Spring arrived on the calendar a couple of weeks ago, and before we know it, it will actually feel like spring, if it hasn’t in your region yet.
For me, with every new season comes the sneaking desire to freshen up my wardrobe with some new pieces. But the reality of the situation is my budget does not allow me to spend a lot of extra money on a seasonal wardrobe refresh. I am still furiously paying off my student loans from college and trying to live with a better awareness of what I do with my money.
If I buy new pieces for spring this year, I want to do so with great intention and thought and a few questions in mind: Do I really need this piece? If I purchase this, can I make at least three different outfits with it? Is this a classic, timeless piece or is it more a fad that would only last one season? Is this really a “need,” or is this a want? Here are a few ideas I am trying out this spring to give my wardrobe a refresh without spending a lot of extra money.
KonMari your whole closet and try on each piece. Marie Kondo has been a hot-button name in American households for some time now. Whether or not you have changed how you fold socks and underwear, it can be helpful to go through all of your closets and dresser drawers in the way that Kondo suggests.
Try on each shirt, skirt, pair of pants, and dress. See how it fits you, how you feel in it. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this piece?” A huge part of deciding to keep the clothes we wear so regularly is how we feel in them. So pay attention and ask yourself how you feel in this peace: Does this outfit or piece of clothing make you feel confident about yourself? Is what you’re wearing an outer reflection of how you feel about yourself as a woman? Does what you wear bring a smile to your face?
Trying on your clothes will give you a sense of what you cannot live without and what maybe you need to part with. Play some fun music, light a scented candle or start an essential oil diffuser, and make an afternoon out of this.
When I did this last week in my closet, I realized I have been holding onto an old bridesmaid dress from two summers ago, and there were several pairs of shoes I could easily live without. I learned I did not need three different pairs of gray workout pants, while re-discovering a J. Crew camel-colored sweater that I can style into several new outfits.
Can you make three different outfits from one item? My mom taught me this trick when I was in junior high as I began to learn more about style and shopping for myself. When I am doing a clothing refresh or am out shopping at Ann Taylor LOFT, I always try to keep that question in the front of my mind: Can I make three different outfits from this one item?
With this particular shirt, how can I wear it in three different ways? Could I change the pants, wear it with a dark pair of skinny jeans, or with a floral skirt? Mix and match outfit ideas with individual pieces as much as possible.
This practice has taught me three things. First, how much clothing I actually own. Realizing I have more than enough motivates me to shop my own closet without feeling the need to go shopping every season for new clothes. Second, it forces me to get more creative with what I already own. Shopping my closet helps me think of new ideas of what to wear with what I already own.
Finally, the three-outfit rule has given me a better sense of the colors and silhouettes that work with my body type and make me feel good in my own skin. One of the things I have learned about myself is that I tend to stick with more neutral colors (navy, gray, camel), and doing that allows me to punch things up with statement earring, a bold print, or a fun lipstick color. Knowing what looks good (and feels good!) on your body is important to feeling like your best dressed self.
Make a list of items you need. Doing things like trying on all your clothes and making new outfits from what you already have will help give you a sense of what items you really need. Be specific: “I need a new pair of shoes to go with the bridesmaid dress for the summer wedding I am in.” “A chambray top would work really well with this skirt and those two pairs of pants.” “I have a couple of neutral colored short sleeve tops that work well under sweaters for spring, but would transition well to shorts in the summertime.”
Creating a list of the items you really need will help give you a more focused shopping list for the season, without wasting money on purchases that are just fun splurges. I make a list like this each season and find it helps streamline my purchases any given season.
Looking ahead to spring, there are two specific items I am looking for: a well-made chambray top and a simple camel-colored trench coat. Knowing what I need helps keep me aware of the difference between my needs and my wants.
Look to style icons for inspiration. Who are the style icons you look to for fashion inspiration? Who are the women that inspire your choices in colors, fashion, and jewelry? I really enjoy the simple elegance of women like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. Classic lines, neutral colors, and the occasional bold pattern; these are things I take from these two women. Clearly, their style has not lost traction because many women today look to them for tried and true fashion advice.
Another simple way to find fashion inspiration is to consider whom you follow on Instagram. You might begin to notice a style trend or certain similarities in the styles of people you follow. This could help you discern your own sense of style or inspire you when it comes to your fashion choices.
To get you started, here are some of the fashion bloggers I follow on Instagram I look to for fashion advice and tips:
Nicole M. Caruso (former beauty editor and recent contributor of Verily)
Ever Thrift (a second hand thrift and vintage online clothing shop owned and curated by Janet Easter, former style editor, creative director, and co-founder of Verily)
What I enjoy about each of these women’s feeds is that we have similar tastes, but they often give me ideas on ways I can be more adventurous and step outside my fashion comfort zone.
Take the time to dress your body in fabrics, colors, styles, and patterns that help you feel like the best version of yourself. When you do a spring refresh of your wardrobe, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you discover about yourself and your fashion tastes!