When you last heard from me, I was digging my way through a bunch of clothes, trying them on one by one, and ridding my closet of the ones that no longer looked good on me.
After I purged my closet of the clothes that needed to go, I had more left than I thought I would. I should have known I had some pants and dresses that hadn’t seen the light of day in a long, long time. Some pieces surprised me, and now I could finally wear them.
It was absolutely essential to clean out my closet before I did any shopping, so I could see what I had and what I needed.
I did want to go shopping after all. I had enough winter clothes, but my summer clothes were lacking.
I don’t want to buy a lot of new clothes that will end up as part of next year’s closet cleaning. I want my clothes to work together as an ensemble, like what I would need for a two-week vacation.
I challenged myself with a shopping plan:
* Don’t buy what you already have.
Makeup artist Bobbi Brown said, “I am forever editing and cleaning out my closets in an effort to wean myself down to a few key pieces. But the truth is that I can never resist buying another navy suit or pair of black pants–after all, this pair of black pants might be “the one” that I’ve been searching for all along.”
Do you always gravitate to a certain kind of clothing when you go shopping, even when you are supposed to be looking for something else?
It’s easy for me to look in my closet and identify my clothing magnets: In the winter it’s gray sweaters. And white shirts in the summer. No matter how many I have, I feel like I can always use one more. I had to tell myself not to buy any more as I went shopping this time, no matter how appealing they might be.
* Choose summer colors.
Black may be a favorite color during winter, but in the summer there are so many happier colors to choose. Anything that reminds me of flowers, the sky, or ice cream. I want to wear colors that my daughter thinks are pretty, and that make me look fresher.
* No plain t-shirts.
Rocky territory for a stay-at-home mom. It wouldn’t be hard to find tops that are cute and comfortable, so I can dress up a little even while I stay home. This way I can avoid having different sets of clothes for staying home and going out.
* Rethink how many clothes you need.
It’s an old habit, from high school I guess, that tells me I need more variety when I already have enough. Even after I bought two tank tops, I was tempted to buy extras in other colors. I told myself to wait and see if I really needed them –I’m trying to keep it to a comfortable minimum.
(Bonus note about tank tops: I really like the ones from Lands’ End Canvas. The straps have better coverage than JCrew, and they’re not tissue-thin like Banana Republic.)
*Brave the bathing suits.
What happens to me most of the time I go clothes shopping is that I end up in a crowded dressing room pressed between a stroller, a baby, a preschooler, and the mirror. I try on a shirt and the baby is suddenly reminded that he wants to nurse. Meanwhile the preschooler tries on my clothes and acts like a dancing monkey, it’s way past nap time, and the only thing that might save the afternoon is a stop at Chick-Hooray on the way home. And I’m supposed to try on ten bathing suits in the fluorescent light?
And I love the “modest is hottest” trend in swimwear this summer.
Coming up next: putting it all together — a peek inside my newly-organized closet!