I just don't know how to shop for clothes.
September 26, 2017 6:13 AM   Subscribe

I have a problem when it comes to shopping for clothes. Either I angst over a purchase for days and days, or I panic-purchase clothes I don't need. I have a wardrobe full of clothes I don't really wear. I need a strategy when it comes to buying clothes. Well-dressed Mefites who have a well-curated wardrobe of clothes - please share your secrets with me. Plus-sized female/female-bodied Mefites who have this down, I would be particularly keen to hear from you.

I am a young(ish) plus-sized female, which I think is relevant to mention: it is so difficult to find clothes that look good that shopping carries an undercurrent of panic for me - like as if I don't buy a thing I like the look of, it will never become available in my size again. (And this has turned out to be true on multiple occasions! I have a very pronounced hourglass figure and this makes it quite hard to find clothes that fit perfectly because my bottom half is so much wider than my top half. Tops and t-shirts that fit around my hips tend to be baggy in the chest area, and do not get me started on winter coats.)

What this means is that I end up with a wardrobe full of fairly similar clothes that I don't wear - because I have panic-purchased them, worn them a couple of times, realised I'm not really in love with them and then I never wear them again. I have a zillion pairs of black leggings, innumerable identical tops, and yet none of them seem quite right to me. I find it really hard to find clothes which are absolutely perfect for me, so I have a vast array of clothes that are "meh". I don't have room for them all, and planning an outfit every evening is a nightmare, because it's so difficult to find a particular item amidst all the chaos.

I would like to be more considered and less panicked about the clothes I buy and keep. I think if I had a strategy - like "I will only buy x number of clothes x times in a year", "I will not buy more than x number of the same item of clothing", or "If I am not 100% delighted with the fit of this item of clothing it gets returned" it might help me. So I would like to hear from Mefites who have a wardrobe of clothes which all get a good amount of use and who approach clothes-shopping, and deciding what to keep, in a measured way. It would be particularly helpful to hear from mefites who aren't standard sizes and how this affects your approach to clothes buying.
posted by Ziggy500 to Shopping (34 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
I've mentioned this on other clothing related posts, but get yourself a tailor! This opens up your choices drastically especially for non-standard body types. It's not universal; not all clothing can be successfully tailored, but I've been surprised what is possible with a good tailor in your pocket. Any tailor worth their salt should be able to guide you to pieces that can be. Once you have the knowledge of what can be fixed and what can't, it opens up your options.

Getting things fitted isn't that expensive, and it's way better than wearing uncomfortable clothes that don't feel right.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:36 AM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

For me the answer has been to find a stylist I pay every so often to go through my wardrobe, edit, and help me shop within my budget. Basically outsourcing all that thinking about clothes and my personal style (I don't have one) to the stylist. But, I am a fairly regular size.
posted by tinydancer at 6:59 AM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Start by editing. Got a good friend that you can laugh with? Invite that person over, have some kind of snacks or beverages, and move ALL YOUR CLOTHES. ALL OF THEM. into the living room or some similar space. Get some boxes or big bags.

- set aside an area (the sofa works for me) where you can lay out things you want to keep, for sure.
- set aside a box or bag for things that are damaged, don't fit, or you really hate (ie: things that for sure need to go)
- set aside a third area for things you're not sure about.

Start sorting. Your goal is to cut your wardrobe in half, so for every item you keep, at least one needs to go away. However, your secondary goal is to make outfits - ideally you'll have a lot of stuff that will mix and match, but not everything will fit into that, and that's ok.

Most things, it sounds like, will be in the middle. It is your friend's job to be ruthless. Both times I've done this, I've started everything in the enter, then moved five things into the "keep for sure" then was forced, for balance, to move five things into the "get rid of" pile. And so on.

Try stuff on. Work together to make decisions about what goes with what.

This is an all afternoon job. That's why you'll need music and snacks. This is not a job you can do alone - you need the friend to keep you on task, motivated, and positive.

At the end, nothing should be left in the middle pile, and you and the friend will get in the car together and take the "get rid of" pile to the donation location of your choice. That day.

Now, after this, you may realize that you need a few items to make a better wardrobe, and that's ok. Its ok to buy after the fact -- but you need to edit first, and then you're able to do the buying in a more thoughtful, less panicked way.
posted by anastasiav at 7:13 AM on September 26, 2017 [11 favorites]

My shopping life got better when I started living by the rule “If I don’t love it 100%, it goes back on the rack.” This overrides all the “what if’s” and “can use it when’s”. It may be tough to internalize it, though, if you’ve got anxieties pushing back against it. If that’s the case, maybe ask your therapist for what you could tell yourself when you hear yourself having those thoughts?
posted by matildaben at 7:16 AM on September 26, 2017 [10 favorites]

If the thought of visiting a stylist sounds unreali$tic for $ome rea$on.... (if you can read my subtext there, you know what I'm getting at)

This book helped me shift my own mindset a lot. It's got a lot of advice about how to assess what body shape you have and what styles and cut of clothing would suit you best. It also breaks down how to pick and choose items to make up a wardrobe, how to spot good quality in pieces (and bad quality as well), and how to take things from being "random clothes you've put on yourself" to "hey, this is a coordiated outfit".

I don't religiously follow its advice, mind you, but one tip she gave that jumped out and clobbered me over the head and stayed with me is: when you are trying on clothes, don't look at the clothing you're trying on. Look at your entire body. If you focus just on the shirt itself and are trying to figure out whether you like the collar or whatever, you may be overlooking the fact that it is cut in such a way that plays up your figure (or that it is cut in such a way that makes you look weirdly misshapen in some bizarre way). Whereas if you look at your entire body when you try on a shirt it's easier to pick up on "wow, this makes me look super-toned" or "yuck, this is cut like I'm a ten-year-old boy".

Another thing they suggest is to "shop your closet" - pull everything out and have a good look at it all, then play around and combine some things to see if they work in new combinations you hadn't thought of. Sometimes you can discover that 'hey, I hadn't thought to wear that shirt with shorts, but actually that looks pretty damn good."

I also browse through fashion blogger's sites now and then to see what other people are doing for overall outfits. I would never have thought to do some color combinations or accessories if I hadn't seen others doing so.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:30 AM on September 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

One hack that's helped me tremendously was picking a color theme, and sticking to it. Black and white are always allowed as they are not a color, and the one color that's allowed is blue. So now everything I own is black, white, gray, blue and navy and it's much easier to put together. It makes for a nice personal "brand" as well.

