Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The “How to Stretch Your Closet” Series

tumblr_l533u4Du9l1qaybcco1_500_large{we heart it}

We’re almost all the way through August, which means it is officially time for the fall fashion itch.  Between the new falls lines, the September issues, and the cooling temperatures, every little bone in my fashion loving body is in serious love.  Chunky knits, leopard prints, textured tights, boots, belts, scarves, studded bags…every part of me is screaming, “I need it, I need it, I need it!”  Unfortunately, my bank account is screaming, “you can't afford it, you can’t afford  it, you can’t afford it!”  Damn bank accounts and their sensible ways. 

So what’s a girl to do?  Well a sensible girl would just not buy anything.  But since I’m not sensible, that doesn’t apply to me :) But I’m not entirely reckless either, so I’ve learned to find a balance, a few key things here and there, and a splurge when I really love something.  But for the most part, I try to stretch what I have and use what is already hanging in my closet.

Last week at work, one of my coworkers stopped me in the backroom and said, “Oh my goodness, I love that dress, so pretty!”  “Oh thanks,” I replied, “I’ve had this dress for years, and I love it so much I wear it all the time!”  Her response, “I swear I’ve never seen you in it; you never wear the same thing twice.”  Though I was flattered that she didn’t seem to notice I am a fashion repeater, the truth is, I am.  I have to be.  I’m a real girl, with a real budget, and well, that means repeatedly rewearing the stuff in my closet.

But her comment got me thinking.  How do I manage to disguise my rewearing habits?  How do I get the most out of what I have?  So, I decided to spend a few days thinking about it, and I came up with several solid and thoughtful ways that I stretch my closet.  I sat down to type them all out, and after 916 paragraphs, I realized I couldn’t fit all my stretching techniques into one post.  So today, I’m starting a series.  I’ve never done a blog series before, but I thought I’d give it a try.

So, today, I’m giving you the first installment of How to Stretch Your Closet.  And though my first tip isn’t the most earth shattering, it is the most accurate and the most true for me.  I think it really is the number one way I stretch what I have to work for multiple seasons, settings, and occasions. 

erez{j.crew}

The number one trick I have for stretching my closet is really quite simple.  Start a cardigan collection.  I know, I know, not exactly groundbreaking.  And I sound like a broken record, I know.  But I seriously cannot believe how much cardigans can transform your wardrobe.  They make a silk halter top office appropriate, a summery floral dress fall ready, and a strapless night-out dress dinner prepared.  Cardigans are the number one way I get so many uses out of my dresses; I swear by them!  And for proof, just open my closet.  I’ve got a bazillion hanging there, with 1 in every color and shade, and 3 or 4 in the versatile colors (black, grey, cream, camel…)  The coworker comment from above actually came from a cardigan/dress combo.  I’ve worn that dress more times than I can count this summer.  Honestly, I’ve worn it almost every other week since we got to Chicago.  I even wore it to my interview at “the store.”  The trick has been pairing it with different cardigans.  Different colors, different cuts, with belts, without belts.  I even wore it in a pinch last winter with black tights, booties, a wide belt, and surprise, a black cardigan.  Same dress, different cardigans; no one notices, and I’m sold.

Now if you hear cardigan and think “grandma schoolteacher” you’re mistaken.  Cardigans aren’t what they used to be.  Tissue cardigans are my favorite, because they add another layer without too much weight.  My favorite places to find these versatile little guys are Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J.Crew, and the Gap.  I rarely pay full price for them since they’re always around.  In fact, several retailers are putting their “summer” cardigans on sale.  But it doesn’t say “summer” across the chest, so if they’re the right color and cut for me, I’m there.  Stalk the sale racks, and watch for promos, they’re there, just be patient :)

In fact, scrolling through my outfit of the day posts, 70% of my outfits include a cardigan of some sort. 

DSCN3376The cardigan dress combo is probably my favorite, and is one of the main ways I get so much wear out of my dresses.  This dress is actually strapless, and I bought it to wear to a friend’s summer wedding.  But with a cardigan, its more casual and appropriate for work or running around the city.

DSCN2697This was the dress that sparked the comment from my coworker.  Paired here with a pink cardigan, though I’ve done with blue, orange, camel, gray, and black cardigans.  All just this summer.

So, that’s my first tip for getting the most out of what you already have hanging in your closet!  Anyone else a cardigan collector?  Anyone else trying to stretch your closet this fall?

17 comments:

Valerie said...

I love the look of cardigans with dresses too and I have quite a collection as well. They work with practically everything and totally change the look. Great post and I love the pictures you posted. That necklace you're wearing in the last one is gorgeous!

xo
Valerie

Steph S. said...

Great advice! Cardigans are a life (and clothes) saver - i don't have enough!

jayme said...

i am already loving this series! i love cardigans and really can't get enough of them. my only issue with wearing dresses to work (with caridgans) is that sometimes they're too short! oopsies. :)
xo

Tina said...

Love this advice! A great first one! Cardigans are the ish. I've got a baGILLION and I'm constantly want more and everytime I'm about to buy another one, my fiance says DONT U HAVE ENOUGH?? Uhm... no. Maybe I should show him this post and explain you can never have enough lol

DrDrama said...

Holy moly, girl, I could have written this post. I have a million cardigans for the same reason. They help you stretch you wardrobe soooo much.

ManoloChooLou said...

Great post! I've been trying to build up my cardigan collection. I realize it's one of the major things missing in my closet (that and a variety of button down shirts appropriate for work).

Look forward to reading more of the series.

Val said...

I'am a cardigan junkie!!!

marie said...

I loved reading this post and will most definitely be tuning back in for the rest of the series. reworking items in my closet is something I often struggle with, so hopefully your tips can breathe new life into my already-worn clothes!

Lindsay said...

I read the first paragraph of this post and my first thought was, "How did she know what I was thinking?!", really, it was the weirdest thing. I'm a complete summer girl but for some reason I'm all of a sudden really excited for the fall! I go into all my favorite stores and want to buy one of everything. I can't wait to wear jeans and boots and my pretty new flats and ahhh now I want to go shopping!

I love cardigans as well - I recently bought one at Old Navy that I loved so much I went back and bought it in another color. You're right, they're an excellent way to change an outfit by just using what you have! This 'series' is an awesome idea too, I can't wait to hear the rest of your tips! :)

rachaelkrystina said...

Fantastic post! I can never have enough cardigans - they just seem to always work.

Rachael Krystina at latent/blatant

Erin said...

This has totally made me want to go out and purchase more cardigans! I have only just started reading your blog and am highly addicted!

Cant wait to read the rest of the series even though I am in Australia and we are now heading out of Winter (or fall?) and into summer! :-)

PursuitOfLLT said...

I agree. I thing cardigans and belts are the way to transform tons of outfits and make them stretch all season long :)

KWR said...

I am for sure a cardigan collector. It's the secret to wearing spring/summer dresses into the fall!

Kinsey Michaels said...

I love this new series, looking forward to reading more of it as the weeks go on :) this tip really is simple, but so effective. I like that cardigans also enable you to pair a top or a dress together in many unexpected combinations, I need to use your advice a lot more!

the adventures of a modern housewife said...

great series idea - I always am surprised when I clean my closets in the summer and find many things I forget that I had and can be paired with different things. Love a cute/colorful cardigal over a plain dress!

Kate said...

You are so right! I don't have much money for fall shopping this year, but I will definitely take your advice and add to my cardigan collection.

gen said...

this is great! Already looking forward to the second installment... aah wish I have enough cardigans. I can literally count my cardis with one hand...