Hey there, fab friends! Sorry I've been MIA the past week, but Texas was so busy and fun that I decided to take a break from blogging and enjoy the people around me. I'll do a full recap later in the week after I wade through the 345 pictures I took on the trip. So for today, I wanted to do the third installment of the "How to Stretch Your Closet" series. (You can see the first two installments here and here.) I actually wrote this piece last winter, before I had the bright little idea to do a whole series on stretching your closet. But since I probably had 7 followers at the time, lol, I'm going to repost it, because it is still one of the main ways I come up with outfits I'd never usually think of. So if you were one of my 7 followers last year, you can skip this post (though a refresher lesson can't hurt), but if not, read on and find one of the easiest and most cost effective ways I've found to get the most out of what you have hanging in your closet...
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 a season induced 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. 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 start the laundry pile up and let the closet stretching begin!