Friday ReBlog & My 10×10 Wardrobe Challenge

I think I’ve mentioned the 10×10 Wardrobe Challenge before; it’s the brainchild of Lee from Style Bee but I found out about it through Caroline at Un-Fancy. Starting on Monday they’ll be teaming up for a spring 10×10 wardrobe remix and I’m playing along. You can, too!

What’s a 10×10? Both of the links above explain in more detail (and have helpful tips and examples!), but basically you pick 10 pieces from your wardrobe and wear nothing but those items for 10 days.

There aren’t super strict rules – you can count shoes in your 10 or not; you can do 10 straight days or two work weeks; if you have a special event during the 10 days you can leave your formal outfit out of the 10; etc. The point isn’t rules for their own sake, but limitations that spark creativity. Creating 10 different outfits out of only 10 pieces will likely produce new combinations you’ve never thought of, give you new insights into your style preferences and wardrobe versatility, and assuage some of your “I have nothing to wear” and “I need to go shopping” feelings.

Today I’ll share my goals for the challenge, the parameters I’m following, and the 10 pieces I’m including. Next week and the week after I’ll feature shots of how I put them together as outfits. And I’ll follow all that with a post on what I learned. Teaser: I may have had my biggest epiphany of the whole process before I’ve even started!

A tip before you get started: check the 10-day forecast and try to cover all eventualities with layering. My temps will (likely) run from the 50s to the 80s every day so I’m aiming for lightweight long sleeved blouses with a blazer/spring coat for early mornings and AC.

The Goals
I really like the general types of clothes in my closet (slim pants, pencil skirts, etc.) and feel like my wardrobe is already very mix-able, so I’m not looking to discover radically new combinations or silhouettes. What I would like to do is get over the hump with a few pieces I’ve been excited to try out but just haven’t worn yet. Do you ever have that problem in your closet or, say, with a new recipe or a new book? You know you want to incorporate it into your life but until you put it on/cook it/crack it open for the first time, it feels easier to go with tried and true favorites. I’m gonna just go for it with some new pieces that have been sitting on the bench for too long and see how they do.

I also want to challenge myself to post legitimate outfit posts every day for two work weeks. So far I haven’t found a camera set up/photo op time that consistently works for me, which means I haven’t used my Lenten thrifting hiatus to share more outfits/how-I-styled-it posts with you like I wanted to. This challenge is a good excuse to change that.

The “Rules”
Like Caroline’s, my remix will run next Monday through Friday and the Monday through Friday after that so I can focus on my work wardrobe. Although both Lee and Caroline count shoes in their 10, I won’t because I only ever wear the same two or three pairs of warm-weather work shoes that go with everything (you can see them in my spring wardrobe; click the link below) and I don’t think I’ll learn anything new from including them.
Also, accessories definitely don’t get counted in my 10. :)

The Players
All from my spring wardrobe.

Four blouses:
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Banana Republic; Chico’s; Forever 21; Banana Republic Heritage. 

I’ve only worn the muted red BR shirt once; including it will give me a few more test drives to figure out how to style it. I want to find out if the Chico’s top feels too casual for work with its lovely light cotton and tie neck. And I broke the BR leopard print in during cooler weather so I want to deliberately pair it with skirts to get myself out of the mindset that its darker colors belong in fall/winter.

Two skirts:
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Ann Taylor; J. Crew

I haven’t worn the white one yet at all since I tend to associate all-white clothes with hot weather, but I want to find out if it’s a keeper. It’s labeled two sizes larger than I normally wear but is actually tighter fitting than I’m used to; I’m guessing it shrunk in the dryer, which also explains why the lining is peeking out the bottom. I’m on the fence and need to give it a few good wears to decide.

One pant:
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Vince Camuto

One dress:
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H&M

Haven’t worn this puppy yet; it has interesting structural details I’m a little unsure about (aka weirdness in the chest), so I’m excited to see how I like wearing it.

Two finishing layers:
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Arthur S. Levine; Merona

I definitely won’t need these when it hits 80 outside, but my office runs cool and mornings will still be brisk.

Have you ever done a 10×10 (or similar) challenge?  Want to join in on the fun? Check Un-Fancy today for the hashtag to share your outfits on Instagram, or just document your challenge for yourself – you may be surprised by what you learn!

