I’ve seen this question pop up from time to time in my mommy groups – mom’s everywhere, not sure what they want for Christmas. I get it! We get so caught up in the day to day, diapers and laundry and it’s hard to even think about what we’d like (other than a night off or a kid-free trip to Target)
So, here are a few of my very FAVORITE things, if you are looking to add to your list! (Some of these are black friday sales, so they are time sensitive, I will try to indicate if that is the case)
The very title of this blog post was difficult for me to even write. Memories going back to my teenage years come flooding into my mind. Going to the mall with my mom, ending up in tears and getting into a few fights along the way.
Clothing is a tricky thing. It’s something we have to wear every day. It’s not THE most important thing, but when you don’t feel comfortable or confident, it can affect your entire day.
I really used to hate clothing shopping. Well, I take that back, I loved seeing all the beautiful clothes, but my biggest dread was the dressing room. How would everything fit? Sure, this dress looks nice on the rack, but what about on me?
Squeezing into things that were too small, or shaking my head in disgust at a shirt that just didn’t fit my proportions. The dressing room has always been a battle in my fight for self-love.
So, here are a few recommendations I have for those of us who need to shop for clothes, but feel like our self-confidence takes a beating each time.
1) Take an exploratory trip
This is one of my favorite things to do. I take a day and challenge myself to go to five new stores that I have never been to, or have ever purchased anything from. I try on clothes I never would have thought would look good on me. I mix and match things, I laugh at how ridiculous I look in certain cuts or colors, and I LEARN what works for me without the pressure to BUY.
In the past I would ONLY go clothing shopping when I NEEDED something for an event or special occasion. The pressure to find the right thing in a short amount of time was always a disaster. But when I went, simply to explore, and see what’s out there and how my body looked in each one was SO helpful for me.
It also helped to have the mindset of an EXPLORER. I was already prepared for somethings to work and some things just wouldn’t – and I was OK with that.
2) Have a mantra for when you try on those outfits that just aren’t working.
I am beginning to be the mantra lady! I feel like I have a mantra for everything! Shopping for clothing is no exception. I have learned to say: “This isn’t working for me.” instead of beating myself up with words like, “You look awful” “You look so ugly” “Look at that flab hanging out, look at how thick your thighs are…”
Having this mantra and truth in the forefront of my mind helps me SO much when I try on something that isn’t working. THIS piece of clothing just isn’t for me. That’s ok. The problem isn’t me, it just is what it is and there’s no need to spiral into self-pity.
3) Go into higher quality stores
I am so guilty of having half my wardrobe from Target or the clearance rack at Old Navy. I KNOW it’s so hard to think of spending money on clothes – especially as a stay at home mom. No one is really going to see me, and my kids need so many things and I just always felt guilty spending money on myself.
But I have learned a few things with low quality, low-cost clothing:
It doesn’t last. It gets faded, stretched out, gets little holes in it or the seams come out. I end up having to waste valuable time shopping AGAIN for the same thing I just shopped for the year before. Three $20 shirts that I have to buy over three years are not better than ONE $40 shirt that lasts me for five years (or longer). Quality over quantity.
The fit is WORLDS better. Target jeans just don’t fit me. They don’t!! I can try on all the sizes, all the cuts and it just isn’t flattering. I used to feel so insecure and self conscious shopping for pants, until I found myself at Madewell or Ann Taylor and I tried on a pair of pants – it was like BUTTAH. The fabric was thicker, the cut was better, the wear was incredible. Most times if you feel like you look terrible in the clothes – it’s the clothes, not you.
I do a better job of taking care of my clothes when I spend more on them. When I have a $7 t-shirt from Target on, and I get some spaghetti sauce finger prints on them, I just shrug it off and leave it there because – whatever – it’s a $7 shirt from Target. But when it’s my perfect, Madewell slouchy v-neck tee, I take it off right away, wash it, treat it and take care of it. Disposable clothing is not just a problem, but a mindset – and I fall into it all the time when I’m wearing something that costs practically nothing.
