operation revamp :: the closet, part IX

It’s the end of my first big operation revamp project — I have, I think, successfully turned my closet into something workable and inspiring. What was once a hodge-podge mix of old things, stained thrift store finds and nice but unusable pieces, is now more cohesive. More my style. More fitting to the way life moves right now.

I took my time with the big ticket items on my wish list and ended up finding exactly what I was looking for in some cases. With other items, I got lucky and scored a sale, which is in my opinion where the magic happens in a game like this one. Sometimes, I bit the bullet and paid full-price for something I knew I wanted or needed, and couldn’t “afford” to wait around for. In a few instances – like with a grey crewneck sweatshirt or that Zara moto jacket I referenced in part III – I had to return and wait for my refund to go through.

I did a lot of online shopping in proportion to in-person shopping, and so much of that worked well for me because I stuck with clothing lines where I was familiar with the sizing. There isn’t much by way of shopping where I’m located – although I love my local Marshalls and Dillards – so online shopping was an outlet for my frustration in not being able to find what I was looking for. But, in all things, patience and persistence proved their worth in the end.

A note about the volume of items: I did all of this over a period of two months, with some discretionary income Andrew and I set aside based on my freelance earnings. I’m grateful to have all that I have, including the luxury to buy clothes that help me to feel nice. I know this seems like a lot of stuff, but I’ve also done a lot of giving away and selling-off of old items to make room in my closet and budget.

jackets: (I broke my rule and found more jackets to love.)

one camel canvas moto jacket from Boden
one quilted jacket by Cremieux  (super-sale at Dillards)
one tweed blazer with elbow patches and poppy lining by Cremieux (super-sale at Dillards)


one replacement grey v-neck tee from Target
two gingham shirts from Gap, blue and pink (30% online coupon)
one short-sleeved white blouse from Boden (on sale, and I’ve been eyeing it forever)
one embroidered peasant blouse by Lucky from Marshalls
one quality white tee from Marshalls
one replacement black tank from Marshalls
one silk tank from the 3191 beauty & use collection


one replacement gold swing sweater from Dillards (end-of-season sale)
one replacement black cardigan from Banana Republic (sale)
one red cardigan from Marshalls
one replacement cream open-knit cardigan from Eddie Bauer (coupon!)


one black everyday dress from White House Black Market (sale)
one denim shirtdress from Old Navy (*more about this in a bit)
one cream lace dress from Dillards (end-of-season sale)


classic white Converse
leopard flats by Calvin Klein Jeans (Zappos)
two pair leather wedge sandals, in black and brown (going-out-of-business sale)

I’m pretty proud of myself. I successfully stuck to my list, for the most part, and found many of the items I was looking for. I even found an incredible investment bag that the birthday fairies decided to give to me as an early birthday present. (I am ever-so-grateful.) I still have my eye out for the perfect pair of jeans (who doesn’t?), and I’d like to nail down some quality leather flats in black and brown eventually. I decided to stick with the denim jacket I already had, and I whittled down my v-neck tee collection to a more respectable amount although you may have noticed that I allowed one grey tee back in to replace my much-loved former top. I even did a mini-revamp on my unmentionables, taking inventory of bras and replacing old undies with crisp, bright new ones. Out of everything, that small detail felt the best.

Search though I did, it was difficult to find cute, easy tops to wear for all seasons. Most of what’s popular now is strangely proportioned or made from some sort of plastic-derived material. I’d rather have something that lasts beyond the next wash cycle, which brings me to my point about my Old Navy purchase (*). I don’t mind Old Navy – they have cutesy things and low prices and fun advertising. But I think the quality of their product is sub-par, and I would prefer to spend my money where it will make more of a difference. On a day trip to a nearby town that actually has an Old Navy store, I bought a black-and-white gingham button-up and the denim shirtdress I referenced above. In only one or two washes, the gingham shirt that I had purchased in a half-size too big had already shrunk in strange ways across my chest and along the length of my torso. The shirtdress shrunk in length, too, which was particularly sad because I’d already worn it several times and found it to be about as versatile as a piece of clothing can get. I don’t necessarily regret these purchases because they filled a need for a time, but I sure do wish Old Navy had higher quality products. And if anyone can point out a cute chambray shirtdress that won’t shrink in the wash, I’d be much obliged.

That aside, I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished. Now that I have clothes that I like, that fit me and my life, and that I’m proud of, I’d trying to do my best to actually wear them. I love this article that my mom sent my way — why have we decided that it takes too much time and effort to really get dressed?

So my next challenge is to do my best to turn these new pieces into much-loved, well-worn classics that I’ll be looking to replace, piece-by-piece in the next couple of years. Until then, I will keep paring down those items that are less than inspiring, and enjoy what I have that looks and feels good.

Thank you for following along and for offering so much support and encouragement along the way.


10 thoughts on “operation revamp :: the closet, part IX

  1. Erin: I’ve been enjoying all your blog and I enjoyed your mom’s french fashion article-oui oui! With regards to a search for a good cute shirtdress you might check out the Land’s End catalogue.Good work! Robin

    • Thank you for following along, Robin! I think you have such great style, and it’s so nice that you’ve been adding to the conversation. And I will definitely check out Land’s End.

  2. How lovely! I’m so glad you’ve wrapped your project with satisfying results. 😀

    As for the ON pieces– how unfortunate! We’ve had sort of hit-and-miss luck with ON, though it remains one of Lindi’s favorites, especially. The jeans I have from there fit better than any I’ve ever had, and Lindi’s favorite button-up shirts and chiffon dresses are ON as well. We have also had some unfortunate shrinking/stretching experiences, though, and so always wash in cold water (since I know the clothing won’t last forever) and line-dry anything that merits it. For the shirt dress that shrunk, could you try lengthening it akin to the way this blogger did? http://www.sweet-athena.com/sew-tell-lengthen-a-dress-with-lace/

    • I’m glad you’ve had some good luck with ON — they really have cute stuff! This lace tutorial is adorable and absolutely works, so I may be putting this to good use soon with this and other dresses that are too short for comfort. Thank you, sweet Helen!

  3. Love reading about your progress. A closet of pieces you love that and are well made is so important – you get to look great but spend your energy and time on living without being hung up on what to wear.

    Congrats on getting through this!

  4. operation revamp update: the state of my closet –

  5. operation revamp | marykoselke

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