 

Spring Wardrobe

Since I broke up with (strict) capsule wardrobes last summer, this post does not contain every. single. piece. of clothing I will wear for the next few months; but it’s pretty close! My goal with a seasonal wardrobe like this is to have a curated closet full of things I love to wear that play well with one another; you’ll see that idea reflected in the color palette, style, and limited number of clothes shown below.

So here’s what I’m working with for work outfits this spring – a glorious season of never-ending flowers and pollen dust when the Atlanta temps can go from 50s up into the 80s on any given day. I’m really proud that I got good photos of (almost) everything this time around, so you’re getting full-sized pics.  Enjoy! :)

PS For anyone new to the blog – everything below is thrifted except my sandals (marked “retail”).

Tops 
I’m going to list all my long-sleeved lightweight tops here and all my short-sleeved/sleeveless tops in my summer wardrobe, knowing that I’ll likely move back and forth between the two as the weather changes.

IMG_5563 IMG_5564 IMG_5572IMG_5565 IMG_5566 IMG_5562IMG_5567 IMG_5568 IMG_5569 IMG_5570 IMG_5571IMG_5600  Red/pink/white floral – no label; muted red linen/cotton button down – Banana Republic; coral/blue/white popover – Dolan; peach leopard print – Forever 21; white popover – Old Navy; grey polka dot – Loft; emroibered cotton popover – Lucky Brand; white with blue floral tunic – Chico’s; tropical popover – Loft; blue/turquoise/yellow floral – Land’s End; cerulean snakeprint popover – no label; leopard print – Banana Republic heritage (straight out of wash and thus wrinkly!)

Jackets/Blazers/Cardigans

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navy blue blazer – Charlotte Russe; pink/blue marled blazer – Cartonnier; grey marled blazer – Merona; white denim jacket- J. Crew; navy dress coat – Arthur S. Levine; white/gold chrysanthemum cardigan – Isaac Mizrahi Live!; blue pattern wool cardigan – Talbots 

 

Pants

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I hope to add some dressier navy pants like the Vince Camutos above, but I’ll have to wait ’til after Easter when my thrift fast is done.

 

Skirts
I have really been in skirt-wearing mode lately so just squint and pretend these have all been freshly laundered…

IMG_5585 IMG_5588 IMG_5584Taupe – H&M; navy – J. Crew; white – Ann Taylor

I had a camel skirt too but guess what?  I hate camel. (Somebody remind me of this next time I try to get a camel skirt!) Also it was too big.

 

Dresses
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Caramel shirt dress – New York & Co.;  blue long-sleeve – Land’s End; turquoise/pattern colorblock dress – vintage; orange creamsicle sheath – Ann Klein; white sheath – H&M; blue sheath – Ann Taylor

That vintage dress feels a little more special occasion to me than every day; but I plan to wear it to work occasionally so I included it.

 

Shoes
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Clarks sandals (retail); Bandolino wedges (more about these here); Champagne flats (more here); Floral sneaks (more here)

 

That’s it! I’ll likely have a few tweaks/edits/additions along the way which I will share when I’m getting ready to transition into full-on summer wardrobe in a month or two (spring is short here!).

What do you think of my spring wardrobe?  What’s yours looking like this year?  Scroll down to comment!

 

Winter Wardrobe Recap

I haven’t had much time for reading blogs this week so instead of a Friday ReBlog I’ve got a brief winter wardrobe recap before taking a look next week at what I have planned for spring.

Tops
Remember how I thought I’d be all into turtlenecks? The best laid plans of mice and thrifters… I wore turtlenecks sparingly, opting instead for sweaters or thinner shirts under blazers/cardigans. (Well, one of those sweaters was a turtleneck, so I guess that counts:)

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I didn’t wear this puppy at ALL but I still really like it, so I’m tucking it away in my box of classics until I’m ready for it to come back into the lineup:
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(You may recall that’s also where my sailor pants are living. Yes I know they’re back in style now but I seem to have a hard-headed allergy to wearing trends when they’re, you know, trendy:)
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Pants
I converted to all corduroy pants (plus one pair of jeans) and was very happy with the results, particularly after I added some color to the mix.

The hands-down faves for both color and fit – that off-white color (bleached out here a bit) is just so classy for winter:
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The best colorful addition – surprisingly versatile!
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The one I felt “meh” about by the end of the season:
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I got sick of the color and need a break from these to see if I get excited about them again next winter.  If not, I’ll look for a replacement that’s a different take on the red/berry/burgundy family and a bit longer. Those hems are SHORT and I got a bit tired of styling around them.

