Wardrobe Wizard

3:04 PM

I was an adult who owned almost no clothes that fit her. I safety-pinned every waistline. I had no sense of size or style in my younger years, and had accrued a mass of unflattering size 8 clothes that I strategically left behind for my sisters. (They had the good sense to give away most of my hand-me-downs.) The clothes that did fit or look nice didn't match with anything else I owned.

Needless to say, I borrowed other people's clothes for most of my life. 

No more! I decided to take fashion in my own hands and put together a killer wardrobe. 

Game Plan

I devoured Audrey's Putting Me Together, a blog chock full of tips for creating a remixable wardrobe

Wardrobe Overhaul

I first dumped every drawer, storage bin, and hanger onto the floor, just like I'd read in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Item by item, I discarded stuff I didn't want: trash, Goodwill, or resell. It's ridiculous how attached I was to things that brought me neither joy nor practicality -- holey boots that got soaked every time I walked across wet grass, homemade camp t-shirts too see-through to wear, dresses three sizes too big.

I ended up discarding 80%-90% of my wardrobe. I had no clothes left -- but at least I had lots of empty skirt hangers! (That never happens.) 

I chickened out of actually reselling my clothes. They're currently lying in pile, picked over by my sisters. If I can make it through a semester of college without missing them, the whole pile will go. I promise?

Style File

Thanks to Pinterest, I put together a style board based on my colors -- pastel pink, pastel yellow, and gray for spring/summer, and brown and cream tones for fall/winter. Turns out I'm obsessed with black-and-white stripes, maxi skirts, big sweaters, skinny jeans, and long necklaces. Can you tell I'm a college girl?


Speaking of which, I made sure to factor in my lifestyle with my fashion style. That's why I was so drawn to skinny jeans and big sweaters -- those sound comfy and warm for the eternal Michigan winter. Also, I needed pencil skirts and formal dresses for work and class. 

(I just realized that I may not be needing formal clothes anymore after I graduate and work from home and get pregnant and -- never mind.)

Bare Necessities

I bought two solid camisoles that paired with my cardigans. They make mixing so much easier. Camis are staples. Get some. 

Another necessity? Necklaces. A gold strand dresses up my little black dress (which is another absolute necessity), and a statement necklace in my color pulls an outfit together like snap. 

Hitting Up the Mall

Don't. They have nothing. Three wasted hours. . . .

Hardcore Shopping

I spent three hours in a Goodwill outside of Milwaukee -- three glorious hours full of the cutest clothes ever. Pro-tip: Shop at a Goodwill in a well-off neighborhood. I got designer clothing (wait, is Loft designer clothing?) for $5. All in all, my huge bag of cute clothes came out to $90. 

My shopping parameters were as follows:

- Look only for my colors. (This makes browsing incredibly fast.) 
- Look only for my style.
- Look only for my size.
- An article of clothing must go with two or three staples I already own. 
- Don't get anything unless I absolutely love it.

The first rule got slightly bent when it came to dresses because I am not passing up a robin's egg blue dress that makes me feel like a modern Cinderella. (It's a complicated but real psychological state. You'll understand someday when you see that special dress.)

Hanging Things Up

My skirt hangers are full again, so I failed to accomplish my downsizing goal. That's the one con.

But the pros? Everything I own fits, looks flattering, and mixes with the rest of my wardrobe. It's efficient, stylish, and a huge boost to my sense of adult self. . .even if that adult self wears pink skinny jeans.


Does your wardrobe need a makeover?

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15 impressions

  1. Love this post!! Thanks for sharing your wardrobe makeover tips. This was perfect timing since my frantic "do-I-have-anything-that-matches" search generally happens during season changes ;)

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it! Good luck with matching! :D

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  2. I shop at the thrift store all the time. I'm not even in a wealthy neighborhood, but I've gotten some really nice name brand stuff for $5. Crazy!
    My favorite skirt came from the thrift store. Only sad thing is, I've never found one that I like as much, so I wear it all the time ... and hate when I have to put it in the washer. Yeah, I've got other skirts I like, but not as much as this one (which I'm wearing now). It's black, so it goes with literally everything (I've even gone to church on Wednesday night in it, once in a while) and it's comfy, and it has pockets, and it's pleated, and it has elastic only at the back (I hate skirts with elastic all the way 'round) and it's 100% cotton (a must in Florida; synthetics are awful in the heat).
    OK, enough gushing about my skirt, lol. I've found lots of other nice things at the thrift store, including a lovely green dress that probably would have cost upwards of $50, but I got it for $7.
    I guess I need to make over my wardrobe, though. I have quite a few things that I bought, liked at first, but never actually wore once I realized they weren't as comfortable as they'd seemed for a minute in the dressing room.
    Oh, and skirt hangers? What even is a skirt hanger? LOL I never have a spare one it seems like.

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    1. Your skirt sounds PERFECT. I got some cute, pleated, elastic-only-on-the-back skirts too. You must be a better shopper than I, because I never find anything nice at my town's thrift stores. :D

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  3. Bailey, this is awesome! I must say you do look older (and *cough* not home-schooler*) in that pic at the end- you look lovely!

