So I mentioned in this post awhile back that I’ve been going through my house and keeping it manageable. I cut deep in my closet. I mean, I got rid of about 80% of my clothes. It was the definition of cut deep. I have never done a spring cleaning like this before.
I realized something when I was reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and it was that I have had a bad habit with clothes since I was a little girl. Perhaps you can relate. I was the little sister. My big sister was always super stylish. She loved looking put together, and to this day, gets lots of joy from that. I feel sloppy in her presence because she always looks stunning. Always. (Yes, Heidi, you do.) She wasn’t just older, she was also a bit bigger than me. Now, I know she has carried around the idea that she’s the “big one” of the two of us, but honestly she’s actually the same size as me now. We are both tiny. It was unfair to her because when I mean “bigger” I mean that she was probably a size 4 or 6 back then for awhile while I was a 0 or 2. She wasn’t big, I was just crazy small. Like, my parents constantly took me to the doctor to figure out what was wrong with me small. I was one of those never-on the-charts babies who grew into a still-not-on-the-charts adult. I’ve made peace with the fact that this is just the size God made me. The sheer number of doctors who encouraged me to eat junk food for the sake of some chart, and in the process destroying my health…whew. That’s a whole other ranting-type post.
I would always get her hand-me-downs. From my earliest memories, I folded my jeans in ripples around the waistband to tighten my belt. I never really wore clothes that fit. To me, clothes were purely utilitarian. They kept me from being naked. Having preferences, in my mind, was liking the blue shirt over the orange one. I had no preference for fit or style. I just didn’t want to be naked.
I remember in high school, on a choir tour, 2 of my friends took me shopping. I bought a pair of jeans that fit. They cost $20 and I nearly fell over at the price. I also bought a tank top that actually fit. I saw what I looked like in clothes that were in style, and actually fit. I got a taste for that type of thing and liked it.
Fast forward to marriage and motherhood. Pregnancy taught me something. When you know that you can only afford three or four shirts, you choose them very carefully. When I bought pregnancy clothes, I had to really like it, or I wouldn’t shell out the money. At each pregnancy I added 1 or 2 items. By my 3rd pregnancy, I realized that my maternity wardrobe was so much more preferable to me than my “regular” wardrobe. I mean, I love my pregnancy wardrobe. It rocks. I’m going to be honest, when I first found out I was pregnant with my 4th, I thought “Yeah! I get to wear my maternity clothes again!”
Something is wrong with that.
My regular wardrobe was mostly stuff grabbed from a Target clearance rack for $3.74 and thrown into the toddler-filled cart without so much as a holding it up to me. I’m not joking. I think I have spent literally hundreds of dollars in past years buying clothes this way. It needs to stop. I need to stop buying clothes I don’t wear. It’s a profoundly simple thought that’s changing everything.
I need to start treating my “real” wardrobe with the same pickiness as I did my maternity wardrobe. I don’t have access to a lot of good shopping out here in the country. Plus I’m a really weird size. I’m short, so that would put me in the petites. But most petite sections start at size 4. I’m a 0 or 2 depending on brand. (I know of 1 store in a 200 mile radius that carries a 2 petite.) So then I head to the junior section, but most of those bottoms are 6 inches too long, and sit right on my hips below my muffin top, and the shirts are so long that the neckline starts below my boobs. Not to mention, I feel like I’m trying to be 18 again when I’m trying on clothes in the junior section because they are so ridiculously trendy and not my style at all. It’s not that I mind being trendy, it’s just that I’m comfortable being 34, and I don’t want to look 18. 34 is awesome. There must be some clothes out there that don’t scream either 18! or 78! There has to be a middle ground.
So then I go to the children’s section, but everything there is straight, and while I’m tiny, I’ve birthed 5 children through these hips and while it doesn’t look it, I do have at least some curves. Nothing fits. So I end up shopping in at least 4 sections of a store/a mall and rarely finding anything that actually fits, let alone I like it.
So whenever I looked in my closet, I saw things that were either not my style, but fit me, or were my style, but really didn’t fit me well. Some of them I didn’t like AND they didn’t fit me, but they were cheap so I bought them. It looked in there all the time and said “I have nothing to wear.”