Another hack is maternity pants. Seriously, I don't know how to explain it but just get yourself to a maternity store and try on some pants, probably one size down from what you would normally wear. They make layered tops look really good, and are super comfortable to boot!

I also want to second tailor recommendation but with an additional twist: your undergarments are a huge factor in how the overgarments fit. A bra can make your whole outfit look modern and hip, or old and dowdy, for example.
posted by rada at 7:33 AM on September 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Similar to anastasiav's suggestion, remove everything from your closet and only put back things that are in season, that you totally love, and that aren't duplicates (as in, only have 1 pair of back pants). You will have a very small capsule wardrobe. On the short term, this will make getting dressed much easier and you will always feel comfortable in your clothes.

As you do this, start a notebook with a clothing category on each page - like leggings, white button down, winter coat, etc. List the one(s) you are keeping and getting rid of, and why you do or don't like them. Be really specific - is it the fabric? Color? Care instructions? You will notice trends that will help you avoid reliving your mistakes on your next shopping trip. This will help you establish the rules that you're looking for - for example, I now have a mental list of colors, cuts, and fabric types I will never ever buy.

Keep a list of the holes you really need to fill in your wardrobe. When you do buy something new, only buy a category you do not have, or buy with the intention of replacing something. Keep the receipt. Bring it home and try it on with clothes in your closet. Maybe take some pictures. Does it work with your wardrobe? Unless it's a standalone piece like dress, it should work with more than one piece you already have. Be picky and return if needed.

I think this is a more useful approach than limiting yourself to numbers of clothes. It could be you find three perfect shirts on the same week, and nothing for the next few months. Also, don't be ashamed to buy more than one of something in different colors if it works for you, as long as you will actually wear it!

If you want to recoup some costs, ThredUp and Poshmark are both popular ways to get rid of clothes. ThredUp is almost no work (get a postage prepaid bag in the mail, throw your clothes in) and Poshmark is kind of like Ebay for clothes, but also pretty easy.
posted by beyond_pink at 7:43 AM on September 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

Some great advice already.

Also be mindful of the outfits you reach for regularly and *why* you pick those. Do you like how they fit or the colors or the fabrics or just the ease of wear? Are there colors or outfits you especially feel good in? Are there outfits or styles you see other people wear with a similar body shape that you really like?

Think about the main staples you will need - For example, a good jacket for Spring and Fall that you like the color AND the fit AND the function. (I am SUPER excited about the new water-resistant jacket I just got, but it took me over a year to realize what I wanted for it.) It is OK to keep your current jacket while you think about what you'd like instead. This way you don't have the panic buy. I've done this recently for some brown shoes, brown boots, and funky yet comfy casual shoes. And now I realize I have a gap in black shoes and sturdy walking sandals, so I'll keep my eye out for those.

Part of my style includes some nice dark-washed jeans that fit me. So I paid money to a tailor/bespoke person to make me a pair of good quality jeans for my measurements, in my denim color, plus some fun squid-print fabric lining because I love that stuff. They fit me and make me happy to wear them. It is only one pair so far, but they are definitely a wardrobe staple now, and worth the money to me because they fit and make me feel and look good. (If you want the contact info for her, MeMail me!)

I am more pear shaped with bigger hips and a smaller bust. For me, the tops I feel best in tend to be wrap-style bodices and V-necks like this. Similar wrap dresses, too.

Another thing that really helped my self esteem when clothes shopping is understanding that YOUR BODY is NOT the problem. All of these ready-to-wear clothes are made from a standardized assumed "average" which is easy for machines to make a lot of. This is just to reduce cost and increase profit for clothing manufacturers. I used to HATE myself and my body because supposed "unisex" t-shirts always looked like crap on me, but it isn't me, it's the cheap shirts that aren't made to fit my full-hipped body. They are made more for a man's body and then just lazily labelled "unisex" so they didn't have to even try to fit women's bodies.
posted by jillithd at 7:44 AM on September 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

While I still buy some silly things that get lost in my closet, I think I have taken some solid steps to an actual wardrobe (rather than a pile of clothes that I dig through to find something I sort of like). I take it in three steps:
1. Get rid of stuff and be really honest about what you wear and what you don't wear.
2. Identify what you are comfortable and happy wearing both at work, school, nights out, Saturday apple picking, etc.
3. Shop for brands, fabrics, and stores that carry said things and know the sizing that works for you there (because we all know places where an 8 is a 10, an 18 is a 14, and no one is a size above 12).

I started taking a good look at the difference between the clothes I wore all the time and the clothing I would wear once or would actually never wear. There were some similarities: weird fabric, patterns or designs that I liked at that moment but couldn't bring myself to wear on a regular basis, and items that highlighted areas that I just wasn't comfortable with or fit oddly. After I got rid of the stuff that I didn't wear (I usually cut anything that I haven't worn in a year) I took a good look at what I really love to wear and works for me (for me: skinny jeans, plain t-shirts and tops, blazers, some simple shift and A-line dresses). It's not a very exciting wardrobe, but I found it was much easier to dress boring things up or down with scarves and necklaces (which are plentiful and can be found cheap) than to try and make trendy patterns work for me year after year.

After figuring out what I liked to wear, I narrowed down where to find this stuff. I used to buy pretty much everything from Old Navy, but their jeans wear out and sag very quickly and their shirts don't really hold their shape (but yes, I will purchase 97 cent shorts from them). ELOQUII is pricey, but pretty high quality. eShakti has a great selection and will customize items. In the end, I have to say I actually get a lot of things from Target due to price point and convenience. Their jeans have actually stayed in one piece and I can trust their t-shirts to keep their shape. Now, I think about pairing a plain t-shirt with jeans for a casual day, a dress or throwing a blazer on for a more business-y day, and whatever jewelry I am feeling from there on out. I still go through my wardrobe and get rid of stuff, but I feel like it's a bit less drastic these days and more about getting rid of things that are stained or just worn through. I still have to avoid white shirts, though, because I will always manage to spill something on them.
posted by thefang at 7:47 AM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

My one weird (emotional) trick is that I watched What Not to Wear for some time. I know it's outdated now, but it was useful to see objectively that sometimes a woman who looked fine in many outfits, didn't look good in a few other pieces of clothing. This situation, seen repeatedly, helped me shift my framing somewhat from blaming my body to blaming the clothes. Anything that cuts down the self-loathing makes the shopping experience more tolerable.

