I feel as though I’m in a funny stage of life, clothing-wise. I touched on it a little bit in this post, but especially as we’ve progressed into summer, I’ve been struggling more and more with really liking what I’m wearing. A few weeks ago, I sat down to get to the bottom of this discontentment, and here’s what I realized:
- Casual clothes are by FAR the most practical thing for me to wear, but I tend get more excited about dressier pieces and then spend my money there.
- I haven’t replaced many of my casual staples in years (some since early college, yikes!), and since they’re pieces I wear a lot, they are not in the best condition.
- Even though I have been at my pre-pregnancy weight for awhile now, my body shape is a little bit different, so some of my clothes don’t look quite right anymore.
- We hope to have a big family, and I sometimes get overwhelmed by the idea of dressing through the pregnancy–>nursing/post-partum–>back to “normal” cycle for the foreseeable future.
I absolutely don’t say any of this to complain. My closet is FULL and I am sincerely grateful that my “struggle” here is finding clothes that I like and that look good on me, not whether or not I have anything to wear at all. The Gospel reading a few days ago, just as I was mulling over all this, reminded me (for the hundredth time, and Lord knows I’ll continue to need the reminder):
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness,* and all these things will be given you besides.”
I enjoy style, shopping, and putting outfits together…and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Just like my friend Emily said on Instagram in response to that Gospel, God made me with a creative heart and it’s okay that I appreciate those things as long as I stay focused on what truly matters most. And that’s the thing I’ve realized…I don’t want my clothing to be a distraction from my life.
Since I have been blessed with the privilege of being able to (slowly!) buy all the clothes I could need, I want to make those decisions more carefully and invest wisely in things that I feel comfortable and confident in and that fit my lifestyle. I want an edited wardrobe so that I can get dressed quickly and start my day, ready and dressed for adventure and leisure and joy. And, thanks to the influence of some sweet friends of mine (hi, Claire, Emily, and Valerie!), I want to choose ethically made clothing as often as possible. (Hint: this includes buying pre-owned clothes on Poshmark–I’ve found a handful of pieces new with tags or in practically perfect condition over the last few years, so now I ALWAYS check there before buying anything off the rack.)
Phew…all that to say, I’m revisiting the idea of capsule wardrobes, but more in the sense that I want a capsule wardrobe lifestyle. Instead of having a closet full of items that don’t necessarily fit my needs or style anymore, I hope to work toward a small, intentional collection of warm weather clothes and a small, intentional collection of cold weather clothes. I also want to create true capsule collections for pregnancy and nursing…maybe eventually one each for warm and cold weather too, because like I said, we want lots of babies so I may need it :)
So how do I get there? I certainly don’t have the budget to overhaul my closet in one fell swoop, so here’s the process I’m going with:
1. Get. Rid. Of. Stuff. I did a big closet cleanout a few weeks ago (there are still some pieces left on my Instagram closet sale account if you’re interested) and think I’m going to do a little more…I’m coming for you, t-shirts! In general, I want my future rule to be that for any one thing I add to my closet, two things need to go.
2. Really hone in on my overall style. Honestly, I’ve had a pretty good definition of my personal style for awhile…but the challenge this year has been meshing that with my lifestyle. I started a secret Pinterest board and forced myself to only add looks to it that I could actually wear on a day-to-day basis, not just things I would like to wear in my alternate, much-more-glamorous life, ha! A few recurring items: lots of solid and striped t-shirts (bonus points for a pretty detail like a ruffle sleeve or eyelet hem), casual shorts, skinny jeans, statement flats, delicate gold jewelry, and fun sunglasses.
3. Make a list of the pieces I want to add to my closet. I purposefully did this step while IN my closet, not in front of my computer where I could be reminded of new arrivals and trends! Rather, this only includes any staples that need replacing due to being worn out or not fitting, as well as the pieces that I consistently “wish I had.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve often stood in my closet thinking “I wish I had XYZ to wear today,” and if something pops into my head at least weekly, I put it on the list. A perfect example: a pair of neutral wedges or block heels, since I never replaced a pair I wore out years ago. I’m posting the ones I finally bit the bullet on in an outfit post on Thursday!
4. Prioritize and budget. Tops have consistently been my biggest challenge, so for my first new additions, I headed to my favorite ethical clothing companies (Amour Vert, Everlane, Flourish Market) and made note of a few new shirts to buy throughout this summer. There are definitely more pieces I want to add to my summer collection eventually, but especially if I’m buying high quality, ethically made pieces, I expect them to last…giving me plenty of time to build the “capsule.”
5. Experiment with accessories. Like I mentioned, a few recurring things I noticed in my pins were dainty gold jewelry and fun sunglasses. While I’m still working on building up the core pieces of my wardrobe, I’ve been trying to be more intentional about accessorizing. It’s an easy and affordable way to dress up the neutral basics I always gravitate toward…and to add some personality to pieces I don’t particularly love anymore. Stella & Tide sent me a few necklaces (one of which we’re giving away here!) a few weeks ago and I have been wearing them literally every day!
I’m sure I’ll come up with even more thoughts as the summer goes on, but I’ll leave it at that for now :) What is your relationship with clothes like? There’s no wrong answer! I think it’s fascinating how many different ways people approach shopping, making clothing decisions, and getting dressed in a way that works for their lives and I would love to learn from your experience.