Friday, March 4, 2011

Planning Purchases For My Wardrobe

It's not even 8:30, I'm sitting at Starbucks, the sun streaming in as it bounces off of the shopping center parking lot outside.  Shopping centers, places where too many people buy too many things they don't need.  I've become quite annoyed with the consumerism I see every day, where people shop not for something they need or even really love, but to try and fill a void, to find a distraction, to look like everyone else.  I've fallen in that trap before and found it leads no where good.
 Emma Watson in one of the most awesome spiked trench coats!

So I was thrilled when Rebekah did a series about planning for a wardrobe, using a database concept.  I actually ended up doing this for myself one day while waiting around for G.  I thought long and hard about the sorts of clothing I really love, what looks best on me, what brings out the personality I prefer.  After discussing it with the husband, I decided that the best way to describe my style was Feminine European with an Edgy Rock 'n' Roll Twist.  Taking that knowledge, I'm working on going through things I pulled from magazines, images I've saved from online, and compiling a wardrobe binder.  I do this for our home, so it makes sense to do it for my closet as well.  In doing so it really helps you see what you love, and then think about whether or not it will work for you.
Not necessarily a fan of the actress, but this outfit is splendid!

Because here's the thing with me, my dream "uniform" that if I could I would wear every day would be fluffy, flouncy cocktail dresses in bright jewel tones (this is where my bohemian leanings come into play) with Louboutins and a leather biker jacket.  I would curl my hair into some more volume, smudge my eyes and go about life as if I'm moving from one glass of champagne to another.  However, for the day to day, that is wholly unrealistic for me! 
Love Undergarments from Agent Provocateur.

So I did as Rebekah suggested and typed up a list of everything for this wardrobe of mine, including pieces I already own and pieces I'd like to own.  I need to look over it and check to make sure I haven't left anything off, but I was pretty thorough.  From smaller diamond studs and sheer nude matching undergarments to a trench coach and a spiked leather bag.  I let G look over it, and he agreed the list was completely "me," and more so, the best version of "me," where he sees me at my happiest.  Knowing I was on the right track, I continued. 
Picture this in black, J.Crew perfect fit scoop neck tees.

I've begun prioritizing the items I need to purchase, either in addition to what I already own, or as replacements (my black t-shirt type tops nearly all need to be replaced).  I first begin researching good quality items, reading reviews, asking those I trust about this.  Then I start to list the order or importance on buying these items, and how quickly I think I can obtain them.  For instance, black leather flats are first on my list, because I desperately need new ones.  But the undergarments, new jeans, and Burberry trench coat are having to wait until later this summer/fall.  I'm spending this time learning better eating and moving about habits, so that once the weight is off I can easily maintain it, thereby making my purchases good investments.  (and in doing so, I'm saving money, which I will use for the planned purchases!)
I know that this sounds like it's too easy, and it is.  As in, perfectly easy!  I really had my doubts, but in the last few weeks, when shopping, I've found it so easy to say no.  No to the item I don't need.  No to the item on my list that doesn't look great.  No to the cheaper version.  Sure my current dream handbag is a huge chunk of change, but G has told me if I can put away the money, I can get it (it's spiked and gorgeous and we joke that it could literally fend off a mugger...and we're serious).  I thought there was no way this will work, but it's saved me so much money from unnecessary spending these last few weeks!  So I'm using this system not just for my wardrobe, but for my bath/beauty items and home items. 
The big items on my list to save for include items like the Burberry trench coat, dark wash J Brand jeans (they look awesome on me), Frye boots, leopard print heels, and warm, soft, oversized cashmere sweaters.  I found one that is both striped and off the shoulder and I'm trying to figure out the brand's sizing.  It would kill 3 things on the list in one go!  (cashmere, striped, off shoulder)  I'm also trying to decide whether or not I want to save and splurge on the Aegean necklace from Tiffany.  I've tried it on a handful of times, it looks perfect, but it's a decent down payment on a car.  Hmm.  So right now I'm looking into what I would wear it with, how often, and doing a cost analysis.  In the end, I want to be completely in love with every item in my closet.  If that means I have to build very slowly, so be it.  I'd rather have a couple pairs of jeans I adore than 5 so-so pairs.  I'd rather have only a half dozen sets of undergarments than a dresser full of pieces that don't do their job as well as they should.  And I'd rather have a few great pieces of jewelry than enough to open my own store. 
If you could save for one major item in your closet, what would it be?  And have I convinced you to go ahead and do just that?