Going through this book I got rid of everything I hated, which turned out to be about 80% of what I owned. I realized my clutter wasn’t the only problem. The reason I kept accumulating clutter was a bigger problem. For the first time in my life I feel freedom when I look in my closet, however tiny that wardrobe is now. I don’t stare at it for 20 minutes. I look in there and I like everything and everything fits. Can you imagine!?
However, what is left won’t clothe me forever. I have to find a solution to this where-to-buy-clothes problem moving forward. Going shopping is an ordeal. I either have to get a sitter (hello…money) or I have to shop with 5 kids. I usually have to drive an hour to get any stores that have clothes that may or may not fit, and I need to plan on a good 6 hours of searching if there is something I particularly need.
I have come to loath shopping. Shopping in the last few years has lead me to tears. I used to like it. Now it’s hard. Now it costs me money to shop, and time.
I don’t have the time anymore. Period. I just don’t. I don’t have time to sift through a closet of clothes I hate to find one or two things I like, and I don’t have time to spend hours in malls. Maybe someday I will, but now I just don’t have the time to find clothes that fit me. It’s too hard.
My New Solution?
Ok, don’t laugh. I signed up for Stitch Fix. It’s a personal shopping service. Right now I don’t need a ton of new clothes (I’m loving this limited wardrobe thing!) so I don’t plan to do this often. Looking in my closet, I see I only have 2 shirts with a pattern (of the 8 shirts hanging in my closet now). I could use 1-2 more patterned shirts, but feel so indecisive when trying on patterned shirts. I have no idea what will look good on me. Plain shirts are less stress to buy. Also, I told my personal shopper I needed shorts. I said I can only find shorts that reveal my butt, or make me look Amish. Something in-between is what I’m going for.
I’m actually planning a wardrobe I will love rather than just throwing money at the clearance rack and hope I hit something decent. I’ve done the math, and realized I will save a ton of money this way, as counter-intuitive as it sounds.
(My mom, sister and I have talked these last years about the “price per wear” concept of clothing as my sister holds our hands through fashion choices. If you spend $5 on a top, and wear it once, the price per wear is $5. But if you spend $30 on a top and wear it 200 times over five years, the price per wear is $0.15 therefore the cheaper option by far. The true cost of an item isn’t in what you pay for it, but in how often you wear it.)
So the service costs $20 if you don’t buy anything that’s in your box. (This is cheaper than me getting a sitter to shop myself, so in my world, worth the risk.) If you buy something, the $20 is put towards whatever you buy. If you buy everything in your box, you get 25% off of everything. I typed in my budget, measurements, sizes, problem finding clothes that fit, and the website gave me several pictures of outfits and I got to rate them, so they could fine tune what my style is. The personal shopper takes all that information, and sends me a box of options.
It’s almost too good to be true.
So I got my first “fix” in the mail this week. Here is my quick review of what came in my box: (Don’t mind the fact I’m just taking selfies in my bathroom while standing on my toilet. I probably should have put on make up…or shaved. Hang in there with me.)
XS Papermoon Gurley Knit Top $44.
OK, I actually liked this top. So did Knut. I’m just really going to be picky. If it’s $44 I’ll pick it apart. No more “I could probably make this work” clothes. I want some variety and simplicity in my wardrobe. The vast majority of the tops I kept in my wardrobe require a camisole/tank top like this one. That’s truly the only issue. I really just want to add to what I have with some shirts that can just be worn on their own. I hate having to wear 2 layers all summer long. Really, it was very light. I’m just being super picky. It’s fun. Haha. I’d buy it if it were on clearance. (I think that was my problem. Not the price, but it was in the “Sure…I’d wear this for the right price” category and not the “OH MY GOODNESS, I LOVE THIS!” category, which is my new standard.)
Status: sent back.
SZ 2 Mavi Joya Cuffed Denim Short $78
These shorts? They fit like a glove. Seriously, I was jumping up and down. I don’t even need a belt. I almost cried. This would be the 2nd pair of shorts I have bought since Knut and I got married nearly 13 years ago. Actually, probably since high school. Yes, they are a tad on the short side, but I can see myself living in these at the lake this summer. No blubber of mine is coming out the top or bottom of them. (They are high rise, thank you!) I didn’t want to take them off.
