Lately, I’m loving:
- D’orsay flats from Anthropologie with a tropical print. I held out on the banana leaf bandwagon last year, but it wasn’t for a lack of interest. I just didn’t stumble across “the one” until now. I’m antsy for warm weather so I can wear them outdoors without fear of salt stains or, you know, frostbite. (They run true to size.)
- Another retailer with on-trend pearl jewelry. This wrap ring is too cute.
- A pair of striped flats from Gap. There was talk that the canvas was stiff and uncomfortable, but that wasn’t the case with my pair. They were actually pretty comfy for all-day wear—a nice surprise after paying just $26. The only downside is the synthetic insole. They’re not exactly breathable, so you’ll probably want to slip in a pair of these to keep things fresh when the weather warms up. (Ladylike? No. Honest? Yes.)
- My latest shopping steal: Kate Spade’s Larabee Dot large rose bowl and the Hopper Dot mini rose bowl for $55 total. Thank goodness for killer sales at the Boston Store. If you’re in the Milwaukee area, they also have the silver and black tidbit plate sets for under $20.
I’m gearing up for another six months of the French Wardrobe Challenge and after cleaning out my closet, it’s evident that I need a game plan before the new season kicks off. Without having a plan in place, I’m prone to add too many impulsive purchases that don’t do much for my closet. So, I’m approaching the new season like a collector who is curating the perfect wardrobe. I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about this and came up with four steps that helped me focus on exactly what I’d like to add this year.
Narrowing down your color palette for spring and summer is going to help for two reason: it streamlines purchases and guarantees they’ll work well together. To do this, I evaluated my Pinterest page. The majority of my recent wish list pins were in five colors: mint, navy, blush, black, white and sky blue. These colors work together beautifully and while I may add in a wildcard color every so often (like my red DVF purse), this is a great starting point to begin planning my purchases.
Next up: your list of essentials. This should include the neutral basics necessary to round out your seasonal wardrobe. At this point, don’t worry about finding the perfect item. Just make a quick list of the items that you’re missing or need to replace—and continue to add to this list when you discover holes in your closet. Keep in mind, though, these are your priority purchases for the upcoming season. Mine includes:
- a grey sweater that’s both work and weekend appropriate
- a white dress (or two)
- striped long sleeve t-shirts (mine are getting worn out from too much love)
- a loose, sleeveless blouse in a silky material (not necessarily striped)
- chino shorts in white and navy
- a black leather satchel
- a spring jacket (not pictured)
Now we’re on to the fun part: putting together your seasonal wish list. Again, don’t worry too much about finding the perfect item right now—you have all season for that—just make a list or a collage of the standout items you’d love to incorporate into your wardrobe while keeping your color palette in mind. Look back at the SS2014 runway collections, scour the new arrivals at your favorite retailers and analyze your Pinterest style board. What shapes and styles are you drawn to? Are there any prints you’d love to own? Ready to try a particular trend? I’m keeping an eye out for:
- a pair of versatile statement earrings that are also lightweight enough to wear daily
- a striped fit and flare day dress
- another printed day dress (not pictured, but I like this and this)
- the leather lace belt that was featured in Kate Spade’s spring presentation
- the scarf print from Tory Burch’s spring collection in either a dress or a shirt
- unique pearl jewelry—real or faux (I like this ring)
- a black silk cami (although this should really be under the basics section)
- striped and/or d’orsay flats
- a pastel full skirt
- printed shorts
- a tropical statement necklace
- block heel sandals
I think this is going to be the hardest part for me. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the euphoria of a new purchase, but I need to be ruthless with my evaluation. For example, my wish list includes a full skirt in a pastel color. I picked out a pink one for my collage, but I actually already own a mint one (you can see it here). It already works with my color scheme, it still fits and I enjoy wearing it. So, do I honestly need another? Probably not. This isn’t meant to talk yourself out of new items, but it is a way to make sure those potential purchases are items that really could elevate your wardrobe.
So, what’s on your must-have list for spring and summer? Do you plan your purchases for the new season? I could use any tips you have!
Confession time: I dread getting dressed in the morning. I didn’t always feel that way, though. In fact, for years my favorite part of the day was diving into my closet and choosing who I’d become that day. My clothing was as varied as my moods, which made dressing in my 20s so fun—and makes getting ready at age 30 so frustrating.
After months of bypassing piles of clothing every morning and whining that “I have nothing to wear,” I finally had enough. I spent the better part of Sunday pulling out stacks of sweaters, racks of skirts and boxes of shoes and getting rid of the pieces I hadn’t worn in years. It got the boot if it didn’t meet the following criteria:
- It fits and it’s flattering.
- I like wearing it.
- I’ve worn it in the past year. (This didn’t apply to special occasion items.)
- I’d honestly be upset if it wasn’t in my closet.
- It meets my current style aesthetic.
- It’s in good repair.
My resolve weakened four hours into the project. I started to talk myself into keeping various items for sentimentality’s sake or “maybe someday” I’ll wear it again. That was fine for my mom’s maxi dress from the ’70s, but not okay for a polyester top I received as gift or purchased in college.
I only made it through a third of my wardrobe on Sunday, but I got rid of 30 pounds of clothes. Isn’t that absurd? Here’s what 30 pounds of clothing gets you:
- 14 sweaters
- 7 pairs of shoes
- 7 tops
- 4 dresses
- 4 pairs of shorts
- 4 handbags
- 2 pairs of pants
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 1 skirt
It’s humbling to think of how much money I spent on these items. And even though some were well-loved and threadbare, others simply weren’t worn often enough to have warranted the purchase in the first place. It was an eye-opening experiment that reinforced the principles of the French Wardrobe Challenge:
- Quality is paramount. As years pass, the well-made items are those that still look beautiful. Plenty of sweaters from Gap and Old Navy faded substantially after just a few washes.
- Those high quality items continue to be the most worn and most loved pieces in my wardrobe. I’d love to have a closet full of pieces I’m truly excited to wear—and that’s precisely what I’m working toward.
- Impulse purchases are seldom a smart buy. Many of those “great deals” went off to Goodwill. They’ve only worked in two instances: it’s a basic item that I wear frequently (J.Crew Tippi sweaters, anyone?) or it’s an item I already coveted at full price.
- Shopping on a budget doesn’t work for me. I get wrapped up in the idea of quantity over quality. That’s not to say I have the luxury of ignoring the price tag; I just need to be picky about what I’m spending money on.
- The amount of waste generated from purchasing—and eventually getting rid of—these low quality items is embarrassing. I know style blogs don’t really talk about that side of consumerism, but it’s something to keep in mind.
- I feel happier with less stuff in my closet. If it’s not being worn and enjoyed, it shouldn’t be taking up space.
If you follow along on Instagram, you know that I spent the better part of last Sunday cleaning out my closet. Most of the pieces I culled from my wardrobe are heading off to Goodwill, but the others are going on eBay. I’m hopeful I’ll make enough to buy this striped Halston Heritage dress for summer. Isn’t it darling?