    For myself, trying to create my own wardrobe that looks mature and stylish has been long and hard and I'm still not there! Once I have a job again (which will hopefully be soon!) I want to do a similar thing as you have done. (I always joke that I need to have my wardrobe perfect before I get married, whenever that is, because I'm sure I won't probably have money to worry abt that afterwards. So this is the perfect time, haha.) I know I've wasted money in the long run, buying clothes that I likes for a short time and then decided didn't actually fit either myself or my sense of style. Honestly, though, I don't regret it because those were baby steps carrying me from my former "cute, homeschool girl look" to mature, classy adult look (still working on looking as good as that sounds! ;). Your post here gives me the motivation I need to keep working on that. :)

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    1. Wow, thank you! I totally relate to your wardrobe woes -- especially the "baby steps" of buying things I ended up discarding. What helped me was reading a lot on style essentials, particularly Audrey's blog "Putting Myself Together." If you haven't browsed her blog, I highly HIGHLY recommend it. She went from our position ("Style? What's style?") to teaching others about putting together outfits. She's so down-to-earth. And definitely make yourself a Pinterest board -- you have no price tags, so you're free to browse solely on style. I didn't really feel confident on what I liked and disliked until I made that style board!

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  4. I'd like to see the Cinderella dress!!

    And, oh my gosh (!!!), You got pink skinny jeans!!!! Pics, please!!!

    You look so gorgeous in that last picture; I like the way you did your makeup, and that's coming from a girl who's only ever worn stage makeup, but I think I can recognize good makeup when I see it. Yeah, I guess I'm that conceited.

    I would like to get rid of a few clothes I don't like so well/don't wear, but I want to get new clothes first. I told my sister that I do have to have some clothes to wear. Especially now that I'm going to college two days a week, just started today!!! First day of college ever; I'll have to blog about it...

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    1. I'll see if my sister can't snap a few photos for me! Thanks for your interest! I would have taken more, but as you can tell from the fuzzy photo and awkward smile, I'm totally uncomfortable with cameras.... ;)

      I'm so glad you like my make-up! I bought some red lipstick for 78 cents on sale, just for kicks. I'm really diggin' it!

      Congratulations on starting college!! I'm SO SO SO excited for you! I hope it's amazing! Enjoy these first few days of basking in higher education before the midterms hit. ;)

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    2. Awww, thanks, Bailey! I'm only taking one class-creative writing with my brother Josiah. Now that I've had my first day and I know what to expect, I'm really excited! (My 14 or 15-year-old self would be freaking out about the thought of going to college at all. I'm glad people grow up-sometimes I'm amazed at how far I've come.) I'm not sure I have a mid-term with this class-we'll see! I might be doing a musical and finals at the same time in the spring though. That'll be fun! I'm telling myself that that's really living!

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    3. I wish my college offered a creative writing class! And oh, wow -- you'll definitely be living the life come spring! :D

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  5. I need help in the wardrobe department too. I have given my sisters so many clothes recently. I am trying to plan my Fall/Winter wardrobe since I find those seasons hard for me both style and color-wise. I have like 3 different sizes in my body which makes fitting a bit hard plus the idea that I can make anything that doesn't fit well fit with some simple sewing. Ha.

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    1. I love fall/winter clothing! I'm sure you'll be able to find something spectacular for this upcoming season. And it's awesome that you're good enough at sewing to do adjustments -- wish I had that skill!

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  6. Well done! This reminds me I need to re-do my drawers, actually. All the girls in my family periodically dump everything, sort, scrap, and reorder. Also, brilliant tips. My only hangup is with "only your own colours". - sigh - Well, sometimes it works against you... My favourite colour is blue, and it is definitely my colour. I buy it wherever I see it. Any shade. However I can also wear pink. So one day, I randomly get in the mood to wear pink, and you know what the only colour was in my drawer when I opened it? Blue. It finally dawned on me that perhaps I had a problem. I don't think I owned a single shirt that wasn't either white, black, or some shade of blue. So now I try to be a bit more open minded when it comes to colours. Blue is best, but there are other colours out there that work.

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    1. That's why you get COLORS -- plural! :D (Interestingly, I know two girls at school who wear exclusively orange or pink, respectively. Nottt the life for me.) If you read Audrey's blog "Putting Me Together," she talks about creating a color scheme that coordinates -- no same old color every day for us!

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  7. I've found ModCloth (www.modcloth.com) useful while developing my personal style--the site features a much wider variety of styles than most department stores or the like, so it's easier to pinpoint exactly what you like and don't like. I've never bought anything from there, so I can't vouch for the clothes or anything.

    Of course, the dangerous thing about fashion is that you discover that there are things like Fluevog shoes in this world, and then you suddenly, desperately need $400 shoes.

    And I totally have a Pinterest style board... Pinterest is the best https://www.pinterest.com/casvelyn/clothes/

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