Wardrobe Blahs...

Friday, September 7, 2012

If you didn't know better, you might just think that was a photo of me above.  

I have had wardrobe challenges lately.  As you know, I work in an office 4 days a week.  It isn't a normal office though... I work with one other person (my boss), and never have to deal with the public, therefore there is no dress code at work, and my boss often will arrive in her "comfies."

I also walk to work, and in the winter, it get damn cold here in Canada (but is freaking sweltering in the summer).  I slowly became accustomed to layering on the sweat pants over leggings, the Sorrel Boots, wool work socks, my big black parka, a toque, and big ugly mitts.  I'm old enough to appreciate warmth.  Well, that dressing for practicality never really left after the snow melted, and I've found myself wandering to work in sweats, yoga pants, and once I didn't even get changed out of my pyjamas (granted my pyjamas were yoga pants). No one even noticed.

I never used to be like that.  I took pride in my appearance, and loved getting dressed in the morning, especially when I had new clothes! I always wore a nice outfit when I was going out in public. The thing is... since I moved to the small town where I now live, there is no where to buy a decent outfit! There are a few stores geared towards 'tweens, but my curvy physique just won't work there, then there are stores geared towards the more mature lady, but I'm just not ready to wear knitted sweaters with ducks on them and matching corduroy pants. I've resorted to the occasional splurge at Zellers, or a trip to Goodwill now and then.  I've also been so busy with everything going on in my life, that things like hair cuts, and trying on clothes has really been put on the back burner.  I think I'm going a year since my last haircut at this point...

Earlier this week I decided I needed a change.  I need new clothes.  New clothes that fit and that I actually like, not just clothes that "work".  I always told myself I'd just make some new clothes... when I found some time.  I'm realizing now that I'm probably not going to have that time for the next 30 or so years... :)

So, I splurged and bought myself a bunch of new clothes online.  I tried to find things that are comfortable, practical, stylish, and can easily be mixed and matched with basics in my wardrobe.

When I shopped just to get clothes that "worked" I found I'd come home with a bunch of bits and pieces, but no concise outfits.  I think over the last 3 years of living in a small town, with no where to practice my shopping skills, I've really forgotten how to shop.

Does anyone else have these challenges? When you work from home and/or in an office where sweats are ok, it is hard for you to pull yourself together and put on a real outfit?

Where do you buy clothes on line? Do you know of any hidden gems? I'm dealing with an independent designer/secretary budget remember :)

I'm hoping I can stick to it as well as I have stuck to keeping my studio organized!


  1. That was funny. Mostly b/c I'm getting ready to move to a small southern town where I'll work from home 100% of the time vs. my current %80 of the time. My fear is that I'll begin to dress exactly as your 'before'. Maybe it's just all good. So...... whatja' buy? I know your undies are fabulous, how about your outies?

  2. :) I live in a small town, too.. and there wasn't a shopping mall anywhere, (unless you drove for four hours to Victoria). I learned to shop online and have gotten pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. :) I'm so excited you've started shopping online --it's like getting presents in the mail!

    1. Any online shops you recommend ? :)

    2. revolveclothing.com is wonderful. :) No taxes, free shipping to Canada, and rarely do I ever get caught with duties!! ♥

      They have an 'outlet' site, too... it's reverse-reverse.com There's a $10.00 shipping fee, but the items you can get are so inexpensive, you can pretty much justify the shipping cost.

  3. I live in a city, but still have trouble finding clothes. I have the same issues--there are only things for tweens or old ladies, or everything is super expensive and looks just like what everyone else is wearing. I can usually find something at ModCloth. Tuesdays are their sale days so you can normally save some cash.

  4. I had the same wardrobe dilemma recently. I never had anything nice to wear, because slowly my wardrobe had become filled with "comfy" clothes to wear as I sat at home and sewed. But when I found out I was going to be taping a class for Craftsy.com, I had to get a move on and SHOP! I didn't trust myself to really put together the wardrobe I badly needed, so I enlisted the help of a friend who is also a stylist on the side. I told her my budget, and we came in well under it. She took me to JCrew for well-fitting jeans (I am also curvy), and then I was shocked to be able to find tons of stuff at Nordstrom's in the junior's department of all places. I didn't think my bust would fit into anything they had, but it somehow all worked, and the prices were much lower than the misses section.

    I would make up a style inspiration board first, like she had me make. It helped me to see the pieces that I really liked, and also to note my favorite colors. I wrote down a game-plan of the key pieces I had to have, so that I knew what I needed before I wasted time searching thru everything.

    Good luck shopping, and remember, it's supposed to be FUN! ;)

  5. Now that I am a stay at home Mum, the temptation is there to stay in my pjs all day. But I try to make an effort 5 days a week, the other 2,, I allow myself leggings and t-shirt days (even then the leggings are Black Milk leggings, I just cannot do the complete surrender to dag).
    To keep with-in a budget and still look nice, I buy a lot of second hand clothes and re-style them. I struggle to find stuff in the shops that fit, are with-in my budget, and are either not for tweens or nanas.
    But I am lucky as I do not have to deal with your weather conditions.


  6. I totally relate - lack of style/proper fit in RTW was my main motivation in learning how to sew. That and cheap yucky fabrics.