My best tips for getting higher quality clothing at a lower price:
Browse the clearance section – oftentimes the clearance section will have the clothes you love at Target prices.
Be patient. If you see something in the store you LOVE, try it on, make sure it’s perfect and then go home and go online and add it to your cart. Let it sit there until it goes on sale! Waiting it out is a deal finders greatest skill!
Shop second hand. Places like Plato’s closet or online at ThredUp are awesome places to find the higher quality clothes for much cheaper!
Become a Maxxinista! I love TJMaxx and Marshall’s. You have to be careful not to get sucked in to the lower end brands that are mixed in with the higher end ones, but I have found Kate Spade, Free People, Clavin Klein, Lucky Brand and more at a huge discount!
4) Shop smart
Understand what kind of cuts, fabrics, colors and styles work for you. I know it might seem overwhelming to do something like this, but once you know it, it makes it SO much easier to shop!!
You know what foods you like, right? Would it be silly if you didn’t and you kept ordering foods you didn’t like and getting frustrated at every restaurant you went to?
Once you know what you like and what works for you – shopping and trying on things becomes much more fun.
I recommend going with a friend who has a style you like and ask them to take you shopping – make it a girls time (maybe have a few glasses of wine before you go!) and learn from her and let her eye help you develop your own.
It’s also helpful to go through your own closet and pull out your top five outfits or pieces of clothing. Ask yourself what is similar or what you like about it. How does it make you feel? What kind of colors do you see and what fabrics do you gravitate towards?
It can be so distracting going to a store and EVERYTHING looks cute, but you because of that it’s hard to narrow down what exactly YOU like and would want to get….so going with a STRONG sense of who YOU are is important.
I hope these tips have helped you as you navigate through the mall, dressing room and beyond.
I personally use a capsule wardrobe to help me keep my closet curated with just what I LOVE and what I need, making getting dressed each day SUPER simple!
CLICK HERE for my visual guide to creating your own capsule.
You guys – I am sorry. I have been working on this capsule wardrobe and this blog post for WEEKS.
Apparently with four kids, things like curating my wardrobe takes a little bit of a back seat. But I have been SUPER excited to share this with you and I have been LOVING how much simpler life is for me every single day!
So, first up, here is a little video I made explaining what a capsule wardrobe IS and why I decided to do it!
Ok – so once I cleared out all of my unwanted clothing. Everything that just didn’t fit right, had stains I couldn’t fix, or a little hole or rip, I cleared it ALL out!
Once I did that I laid out all my clothes on my bed – shirts with shirts, shorts with shorts, etc. Then I looked over my wardrobe and funny thing happened. I could see a pattern emerging. I could see a color pallet and style that was emerging, and the pieces that didn’t fit into that pattern were sticking out like a sore thumb. I pulled those pieces out and placed them into a bin. I filled two bins (embarrassing I know) because I also pulled out duplicates. I had several pairs of jeans, but in reality I only really LOVED and wore two of them, so the rest went in the bin. Once I had my “final selections” I looked at what I had. I noticed that I was pretty good in some departments, and lacking in others. I realized that the pieces I was missing were some of the basics.
A good white t-shirt, a black pair of pants, black pumps, etc. It wasn’t a lot of items I needed, but a few KEY items that I was missing and it was keeping me from easily creating looks and outfits with the rest of my pieces.
Once I had my list (there were maybe five items on there) I started shopping. I started looking for the basics. I went into new stores I’ve never been in before, I tried on different cuts and styles and in just a few trips I found the basics I needed.
But could it really work? Could a wardrobe of 30 pieces actually be versatile enough to cary me through life? Is this going to get boring for me?
So I decided to put together a few outfits, and photograph them – I literally came up with endless combinations. Because I stuck to a color pallet (this is a really big deal guys!!! Neutrals + 2 colors, mine are burgundy and navy), because I had the staples I needed, because I got clear on my style profile, I was able to curate a wardrobe that fits me, is comfortable and makes it so easy for me to get dressed in the morning.
