5 min read

A reflection & Daily essentials: Clothing

I promised I'd write a reflective post about my recent self-imposed six month hiatus from purchasing clothes and accessories, and I'm doing that today, plus a little something extra.

Reflecting on my spending hiatus:

From June through December, I chose to abstain from buying any clothing or accessories. It was healthy and helpful for me to take such a break. At the start, I realized how I emotionalize purchases and the true amount of excess I had in my wardrobe. Over the course of six months, I learned to remove myself from clothing stores (and temptations). However, I also learned how to be in a store without feeling the need to shop for myself and how to walk out without buying anything. I wore the clothes and accessories I already owned, and surprisingly, didn't feel like I was depriving myself whatsoever.* I didn't think I have nothing to wear, because there was no option for me to buy anything new. It was a welcome challenge to find new outfit combinations. Now that my hiatus is complete, I have purchased a few items here and there, but they were thoughtful and versatile, since I've had time to ponder them. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that I learned a little more about my personal style and a few of my own style "rules."

Last February, I wrote a post about my daily essentials in the kitchen, with the intention to write a mini series about daily products/practices I love. A year later, I'm reviving this little series, beginning today with a few thoughts about items in my closet that I wear every week, along with my own personal style rules, so to speak.** Also, I included some dorky, self-taken, tipped-head photos of me to illustrate a few favorite outfit combinations. That said, please bear with me (ha). Basically I just played dress-up all morning and got excited about my wardrobe all over again.

*For the sake of full disclosure, I did purchase two items for myself during this six-month span of time: a necklace on Etsy and a pair of short boots. The former was a little one-time treat to myself and the latter was to fill a gap in my wardrobe.

My style rules:

  • Consider shape when assembling an ensemble. Blousy + blousy and/or form fitting + form fitting is less balanced and can be less flattering. If wearing something fitted, add a loose cardigan to balance the lack of volume. With loose silhouettes, make sure either your top or bottom is fitted, or add a belt for shaping.
  • When assessing the fit of a top, make sure it fits especially well in the shoulders.
  • Layer. A shirt + pants is fine. A shirt + pants + a vest/scarf is more interesting
  • Speaking of vests, lightweight, 4-season vests are my favorite accessory lately. Layer one over a long sleeve tee in cooler months, or wear one over a maxi dress for a hot weather alternative to a cardigan.
  • When you layer, keep either the inner layer trim (tuck the top in, or wear a close-fitting top) or the outer layer trim (a fitted cardigan over a voluminous tank)
  • Decorate with your favorite colors, but don't necessarily buy clothes in your favorite colors. Buy clothes in the colors that flatter your complexion. For example, I have a list of colors I will never wear—it's nothing personal, but they wash me out: bright yellow, green (other than army, sage, or mint), neons, lavender, or bright red.
  • My favorite colors to wear: ivory, navy, mid-tone blues, black, grey, army green, sage, burnt orange, and most shades of pink. Naturally, if your skin tone is anything either than my super-fair with pink-undertones Scandinavian complexion, you might look great in bright jewel tones or another collection of colors. My closet may look a little boring with all my neutrals, but it suits my skin tone.
  • If I want to wear a bright color, or a color that doesn't complement my coloring, I'll wear it away from my face (via pants or a skirt).
  • Short, flat boots go with nearly everything
  • When buying new clothes, I always ask myself, Could I combine this with my existing wardrobe to create at least three unique outfits? If the answer is no and the item is for casual use, I don't buy it.
  • A friend of mine has a rule about accessorizing/putting together outfits. The general premise: consider the number of items you're wearing with a points system. One point per item of clothing + one point for each piece of jewelry + one point for wearing your hair up + a purse, etc. Too many points you'll look cluttered, not enough points and you won't look as quite as put together.
  • Consider your preferences. If you prefer pants, or pencil skirts, or whatever else, wear those things. I really like wearing dresses and skirts, even if it's just for running errands around town. Naturally, I probably own more dresses than your average person, but the ones I own are well-loved. My mom sent me this quote today saying it reminded her of me:
"Live a life less ordinary. There's something glamorous about wearing a dress for no reason at all."
  • Dress for the kind of day you want to have. This isn't an original thought, but I've found it to be true for myself for years. If I feel dumpy, I'll likely have a distracted day, but if I feel put together, I'll probably have a better day.
  • Consider comfort. I don't buy uncomfortable clothing or footwear, because I won't wear it. If I'm physically comfortable in my clothes, then I'll feel more confident.
  • One last caveat: break the rules sometimes. For example, I generally don't wear red (see above), but I have a fancy bright red dress I like to wear to weddings or other special occasions.

My most-worn outfit ensembles:

  • dress + leggings (if I need to winterize) + cardigan/jacket + bracelet + small earrings
  • a tunic + straight leg chinos/jeans + long necklace or scarf
  • skirt + tucked in top + belt + small necklace
  • A linen tee (see mine below) worn in countless ways: tucked in (or not) + pants or a skirt; or layered over a long sleeve tee.

I wear outfit combinations other than the ones mentioned above, but those are the silhouettes I revisit time and time again because the shapes of the pieces balance well, plus, I feel pretty when I wear them. Naturally, you may disagree with some points I make here—I'm merely writing about what I find to be true when dressing for my taste, figure, and practicality. Also, I'm writing because it was helpful for me to think about my clothing with more intentionality. I'm curious—what are your personal style rules? What are your favorite colors to wear? Are there any trends/styles I should try?


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