    I do like shopping online - I think of all the RTW shops out there, I would go with Shabby Apple. They have really cute classy styles and many of them in knits so you don't have to worry about getting an exact fit :)

  7. Well, this is what I've been doing to revamp my wardrobe. I'm a full time student, and previous to that, I was managing an ice cream store (read: covered in ice cream all the time). So my wardrobe needed help. I wasn't feeling pretty and my ego could use the boost.

    So I went through my closet (several times actually) and got rid of everything that I don't feel amazing in. If it doesn't fit? Gone. If it's a junky teeshirt? Gone. I only wanted beautiful things. My most recent purge was non-fabulous fabrics. Acrylic sweater? Gone. Cashmere-silk blend from Goodwill? KEEP!

    I then scrounged the Goodwill, Salvation Army and other used clothing shops for beautiful items. Warning: bring a partner, as it will take hours and inevitably, you'll miss a gem or two that your partner will catch.

    The next thing that I did was to only have heels in my shoe closet. I own a single pair of ugly, ill-fitting sneakers that are flat. Everything else has a cute heel. Heels are the first step for me to feel cute and classy, and even if I'm in jeans and a teeshirt, heels bring me up to the next level. Cute shoes also beg me to build outfits around them, so I wind up coming up with cute outfits and spending some time thinking about them.

    Not to be obvious, but accessories are also your friend! Scarves, belts, chunky necklaces, huge earrings, all of these can take the most plain-jane outfit to a great level. Just wearing a plain black tee and jeans? Tie a bright scarf on your head like a headband! Or add a long glittery necklace.

    I also recently got into the habit of always having my nails painted. I don't get them "done", but when you've got bright red nails, it makes anything An Outfit, capital letters. I've been doing red because I love the vintage look, but I also have gold nail polish and in the past have done silver or bright deep blue. When I do my nails, I just put a movie on (usually on youtube :-P) and go to town. I also keep my polish near my computer, so if I'm checking emails and notice a chip, it's easy to fix.

    So -- my long and probably not useful fashion advice. But I think we all are realizing that dressing sloppily makes us FEEL sloppy and low energy. I always felt AMAZING on my dress up days, and thus began my quest to have every day a dress up day.

    As for shopping online, I'd mostly use websites like Modcloth for inspiration only, and then try to recreate the looks myself. Granted, I luck out as I live in Boston so even our thrift stores have great things (unless most people find armfuls of cashmere, silk and linen in their Goodwill...?). I don't feel comfortable shopping online as I require that everything I buy look amazing, feel amazing, and be high quality materials (which the cute things online are often manmade -- wtf Modcloth?!?!). Perhaps do an image search for an item, and see what kind of stores it'll turn up?

    ... This is way too much info... maybe I should do a blog post and link back to you :-P

    1. This is EXCELLENT advice! I think starting with a closet purge is really important (have that planned for this weekend).

      I suck at accessorizing, but I bought a few pieces of jewelry off of Etsy that I hope to incorporate into my "NEW" wardrobe.

      I LOVE Shoes but because I do a lot of walking I find heels tough for my day-to-day. I am trying to find low-heeled shoes that are pretty & comfortable. That can be a challenge!

      I definitely agree that when you feel like you look put together, your whole outlook changes.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :) Inspired!

    2. http://crazinessandmore.blogspot.com/2012/09/fashion-and-happiness.html And there's my new blog post with some more info. I found that once I changed how I thought about my wardrobe, the items changed. When I realized how mood changing clothing could be, I only kept things that I loved. I only BUY things that I love. I do less impulse buying and everything that I have is in full rotation (aside from evening clothes).

      I wish you luck -- I found it REALLY HARD to change my wardrobe and my thinking about it, but it was the best thing for me to do. I think realizing that you want to make a change is the hardest part!

      I walk a lot daily too (living in the city will do that :-p). I find that lower than 2" it's better to just have flats as the angles are less ideal. 2-3" is the best height for me, as beyond that is not really walkable for miles on end. Good shoe companies: Naot, Born, Clarks, Dr. Scholls, etc. I've had shoes from each of these companies that I wore until they died hard deaths. They hold up, and are comfortable all day long.

      I'm looking forward to seeing how your re-vamp turns out!

  8. I work for a fashin company so wearing pajamas to work is a definite no-no. But I agree that knowing how to shop is definitely a skill. I have rules for when I go shopping. One is that whatever I buy must go with the overall look of my style. Sometimes I get wrapped up in trends - trends that aren't me - and I buy things that aren't suited for my style. I also bring inspiration images of outfits I want to 'copy.' This is great because it helps me from straying from my intended purchases.

  9. As a Stay At Home Mom my days are Jeans and T-shirts. Lately I have been trying to have 2 dress up days a week, clothes, hair and make up.

    I did an overhaul on my wardrobe last year after loosing weight. I started with purging the closet. If I hadn't worn it in a year, GONE. If it didn't fit, GONE. If it needed repair work I didn't want to spend time on, GONE.

    I do LOVE jeans. I invested in a few GREAT pairs. I have started shopping at NY & Company on-line and HSN.com. I invested in some staple pieces that I was willing to spend extra money on. If it was seasonal/fashion I went inexpensive. I also invested in some costume jewelry and scarfs. Since I sew I also try to make myself a few items each season.

    I ADORE heels and flip flops. I am short and live in California. If I have to do a lot of walking I wear a comfy pair of shoes and take dress shoes with me in my bag.


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