 

Blazers
For the first time I made blazers (instead of cardigans) a major part of my winter style. I let go a couple of neutrals that weren’t serving me well (camel and a fuzz-attracting navy) and let myself go wild with color and pattern, paring it back down by the end of the season to what I reached for over and over:

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I added a vest for leisure wear and loved how snuggly it was:wp_20170107_14_04_40_pro-1

Dresses
I was too enamored of my new corduroy pants collection to reach for my dresses all that often. I did, however, embrace layering warm-weather dresses, though, as part of falling head-over-heels for caramel and red:
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I have a few dresses about which I need to make decisions.
Pockets always pooch out; give away or cut ’em off and sew ’em up?
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SUCH a good shape, cut, color, thickness; but lining is all wonky (tailor fix?) and it’s too short to wear without leggings:
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Shoes
Still loving my snakeprint ankle boots, bronze flats, and Pumas:
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On the fence about my Coach cognac riding boots. I need inserts to make them not so flat-footed and therefore hard to walk in, and I’m still not sold on the width:
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And that’s the general gist of how things went this winter. Excited to put it all to the side in my closet to make way for spring things!  Next week I’ll share what I’ve tossed from my winter wardrobe (as well as a few things that didn’t make the cut for my upcoming spring wardrobe).

 

My Current Winter Wardrobe

I started out my winter wardrobe with a color palette of navy, cream, grey, and touches of gold and blush pink.  3 months in, I’ve added some more color (thank goodness!), my pants have multiplied like rabbits, and I’ve axed the blush pink and some pieces I wasn’t wearing.  Let’s take a look!

Tops

Still on the team:
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From top left: Merona, Ambiance, Japna, Coldwater Creek, Piazza Sempione, Meadow Rue, Pull & Bear

The standouts in this category have been the velvet floral (above) and the leopard print (below).  No surprise there, I can’t say no to delicious patterns and textures.

Although I had previously proclaimed that this would be the Year of the Turtleneck, I’ve only strated wearing them recently as layers for the cold because I’ve had such fun with my sweaters.  I also haven’t worn the blue/taupe plaid at all, except for our trip to Michigan, but I still love the pattern.  I wore it every weekend last winter so it may just need a rest.

For the sake of transparency, I gave the exact Swiss dot tunic pictured above (first pic) to a friend because it was just too small, and thrifted the same thing in a shirt version, one size up.

Note to self: wear the Pull & Bear chain top more or out it goes!

New Recruits:
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I’ve behaved myself fairly well in this category – just one addition, this leopard print shirt by Banana Republic, which I LOVE. Pats self on back. Expect to see this well into spring/summer.

Axed:
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The left top, by Banana Repbulic, was too structured and scratchy.  You can read about axing the Madewell shirt here.

Relegated to workout/loungewear
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This Faded Glory turltneck is a great color but, true to its name, its glory has faded a little too much.  It had a couple holes and I like my turtleneck sweater, below, better.

 

Sweaters

Still on the team:
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From top left: Gap, Liz Claiborne, Liz Claiborne, Mossimo, Loft, French Connection, Express

The stars here have been the new-with-tags navy turtleneck sweater (so delicious and so chic) and the gold-trimmed cream v-neck (my holiday go-to).

I love the two-tone oversized sweater but I don’t love the oversize-over-flares look that I get when I pair it with my new jeans. I think I’ll slim those down (see below).

The athleisure Mossimo sweatshirt I thought about scrapping has earned its place as my weekend staple, just not for work. And I’ve recommitted to the robin’s egg blue zipper detail sweater (last pic) since recently discovering it’s great on its own (not with a layer underneath).

I haven’t worn my snow leopard (a favorite last year) or the cowl neck much (at all?) even though I still like both of them, in theory.  Is this a sign that I have…gasp…too many sweaters?!  I may tuck them away for next year and see if they feel fresh in 10-12 months.

 

New recruits:
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J. Crew, Joan Vass, Gap Designed & Thrifted

Read all about the first two here and here.  The third is VERY soft, short sleeved, and has a split hem, all of which I like.  But it also makes me feel like a millenial style blogger who wears nothing but expensive, organic neutrals.  Since I have so many sweaters, I’m waiting to see if I wear it enough to justify keeping it.

Axed:
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Forever 21

SO soft, but just too washed out for my newly warmed up, colorful wardrobe.  Kinda sad about it, but someone else will love it.

