Tag Archives: wardrobe building

Summer 2013 update

So, I’ve been absent from my blog (and most of the blogosphere) for about 6 months now. And I’ll be honest: I’m probably going to be absent for another 6 months after I post this. 🙂

Earlier this year, I started to feel like my life had slipped into a rut, where my days revolved around work, and not much else. It didn’t help that I was having some health issues which resulted in extreme fatigue– and then I was hit with a sudden increase in family obligations, due to some unexpected events. I was exhausted!

When I finally started to feel better, I decided that I needed to spend more time on personal interests outside of my day-to-day work; so that’s what I’ve been doing: playing music, sewing, gardening, reading, and home improvement. I’ve also been spending more quality time with friends and family. Even at work, I’m making an effort to interact more with people outside my immediate department. It’s all been good.

What I wore

Because last winter was such a busy and exhausting time for me, I think I also got into somewhat of a clothing rut. I wore virtually the same “uniform” every day: Sweater, t-shirt, jeans. Sweater, t-shirt, jeans. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

The colors changed (a little bit) but the style was virtually identical from day to day. And I was too tired to accessorize.

As I am now determined to work myself out of boredom, this spring and summer, I’m suddenly craving variety in my wardrobe.

For the first time in a long time, I’m buying (and sewing) printed tops and dresses. And I’m shopping for pants other than jeans.

The budget is tight, and I need a lot of new things right now (because last year’s tees and jeans are so worn-out that I can’t really wear them anymore).  So I’ve been doing some bargain shopping. I’m sometimes having to settle for polyester instead of silk, but that’s just the way it has to be for the time being.

So far, I’ve had the best luck shopping at TJ Maxx and Kohl’s.

At TJ Maxx, I’ve found some nice pieces from the Max Studio brand, heavily discounted. In fact, everything I’ve purchased there has been from that same brand. (A lot of the pieces don’t look work-appropriate, but there are some– and TJ Maxx tends to sell the more conservative styles from this brand.)

At Kohls, I’m liking the Simply Vera brand by Vera Wang. Some of the pieces look a bit cheap or tacky (in my opinion), but she also has some pieces that look pretty nice. Everything at Kohl’s is constantly on sale, so it’s easy to find things there at affordable prices.

I still love my J-Crew basics, but I guess I’ve reached a point where I’m ready to move beyond the basics. I can’t see myself ever amassing a huge wardrobe (or even a cramped closet); but I do see my wardrobe becoming larger and more varied in the next year or two.

Settling into a uniform

I know I’ve been blogging about dresses lately. But if I look at my day-to-day life, the reality is that I’m more likely to be wearing jeans on most days. Casual wear is simply more practical for my daily life activities.

Last year, my workplace was becoming more formal and there was talk of a dress code. The administrators were concerned about projecting a more professional image for our department, and the focus seemed to be on appearances.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Perhaps it has something to do with recent budget cuts, or the economy in general. It’s probably not easy to ask people to upgrade their wardrobes in times like these.

As for myself, I was at first excited about the opportunity to dress up a bit. But when I was assigned a project that turned out to involve a lot of dust and dirt, I reverted to my “uniform”.

And that uniform is:

  • Dark-wash jeans
  • Knit top
  • Cardigan (if it’s cold)
  • Flat shoes (usually ballerinas)
  • Jewelry or scarf

And almost everything I own is some shade of:

  • Blue
  • Red
  • Purple (i.e. blue + red!)
  • Black

Over the years, I’ve experimented with various new looks and silhouettes. Some worked better than others.

I’ve gradually narrowed it down to my favorites, and the funny thing is, I’m almost back to where I started: jeans and tees– but now, in a more refined version.

  • The boxy tees have been replaced by fitted tees, some with interesting necklines.
  • A collarless blouse in a soft woven fabric will “read” as a tee.
  • Nice cardigans in a delicate wool, silk, or cotton replace the baggy hoodies and sweaters I used to live in.
  • Shoes are more classic and less “funky” in design.
  • I’m making an effort to accessorize on a daily basis. 🙂

I think my next step will be to simply upgrade the quality of what I own: better quality knitwear, maybe some premium denim. I do think I’ve pretty much determined that I’m never going to stray very far from my “uniform”. These are the clothes that make me feel both comfortable and attractive.