9.22.2010

How to Update Your Wardrobe for Fall




According to the tried-and-true Farmers' Almanac, tonight at 11:09 pm (Eastern Time, 8:09 pm for us West Coasters) is the official beginning of fall, and I am SO excited. It is by far my favorite season, especially when it comes to style. Fall = layers, and layers means our styling options just tripled. We break out our jackets, coats, knits, scarves, gloves, long sleeves and leggings, giving us a lot to work with to come up with a creative + confident outfit that is "you" through and through. But first you have to make sure you've got enough to work with.

For example, my closet is severely lacking in long-sleeve shirts and closed-toe shoes that aren't heels, making it difficult to put together weather-appropriate outfits when temperatures drop. I have to either wear a sleeveless or short-sleeve shirt with a cardigan or wear sweaters, with no in-between. The same goes for my feet: it's either heels (which I'm not a fan of wearing for everyday outings) or boots.

I've got my missing pieces to keep an eye out for in the second-hand stores...let's find yours!

Step 1: Saying Goodbye to Closet Dwellers

Perhaps the biggest perk of shopping second-hand is how much bang you can get for your buck. For what it costs to buy one outfit at a store like J. Crew, Banana Republic or Gap, you can get at least four at a thrift or resale store, and oftentimes you can find the same brands.

For me at least, this makes it easier to purge my closet of items that haven't seen the light of day month after month, which is the first step in updating your wardrobe. You have to say farewell to clothes you don't wear, because there is a reason you don't wear them: it's too short, it makes my butt look big, it looks like frosting on my muffin top...whatever the reason, you know what it is, so what's the point in keeping that item around? And if you only spent $4 on it in the first place, you're not digging yourself into a stylish financial hole by saying sionara.

Step 2: Making Sense of the Aftermath

Now that you've (hopefully) got a pile of things ready to donate to your local nonprofit, take a look at what is left and see what you're missing: Do you have a good range of colors? Do you have 15 short-sleeve shirts but no sleeveless or long sleeves? All jeans and no dress pants or skirts? And, especially for the fall, do you have sweaters, cardigans, hats, scarves, things you can layer?

One of the keys to ease when putting together an outfit is: options. I like that for any given article of clothing, I have at least two things that could go with it. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean you have to buy an excessive amount of items; it just means you need to keep in mind what you already have (and wear) when shopping.

Say you find a great blouse at a thrift store...do you have jeans, pants or a skirt that would go with it? You do? Great. Do you have two of those three? Even better. Same goes with everything else you buy. Always ask yourself if you already have something that would pair well with whatever you've got in your basket, because the more you can mix and match the same items, the more options you have, and all for less money.

Step 3: Creating Your Hierarchy of Needs

Before you hit the stores, do two things: 1) decide how much you can spend, and 2) make a list of what you're looking for. This will help you stay focused, especially if you're still a newbie to the thrift scene. It also keeps you from spending too much money or making impulse buys.

Go an additional step and rank the items on your list according to what you want the most. That way, if you find everything on said list but it goes over your budget, you can start chopping at the bottom.

Hope this helps you prepare for the autumnal equinox! 

Have a style question? Let me know and we can walk through it together on "What's in Your Closet?" Just hit me up on the ol' email!

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