I agree that tailoring, which some dry cleaners can do, can really make you look better. With an hourglass shape, it's really hard to find the right waist to hip ratio in pants and skirts, but you can have the waistband taken in. (I'm an apple, but I hear this from my friends.)

It sounds like your decisions, avoiding and 'snapping' are both fear driven.

It is frustrating that items come and go so fast. It may be useful to go out on a research trip with the intention to not buy anything, but ironically, that's when you'll find the really great stuff. Now that we have cell phone cameras (I'm old), a research trip can be really well documented.
posted by puddledork at 8:00 AM on September 26, 2017

Oh, I know that plus size shopping dilemma. You *never* feel like you can wait for a sale. It's so frustratingly expensive. And like you, I also had a closet full of "nothing to wear".

Nthing the suggestion of good foundation garments, and also a good tailor. Also want to agree that experimenting with maternity wear is a good idea, and one that had never occurred to me until I finally was actually pregnant and then I was like "this is brilliant, why didn't I know about this before? ".

The best thing that I have ever done for myself was to go to someone to have my colors done. Yes, she is stylist and yes, it was expensive, around a thousand dollars at the time (I can't tell you how beyond extravagant that was for me at the time, as I was young and basically broke). However, knowing exactly what colors work on me and why, and what colors do not work on me and why has saved me, not exaggerating, probably well over $15K over the last few years, as well as so much time.

I used to shop for size first (or trend) but now I look for color first, then size. I can easily bypass colors on the rack that won't work. I can shop sales buying "out of season" colors and putting those things away until they are seasonally appropriate. I can buy from FB groups dedicated to my size just based on seeing the colors in the photos (from girls just like you, with stuff that is practically new but they just want it out of their closet). I regularly shop thrift and consignment now, because while the huge racks used to intimidate me when I didn't know what I was looking for, now my eye targets what works and I skip the rest like it's not even there.

After my one-time visit with the stylist, I further refined my wardrobe by choosing a color palette for each season. So if I see a great thick heavy sweater in blue for instance, I'll bypass it because I like to wear reds in the fall. If I see a cute tank top in red, I'll bypass it because my warm season clothes are blues and greens. That's simplifying it a bit but you get the idea.

So now I'm a colors evangelist. With social media it's probably way easier to find someone who does this than it used to be, so maybe costs have come down. Totally worth looking into though.
posted by vignettist at 8:20 AM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

You mentioned that you have a lot of leggings and same style tops, and you don't like the way they look on you. So sounds to me like you need to start with a different core look first, one that you like. For this, what you want to do is to aim for one (only one) outfit that you like. Maybe you already have that outfit in your closet, maybe you need to develop it with new pieces. Maybe instead of leggings you go with a skirt, or maybe pants or jeans.

But just start with that one outfit, including accessories, that is your goal. That then becomes a formula that you can add to.
posted by nanook at 8:23 AM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Macys have personal shoppers that are free to use. While they are there to help you find things to buy at they aren't high pressures. The first time I used one I sent them information about what I was interested in so they could have them ready for when I got there. I included some idea styles & colors I liked too. It's also OK to say I don't know what I like I'm trying to find flattering styles in casual/work/whatever wear & they can help you with that too. Though if you can take in photos/links to items you do like the style of it helps them. I highly recommend using them. Oh feel free to bring a favorite top from home & say I'm looking for flattering pants to go with this for whatever.

If you're not sure what styles suit and you have the budget you might try a clothes subscription service like Gwyinne Bee. It's a great way to try a whole heap of new clothes with no pressure. If you find something you love you can always buy it. I also got a few curated subscription boxes from Stitch Fix & Dia & Co. I found a few items I loved but more importantly I started to get an idea for what I didn't like because I'd get at least one item per box where i'd go why the hell did they send that.

Oh if you are scared off by the idea of a tailor try eShakti. They will make clothes to fit your shape if you put your measurements in.

As others have said, don't skimp on underwear.

Find a local seamstress/tailor who can alter things for you. So you can get a pair of pants that fit in the waist nicely then get the legs taken in, length altered. A good tailor/seamstress is a miracle worker.
posted by wwax at 8:55 AM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Regarding colors, my mom is a big fan of finding your colors, too, and got me a copy of "Color Me Beautiful" which looks (and is) dated in style photos, but the color recommendations are really great.
posted by jillithd at 9:15 AM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Everyone else has a lot of great advice (I've marked this thread as a favorite so I can back and reread it all more carefully), so I've got one piece of specific advice. I'm also a pear shaped youngish plus sized woman(ish) with a lot of junk in the trunk, and I wear a lot of dresses. As long as it's a day I'm feeling sufficiently femme, a dress is the answer for me to "dammit, I don't want to get dressed, and I don't know what to wear". Because I put on a dress and I'm done; I don't have to make any more decisions (though eventually I need to level up to accessories; I'm lucky enough to work in education so I can just throw on some Chucks or sandals and call it a day for shoes). Once it starts to cool off, it's a dress and a cardigan and I'm done. Once it gets cold, it's a dress and cardigan and leggings and I'm done. Dresses are my big strategy and I don't buy one I don't 100% love.

For smaller top and bigger bottom, I prefer skater dresses or fit and flare. I live in Cow Cow (pretty casual, though not as casual as they look, especially with a cardigan); when I need to be dressier, this is a favorite, as is this. This is my All Dress April album from last year.
posted by joycehealy at 9:18 AM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Becoming comfortable returning things I don’t love has been very liberating for me. When I buy something, even after I pay for it, it’s still under consideration. I get it home and try it on at least twice more over a couple of days before I commit to keeping it. It’s easier for me to truly evaluate something in my own mirror, in my own lighting. Plus, I make sure it works with other items in my closet, with my shoes, and with my undergarments. And trying it on a couple-few more times accounts for mood changes. New purchases sit in a holding area in my bedroom (with receipts) and I don’t cut off the tags until I’ve decided. If I have any doubt, back it goes. In a way, I guess I’m giving myself time for buyer’s remorse to kick in!

Maybe you can expand your “consideration period” beyond the time of the purchase to make up for any panic purchases?
posted by kittydelsol at 9:24 AM on September 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

Regarding colors, my mom is a big fan of finding your colors, too, and got me a copy of "Color Me Beautiful" which looks (and is) dated in style photos, but the color recommendations are really great.