So, without further ado – here are just a FEW of the looks I was able to put together with the 30 pieces in my wardrobe. I am absolutely in love with this and the whole process!
I used to think it was vain and unnecessary to spend much time on the way I look. Admittedly there are many who take it too far into obsession, but as I’ve been on my fitness journey I have discovered just how powerful what you feel about yourself is. When I feel strong, energetic, put together and cute, I ACT differently. I approach problems differently. It makes a HUGE difference to my demeanor and everything I do.
In addition (and I’ve blogged on this before if you want to check it out click here) we have to get dressed EVERY SINGLE DAY. To have that activity be filled with frustration and stress is just not how I want to start out my day! I want to start out my day being able to quickly and easily throw an outfit together that makes me feel happy, comfortable and pretty.
With my previous pregnancies I didn’t invest well in maternity wear. I mostly borrowed stuff that I didn’t really like or fit well, or I got a few cheap tees and maybe one dress. The result was me being SO miserable not only because I was getting big, had heartburn and was always overheating (being pregnant in a Miami summer is no joke!) but because I just hated the way I looked. It affected me SO much. I remember crying and crying (thanks pregnancy hormones) every time I had to get dressed for some event, or just to go out to on a date with my husband.
This time around I am excited to invest in my pregnancy wardrobe. No I will not be spending crazy money (it is only a few months of my life and I DO think this will be our last) but I am going to get some key pieces and thoughtfully style myself through these next few crazy months.
I’ve compiled some amazing resources on my Pinterest Pregnancy Style board including an fantastic Maternity Style Series from Joy Cho and some incredible articles with practical advice, inspiration and sources for finding great maternity staples.
This afternoon I am doing one of my absolute favorite things: wardrobe planning.
I do this every season (Fall & Spring) and it’s not because I have all this luxury time to spend browsing Pinterest, or all of this expendable income to shop till I drop – nope, I do it because just like exercising, eating and every other routine in my life, I have to get dressed – EVERY day.
Anything that I have to do every day I have to plan and simplify so that I can do it well. Sound crazy? Just stick with me for a second.
Two years ago I was about to give birth to my third baby with a 1 year old and a 3 year old that I still needed to take care of. I realized right then and there that I needed to simplify EVERY daily routine or be ok with eating fast food, never reading my bible or another book again, walking around with an extra 50lbs of baby weight, and staying in yoga pants and old t-shirts all day.
This is what led me to get plugged in with Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix program – it was a system that was simple and told me EXACTLY what to do!
This is why I have created a routine to my early morning hours – I sit in the same spot at 5:30am every morning and I read.
This is why I plan and prep my meals every weekend.
This is why every season I plan my wardrobe.
You can either simplify and make a plan so that your daily activities are automatic and easy to accomplish, or you can try to re-create the wheel every day, find it to be too difficult (especially when life is super busy) and never make progress in any area of your life and be frustrated all the time. (In all honesty, I’m still frustrated sometimes, but WAY less than before!).
So – onto my fall wardrobe! (the good stuff!)
I stumbled upon Into Mind a few years ago – it is a minimalistic blog written by a fashion blogger in Berlin and I just love it. Even if your style profile isn’t minimalistic you will still benefit from her principals and guidance.
Based on her recommendations I have come up with the following steps when I am ready to re-vamp and plan my wardrobe for the next season.
1) Use Pinterest to re-define your style. This is pretty self explanatory. You can search for something as simple as “fall fashion” or as detailed as “minimalistic fall looks in Bordeaux”. If you want to check out my Pinterest board for this Fall you are welcome to! Click Here
2) Choose your color palette. This is my best kept secret! Each season I decide on one (maybe two) colors that I will be wearing – the rest of my wardrobe is all neutrals. This allows me much more flexibility in mixing and matching pieces. For this fall I am choosing Navy and Bordeaux.
