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I’ve gone on a bit of a Pinterest spree lately. Pinning, pinning, pinning away at stylish ladies and pretty clothes. I might as well be pinning unicorns on my “wish list” board because it’s just as likely that I’d find one at HEB as it is that I’d ever afford the likes of Palermo and Witherspoon, style-wise. But a gal can dream, right?
More than just a frivolous waste of an afternoon, this has been a valuable exercise in deciding what I like and how I want to look. Sometimes it’s difficult to come to grips with reality in the face of an extravagant shopping list, but in the same way it’s also difficult to unravel what we want from what we think we should want, or from what we’re being told to want.
Case in point — Walk into any boutique, any little retail shop in the mall, and you’ll find any combination of these things: pleather, florals, crop-tops, neon, cut-away or sheer everything. I like none of these. In fact, none of these things look good on me. Nor do any aspects fit my personality or my lifestyle (except for the occasional floral print). But every single Urban Outfitters and H&M ad screams at me to jump on the neon train, when I have never nor ever will look attractive in highlighter yellow.
And so, an exercise like my pinning spree – or simply a mindful, attentive stroll through a little clothing store to take note of what you’re drawn to and repelled by – can be very valuable. This is when I start to understand what I value in a piece of clothing. I value construction quality, impeccable fit, fabric, durability and flexibility — i.e., how many times and in how many situations can I wear said item?
Additionally, as you can see from my little style icon roundup, I’m drawn to classics, small patterns, jewel tones, neutrals, tomboy and tough girl details with a feminine edge, simplicity, a rumpled playfulness, a European sensibility with a down-to-earth, everyday wearability.
This means a classic trench, great jeans, a pretty top, and maybe a pair of Converse. Or a gingham shirt with a crewneck sweater, a miniskirt and flats. Or a great blazer over a fun dress.
In this exercise, attention to detail is key. Dissect the whys — why do you like a certain piece? And then dissect the whats — what is it that catches your eye? Eventually, it will pay off when you find exactly what you’re looking for. You’ll know it’s the right insertclothingitemhere because you’ve done the footwork to understand why it’s right and what is right about it. In a way, this is like relationships. It takes going through a couple of really lousy pairs of jeans to fully appreciate and understand The One.
(I promise I value my husband more than I value jeans.)
So far, these small steps to revamp my closet are paying off, little by little. I’m giving things a second chance and phasing out what doesn’t work, and I’m slowly building up my pile of clothes to sell on Poshmark. I’ve acquired a few pieces that I’ve been looking for and crossing those off of my wish list, but mostly I’m still on the prowl for a classic denim jacket and French terry sweatshirt. But one thing I’ve learned from this is that patience is the ultimate virtue and, interestingly enough, the best way to save money in the long run.
How is your personal wardrobe revamp going? Are you making progress, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? I’d love to hear about your style inspirations, and the details that make you the happiest. Do you have any items on your wish list? Let me know, I’m always curious!