Yes, absolutely. Life changing. Not kidding.

The book also has a "survival list" that can be adapted.

Her book Color for Men is, IMO, even better. The color and season descriptions are more detailed. There is also a great section on how many pieces of what type you need, depending on work/life circumstances. Just adapt it for women's wear. It's a great book. You can get them both dirt cheap.

As Jackson writes in the first book, the financial benefits of her system "are dramatic."

I wear my colors and only my colors, look great, love my clothes, and get them for a song at resale venues and Talbots killer sales.
posted by jgirl at 9:28 AM on September 26, 2017

My ultimate, number-one rule when shopping for clothes is this: Does this look better than what I walked in wearing?

If it isn't an improvement, I don't buy it.

For me, this rule applies universally. There are no exceptions for 'basics' - I am past the point in my life where I can tolerate paying money for a black t-shirt that's 'ok'. I want that black t-shirt to be great. Heck, it's MORE important for me to have great basics than any of the other ridiculous fancy stuff I have that can only be deployed strategically four times before I pass it on - I'll wear that t-shirt at least once a week for at least a year (barring crazy size changes). I no longer accept having to wear something 'all right-ish' once a week for a whole year.

This past year I have lost a significant amount of weight and am not a plus size at this time. However, I have been a plus size basically right up until now. I think that putting my foot down and never settling has been EVEN MORE important as a plus size person than as a 'straight size', because my body type was already easy to read as 'frumpy'. (I carry weight around the midsection, so the opposite of your body type, but if you have larger breasts you know what I mean about accidentally reading 'frumpy' in the wrong clothes. Someone else suggested getting to know a tailor - they are so right. I think it's most vital for hourglass figures to have their items tailored out of all the body types.)

I too experience the 'panic buy' impulse. What I do to counter it is this: I shop alone, allowing myself a very large amount of time to spend in the store so I don't feel a time crunch or feel that I'm making someone else wait. I gather up the items I'm going to try on, and I ALWAYS try them on. I personally am terrible at getting around to returning stuff and so I know that if I walk out of the door with a piece of clothing I'm going to keep it. Therefore I try to ensure that I only actually lay down money for items that I truly like. When I try an item on in the dressing room - this is the key - I let myself take AGES examining it on myself. I have to let the excitement of 'omg this actually fits!' subside so that I can evaluate it objectively. I run my test: 'Does this look better than what I walked in here wearing?' If it passes that test, I look over the item very carefully to assess the quality. Simple stuff - are the hems sewn correctly? Does it bunch or pinch anywhere? Any stains or holes? I've been known to buy fast fashion pieces, but like heck am I gonna buy a fast fashion piece with a dang hole in it. If it also passes the quality test, I check for comfort. Move around - sit, squat, walk. Make sure it doesn't dig or ride up when you're going about your daily life.

All right, you've got an item that looks good on you, that is an acceptable quality, and that is comfy. That's exciting! Now stop again and try to envision how you'll wear the piece. If your instict is to say 'this would look so good with a black pencil skirt' and you don't actually own a black pencil skirt, put it back. It doesn't matter that it's comfy and looks good. You're not in the business of buying whole new outfits that only go with each other, you're trying to buy an item that will actually enhance your wardrobe as a whole. On the other hand, if you think 'Man, this would be just the thing to wear with my red top AND my chambray shirt' then you're on to something. You've found something that offers new combinations within your existing wardrobe. It's a winner. Buy it!

Yes, you're plus size. Yes, if you don't buy something that fits you might not find it again for a long time. But if wearing it makes you feel crappy, you might as well not have bought it in the first place and spared yourself the whole emotional rollercoaster. I've thrown a lot of money down the 'I'd better settle for this' hole in my time. I don't do that any more and I'm so much happier for it. Also, I now like to wear most of what is in my closet. That's a pretty great feeling.

Some other stuff: Buy the undergarments you need to look good. Bras that fit, underwear that you actually like and that doesn't dig in, slips and skimmies and hosiery that help stop chub rub and ensure your clothes drape and hang correctly instead of bunching up on your bras straps.

Up your accessory game. Cool shoes (whatever that may mean to you, be it high-top converse or patent leather combat boots or red suede stilettos) make up for a lot. Jewelry that doesn't turn your skin green - nothing wrong with cheap jewelry, but if it makes you have to fuss with yourself because it's uncomfortable or leaves marks on you then it's not good enough for you. Accessories are one-size-fits-all and can really be the difference between 'boring outfit' and 'looking good'.

Overall strategy: Define your style, then only buy stuff that goes with that style. The more precisely you articulate your style to yourself, the easier it is to keep your shopping coherent and to have a wardrobe where everything goes together. I define my personal style as 'severe Baroness taking a sun holiday'. My personal style goal is always to appear ready to terrorize the servants - this leads me to a lot of dark silks, high necklines, enormous hats and mannish leather shoes. Your style might be closer to 'beachy mermaid moves to Paris' or 'consumptive poet discovers Hair Metal' or any of a million different types of looks - if you know what you're going for you will end up with a closet that makes sense TO YOU, and it only has to make sense to you.
posted by DSime at 9:53 AM on September 26, 2017 [14 favorites]

I simplified my winter work wardrobe two years ago. Bought 7 or 8 white oxford cloth shirts and a similar number of plain navy or black pants. That's what I wear. I jazz it up with a piece of really nice jewelry (not costume jewelry...antique broaches, handmade necklaces) or a pretty scarf. No fumbling with "oh what should I wear today" anymore. And interestingly enough, only my boss (also a female) noticed that I wear the "same" outfit daily. I have dresses and skirts for going out, but find I'm saving tons of money because the only thing I need to buy now are nice pieces of jewelry. I haven't refined my summer closet yet, but am working on it...and will go with a similar theme.
posted by byjingo! at 9:54 AM on September 26, 2017

Define your style, then only buy stuff that goes with that style. The more precisely you articulate your style to yourself, the easier it is to keep your shopping coherent and to have a wardrobe where everything goes together.

Can you please say more about how you define your personal style? I love the idea of having a narrative about it, I'm just not sure how to get there.

