So I’m Basically A Fashion Blogger Now

So I am working hard on dressing less like a giant slob and I think it’s going well. Does anyone want pointers?  Probably not, but too bad, I am going to give them to you anyway. 

1. I got rid of stuff.  I am still working on this, and probably will be for awhile, but the first thing I did was to get rid of all the stuff that didn’t fit or didn’t work. Some of the clothes I was VERY sad about, so I let myself keep a box of it under my bed. It was much easier for me to think of it as “going away temporarily” than it was for me to think of it as “I will never wear this adorable dress again I might as well eat all the brownies.”

2. I went shopping, with a very specific list.  I have a really good idea of what silhouettes I like to wear, and what looks good on me. (If you know me in person and disagree, feel free to pipe down over there.) So armed with my list of what I thought I wanted in my closet, I sought out some of those things.  Mostly on Ebay and Old Navy and at American Eagle. Not all of them were winners and probably I should have tried things on, but this is reality. I hate the mall and I have two small children.  And like I said, I know that knee length skirts/Old Navy t shirts/v neck cardigans work on me.  This doesn’t leave room for that suprise fabulous “I can’t believe this looks so good on me dress”, but that can come later.  We were at emergency status over here.

I have a few things left I am looking for, although it’s possible that I just don’t look good in button down shirts, so we’ll see.  I will probably have to spend some time looking for that and a few more dresses in actual stores or at the outlets, but I’m not really in the mood for that right now, so it’s on the back burner.  If anyone has a recommendation for button downs for short curvy girls, I’d love to  hear them. 

3. I made myself wear the clothes.  All the stuff I have now pretty much goes together, and this is where it started to get fun.  I started mixing and matching it, and putting different things together, seeing what worked and what didn’t, what shoes I liked with what.  And I made myself wear a skirt to some occasions when I thought “I could probably just wear jeans.” I could just wear jeans, but I have five skirts! I should wear them!

(And bonus – this whole process has made packing AWESOME. So easy!)

This is when I finally started to get excited to get dressed in the morning again.  I started going to bed thinking about what I’d get to wear the next day.  Instead of feeling sad about the fact that I was wearing my husbands dubiously clean Detroit Tigers shirt, I started thinking “what this shirt needs is a long turquoise necklace” or “I wonder if that tank top would be cute with this?”.  Just this morning, in fact, I thought “I wish I had a cute blue jacket to wear over this outfit instead of this brown puffy vest” and then I remembered that I do in fact own a cute blue trench coat, and I wore it! I haven’t worn that thing in a year! Success!

It should also be noted that at NO POINT in this process did my husband notice any of this effort or anything I was wearing unless I said “DO YOU THINK OUTFIT IS CUTE?” so please be aware of that potential for disappointment.  Dudes will, for the most part, not get that you are wearing a cute new skirt and they should comment on it. 

5. I made myself accessorize, and it was finally fun instead of awkward.  I think maybe it was Holly that finally inspired this? She wears tons of cute necklaces and makes it look so easy! Or maybe my Target just finally got on the ball, but I have bought five big chunky necklaces and a bunch of scarves there lately, and I finally realized that the reason I NEVER wear jewelry or accessories is because the ones I have are from 1994.  Seriously, I owned all these tiny little delicate girly necklaces, when what I wanted to be wearing, what speaks to me, are big chunky long fun necklaces! Not crystal earrings from being a bridesmaid eight years ago.  And so I cleaned out the jewelry bin and bought some fun necklaces and now I feel like I need more! Bring on the chunky necklaces!  The Target website makes the baby Jesus cry, but here is a ridiculous picture of me wearing my latest find:

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6. I officially gave myself permission to do my own thing.  I have a very particular fashion aesthetic. I suspect it is not officially sanctioned as cool, this weird mix of preppy and california beach bum, but it is what I like.  I do not own a single pair of skinny jeans.  I LOVE madras.  I do not want to buy peach colored anything.  I like navy and orange and boat shoes and flip flops and wedges.  I will buy anything striped, but polka dotted shirts remind me of rashes.  I will never be the person in the hipster outfit of the week.  And I have given myself permission to be totally ok with that. I like what I like.  Who cares what anyone else is wearing?

7. I decided to be really honest with myself about how certain things look.  Mr. E and I once had an epic fight because he advised me not to wear pajama pants to the movies.  “For my own good.”  Quite frankly, given my preference, I would wear a too big hoodie, pajama pants, and Uggs on every occasion.  I am not sure I quite ready to give up my hoodie entirely, but I am entertaining the idea that it might not be as cute as it is comfy and I might want to reserve it for lounging around at home.  If it made me feel great when I wore it, I don’t think I would care who thought ill of me wearing it in public, but it doesn’t make me feel great. It makes me feel as though I have given up. I might just buy a smaller size one though.  Everyone needs to wear a hoodie to Home Depot every once in awhile. 

