I turned 29 this year. As I shed the last few pounds of baby weight from my second pregnancy, I began to plot out what I wanted to wear by creating a Pinterest board. Without following through on the idea and really getting a grasp of what I envisioned, I stupidly bought a few things (which, go figure, I now regret). Back to the drawing board I went, and finally arrived where I am now.
I threw off the idea of buying new and reverted to my old thrifting habits. My wallet is much happier. I spent a few days off the computer and picked up a pen and paper. I wrote down the trivial, mundane things I did during the day, and everything in between, to get a good gauge of my activity levels. Here is just a snippet of my list: Laundry, dishes, gardening, going to the library, going hiking, visiting the zoo, grocery shopping…. In completing this list I realized, for the next few years at least, my dress-wearing days were over. I’m on the floor daily with my kids, and to me, this didn’t seem like a good match for dresses. In my ill-advised shopping panic, I bought a new pair of jeans. Now, not only were they were too big, but the last time I wore them, the metal buttons on the back pockets scratched one of our 100-year-old dining room chairs. Out go the jeans.
After a week of thought, I came up with the following concept. I don’t think this will last forever, but for now, I’m happy.
Concept for Spring/Summer
Female Indiana Jones
Any shade of camel/brown/taupe
Once I realized how I wanted to dress, the rest was simple. On my local thrift store's half off day, I showed up early and spent the day piling things in my cart to try on. Since I decided no dresses, I avoided that section. Instead, I wrote myself a list and determined to stick to it.
I know, I just said I wasn’t wearing them. This is my one and only exception. My husband picked this out and brought it home for me. We don’t attend many fancy events, but I still feel happy that it’s in my closet. I have a pair of shoes I specifically wear with this, but forgot to grab them for this picture. It's my LBD, but purple- I love the color and I always feel classy wearing this (above, I wore it to a dear friend’s wedding).
This is an area where I recently upgraded, in my own opinion. Up until 10 months ago, I carried name brand bags. With a baby in the house again, I quickly got frustrated with lack of space, even with a “large” name brand bag. I’ll be selling my pile of them, and never look back. On the left is a tobacco leather tote- I’m pretty much loving it. I use this bag 85% of the time I leave the house. It fits 4 diapers (we use cloth, so they take up space), spare clothes for the baby, my wallet, my phone, my misc. bag of Band-Aids and oddities, a blanket, a cup, and a few toys with room to spare. It has thick wide straps that don’t dig into my shoulder (Coach flew off the edge to failure in this regard) and is very sturdy. I’m currently mulling around the idea of getting a zipper put on the bag to keep it from losing things when tipped over, but I won’t make a move on that until I’ve thought about it for at least six months. To the right is a chocolate brown cross body. This is my quick trip bag. It holds my wallet, 1 diaper, spare baby clothes, a blanket, a cup, a toy, and my phone. I’ve had this one longer, it’s worn in nicely and also a pleasure to carry. I can say that I'll probably never buy another purse again, and that’s ok with me.
Right now I’m semi-ok with this number. I’m looking for a nice purple blouse and maybe a denim chambray shirt, but I’m in no hurry.
- Open cardigan. I mostly wear this around the house. I get cold easily indoors during summer, especially at restaurants when they all crank the air up to 60°.
- Striped shirt. Comfy and cute. I wasn’t big on stripes but I figured I’d give the classic b&w combo a chance. If this only lasts one season I won’t be too sad.
- My absolutely favorite shirt. 100% cotton, sheer, I generally roll up the sleeves. I bought this in my panic phase and it’s the one piece that stuck. I’m seriously contemplating ordering a backup….
- Simple t-shirt. This gets a lot of wear too.
- Thrifted silk wrap shirt. It’s so lovely and more of a cream color in person. I’m debating having it altered to sleeveless just because of the weather here.
- Sheer long sleeve shirt. It hardly ever gets cold outside here, but when it does, layering is the best option, as it almost always hits 70° before the day is over. I wear this surprisingly often.
- Navy t-shirt. Comfy and classic, blue looks pretty good on me. I picked it because otherwise I would have ended up with another white shirt. I figured I need some kind of variety.