+1 to the advice to know what colors you like and look good in. That eliminates a lot of searching right off the bat.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:16 AM on September 26, 2017

Can you please say more about how you define your personal style? I love the idea of having a narrative about it, I'm just not sure how to get there.

How I defined my style: It was a process that took a few months, but was really valuable. Every time I wore something, for a long time, I took a moment to look over the outfit just before I stepped out the door and thought to myself 'what do I wish I were wearing instead?' That didn't necessarily mean I went back and changed, or anything, I just started to note to myself in a very practical way what I liked about my clothes and what I thought needed improvement. Sometimes what I wished I was wearing instead was a very simple change: 'I wish that this skirt was a little shorter so it would go better with these boots'. 'I wish that I had an undershirt that went with this button-down'. 'I wish this was navy instead of royal blue'. 'It's hot, I wish my shorts still fit'. I tried to take particular note of these wishes because it was so easy to make them come true. I wish I my shirt was longer so it would tuck into my skirt better? OK, next time I buy a shirt, I'll get a longer one and see if that works out.

After a while of addressing the simple, practical problems, I'd solved most of the functionality issues I was having and was able to address the more 'emotion-based' wishes I was making. 'Everything I'm wearing fits, but I wish I looked more grown-up'. 'I wish that I could dress in a way that implied no one should try to talk to me on the bus'. 'I wish I looked like an elegant witch'.

I started to notice a lot of similar thoughts - in my case, most of my wishes were urging me to dress more conservatively. After a time I realised that this was my true style speaking to me. When I actively tried to dress in a very severe, tailored way, my 'I wishes' quitened down. I started looking at myself and thinking 'I look good today' instead of 'if I made this change, I could look good'. I went through my wardrobe and put together a lot of combinations that I thought would work and that would also speak to this new style of mine that was emerging. After a while I realised that what I was wearing was making me feel really put together and preapred for the day, instead of merely 'acceptably covered by society's standards'.

At this point I took another look at this closet full of clothes that I'd dialed in on, and thought 'if I were to walk into this closet as a stranger, how would I describe the person who owns these clothes?' That's how I came up with my 'severe Baroness' description. From that point on, whenever I went shopping, I brought my imaginary Baroness with me. Now when I look at clothes I think 'would the Baroness wear this?' If the answer is no, EVEN IF the item of clothing looks good on me, I don't buy it, because I have discovered that when I'm dressed as the Baroness I'm happiest, and I always want to be my happiest. That pink crochet halter top might suit me in the dressing room, but it doesn't match with the rest of the style I'm putting forward, so I won't buy it. I can admire it, I can think it's cute, I can acknowledge that it's a great piece of clothing, and I still won't buy it unless I think it will suit the Baroness.

This applies to ANY style. It's all about figuring out what you're wearing on the days when you have no fashion regrets. My style happens to be very old-fashioned. Someone else might find that they feel killer in pale, floaty, bohemian styles, or they might discover that they LOATHE trousers and decide that from now on they will only wear skirts and dresses. They might realise that their style icon is Vegas-era Elvis and start filling their closet with sequins, leather and huge belts. All of these choices are valid, so long as they make the person wearing them feel like FIRE when they walk out to look at the world in the morning.

Now that I know what I like to look for, I keep a Pinterest board. I know, I know, every piece of advice in the world these days starts with 'get yourself a Pinterest account'. That's because what they're really saying is 'get yourself a way to keep track of images' and Pinterest is the current easiest way to do that. You could also clip pages out of magazines and keep them in a folder, or set up a tumblr account, or keep a folder on your desktop. I just use Pinterest because I happen to find it suits me best. If I am reading a blog and I see someone in an outfit that excites me, that looks like something I would wear, I stick it on my Pinterest board. If I see someone wearing an item of clothing I also own, but styled in a new way that I hadn't thought of - Pinterest board. Then, when I am wondering if I can figure out some other way to wear my black turtleneck because I'm bored with my usual black turtleneck outfits, I look at my Pinterest board and check out the ways other people have styled their clothes and it gives me inspiration, but in a measured way that isn't overwhelming. I'm not seeing a billion items of 'must-have' clothing I need to pick up before I'm fashionable, I'm just seeing stuff similar to what I already own, in different combinations. It's useful for days when you're bored with what you have but don't want to buy something new.
posted by DSime at 11:14 AM on September 26, 2017 [124 favorites]

When planning a wardrobe, I find it's a good idea to decide in very specific terms what you need and want and to stick to that. I do the laundry once a week, so my metric for what constitutes enough clothes is "what do I need for a week". So, for spring/summer wear, I might decide I need three dresses, five blouses/tops, five t-shirts, three skirts, two pair of jeans, four pair of shorts, a pair of cotton/linen trousers, a cotton cardigan, a linen jacket, a trenchcoat, a pashmina, a pair of high heeled sandals, a pair of flat sandals, a pair of espadrilles, a pair of runners, a shoulder bag, a purse, and a backpack. Out of this selection of clothing, I can make 13 outfits without repeating any items, and could easily get through a week at an office, several casual evening/weekend social events, and the usual errand running. I'd come up with a similar list for autumn/winter too. Then I'd decide what to buy based on what I needed, by which I mean I'd just be replacing items as they became unwearable for one reason or another (i.e., rip a pair of shorts to hell, replace shorts. Spill something on a top, replace top. See beautiful dress in store but already have three nice dresses in closet? Don't buy the new dress.) Please note that I am not providing this list as some sort of all-purpose recommendation, but rather as an example. Your list of necessary items might differ radically from mine, depending on your lifestyle, preferences, length of laundry cycle, etc.

You will need to make sure the items you buy work together well so that you can mix and match them, and the best way to do that, as many others in this thread have already said, is by working from a select colour palette. I'm a big believer in the seasonal colour theory, and buy everything according to my warm, rich autumn colour palette. I find it helps enormously because everything I buy works together so well that I need fewer clothes and shoes and accessories. My sister is also an autumn, but thinks the seasonal colour theory is all nonsense, so she just buys what she likes, but I've noticed that her wardrobe is roughly based on the winter palette, and consequently works together well. So, you can find out what season you are and dress according to that season's palette, or, if you don't happen to like those colours, you can put together your own palette of colours that you like.

