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.
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.
The 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.
This 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?