Monday, April 6, 2009

Le sigh...

Yikes life certainly gets in the way of new goals, doesn’t it? No excuses, lots of apologies! I’ve been thinking about what to include in this post that would be good reading, not too repetitive of the info out there, and useful! Here is what I’ve come up with:

Lesson 1: Know and refine your own style. Draw inspiration from wherever you can find it. Think outside the box (more bright colors and prints for me), but stay within a defined comfort zone (please no jumpsuits/onesies).

Personal style for me always changes…it depends on my environment, current lifestyle, the people around me, and my sense of self. When I was working in Washington, DC, my wardrobe was filled with v-neck lightweight sweaters, often layered over various button-downs, along with some type of nicely-fitted trouser and a medium heel. *Snore!* Moving to Baltimore and back in grad school, I mostly paired these items with jeans, flats, and hoodies. Needless to say, I had a total identity crisis when I moved to NYC! Working from home, I don’t need much by day (my most exciting decisions are usually what to wear to the gym)…but I also gained a little post-wedding weight and can’t help but look at the cute and fashionable girls on the streets for ideas! I’m right now drawn to floaty tops, skinny jeans with flat boots, long blazers and cardigans, and
AA v-neck tees. I check tons of magazine websites and blogs regularly for outfit ideas, and I’ve found retail sites that also have unique outfit ideas. I save pics in a giant Word doc…pics that I’m drawn to, and that I think would work for me and with what I already own.

Lesson 2: Be brutal and ruthless, with a take-no-prisoners attitude when you decide to clean out the closet.

I don’t claim to be great at this, but I remove something from my closet on a regular basis. (love this site) has an amazing guide to reducing and recharging your closet! One idea I live by: if it doesn’t fit, and you haven’t worn it in 6 months to 1 year…get rid of it!

Lesson 3: Do your research when you decide to cut the crap.

Ebay used to be so good to me…not so much these days. I save it for when I have a handful of higher-priced items to sell, and make sure I search for current and past auctions with the same item or with the same designer to get an idea of how my stuff will sell. NWT or celebrity-worn items tend to still make out ok. I tried consignment once, and got around $150 for a once-worn pair of jeweled Manolos that cost much much more. Screw that! I have a bag of stuff waiting to be taken to Buffalo Exchange or Beacon’s Closet, but am hoping things will look up in the economy before making the move. Anything else that is torn, holey, pilled beyond what a fabric shaver can fix, or just plain old…goes off to donation! Sick of those old cocktail dresses?
Donate them to girls needing prom dresses. Old ill-fitting suits? Donate to women going back to or just entering the workforce. They may not work for me, but I’m confident they can work for someone else!

Lesson 4: Define your shopping dos and don’ts. A few of mine…DO: window shop. DO: double/triple/quadruple check yourself before committing to a major purchase. DON’T: buy impulsively.

Know what’s in stores, pricepoints, where you can find a trendy look for less, etc. Don’t shell out more than you usually spend without really considering the buy. I personally am now not just spending MY money, but OUR household money, so I want to make sure I’m buying some staples that I can wear out the cost of, and then some (such as my new
Marc by Marc Jacobs bag in a neutral tan that I ogled for months). I haven’t seen anything in a long time that merits an impulse buy, but generally keeping a list of what I am lusting for versus what I need (and checking this list frequently) helps keep me in check.

Lesson 5: Quality vs. Quantity.

Saks doesn’t have the highest quality goods…and Forever 21 doesn’t have the worst! I have F21 and H&M pieces from years ago that I still wear, and have pieces from high end stores that have pilled or stretched after one wear. If you’re dying for the trendy piece to wear once or twice, by all means, hit up H&M or F21! But, if you want a cashmere crewneck, don’t get the cheap version from Target. Research how to spot good cashmere, search for sales and coupon codes, and make an investment! Pet peeve: claiming to watch your wallet, and spending hundreds at F21 every week! No one wants a F21 wardrobe. And in the end, it’s still cash money!