The one fundamental rule about putting together a colour palette is that you need to pick either a cool or a warm colour scheme, because cool and warm colours don't mix well. A cool colour palette would contain a mixture of any these colours/shades: black, white, navy, royal blue, gray blue, gray, scarlet, hot pink, forest green, violet, pink, pale blue, and lavender. A warm colour palette would contain any mixture of these colours/shades: brown, ivory, olive, rust, orange, plum, tomato red, old rose, turquoise, teal, lime green, apricot, peach. Because I dress from a warm palette, I mostly just buy brown shoes and purses in a few styles and sizes and then I have the right shoes and bags to wear with my outfits in all those colours. If I had clothes in both warm and cold colours, I would need both black and brown shoes and purses -- and because I'd need different size purses and different heel heights for various outfits/occasions, it would soon add up to me needing a lot of shoes and bags -- extrapolate this example to include not only shoes and bags but also jackets, jewelry, and scarves and you'll see what I mean about palette dressing making it easier and less expensive to look put together.

I also tend to buy a number of basic items in neutral colours to make my wardrobe more flexible. Of the summer wardrobe items listed above, for instance, I would get the linen jacket in cream or white so that it would go with all the other outfits. The cardigan would also be a neutral. One of the three skirts might be in a plain khaki. The t-shirts would definitely include one white or cream one, and one brown or black one.

To buy the right styles, you need to know what shapes and styles suit you. There is quite a lot of advice out there for how to dress for your body type, whatever that is, so start by googling for some figure specific advice and then trying it out. When shopping, try on different styles and trends. Even if you're skeptical of how they'll look on you, if it's something new to you, try it on anyway. It'll cost you nothing but a few minutes and you might be surprised. As DSime describes above, finding your style is all about being attentive to what works and what doesn't, to what you like and what you don't like, taking mental notes, and then keeping those notes in mind for future purchases. I've learned over the years that I cannot wear empire-waisted anything, or shift dresses, or crew necklines, or turtlenecks, or three-quarter length sleeves. I now know that dresses don't generally fit me off the rack and that I must make them myself, and I know how to alter them so that they'll look right on me. I've gotten very good at zeroing in on the styles and shapes that do suit me, which saves me time and mistakes in shopping.

It's an ongoing learning process and you'll probably never get to the point where you stop learning. But you will get to the point where you feel like confident of what you like and looks good on you 95% of the time. As the French say, "Elegance is the privilege of age."
posted by orange swan at 11:49 AM on September 26, 2017 [5 favorites]

Thrift stores!! Depends what size you are. The smaller end of plus size will have more options, but you can definitely find thrift stores that have a decent selection of bigger sizes too.

The Goodwills in upper-middle-class suburbs are great for plus size office wear. 75% of my wardrobe easy comes from these.

What item do you find hardest to fit? Mine is pants and so I will go pants shopping at regular stores (Macy's, whatever) and if I like the way they look, I buy it even if they're expensive. Usually multiple pairs at once. I can afford this because my other clothes are so cheap.

Another trick, if you get a collection of cardigans or shrugs in several colors, you can wear them on top of short-sleeve shirts instead of buying a whole separate long-sleeve wardrobe. I also find that layers on top helps distract from any lumps or other things that seem more visible from just one shirt.

Memail me if you want more advice - I can talk about thrift stores a lot :)
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:57 AM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've recently been buying from eShakti - their clothes (1) almost all have pockets, of actual size that can carry things; (2) are customizable to your exact measurements for an extra $10 (also included in that is custom sleeve, collar, and length options for most outfits); (3) are set to fit your height even if they're not "customized," so there's no "well, this fits my waist, or it would, if my waist were where my hips are." (I wear a 20 in eShakti sizes, and am 5'2" tall.)

I don't care for most of eShakti's designs, even with the modified options. I don't need to. They have a lot of designs to chose from.

Having a couple of well-fitting dresses has done wonders for my outlook on shopping - I'm now able to shrug past all the pretty dresses and nice-looking suits on other sites that I know expect large sizes to mean a tall body. I have a few GOOD outfits, and that's given me breathing room to think about what else I would like, and whether I have to learn to sew things that aren't renfaire outfits, or look for tailoring options in person, or something else.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:44 PM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've seen "color me beautiful" invoked, and I've also seen the question "what is the process for defining your style". If I remember correctly, I think the "color me beautiful" book also has a section on describing five different types of "signature styles".

I actually am not too crazy about the idea of shoehorning yourself into someone else's definition of "style signature", to the point that you only wear one very specific and regimented type of clothing like it's a costume; but it was a helpful gateway to how to think about types of looks, and how to describe it ("is this look more 'sporty' or 'classic'?"...."oh, that's definitely more 'glam girl', I think I like that better than 'boho' now that I think about it").

There are a shit-ton of "what is your style profile" types of quizzes online; you may want to take a couple of them (taking the results with a grain of salt) and then do google searches for "[whatever your style signature is from the quiz) style outfits" and see if you like what they're showing you. And then, just be willing to play, and adapt to what parts of it you like and chuck the rest. Like, I always get "boho" on those quizzes, but lots of the "boho outfits" I see have short little twee minidresses or lace on everything, which I don't like at all. However, I also see lots of earthy colors, rich patterns, thick cozy cabled sweaters, scarves all over everything and multi-culti jewelry and those are things I do like. So I just chalk it up to coming down more on the tomboy side of boho and call it a day.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:58 PM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Two things changed everything for me. 1) I refused to buy anything that wasn't black, white, gray, or somewhere on the purple-to-red spectrum, other than jeans. Suddenly everything in my closet goes with everything else. It could be a little boring but see #2. 2) I stopped being afraid to buy the occasional outrageously expensive piece that I adore. These few pieces get worn all the time and make me happy every time. Turns out that variety is not the antidote to boredom; rather, genuine pleasure in what you own is.
posted by HotToddy at 2:23 PM on September 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Nthing a lot of suggestions above. I narrowed my wardrobe to neutrals and one color. I didn't do a colors thing; I just picked a color I liked, which was pink. All shades of pink. I also omitted one neutral that I didn't like, which was brown/tan/beige. So my closet is black, white, grey, navy, and pink. (I have recently started to expand my colors but that's more advanced, lol.) It all goes together. If I want a print, it has to conform to my colors (so, pink and black, etc).

I also stopped wearing pants. I bought pants but was buying ones that looked "okay," because that's all I could find. Fat lady pants generally come in one shape (I don't care what you say, Lane Bryant and Torrid), and I am not that shape. I cannot afford nice pants that could be tailored, so no pants for me. This eliminates one big category for me, focusing my shopping even more.