 

Toppers

Still on the team:
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Old Navy, Loft, Haberdashery Collection by Personal

I have worn the heck out of the first two.  The third I put through the washing machine and still haven’t ironed. :/  I’m feeling lazy/guilty about that since I probably should have just combed/brushed it…but it collects hair and fluff really easily and I’d love a navy velvet blazer in its place, so maybe I’ll just donate it.

Made a comeback:
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This merino cardigan by Talbots was sitting out this season until I suddenly had an urge to pair it with my Swiss dot button down.

New recruits:
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Merona, Isaac Mizrahi Live!, Kate Hill, Old Navy

I LOVE the plaid – so funky, unexpectedly goes with a lot of my wardrobe – and the red – it’s a wool/cashmere blend and is so soft and the cut is <insert A-okay or 100 emoji here>.  The snakeskin… well, I still feel kind of tacky wearing it.  But it’s almost sweatshirt-like and goes with a lot of what I have, so I’m committed to wearing it more to see if I can learn to love it.

Post to come on the vest!

Axed:
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Merona
You can read about our breakup here.

Relegated to spring wardrobe (for the most part):
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Cartonnier
I LOVE this blazer; the colors just go better with my spring/summer wardrobe.  But it’ll probably make an occasional cameo, thusly.

 

Pants
Remember my core silhouette (skim over slim) vs. my fringe silhouette (fitted over flare) – core being what I mostly wear, fringe being my alternate? (More about core vs. fringe here.)  I’ve divided my pants up accordingly.

Still on the team – slim:
img_4472 img_4470 img_4266
Banana Republic, Lauren Ralph Lauren Jeans, Chico’s

Love these, going strong.  Got the waist on the cream pants taken in a bit so I didn’t have to hike them up all the time.  And I wear the Chico’s skinnies (with an elastic waistband!) pretty exclusively on the weekends since they read so casual.

New recruits – slim:
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Jessica Simpson, Style & Co., Gap

Love the first two; love the third but they’re pretty darn lowrise.  Looking for a thrift upgrade so I don’t have to worry about exposing my backside to the world.

New recruits – flare:
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I’m keeping the caramel velveteen as they are since I’ll wear them mostly with slimmer tops, but I’ve taken the jeans to the tailor to have the legs tapered.  (I know, I know, y’all encouraged me not to, but I have passed over them too many times for having not as formal/chic a silhouette as I wanted.  These babies deserve to be worn!)

Relegated to spring/summer (left) or to storage ’til I love them again (right):
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Uniqlo, Old Navy

 

Dresses 

Still on the team:
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Merona, Land’s End, Merona, Jacqueline Ferrar, George

I haven’t worn my off-white sheath or my leopard much.  In fact, haven’t worn many dresses at ALL because I am so enjoying my new pants.  A happy problem to have.

Two new recruits meant for summer but which, when layered, also play well with winter:

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Talbots, Jones New York

You can read about my red & caramel love affair here (same as links above).

 

Coat stayed the same – although it doesn’t look quite this fresh and is in need of some de-pilling:
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J. Crew

I did add some cold weather accessories:

6tag_241216-123751No label

 

There it is!

Looking over everything: wow, I like blue.

Overall, I am happy to claim victory over the winter wardrobe revamp pickle in which I found myself 8 months ago.  To wit: I have found a core winter silhouette I love – slim pants with skimming sweater on top; and some great fringe options – dress over leggings, turtleneck with big thick cardigan.  I thrill to get dressed in the morning instead of floundering around with too many disparate pieces and incohesive outlines.  Yippee!

Also, I have PLENTY of things for the rest of our (very short) winter.   Not counting gloves/hat, pieces I’ve barely worn but haven’t put away, and pieces that are primarily for warm weather, I have about 35 solidly “winter” pieces.  Even though that’s right in line with a lot of minimalist wardrobe recommendations (e.g. Project 333), it feels kind of overwhelming to look at them all laid out like this.

I’m no longer trying to create a silhouette I love or fill holes, so I expect to keep this wardrobe relatively static through the end of this winter, when I’ll refine things a bit and donate some pieces I’m not excited about keeping around for next year.  I pledge to be satisfied with what I have, but not so stingy that something delicious won’t sneak its way in…

 

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


Congrats if you made it to the end of this post; I hope it was informative, or at least entertaining!  What are your winter wardrobes looking like these days?  Scroll down to comment.

 

Fall Closet Clean Out

I mentioned in a recent post that I had been making room for new thrift finds by chucking some things that weren’t getting worn.  Since we all love a good closet clean out, I figured I’d give you the run down.