8. I told myself it was ok for me to own three of the same thing. I always felt sad when my white spaghetti strap tank was in the wash. They go with so many things and I always feel cute when I have on those combinations. I never wanted to wear the brightly colored ribbed tanks sitting in my drawer, the ones that seemed SO FUN! in the store.  So I got rid of the ribbed tanks and bought myself two more plain white tank tops. 

9. I finally stopped spending money on kids clothes. Seriously. My kids do not need more clothing.  I can barely fit the clothing they have in their drawers.  Katie could wear a dress every day for two months and not repeat a single one.  Based on the hand me downs from my cousin alone, I never need to shop for her again. And yet every time I walked in the hallowed doors of Target, I headed for the little girls clothing section.  What a stupid habit! I have mostly stopped doing this, although I still think to myself “I wonder if I should go see if they have leggings on sale”. NO. MY CHILDREN DO NOT NEED MORE CLOTHING.  Seriously.  But honestly, the first time I found a necklace that I liked? I touched it, put it in the cart, then put it back, then told my husband I’d love it if he wanted to buy me a necklace like that as a present, then came home and obsessed about it, looked for a different or cheaper one online, im’ed Maggie Cheung about it, thought about it some more, and then finally went back to Target for it. Over a $12.99 necklace.  And this is the same woman (me) who will throw $40 worth of children’s clothing in my cart with no second thought.  Clothing my children do not need, and have not asked for. I know. Weird. 

10. Doesn’t it seem like there should be a number ten here? Oh, here it is.  I tried to pay REALLY CLOSE ATTENTION to what was a stumbling block for me when I was getting dressed.  I started thinking “I wish I had a less boring pair of flats” and I know I don’t like ballet flats, so I started saving up for some metallic Top Siders.  I felt stressed out about the fact that one of the two bras I owned was always in the wash, so I bought two more bras.  It’s amazing how much less awful the process is when you eliminate things like “none of these pants actually fit me” or “I have no clean bras.”  

Now I just have to work up my courage to take some pictures of myself in actual clothing.  And to buy a pair of white shorts.  That’s all A’Dell’s fault, that one. 

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21 Responses

  1. I love this post so much. It really is such a STRUGGLE to figure out how to dress like an adult, isn’t it?

  2. Did you see that I bought orange shorts and a navy shirt because of you?

  3. I need to bookmark this post and return to it once I deliver this baby. So straightforward and so helpful. I am in desperate need of assistance in the “Dressing like an adult” area, and your honesty and suggestions will get me closer to success, I’m sure of it. Thanks!

  4. As a short busty woman who hates wearing button down shirts, I make it a rule to have fun stripy ones. I have a bunch of plain colored ones that I think are business appropriate, but they are so boring they make me yawn and thus I never ever wear them. Also, the shirt must.not. have pockets. No normal sized chest pocket, no mini fake chest pocket, none. They look bad. It is not easy to find them without pockets, though. I also like button down shirts that are v-necks, but only like crew-neck button cardigans. Go figure. I find express has cute button down shirts that also look somewhat professional (or at least they did 5 years ago which is the last time I bought any). This isn’t express, and I wouldn’t spend this much on a shirt, but here’s an example: http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/product/product%3A274088/AT-FULL-PRICE-PROMO-STYLES/Stripe-Cotton-Perfect-Short-Sleeve-Shirt/274088?colorExplode=false&skuId=10901038&catid=cata000010&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=9000

    or this one
    http://www.eddiebauer.com/catalog/product.jsp?ensembleId=41735&categoryId=119&categoryName=-SLEEVE–LONG-SLEEVE-SHIRTS–BLOUSES&pCategoryId=94&pCategoryName=SHIRTS–BLOUSES&gpCategoryId=3&gpCategoryName=WOMEN&ggpCategoryId=1&ggpCategoryName=EB&catPath=~~categoryId=119~~categoryName=-SLEEVE–LONG-SLEEVE-SHIRTS–BLOUSES~~pCategoryId=94~~pCategoryName=SHIRTS–BLOUSES~~gpCategoryId=3~~gpCategoryName=WOMEN~~ggpCategoryId=1~~ggpCategoryName=EB&viewAll=null&pg=1

    I have to say, though, I hate wearing button-down shirts, it feels too stuffy for me. I would much rather be in a t-shirt and jeans. But I have learned to wear a cardigan over the button-down shirt and be ok with it.