Another thing that helped for me was to find some fat acceptance blogs and "fatshion" blogs/insta/pinterest. Not everything you wear has to be "flattering" (aka makes-you-look-skinny). For me I had a huge revelation in an Old Navy dressing room, trying on a dress and asking myself that classic question: does this make me look fat? And then it occurred to me: of course it does. I am fat. Everything I wear is going to make me look fat. Why not just wear what I love? It took a long time to get to that point. Looking at fat girls wearing clothes that "fat people shouldn't wear" really helped me get to that point, too.

Also, and I have to recommend it specifically because it is amazing--you need Torrid's black fold-over pencil skirt. It's made of yoga pants material. It has a waistband you can fold down (like yoga pants). It's knee length, and it looks fucking fantastic on everyone. And it's $28.50, which is probably the cheapest thing in the store. I have already worn out one skirt (after two years of weekly wear), and bought two more in case they stop making them (but they haven't in five years). You need this piece. You can skip the rest of the store (I love it but all the stuff is expensive and cheaply made--I'm really good at clearance racks), but this skirt is amazing.
posted by catwoman429 at 2:48 PM on September 26, 2017

I'm a fan of simplified color palettes, although seasonal color theory not as much because of downsides like:
- If you're not Caucasian, you're likely to be lumped into one or two palettes even though women of color can have very different cool/warm/olive undertones.
- You develop a limited perception of what colors "go" together. For example, I sometimes wear teal (warm/bright) and forest green (cool/muted) together, and it looks fresh. In general, I tend to like colors that occur across multiple "seasonal" palettes and I think they look equally good on me (I also like some colors for the color, not because they're the most flattering against my face; I can tell the difference).

What I'd advise instead:
- For the brown vs. black problem, you really should be separating out neutrals from colors anyway--pick any two neutral colors from black/cognac/mahogany (dark brown)/taupe/light grey/charcoal grey, and use that as your base for shoes and core pieces. I don't count white as a neutral because I think everyone can wear white, but YMMV. Tip: black tends to work best on people with high-contrast coloring.
- Pick 1-3 additional colors that you like and which look good on you (hold it up against your face in natural light). Pay attention to hue and saturation levels when you're shopping for specific colors.
- +1 to the advice above about picking a silhouette (e.g. dresses), or a few silhouettes, that you like and know work for you. Leave the experimenting with different denim styles every season to the trendy people. On that note, it's really hard these days to stay "current" with denim, and it's hard to fit too; unless you looove jeans, I'd consider picking a silhouette that's more classic, like long-over-lean (tunic with leggings) or dresses with cardigans (lots of different cardigan and dress silhouettes you can try).

For editing your current closet, my favorite advice is from The Mom Edit. The tl;dr summary: try every single thing on, put everything except the 100% love's into bins, and live with just your favorites for 2 weeks. Pull pieces out of the maybe bins as needed to actually complete outfits. Don't donate anything until you're ready to part with it emotionally; there's no harm in keeping bins or bags stored away if you have the space.
posted by serelliya at 5:19 PM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thinking out loud:

+ Personal style is really important, and I agree with the commenter above on how to pin it down. The outfits that make you feel like a million bucks are the ones you want to really meditate on and try to understand what it is about them that appeals to you. I feel great in black & white stripes, and I realized slowly but surely that I loved stripes because they're classic, slightly androgynous, and playful without being cute. So I focused on building up a wardrobe of striped t-shirts that were all somewhat different (different sleeve, neckline, etc.), made of nice fabric, durable, etc. From there, I knew I wanted black jeans and black booties. A blue denim jacket to go over. Etc. I just spent a long time trying on different versions of the same thing while not pressuring myself to buy anything right away. I knew what I was looking for, so when I found it, I could just buy it.

+ I know what makes me feel like me. I like straight miniskirts, but not a-line skirts. I love pointed toe boots and shoes much more than rounded or almond toe. When I go into a store I find it very easy to narrow down, e.g., shoes, because I know the rounded toe shoes are a waste of time for me. I think it's a good idea to evaluate your outfit each day and identify what makes you feel confident about it and what does not.

+ I spent a lot of time trying to artificially limit my number/color/whatever of clothes to fit into the strictures of a capsule outfit. This ended up being a waste of money and never really making me happy (it felt super boring to try to make everything totally modular), so I adapted it to my means. It takes time and experience to figure out what makes you happy but it will come.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:45 PM on September 26, 2017

I spent years in minimalist stuff and limited myself fairly strictly to: blue/purple, khaki/olive, black, white. Then I got it in my head that I was boring, and expanded.

Now I am drowning in clothes and going screaming back to the roughly four colour system.

Also, when you find a basic X that is PERFECT, especially if it is on sale, stock up -- a bit contrary to paring down, but it does reduce hassle and expenditure.

The only exception to the colour rule: shoes, purses (spend more on these two than on anything else, by an order of magnitude), and cashmere sweaters. I have cashmere that was my Grandma's. There is just no chance of a basic cashmere sweater or cardigan (avoid trendy styling) ever being an undesirable garment (though good used beats cheap new). Old pants + shirt = bit sloppy; same outfit + cashmere sweater = pulled together. And warm and cozy! Also surprisingly cheap used so long as you avoid the brands that exist for the sake of being brands. Vintage Scottish is ideal. I aim to die with a full rainbow of crewnecks and a full rainbow of twinsets. It also fits in neatly with my "no crap fabrics" strategy; thanks to that I have things that have lasted decades. As with most things, better to have one worth repairing than five that will be landfill.
posted by kmennie at 12:35 AM on September 27, 2017

Oh dear god, yes. I am with you. I'm also in the "plus sized and hard to fit" (pear, also with large upper arms), with an added bonus of "very specific colouring" (blonde, pale skin that turns red easily).

I have a basic uniform. I'm lucky in that I work in a laboratory, and so pretty much have to wear pants. I'm also lucky in that there is a shop in Australia that sells jeans (and sometimes other pants) that fit me. So when I need jeans, I wait for a sale and go and buy a couple of pairs.

Tops are easier to find in some ways. I have a few shops that I've historically had the best luck at, and when I'm at one, I'll have a wander through and see if there's anything that might suit me. So, for example, when I'm buying jeans, I'll have a hunt through the other racks and see if there's anything there.

