I found myself standing in front of my closet 2 years ago staring at the tons of clothes I had, but realizing that I didn’t want to wear any of them. And this was different from those occasional ‘I’m having a bad day and don’t have anything to wear’ moods we all have now and then. This was a true feeling of frustration that I had been shopping for years, but for lack of a better term ‘had nothing to show for it’. I didn’t have an appropriate interview outfit, wedding guest attire, baby shower ready clothing, important meeting ready pieces…the list goes on and on. You see, I was buying clothes more for the sake of shopping and less for the purpose of creating a wardrobe I truly loved. I was impulsively buying the quantity rather than remaining patient to have the quality. So it was at that moment that I decided to change the way I shopped, and wanted to share some of my tips on how I achieved (or am still currently achieving) a closet I LOVE rather than LIKE.
The Tibi dress in today’s post was actually what inspired me to write this, and represents a piece I absolutely love and can wear for so many different occasions. From the print, to the fit, to the fabric, I feel excited to wear this each time I put it on. With my old closet, I was missing the pride and excitement of getting dressed, and the confidence that what I was wearing would represent me at my best. The tips I am going to share below are applicable to any budget, style and profession, and hopefully they can help you build a closet that you love.
1. I changed how I spent my money. Simple as that. For example, instead of spending $100 on 4 items of clothing that I bought impulsively or just because, I now save that money and spend it on 1 item that I love. It takes a lot more patience and time, but I was slowly able to fill my closet with pieces I couldn’t wait to wear. At this point, I am maybe 1/3 of the way there, and can still mix my ‘like’ pieces with my ‘love’ pieces to create great outfits.
2. I created a pinboard. I know this is not rocket science but having a more organized and thoughtful approach to shopping really made a difference. This helps me look at my closet from a broader visual perspective, figure out what I’m still missing, build a balanced wardrobe and oh yeah, remember where the heck I found those pieces. In the past, I was constantly buying the same type of clothing over and over again, and needed a way to help me get out of that rut. I pin items both in my price range and a bit over (I’ll explain why in the next point), but never outside of that. No ‘dream’ pieces go on this board, only what I truly love and will actually buy. And then when I have the budget for it, I shop right from the board.
3. I stalk the sale. I know what you are thinking, ‘Who has that kind of time, Maree?’ Well, I would argue that many people do. Here’s my secret. I downloaded the Pinterest app to my phone, and while I am standing in line for my salad at lunch, I click on 5-10 different items from my pinboard and see if they are on sale. That’s it. It takes less than 5 minutes. Obviously, you don’t have to do it while standing in line for lunch, but that was my example of how easy it can be to research and ensure you get the best price for the items you really want. Truth be told, I rarely purchase an item at full price any more because of this technique. And if I’m really patient, I will wait for second markdowns and get some major pieces on sale for 50-60% off. I do most of my shopping online nowadays because it is more convenient, and with free shipping/free returns from most retailers, it makes it so easy. I purchase the two sizes I am debating between and return the one that doesn’t fit.
4. I use ebates or a rebates site for all my shopping. This tip is more from a budgetary standpoint than efficiency. But if I am patiently waiting for that more expensive piece, I want to ensure I get every possible savings I can. I would not call myself frugal but rather financially aware. In addition to ebates, I also use a cash back/reward points credit card for most purchases in order to increase my savings. If you are not familiar with ebates yet, I highly recommend it. Click here to learn more and join.
5. I take my time. Though I am still an impulsive beauty shopper, I ultimately spend more money on clothing and no longer want to buy something ‘just because’. I would rather have less items and love them all, then more items that I feel lukewarm about when wearing. The best part of this new approach has been when I have last minute events, work meetings or social functions that pop up out of nowhere, I don’t have to race to the store for a wasted purchase. And versatility is the key. I recently wore the above Tibi dress for an important meeting at work (I just added a cardigan), then turned right around and wore it a few weeks later to a summer wedding.
It’s a long process but one I glad I embarked on. I get so busy with work, life, the blog, family, etc, that when I walk up to my closet I don’t want to waste any time trying to figure out what to wear. I want pieces that are versatile, work for many different occasions, and are ones I truly love. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below or send me an email. Happy shopping!