I was a little concerned about the length, but since Knut wasn’t concerned about it I decided I was fine. He said they’d be cuter if they were a bit longer, but he didn’t think they were crazy short. Plus we both agreed, that with my petite frame, it’s tough to pull off longer shorts or capris.
OK, so they are pricey. I’m actually a bit ashamed of that. I have never, ever spent this much money on a pair of pants let alone shorts. But gosh darn it, I never find shorts that fit. The cut off version I try to make never look this cute. 13 years people, with 1 pair of shorts. (I do have one pair of cut off/junky gardening ones too, but I’m not counting that as my “capsule-wardrobe”) If I wear these for 10 years, it will be $7.80/year. Done. (Plus, after selling 80% of my wardrobe this is more doable purchase right now.)
XS Pixley Lionel Striped Embroidered Tank $38
OK, I’m going to be honest. Knut and I had a small fight over this top. Oh the drama. He was cleaning out his clothes for our garage sale, while I was trying out my box. I wanted his opinion. He is always so brutally honest, and I really appreciate that. My first impression was that I wouldn’t pick it out, but I was willing to try it on anyway. That’s the fun part. I found the shoulders to be fussy, and realized my undergarments were the problem, not the shirt. I usually can’t wear yellow, but the navy neckband really made this work with my pale skin. It has this cute embroidery on the top part:
It had more of a razor back, which Knut said made me look muscular (yeah!) but I don’t have that kind of bra. I know. I need to buy that too. On paper, this top was perfect for me. It fit, for the most part (maybe slightly baggy? I don’t know…I know it’s the style), and it had a cute neckline, not too tight, and still pushing me style-wise. The undergarment problem is fixable, but just one more shopping trip. (ugh!) I liked it, but not enough to buy it. It just didn’t get me excited, and for $38 I should be excited.
Knut loved it and begged me to keep it. If your husband said that, wouldn’t you think twice? I did. I thought about it about ten times, actually. In the return bag, pull it out of the return bag. In…out. What should I do? Knut has a much better sense of style than I do, and when I can manage to pull him along shopping with me, he picks out super cute things for me 90% of the time.
We ended up compromising, and I’m sending this back, with the thought that I’ll send out for another “fix” right away with some more top options, and more particular, detailed notes for what I like. I was just planning on buying 1-2 tops and 1 pair of shorts for the season. I have the shorts figured out now, so now I just need the “perfect” tops. Stitch Fix really encourages you to do this, and even suggests I come up with a Pinterest board with styles you like for them to get a better gauge. So I’m putting together a board, and already sent back detailed feedback so they can shop for me more specifically.
Status: sent back. Happy I did, and excited for more options coming.
SZ 2 Level 99 Cindie Printed Short $78
OK, a few problems with these shorts. They were too wide at the waist. It just was a terrible fit. I think the patterned shorts were fun, but I wouldn’t wear them all the time to justify $78. Fun, but not worthy enough for my capsule-wardrobe.
XS Daniel Rainn Ishara Lace Detail V-Neck Blouse $68
This top made me look pregnant. Let’s be honest. I love the color, but of the 8 summer tops left in my possession, 3 of them are some variant of this color. This would not be adding variety or fun. I would have to tailor it to be comfortable in it, and for $68 I’m not tailoring anything.
I like the idea of the lace detailing, and I usually like v-necks. This whole outfit made me feel like I was wearing oversized silk pajamas, though.
I don’t mean to be complaining about the prices too much, but I’m just adjusting from my clearance rack syndrome. I’m reminding myself I will be spending less by cutting out all the “make it work” clutter overflow. The prices were not a surprise to me. You can actually customize on the site how much you are willing to spend. When the rubber hits the road, though, my logic had to take over and hog-tie the clearance girl in me.
Also, I get a $25 towards my next fix if any of you want to use this referral link below and do this with me. That would completely make my day if that happened. It’s honestly 100% more fun than shopping, especially shopping with kids. If you want to set up your own fix, click HERE.
Want to see my second box? Click here.