I don't even try on things that are in a terrible colour for me, or styles that I know won't work. This means that 90% of most (plus sized) stores are immediately ruled out. I also do the bust and hip check, where I flip the hanger upside down and pin it under my chin (this brings the neckline up to about the right height), pinch the side seams and pull them to the side seams of what I'm wearing at my bust and then my hips.

Something I've started to do recently: consider buying two. I've been doing this for about a year now, and it's been hit and miss. Many of the shirts haven't held up well, and I've then regretted having two. But some of them are great, and I really appreciate having the second around. I've got two black hoodies that I love. I've got two blue t-shirts that are fantastic. Generally, my best duplicate buys have been buying a second after wearing the first a few times, so I think I'm going to start leaving the tags on the second, and wearing just one for a few weeks.

I've started learning to sew. I'm not amazing, but I did a pattern making course, and very successfully drafted and made pajama pants and a pencil skirt. I'm a pear, and we aren't meant to wear pencil skirts. But honestly, I look pretty good in it. I think more truthfully, pears can't find pencil skirts that fit. If my favourite shop stops making my jeans, I plan to draft and make pants too. Which will be a lot of work, but probably less work than trying to find jeans that fit. I've also copied a dress using this method. I have a dress from eshakti too, that fit quite well till I lost weight, so if I need something for a special occasion, I'm planning to get something from there.

I've recently reorganised my drawers, and this has revolutionised my clothes management. The konmari method of folding shirts makes me insanely happy, and I've similarly rolled my pants in cylinders and lined them up in a drawer so that I can see them all at once. I've also written on the label of my leggings how long they are, and I fold them in such away that the label is at the top, so that I no longer have to pull every pair of black leggings out to find out how long they are. It is insane how much better I am at putting clothes away, now that I have a system that works. In the morning, I open my tops drawer, and I survey my many options. It's brilliant.
posted by kjs4 at 12:45 AM on September 27, 2017

Try out the women at Birdsnest. They have revolutionised shopping for me.
posted by insomniax at 1:28 AM on September 27, 2017

I am so glad I posted this question. This thread is full of interesting advice and discussion! Thanks so much to all who weighed in.

A few points:

Sadly I am not in the US so I cannot benefit from all the (I'm sure, excellent) US-specific advice, but hopefully others will.

I do actually have a preferred personal style. Unfortunately, that's part of what makes clothes shopping difficult for me. My ideal look is basically Gap - you know that sort of unfussy, clean lines, slightly androgynous thing that they do - but it's really hard to find Gap clothes in my size. They do go up to XXL, but that doesn't necessarily mean they fit right on me. You would think it would be easy to find well-fitting basics, but most plus size retailers will try to put you in lots of florals, or alternatively really tight 'bodycon' dresses, or try to make you flash your cleavage to all and sundry. That's fine if you're into that, but it really isn't me at all. It can be really difficult to find basics and they get sold out easily. That is part of why I do the panic-buy thing when I spot something that seems like it might fit in, however vaguely, in with my preferred style, although it doesn't always work. Sigh, anyway yeah it's really infuriating. I will try to be more strict with myself in future and not buy something because it feels like it might work.

I like the idea of having a preferred colour palette. That would definitely simplify shopping, especially as I am lucky in that most colours look ok on me, although I've never had my colours done.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:29 AM on September 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Late to the game but wanted to offer up a slightly different closet editing approach in case your brain is similar to mine (i.e. completely overwhelmed by the act of taking everything out for one massive edit). I've tried all sorts of different gimmicks for closet editing (e.g. turning hangers backwards until you wear an item, moving recently worn items to the back of the closet, etc.), but I ended up liking one approach over all others... I call it CLOSET DEATH MATCH. Here's how to play:

1. If I have more X (sweaters, tops, scarves, work dresses, etc.) than I have room to COMFORTABLY store, it's time for a CLOSET DEATH MATCH. Just focus on the category that is currently overflowing... if everything is overflowing, do no more that 1-2 categories at a time.

2. Pull out everything in that category (let's say tops). Grab any two random tops off the pile... DEATH MATCH time... two tops enter, one top leaves. Just pick your favorite between the two. Don't overthink it or get hung up on "but I need this one for work" or "I have to keep that for when grandma visits"... just put the one that makes you feel most awesome in the win pile and the other in the lose pile (even if you know you really want to also keep the loser... bear with me). Repeat until the original pile is completely divided into winners and losers. Bonus points if you make t-rex noises where the tops actually fight each other til someone wins.

3. Once everything has been sorted into the winners and losers, look at how many winners you have -- is this a reasonable amount (i.e. fits comfortably in the space you have available)? If it's still too much, take the winner pile and go DEATH MATCH again until you get it down to a reasonable number for you. Repeat until you have a reasonable number of winners.

4. Last step... Now that you have it winnowed down to a reasonable number for you it's time for the GRUDGE MATCH. Put the winners back in your closet. Dig through the pile of losers... are there any tops that you wish were winners? Anything you love and are sad to see go but it just came up a bit short compared to whatever top it faced in the first round? Here's its last chance for survival... Take that top, go to your closet, and figure out if there is ANY other top from the winners that this scrappy survivor can beat. If so, that scrappy survivor declares VICTORY and revels in the closet with the winners while the other one goes to the loser pile. C'est la vie. Repeat with any other potential scrappy survivors until you are convinced that there are only losers in the loser pile (and/or your throat is sore from T-Rex sounds).

5. Congrats. You now have a well-edited selection of awesome tops. From now on, any upstart challenger top you bring home has to FIGHT its way into your closet, unseating one of your winners. If it's not as awesome as what you already have, then it gets returned. If it really is super awesome, then great! Something else has to go. Your closet stays fresh, awesome, reasonably sized, and ready for DEATH MATCH ACTION at a moment's notice. Train hard, cardigans... I'm coming for you next.

Advantages of the CLOSET DEATH MATCH approach:
- I can target my worst clothing clutter in manageable chunks
- it's a series of easier-for-me binary decisions as opposed to endless variables / over-analysis / hypotheticals
- it helps me make good purchase decisions even after the initial edit
- When I manage my wardrobe according to available space, I wear everything more often (because everything's easier to see/find/access)
- it's fun to make t-rex noises

Submitted for your consideration. Best of luck!
posted by somanyamys at 7:02 AM on September 27, 2017 [146 favorites]

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