- This button up is approaching the donate category. Thankfully, I thrifted it, or I’d be more annoyed. I quite like the color (it’s actually olive green), but it’s a smidge short. (It’s taken me over 2 weeks to write this all out and I haven’t worn this once. Out it goes.)
We are in a constant state of being hot. All the time. I knew I had to be careful in this category. Since I recently outgrew my new jeans, but was still too heavy for my old jeans, I decided to forgo jeans this summer and see how I felt.
- Linen pants. I love these. They’re a pretty camel color, and instead of slit pockets, they have cute, high cargo pockets. They are insanely comfortable.
- These are linen too. I’m not in love with the color, but I do love the fit and everything else about them so it’s balanced. If I can find a pair of semi-dark brown linen pants, I’ll either donate these, or move them to my "wear while gardening" pile.
- Shorts. I actually don’t really care for shorts. Here in FL, shorts are almost a joke. Most of the time they barely cover the person’s butt, very unattractive (to me anyway…). However, we get outdoors frequently and so, shorts it is. They wear well, and I’m pretty pleased, despite my initial thoughts.
- Grey skirt. This is a major iffy piece. It’s jersey material, and while it’s comfortable enough, it’s very thin… I don’t find myself wearing it often, and if that pattern continues by the time “Winter” arrives it will be donated. (Update: I’ve decided to donate this too; I haven’t worn it in over a month. No point in dragging out the inevitable.)
Thankfully, I’ve never had a real shoe problem. In fact, when purging my closet this was the easiest part. Hardly anything changed.
- Hiking boots. Husband thrifted these two years ago for me. Nothing like $100+ shoes for $7. We went traipsing through the woods at a local state park a few weekends ago and I survived the giant trail puddles from the recent rain beautifully.
- Black slip on flats. These are replacements for the pair I wore all last year. I’m still breaking these in, but I’m not sure I like them as much as my old ones, due to slight changes in the pattern.
- Wedges by Steve Madden. These I debated for 30 minutes at the thrift store last week. They go beautifully with my color scheme and in the end I’m glad I bought them. I see them on re-sale sites for $20-$150 so I’m pretty smug I got them for $3.
- Simple black sandals. I just can’t seem to wear these out. I got them about five years ago and they’re still going. However, they have a fiddly ankle buckle. I’m considering replacing these with a purple sandal.
- Clarks super low wedges in brown. These babies are perfect. They’re about three years old and fantastically comfy. I love, love, love them.
- Vintage 50’s straw hat. I have a whole collection of vintage ladies' hats I’ll be selling. I really, super love this one so I decided to hang onto it and try to wear it more.
- Belts. These help my keep my pants up when I’m in between sizes. I feel like they help me look not sloppy when I wear layers. One belt is thick and worn in, and one is just a place holder. I’m on the hunt for a slim leather braided belt.
- Scarves. Two blue, one printed, one ombré. One brown / neutral scarf. I wear these pretty frequently. I’m still without a good raincoat, and I used the brown one as a head cover in the drizzle just yesterday.
Sadly, I have a bunch of jewelry I’ll probably never wear. These are the pieces I keep in my closet with my clothes. Everything else is buried in a drawer in my dresser…
- Vintage 30s/40s flowers and glass choker. This piece is inherited- my husband gave it to me, and previously it belonged to his grandmother. I’ve worn it with my purple dress, and with a plain t-shirt. It’s so happy and fun.
- Amber and amethyst necklace. I made this for myself. I love it and always get compliments on it.
- Rings. I wear my wedding band and a moonstone ring daily. I also wear a blue topaz ring I received from my grandmother several times a week.
- Necklace. This was the first gift husband ever bought me. It’s a trio gold toned coin necklace that goes with everything.
Phew. Typing all this out makes me think I still have more clothes than I need. I see another closet downsize in the future. All in all, I’m pretty content with my wardrobe. It rains a ton here in the spring/summer, so I’m currently hunting for a great raincoat but I’m trying to take my time and pick the right one. But really, that’s it. Eleven items of clothing, 29 things if you count everything (minus the two things I got rid of while writing this novel).
Thank you for sharing, Samantha! I love your approach and strategies for thrifting, and the necklace you made is so lovely :)