First up: Coral Loft dress.  This baby got a lot of high fives on Instagram (below), but it gapped in the shoulder blade area, the fabric was stiff and draped more like an A-line than a sheath, and it cut under the armpits just a bit.  I didn’t thrill to put it on and that’s all that matters.  I’ll keep an eye out for a true sheath in a similar color since it looked so great with my blue patterned cardigan and with my fresh white denim jacket.

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

Next: when something is so right on paper…  My two-toned striped tee by Madewell.  This had it all: colors in my color palette, an exposed zipper on the back, my favorite sleeve length.  I thought I would wear the heck out of this, but I’ve only reached for it once (pictured below).  Why?  It was a little too casual for work and a little too fitted for the weekend.  And it was two different tones of blue in a wardrobe that already had a lot of blue in it.  I don’t need to be THAT monochrome.

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

Two textured tees from last year – one of which I wore a lot but which just feels too frilly for my style (blush lace overlay tee by Loft) and one which felt like something I should wear on dates, not to work (sheer polkadot sweetheart tee by H&M):

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

I was on the fence about both of these but then realized they weren’t getting worn and someone else would find JOY in them instead of me holding on to them in lukewarm fashion.  Passed ’em on to a friend (more on how to do that here.)

 

Old jeans: I wrote about this here.  I realize the below silhouette fits the on trend “boyfriend jeans” look, but although I like that look, I don’t have a particular interest in creating it on myself…maybe because I’ve spent the last several years wearing these jeans and it doesn’t feel fresh to me anymore.  I *might* keep these for things like Habitat for Humanity work days or hiking in cool weather, but I could probably just as easily go buy a “new” pair of Dickies at the Goodwill that have a higher rise and thus involve less risk of crack.

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Palm print maxi dress: I was ambivalent about this even the one time I wore it and have not worn it since.  If I could magically have made that sheer palm print into a top (without paying the tailor a fortune), I would’ve.  But instead I left it intact for someone to find it who will fall for it just as hard but who will actually wear it.  (And spotted it back on the rack at the Goodwill!)

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Camel blazer: as I posted here, I ditched this puppy in favor of two statement blazers (one of which is the same brand/style but a better size and more visually interesting).  Haven’t missed it yet.

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What have you cleaned out lately?

 

 

The 2 Best Things I Got from Capsule Wardrobes – and Why I’m Breaking up with Them

Breaking Up (3)

 

Well, “breaking up” is a rather overdramatic way to put it.

But last week I caught up on Caroline’s post at Un-Fancy on moving away from capsules and it put into words some frustrations with the capsule wardrobe concept that had been swimming in my head for awhile but that I hadn’t been able to articulate. Continue reading “The 2 Best Things I Got from Capsule Wardrobes – and Why I’m Breaking up with Them”

Friday ReBlog: Capsule Closet Tumblr

Lo at Capsule Closet on Tumblr has created a visual diary of her capsule clothing experiments using clean, well-laid-out graphics that will give the visual thinkers among us great capsule wardrobe inspiration.  Her style is self-described “minimalist tomboy” but, as with many capsule blogs, the conceptual thinking behind how she combines pieces to create outfits and build a wardrobe is applicable across any style genre.

Other great features?  She assembles regular Weekend Links to help you get to know new ethical brands and find your next style blog crush.

And – this is so cool – she’ll take a retail item that’s hot in style blogs right now (e.g. Madewell flare jeans) and compile half a dozen or more ethical alternatives at different price points.  Great place to start an ethical clothes journey, one piece at a time.

 

Enjoy!

 

Restyling an Off-Season Wardrobe

Copy of Winter capsule wardrobe (4)

I wrote last week about why I like thrifting garments off-season: it gives me several months’ breathing room to mull over my wardrobe, figure out what worked/didn’t and where the holes are, and assemble what I want in the lineup for next season.

Thrift shops make this relaxed, thoughtful process possible because they have all seasons of clothing available all year ’round instead of for just 2 weeks before everything good is sold out (thanks retail stores).

Since it’s almost May, that means I’m currently thinking about my winter wardrobe.  (Not that I’m not excited about spring/summer clothes…I was thrilled to break out my first short-sleeved work top and dress last week.)

This may seem counter-intuitive, but the juxtaposition actually helped me get a handle on what in my winter closet needs fixing. Continue reading “Restyling an Off-Season Wardrobe”