3) Choose your proportions and uniform. In order to do this you will need to go to your closet and find the outfit that you love the best! Put it on. What proportions does it have? For me and my body type I love wearing skinny jeans and loose fitting tops, I have an easy going, minimalistic style so that guides my wardrobe. Other women may enjoy a more fitted and tailored look, while still others go even more loose fitting and bohemian. Knowing your “uniform” is a great starting point to structure your wardrobe. (If you are looking for some proportion and uniform examples, Click Here)
4) Inventory and detox your close. This isn’t as big a project as it was the first time I did this, because now I do this every season and it keeps my close paired down, containing ONLY what I love to wear. I like to take a Sunday afternoon to do this and I literally lay out on the floor all of my tops, pants, skirts, dresses and shoes so I can see them all in a group. Anything that stands out that doesn’t seem to fit with the general look of my wardrobe, I pull aside. Anything I don’t love wearing, or haven’t worn in awhile – I LET IT GO! (I know, it’s hard, but you HAVE to do it!).
Here is Into Mind’s quick guide to wardrobe editing.
This is probably the MOST important part of the entire process (and the most time consuming) but it is VITAL! Also, when you do this, your favorite outfits and pieces will start to show you what your uniform and color pallet should be!
5) Identify gaps and make shopping list. Once I’ve paired down my wardrobe to ONLY what I love and fits, and isn’t stained, or needing a repair, then I take a look at what’s left and compare it to a basic list of “must haves” for the season. (My favorite list, of course from Into Mind, can be found HERE)
So, there you have it, my 5 steps for wardrobe planning. Of course, if you REALLY dive into the blog and all that she has to offer (which you totally should) you will find ENDLESS resources for how to define your style, how to create a mood board and shop for quality pieces. I highly recommend you do so! It may seem like something trivial and a waste of time, but I can’t tell you how great it feels (and how much less stress I have) to be able to quickly and easily get dressed, EVERY DAY and LOVE the way I look and the outfits I have.
Whether fashion is your obsession, or you dread going to the mall, the truth of it is, we all have to get dressed. Every morning you have to make a decision, which may seem small and insignificant (or may seem like the greatest, grandest decision you will make that entire day), but I would like to argue that it’s somewhere in the middle. What we wear IS important, not only from a practical sense (we need to be covered, modest, and protected from the elements) but also in an emotional sense. What you wear, and the way you feel in what you wear affects your attitude. It effects your emotions and the way you interact with others. It’s a proven fact, and the reason why schools have uniforms and offices have dress codes.
This is definitely an area where you can go ALL OUT and we’ve seen the shows, the rich and famous with their walk in closets that are bigger than my living room. And probably, if we are honest, WE too have quite a lot of clothing in our closets and drawers, but is it working for us? Do you love what you wear? Do you feel like you can go in, put together an out fit quickly? If not, I think it’s because we’ve gotten too complicated. It’s time to make it simple. Here are a few tips that I’ve gotten from this incredible website “INTO MIND”.
Get rid of things you don’t love, don’t fit, or have stains…you know, the things that hang in your closet but never get worn.
Look at what’s left and try to determine why you love these items, and what shapes, fabrics and colors look best on you.
Write out what pieces you are missing or don’t have much of – ie. shorts, blouses, dresses, etc.
Start looking online at different stores to see where you might find clothes that fit your style, knowing where to shop is 1/2 the battle, nothing is more frustrating than spending all day in a store where nothing fits you or you don’t like the clothes.
Set aside some money (this is important and if you invest well, you won’t have to invest often) and some time (shopping well takes time and patience, but investing in the front end will make getting dressed, which is something you do EVERY DAY, quicker and more rewarding) and get out there and start buying pieces you LOVE.
I would take a look at this website. Even if you don’t LOVE her colors or style, the concepts she shares are super valuable and can set you up to build a wardrobe that works, is SIMPLE and sets you up to conquer the day feeling great about yourself and comfortable in your own skin.