money into the dark vortex of shopping.

with dresses, this may be a little different because it’s harder to go beyond 2 ways of wearing the same dress.  when you buy a dress, i would focus on the shoes or accessories in your wardrobe that already go with it, striving for 2 looks with different shoes/accessories.

if the final answer is YESSSSSS, BUY IT!  yay, finally!

you’re gonna hate this process but it will be for the best, i promise. one of my highschool friends who looked fabulous all the time told her secret to being stylish was that she NEVER bought anything that didn’t look amazing on her–she was super strict about her purchases and had really high standards of what looked good on her–which is why she looked great with such minimal effort everyday.

one of my fav dresses

one of my fav dresses

i buy 95% of my clothes on while they’re on sale. my jeans are typically citizens (off 5th, nordstrom’s rack) or uniqlo (korea, i guess now in SF and online) while i typically get tees, other tops, shorts, dresses, and such from c&c, club monaco, off fifth, jcrew, petit bateau, velvet, michael stars, ella moss, or some random korean brand (bought when i went to visit m. c. in seoul) or from the korean clothes-selling newbury st. boutique (korean styles tend to be more stylish/fashionable, less simple/basic).

if your style profile is similar to mine, you’re in luck!!!  i’ll be suggesting some of the brands i typically look at/love the style of:

  • basics:
    • everlane (good everyday value but they’re perpetually sold out of what i want!)
    • c&c (good everyday value)
    • jcrew (good everyday value for tees, buy everything else on sale with student discount)
    • club monaco (buy on sale but great for basics, tees (fitted or loose style))
    • petit bateau (buy when on sale)
    • ella moss (buy when on sale)
    • splendid (buy when on sale)
    • velvet (buy when on sale)
    • joie and soft joie (more on the expensive end even on sale)
    • vince (more on the expensive end even on sale)
    • i know people are a fan of james perse but i haven’t bought anything from his collection
  • formal dresses (buy on sale at bloomies, nordies, neiman during their semi-annual sales):
    • shoshanna
    • rebecca taylor
    • alice and olivia
    • marc by marc jacobs
one of my white coats that i wore to one of my girls' wedding

one of my white coats worn to my girl’s wedding

so where do *i* look for sales? for the brands i *know* my exact sizing for, i get online when there are amazing sales (≥60% off).  a lot of the time, if i’ve seen and have tried on certain pieces that i love but can’t swallow the price tag, i wait until it goes on sale online usually when they’re ≥50% off.  these places include nordstrom, bloomies, and macy’s or directly from the brand’s website.  other places that i frequent include off 5th, nordstrom’s rack, and of course the jcrew outlet.

for super basic basics (tees, tanks, cotton/viscose/jersey tops), my sale bar is set lower, so 25% to 30% off the retail price is okay by me.

lastly, take care of your items…i’ve had some items stay with me for over 8 years now.  i wash my clothes appropriately (with woolite when needed, in laundry mesh bags for delicate/easy-to-snag materials) and try not to dry my clothes on too high of heat to prevent the fabric from dying a premature death.

with this game plan in hand, you’ll be sure to have a fabulous wardrobe for years to come!