    • That is valuable info about the pockets! Thank you! I really want a dark blue one with white stripes, so I think we’re on the same page. I love the Ann Taylor one you linked to, but I want long sleeves. I do have a bunch picked out that I put on this pinterest board http://pinterest.com/ebj123/wear-fewer-t-shirts/, I might just start ordering htem one at a time online and returning them until I find one I like.

  5. Getting rid of stuff is so key. I wear the same few things until they wear out and then get rid of them and get a few more things.

  6. I could not agree more about getting rid of things! I mean, not that I came to that epiphany alone — I was forced into it you know with the whole size change thing. That said — I think you should now go by Real Life Style Icon, Elizabeth! All of these things are so awesome. And I’m so glad you love Target jewelry. True Story: All of my jewelry is from Target. (Well and a few pieces from Banana Republic Outlet because I am cheap and fickle.)

    I think having less stuff makes it easier to get creative with your wardrobe, and really appreciate the pieces you do have (like the blue coat thing.) A more carefully curated wardrobe is so damn effective! On a totally random note — even though Lululemon is so crazy expensive, their hoodies look and feel like a million bucks. So you can still run to Home Depot in style! 🙂 I saved up for one forever (I know that is lame, but I did) and it was WORTH EVERY PENNY. And this comes from someone who makes all of their clothing purchases for Target.

    • Well, I have a pair of their overpriced pants and they are basically magic pants, so I don’t know why I never thought of their hoodies. Do you have a particular one you like?

      • I think I bought the striped “Define” Jacket, but it’s not *technically* a hoodie. I think the Scuba Hoodies are adorable though and it is next on my list. Although I might buy it after summer since it will just go shoved in my closet with all the heat. New Lululemon store opening in 2 weeks on J + 20th 🙂

  7. Ha, I just went to Target this afternoon and bought Tess a jacket but put down the tshirt for me.

    I think button down shirts look so cute pulled together on other people, but when I wear them I feel shlumpy and wrinkled. I have given them up, although I kept two for wearing underneath suits for funerals and or job interviews. The rest I gave away.

    I could wear a-line knit dresses every day of the year if it were warm enough. When I find things I like, I buy one in every color.

  8. Do you ever read whoorl.com? she had a giveaway recently for a really cool jewelry company called 31 bits – the pieces are made by, and proceeds go to, Ugandan women: http://31bits.com/ Not terribly expensive and going towards a good cause. I’m eyeballing a few of the long beaded necklaces…

  9. My newest thing is to peruse the sale accessories section at Tarjay. I got earrings for $2 and a necklace for $5 there last week.

  10. I have started getting rid of almost everything in my closet that I never wear. I just need to start buying nice new stuff to wear instead though.

  11. so. awesome.

    also I now have a burning desire to get myself to the Target jewelry counter as soon as humanly possible. thanks for that.

  12. If you’ve still got a piece or 2 to get rid of It’s All Yoga is having a clothing swap on Saturday, April 21st. All sorts of ladies come, not just bendy, tiny ones – and the more the merrier.

    PS – I am stalking your Wear Fewer TShirts Board. At some point (if I ever get it together) we may very well be twins. Orange and navy is brilliant!

  13. Well, I now officially adore you. Buy more bras? OMG GENIUS. I might even dare to get more undies at the same time – you know, the ones I can actually wear under slacks so I don’t end up on the w*lmart shoppers website for having a bad rear. How much time do I spend scrounging around every morning for *underwear*? You’ve inspired me to action!

  14. For the button down shirt dilema I would suggest buying one that is a little too big and having it tailored. A good tailor can make anything look amazing! You can also ask the tailor to add a small button in the chest area so that the shirt doesn’t have a gap. The tailor may be able to do it in such a way that the extra button doesn’t show.

  15. I need you to come back to Austin and fix my closet cool thanks.

  16. You are so damn inspiring, you know that? I know that’s not why you wrote this post, or anything, but I just thought you should know that so often when I come here and read your words I find myself feeling so full of possibility. So thanks for that.

    And also, thanks for sharing your ideas for making a closet work. I need to work on this myself.

  17. […] have been absolutely inspired as of late by Elizabeth’s attempt to make her wardrobe into a “uniformed” environment. By picking a color palette that she likes and cuts that flatter her, she has a goal of owning very […]

  18. […] it together is hard for me. If you read the internet at all, you’ve probably heard about Elizabeth’s “Wear Fewer T-Shirts” project. I cannot even express how much I looooove this idea. The aforementioned yoga pants are wonderfully […]

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