I’ve been watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries (I’m just a couple of years late, I know, I know). And their clothes are so cute. So cute. Anthropologie, mostly. Banana Republic. Ann Taylor. All my favorite brands. All more expensive than I can afford.
So, I started thinking about how I don’t have many cute articles of clothing. It was only a month or so ago when I realized that people don’t really wear turtleneck sweaters anymore. (But who am I kidding…? I like them and will still keep on wearing them.) I have two pairs of jeans that I love from Old Navy, which was my most recent clothing purchase (on sale, last July). I also got two pairs of shoes online (on sale), and although I think they look super cute, I can see why they were so inexpensive (they smell like some weird faux leather/formaldehyde mixture). Anyway. The last clothing items I bought for myself were the two pairs of jeans and the two pairs of shoes in the summer of 2013. I think before that, I hadn’t actually bought anything for about 6 months.
What do I currently wear?
- Faded, stretched-out cardigans
- Too-big tank tops (that I hide under the aforementioned cardigans)
- One black cowl-neck sweater from Banana Republic that I love (but is getting pill-y)
- 3 school shirts – t-shirts that advertise my school – woohoo.
- Two turtlenecks (one black, one brown) that I love during the winter
- A brown v-neck sweater
- A dark green dressy polo shirt (I can testify that there is such a thing) that I got from a thrift store – generally I wear it underneath the brown v-neck as the sleeves are a little too short for me to feel comfortable
- Two long-sleeved t-shirts from Target (one in teal, one in purple)
- I can’t actually think of any more tops that I wear right now? I know there are probably more….?
- Two pairs of black jeans my mom bought me from somewhere that I would never consider shopping at for myself, but actually are kind of cute and don’t even look like jeans, so I wear them to work anyway (though they attract cat hair like…. a cat-hair magnet?)
- One pair of black pants from Target that actually fit, woohoo!
- One pair of too-big khakis that always show every little wrinkle
- One pair of fit-in-the-waist khakis from Target that are extremely unflattering because the legs are too wide and long
- One pair of blue/grey corduroys that don’t really match anything but were from the JCrew Outlet store and totally fit when I bought them but now don’t
- One pair of brown corduroys (also from JCrew outlet) that still fit
- Black pencil skirt from Target (rarely wear to work, because then I have to shave (TMI?) or wear cute tights – which I don’t own – or leggings)
- A bunch of scarves (some knitted by my mom, some light/frilly ones that I purchased)
- Black Mary Janes that never really were cute but I thought they were practical… but now the tread is worn so low that I skid every time I walk on smooth surfaces)
- Two pairs of Target flats (one dark pink, one gray) – love these!
- One pair of black Crocs flats (love these way more than I thought I would – I even wear them with black socks because my feet get cold and I don’t want to wear the black Mary Janes anymore – not really stylin’, but whatever)
- Unattractive brown flats that are extremely uncomfortable – only worn when necessary
- Ass-ugly brown old-lady type shoes that are pretty comfortable but are exceptionally hideous
- A pair of crappy cheap boots I bought online – cheap is as cheap does?
- Super cute brown boots that were from Boden but I found at a thrift shop (I still felt bad about spending whatever amount I spent a while ago) – slightly too small for me, but I couldn’t turn them down
- Navy sweatshirt from Hershey Park in PA that I bought when I took a school trip there and it poured down rain and I was freezing – that thing is about 10 years old now, and still going!
- Gray-ish brown hoodie that is part cashmere (from a friend!!!)
- Pajama pants (I kind of hoard these, but I just got rid of 3 pairs recently, so that’s a step in the right direction)
- 4 or 5 t-shirts that are pretty hip (but I can’t wear them to work)
- What do I have in my closet that I only rarely wear but will still keep?
- Black dress (from Target) that I wear for special occasions/work
- Button-down Oxford-type shirts (three – one orange striped [what was I thinking?], one blue, and one short-sleeved maroon)
- Dress shoes (brown pumps that are coming apart but I can’t bring myself to throw away yet – they are super comfortable and super cute!, and open-toed sandals that I rarely wear because my toes are rather long and those kinds of shoes make me feel uncomfortable)
- Green corduroy blazer (turns out I like wearing blazers, but green corduroy isn’t as versatile as I’d like…ha)
- Other stuff I can’t remember, probably
So, here’s the thing… there are many, many resources online that tell you what the “essential pieces” are for a woman’s wardrobe. So I know there are certain pieces that I kind of have (as in, technically I own a pair of khakis, a black dress, flats, and pumps), but I’m not sure that most of them are flattering or well-made. In fact, I’m pretty much sure that most of them do not fall into either of those categories.
But as long as the clothes cover my body, why should I worry about buying other clothes? I don’t think I look like a bag lady. But it’s at the point where my students are now making comments about my clothes and shoes. Leaving aside the fact that they shouldn’t feel comfortable joking about my attire to my face, I’d like to just point out that if middle schoolers think I look like crap, then they’re probably somewhat right. I know I don’t look “put together,” in a professional way, but I don’t look UNprofessional. Definitely not wearing low-cut shirts or skinny jeans to work. But it’s started me thinking about when I might be able to afford some new pieces for my wardrobe.
I think I may form a plan: maybe once we have the Citibank credit card paid off (currently at $1000 – yaaaaaay!), the car loan (about $2400 at the time of this writing) finished, and H’s private loan for his doctorate ($6000+) paid off…. maybe I could justify purchasing a few new items that are actually high quality that will last forever and be more versatile than the pieces I have. Maybe every once in a while. Because it would be more than a year before I would be able to justify getting new clothes (at that rate).
But how about I only buy one awesome piece every couple of months? But when I think about that approach, I feel like it won’t actually be helpful. Just one piece at a time? How would that work? Shopping is hard anyway… I think I would be better off saving up a good amount ahead of time, then saying I could spend $500 and finding outfits that could be mixed up. I know myself enough to know that I don’t do well trying to buy individual pieces – I really need to buy outfits that I can visualize. I have trouble putting together outfits by myself at home…. I might need a consultant. (But who could justify paying for that?!)
I often open my closet and think, “Really? What do I actually have in here that makes me feel good to wear?” The answer is, “Nothing.” But then I imagine spending money on new clothes (or even new-to-me, used clothes) and I think, “That money could totally be better spent paying down our car loan!”
I dunno. I might be getting close to the point where I need to make some investments in my wardrobe. There would have to be much planning to avoid overspending at some point. Do you know, I once bought a beautiful green jacket/blazer at Ann Taylor? And it wasn’t even on sale? I wear it every once in a while. It’s dreamy. But seriously. I teach middle school. Why dress up for them? Should I dress up for me? There’s gotta be some solution, short of someone nominating me for “What Not To Wear” and getting a weekend of shopping in NYC.
Musing on clothes and spending money on a Friday night is my idea of a good time. What are the things you dream of spending money on that are NOT necessities? Do you ever give in and just splurge? And with clothes – do you buy one piece at a time or go on a mini (or big?!) spree?