In my closet, there are many cardigans. There are many sleeveless tops that I have rarely worn. There are many short-sleeved v-neck tees from Target that get too much wear. There are boots that walk many a mile in the course of a month, and little slippers that barely see the light of day. There are some vintage pieces that really don’t fit into my everyday lifestyle, but they were such great finds that I can’t bear to give them away.
Does this soliloquy sound familiar? Last week I revealed my closet problem and my desire to fix it — this is all a part of my 2013 list of things to do. I’ve been slowly but surely culling items I haven’t worn in a long time, and trying my hardest to restyle and realistically implement other pieces with the mindset of “maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough.” That part is going to take some time. Meanwhile, I’ve identified some gaps in my wardrobe that need filling. It’s my hope that, with the elimination of things that don’t work, and with the addition of some key pieces that I know I will have for a long time, I’ll be able to stretch what wardrobe I have when all is said and done.
One of the best resources I’ve found so far on streamlining and simplifying a wardrobe — for a normal person, no less! — is from Rachel of Small Notebook. Much like my favorite Seventeenth & Irving installment, Rachel has a series of incredible posts on identifying problem areas in a wardrobe, culling, and making the appropriate replacements. Plus she has an adorable no-nonsense flow chart that I think I’m going to print out and keep in my wallet.
Another great tip Rachel shares is to not only make a list of what you’re looking for, but to list what you’re not allowed to buy. For me, this includes: v-neck t-shirts; chunky trendy sweaters; skirts; heels; scarves; anything made of cheap fabric, like polyester; sales for sales’ sake (more on this later) or outerwear, excluding the perfect denim jacket.
And without further ado, my wish list:
1) A patterned button-up (or two): I love classic casual button-up shirts. They can be mixed with nearly anything, from a sequined pencil skirt to a pair of shorts, and exude a tomboyish flair. One of my all-time favorite tops is a soft chambray button-up from Lucky Brand that Andrew bought for my 22nd birthday. I wear it at least once a week, and always bring it with me on trips. Gingham and plaid are great patterns – not too prissy, not too masculine, but just right for everything. (like this or this)
2) Some easy tops: This is not as simple as it seems. I have several nice tops in my closets, but they’re so fussy — they require a certain bra, a certain tank top, a certain covering. That is tiresome and so against the idea of simplicity that I want to achieve. I don’t want more t-shirts – excluding that elusive, perfect white silk- or jersey-blend tee – but instead I’m looking for tops of quality fabric that can be dressed up or down. Ideally, they would be of a high-quality knit blend and have short sleeves so as to work for layering and most seasons. Most blouses I’m finding these days are super trendy, made of that strange chiffon-y polyester, cut to fix a box, and studded with some sort of garish collar or embellishment. No thanks. The search continues. (like this or this)
3) A classic, dark-wash denim jacket: This can work for everyone, for every season, for years. I had one growing up that I wore to pieces and finally outgrew. I’d like another, please. (like this or this)
4) A few pairs of flats: I have no flats left in my closet — I have worn them all out. I wore my trusty leopard print flats a few weeks back and they tore my feet to shreds, and so, albeit reluctantly, I took them to the thrift store. Flats are so versatile, and I’d like to be able to invest in some with quality construction that will last and will be nice to my feet. Ideally, I want to find a good brown leather pair, a black leather pair, and a leopard print pair. (like these)
5) A new billfold and, eventually, nice leather purse: The billfold I currently have is kind of broken, so this is more about function than form. But it’s still about streamlining and, also important, feeling like an adult. I’d like a grown-up billfold and a grown-up purse, but I may need to wait until I have more of a grown-up paycheck to do that. (like this)
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With this list in mind, I am in no hurry. I am looking for “the” piece and I won’t settle — plus, there’s no harm in working to creatively mix what I already have and stash some cash in the meantime.
Eventually, I’d like to phase out the things that I have for higher quality staples once they wear out. For now, the sweaters and boots and jeans I have are good and they work for me. I am grateful for this. Additionally, I have my eye out for a cool motorcycle jacket – something slim and cropped and not leather – and I would also really like to buy a classic trenchcoat. All of my years of journalist training must require me to wear one. Plus, I spent my childhood dreaming that I was Nancy Drew, and if anyone should have a trenchcoat, she would.
Do you have any pieces you’ve been dreaming of adding to your wardrobe? What’s on your wish list? Let me know, I’m always curious!