Monday, July 25, 2011


I think it would be awesome to cut down my clothing to just a few multifunctional items. From what I’ve read, the key to a simple wardrobe is owning a handful of high quality, multipurpose pieces with a common underlying tone so that they easily mix and match, plus some accessories (minimalist women seem to love scarves) that extend the outfit options from there. These items should last many years and basically never go out of style.

Sounds great, I’m in.

Anyone know a good magician?

One tenant of simple living is “fewer but better.” Along with owning less, what one does own should be high quality. Growing up pretty poor, we always bought the cheapest that would get the job done. Cheapest car, cheapest clothes, cheapest appliance, cheapest furniture, cheapest décor. There was never enough money to buy any one expensive, high quality thing at a time. This mode of thinking has carried over quite strongly into my adult life. But, I have made a few breakthroughs. I have a nice vacuum.

Er…let’s see, what else…er….hmmm….

Ah, but clothes, clothes, clothes. I’m at a complete impasse with clothes. Here are some of my roadblocks:
  1. I don’t have a strong fashion sense or innate appreciation for nice clothing. I wouldn’t know where to start. I don’t think I’d be able to spot a key, timeless wardrobe staple if it jumped on my body. And really, I just don’t know how to shop, I don’t like to shop, and have absolutely no interest in developing this hobby.
  2. Shopping takes me forever. When you only shop for clothes a few times a year, you have to make each decision count. I can’t even take friends along to help; I end up driving them crazy or I just feel bad for taking up so much of their time. It frustrates me to spend so much time on something I care so little about, but this does nothing to speed me up. I’m stuck.
  3. I can’t bring myself to budget very much money for clothes, even if it saves me money in the long run. I typically spend about $20 on a pair of pants, sometimes $12 or $15. For shirts, $20 is also toward the high end – I shoot for $10 and under. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life spent more than $60 on any one item, except maybe a winter coat, and that was probably under $100. My clothing philosophy tends to be “low risk, low reward,” and I struggle with breaking out of that cycle.
  4. I feel like if I were to really make a go of a simple wardrobe, I’d have to start over from scratch. This thought is completely overwhelming – how would I justify the time or money to scrap my wardrobe and start over? Because nothing I currently own is worth much, it’s not like I’d get a boost by selling it.
  5. As much as I love my husband, he is no help in this area. He cares far less about clothing than I do, and I pretty much do all his clothes shopping for him.
  6. Wouldn’t this mean I'd have to do laundry more often? *shudder*
So, what to do? Well, here’s my plan so far:
(Okay, I’m making this up as I type, so it’s a developing plan. This is why blogging helps me):
  1. Keep pruning the current wardrobe of crap, especially crap with holes.
  2. Try not to worry too much about running out of clothes. I am fairly confident that I don’t have a ridiculous amount to begin with, and I’m ditching more all the time, so I admit this does worry me at times. I will try not to worry. (Most of the worry is probably just fear of running out of clean laundry. I’ll try to consider that a somewhat separate issue).
  3. If I do feel like I’m running out or there is an item I need to fill a specific gap, I won’t immediately rush to the absolute cheapest place to buy it. Maybe I'll at least try a higher end store in hopes of coming across a higher quality item with a stomach-able price.
  4. Continue to reflect on what my overall clothing style might be, in hopes of developing a theme that might be easily mixed and matched. Enlist the help from a couple friends to just talk about it or even window shop together (with a time limit!). I’ve heard of something called “chic bohemian.” Something tells me I might actually be able to pull that one off, if I knew what the heck it was.
  5. Put “Rosie’s Clothing” back in as a line-item in our budget. For a long time now it’s just been clumped together with my “flex/fun” money. I have a feeling if I separate that back out into its own category, I will be more intentional with my clothing purchases.
  6. Continue search for wardrobe magician/wizard/sorcerer.
Meanwhile, I’m taking applications for a window-shopping-style-discerning buddy. Patience is a must. I will pay you in simplifying or decluttering services. Or cookies.


  1. Hey, yes cheap everything except food. I always bought the healthiest, best quality basic food I could get. And I cooked everyday. We rarely ate out - couldn't afford to. Better for it, though.

  2. I actually find a lot of great stuff on the clearance racks at Macy's. I think it helps to go with a list and define what "basics" are for you. Black trousers, pencil skirt, a wrap dress - things that don't go out of style and can be accesorized for different situations. I'm not exactly a style icon, but am great at packing for long trips with a small suitcase.