Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stretch Your Closet

20090813085849 {we heart it}

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?

16 comments:

Amanda said...

You are so right about the "no laundry" thing. I hadn't done laundry for about three weeks and was getting down to the bottom of my closet. On Monday and Tuesday of last week, I was student teaching and wore shirt/sweater combos that I had never matched together!

Pink Champagne said...

What a fabulous idea! I am suffering from the exact same February/March shopping itch (I caved and got a few Lilly and JCrew pieces, but I swear I'm done now!), and I would love to experiment with pieces that I already have!

Juliana said...

I just posted some great new things that I just bought super cheap...but honestly normally I buy from the consignment store near my house almost ALWAYS with the tags still on it. I mean amazing designer stuff...great jeans...never paid more than $15 bucks for anything there! Everywhere I go people ask me where I got my clothing. :)

Ashley Stone said...

totally true! I still have clothes with tags on them in my closet, and it's only when my favorites are dirty do I actually take the time to pair them with something, and they always end up cute!

ManoloChooLou said...

This is a great idea. I'd never really thought not to do my laundry. I always say I'm going to go through my closet and try new things, but I never end up doing it. Your idea could force me to.

*niomi* said...

I love the notion of shopping my own closet. For example, today I'm wearing a dress that I hadn't worn in 6 months. It's cute, but for some reason I thought it was too short for work, so it got pushed to the back. I tried it on last night, realized I was mental and it was not too short, and feel like I'm wearing something new! :)

Also, would love to see your aforementioned ensemble. OOTD posts could be inspiring for those of us on budgets! :)

littledaisymay said...

That's a great idea! I'll have to try it!

Kinsey Michaels said...

Those tips are great, I am definitely like you in that I HATE going to the mall if I have no intention of buying anything. It's hard to control myself to not spend. And recently I skipped doing laundry for 3 weeks, but it drove me a little crazy trying to put outfits together! :)

Jessica said...

I agree with you! There are so many times that I dig through my closet and "discover" new clothes with the tags still on them or that I've worn only once.

Kelly said...

you're hilarious! i love this idea :)
although i don't do laundry so that i have "nothing to wear" and need to buy something new. oops!

i think for the sake of my wallet i'll try out your idea...for now!
xoxo

Beatriz said...

haha cute post!! I always do this unintentionally. I think I have too much clothes!! I always know it's time to do the wash when Sam is wearing swim trunks to class. Whoops! My bad!

B.
thatgirlinpearls.com

Stuck in the Sticks said...

I've heard shop your closet, but you really brought it home by pairing it with no clean laundry! I'll have to try this!

tam pham said...

great idea! i think i'm too OCD about laundry because i do it once a week. however, i try to put away the freshly laundered stuff towards the back so that I wear other stuff before it.

Sweet Nothings said...

ebay! i recently lost 65 lbs, so im getting rid of my high end designer duds that are going to not ever be worn again, and my only shopping money comes from sales!

Courtney said...

the no laundry thing is my favorite way to deal with that. things that you won't wear EVEN when nothing else cleans goes to goodwill. that really means it doesnt belong :)

Lindsay said...

i've done this before and you are so right!! it definitely helps you to think "outside of the box" :)