  1. Totally LOVE this post Kalee! It made me want to realign and re-evaluate my closet!

  2. What is one thing I would love to save for?

    I really don't know. I have things that on that list for my home but nothing on my list for my wardrobe.

    Have you convinced me to go ahead and do just that?

    No. And this is my reason. And, I hope it doesn't come off wrong because this is ALL me and not an ounce of judging towards you. <3

    I like nice things. I love nice things. I love to wrap myself in luxury but there is a price tag on that that I can't justify at this point in my life. I grew up in South Texas, surrounded by debutantes and society parties and regular formal affairs and kids driving $30,000 cars and where clothing meant everything. I left that lifestyle and for years I teetered back and forth trying to figure it all out for myself.

    It turns out, as much as I like that stuff - I like who I am when I'm not caught up in it more.

    I really want to be a good steward of the gifts God has given us and though I am not always - I try to be mindful of it.

    An example would be that I could spend $2oo on a pair of jeans or I could spend $50 on a season full of carefully picked second hand items that work for me. I find myself feeling like a better steward if I do the latter.

    My clothes aren't my focus right now. If I were to pay full price for something from Lands End I would consider that a huge splurge. It would be a difficult thing for me to do but if money were no object I'd probably still wait until that stuff went on sale with free shipping.

    It isn't that I couldn't pinch pennies to make it happen but more that I can't bring myself to spend the money.

    I am sort of working through a similar thing as you are with household things. I have a detailed list of vintage items I want to find and I'll buy them slowly. I want to love all the things in my home because for the first time I feel like I know what I like and what my style is.

    It took me 34 years to figure that out. Last year I pulled out my file of all the pictures I clipped from magazines over the years and realized I love worn out, primitive things. I love old pieces with character and a story to tell. I love wood and bold colors. I love flowers and wallpaper too.

    I think what you are doing is cool and you are going about it responsibly. My only thought is that I had a lot of expensive silk tops until I had kids and slowly they all died from kid stuff. Spit up and vomit and blown-out diapers and life took them all from me. There is a reason most moms dress like moms. After you've ruined a few of your precious satin blouses and a $300 dress you might realize there is a practicality for $20 cotton shirts that are replaceable. *wink*

  3. Fabulous post. I wanted to do this and got sidetracked. I'm vowing to make my list and start planning. It's a fun project if you are a planner and perpetual list maker!

  4. I am so proud of you! This was the biggest compliment to me -- that one of my blog posts is useful to someone else. I am currently evaluating my wardrobe choices for late spring/summer for the new town I am living in (Austin, TX). It is VERY different from the Seattle climate, and so I am stepping carefully into what I can wear that is chic during the summer (hence my maxi dress post). When I complete my analysis, I'll blog about it.

    Currently, my big wardrobe purchase is a luxury watch from either Cartier or Omega, and some Tiffany earrings. I've been scraping money together to add to my savings account, and I should be able to make my purchases in time for my birthday (six months from now).

    It's nice to be focused, isn't it?

    Oh, and I LOVE the images you've selected for yourself. That edgy European image works well for your body type and coloring.

    You can probably incorporate a little cocktail action into your everyday dress with a slightly above knee full skirt and fitted bodice - maybe a v-neck T and a round skirt?

  5. Ahhh, i do this as well with everything. I've had a list of items i want in my wardrobe for years and i'm slowly buying off that. I also had a similar list for my new apartment 6 months before i moved in. I find that making lists helps me become more accountable with my finances and i'm less of a mindless shopper for it.

    The only thing i'm saving to splurge on is a Burberry mens wristwatch because i love chunky watches but that will wait till next year :)

    xoxo Hermine