What is it about spring that makes me want to shop so bad? Seriously, there must be a scientific explanation for this, because every late February/early March, I begin to get antsy for all the delights that spring fashion brings. Around this time, I begin to poke through my closet noticing the gaps in pieces I don’t have, which I then proceed to stalk online at my favorite stores. With Valentines Day passed and the sun starting to shine, the bug is back is full force. I want to shop!
However, there is one tiny, little, eensy weensie problem. I am on a major budget. And when I say major, I mean next to nothing budget. So I’ve tried to keep my online Anthro/Banana/J.Crew stalking to a minimum because it’s painful to look without the hope of buying. (I never understand those people who enjoy window shopping at the mall, even when they have no intention of buying anything. I don’t get it. It’s like going on a date with Prince William knowing you have a secret but powerful curse on you that says you can’t date him. Whhhhy would you go and fall in love if you know you can’t end up with the hottie? To live a life of torture where you think about what could have been, how that dress could have loved you? See my point, it’s just not smart.) However, this past week, I discovered a magically brilliant way to temporarily cure this late February/early March shopping bug. Seriously, I tried it, and it worked, multiple times. So are you ready for my big secret, the tip that might change your wardrobe and your wallet, the secret to stretching your closet in new and exciting ways? Ok, prepare yourself, hold your breath, here it goes…
Don’t do laundry. Yep, you read that right. Do not under any circumstances do laundry for at least a few weeks (except the circumstance of your delicates. Please wash those.) I know this might sound crazy, but it works! Three times in the past week, I’ve gone to my closet, thought, what in the world am I going to wear, and then walked out with a “new” outfit that I never would have thought to put together before. Here is my theory: when I go to a full closet with all of my favorite staples, I know exactly what works together. This cardigan with this flowy tank, with these layered necklaces. It’s a sure thing, I know it works, I know it looks good, so I wear it, no hesitation. Even if I try to take risks, having my staples and safe outfits keeps me from taking the plunge. (Sorry for the dramatic word choice. You’d think I’m talking about serious life decisions here.) But when I go to my closet and my staples aren’t there, I’m pushed outside my comfort zone, and I have to make something work. I mean, I can’t go to work naked (well I could, but I’m pretty sure I’d get fired) so I stretch my fashion self, pair things together that I’m not entirely sure of, then tweak it with accessories when I’m done. Sometimes it doesn’t work so well, and I have try several more times to get it right, but sometimes it works really well, and I’m standing at the mirror thinking, “Why didn’t I ever think of this?!”
Here is an example from last Friday. It was freezing here in Texas and I really wanted to wear boots. My black riding boots were in the trunk of my car (I have a terrible habit of living out of my car) and my Uggs weren’t appropriate for work, so those two were out, which left with my black, tall, scrunchy, heeled boots that I bought a few years ago in Austin and L.O.V.E. So I decided on the boots. Now to choose the bottoms. My skinny jeans are too tight at the moment (dang winter weight) and my favorite black pencil skirt was wadded up on my floor. Hmm, ok, what about a dress? I went to my closet, knowing I wanted black, and looked through several cocktail type dresses that were way too dressy for what I wanted. But then I was distracted to my grouping of black jersey dresses that I practically live in during the summer. Hmm, would this work, I don’t know, the top is way to summery, but maybe with a jacket? Though I still wasn’t sure, I tried it, and after about ten minutes I had an ensemble I was so pleased with, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before then. Black tights, black tall boots, black jersey dress, tan Gap bomber jacket, a big black scarf, big gold earrings, and 3 cocktail rings. Pretty rad if I do say so myself! I think I would have been pretty pleased leaving it at that, but that day, I got lots of compliments on my outfit, which reinforced my risk taking. My risk taking that was forced on me by a full laundry hamper and an almost bare closet.
The moral of the story? If you want to stretch your closet, save your bank account some grief, and still indulge the spring fever shopping itch, find a way to temporarily put some of your go-to pieces off limits. If you’ve got a lot of willpower, then just telling yourself those pieces are off limits may work, but if you’re anything like me, you need to make those pieces unavailable. So whether you reorganize your closet with your favorites at the back or let your laundry hamper overflow, stretching your closet can be easier and more rewarding than you think. And I think you’ll be surprised at what you come up with and just how creative your fashion brain can be when you’ve got fewer choices!
So what about you? How do you stretch your closet and cure the late February/early March shopping bug?