building a wardrobe

Prepping for Colombia these past few months has forced me to look at my closet in a different light. Because I’ve more or less been on shopping lockdown since I left my job in mid-March (with a few exceptions, e.g. the Argentina and Philadelphia trips), I’ve been looking at every little thing that enters and exits my closet much more carefully. I’ve also been going through items that I don’t really wear anymore and selling or donating things as appropriate, which has been an interesting process and a great way of bringing in a few extra bucks.

When it comes to building a wardrobe that can really take you places, it comes down to three steps: 1) assess everything with a critical eye, 2) pare down and purge what doesn’t spark joy or isn’t absolutely needed, and 3) build and shop as appropriate. I’ve heard it said that if you haven’t worn a piece in over a year, you’ll likely never wear it again and should get rid of it. I would add some caveats to this, but I think it’s more or less sounds advice. I also think that holding on to parts of your wardrobe that are the wrong size that you are right now is a dangerous road to go down: not only is it bad for one’s self-esteem to consider a size to be aspirational, it’s impractical to hold on to clothing in a rainbow of different sizes “just in case”.

Nicole at writes like a girl answered these five wardrobe-related questions on her blog, and I liked them so much (and reading other bloggers’ answers that she linked to as well) that I wanted to weigh in. Here goes!

If you had to choose ONE brand (money no object) to buy clothes from, what would it be?

Oh man. This is really hard, because there are so many places that I’ve picked up pieces that I absolutely love, like Anthropologie, J. Crew, and Madewell. But if money were no object, I’d go for the gusto and pick something like Vince or Billy Reid. Shoot for the stars, right?!

What’s one thing you’ve purged from your wardrobe you wish you had now?

This is actually something I think a lot about. I tend to cycle pieces in and out of my closet with relative frequency, even before this extended trip abroad came about. There hasn’t really been anything that I’ve later kicked myself for having gotten rid of, but I do which I’d hopped on the e-selling train through a service like Poshmark or even eBay versus taking my pieces to the local Buffalo Exchange to sell, because I’d probably be able to fetch more money for my pieces by just cutting out the middle man.

What’s something you’re hanging on to, but sort of wish you had the courage to let go of?

There’s this mega-cute Tracy Reese dress I purchased about six years ago at a shop in Seattle for my high school reunion. At the time, I was maybe 10-12 pounds thinner, and the dress fit me like a dream. I put the dress back on a couple weeks back, and it’s, er, a tight squeeze. I refuse to get rid of it because I LOVE that dress, but perhaps I should take my own advice and not hold on to something that doesn’t fit anymore because I’m holding a candle that I might be that weight/size again.

If you had to choose 5-10 things from your wardrobe (including shoes & bags) to keep and you had to get rid of everything else, what would you keep?

I’m thinking this is one of the easier questions for me to answer, mostly because of my upcoming trip abroad that I’ve had to do lots of planning for. If I absolutely had to get rid of everything else, the items I’d keep are all small, local brand items that would be impossible to replace and things I’ve picked up from various trips here and there that hold a lot of sentimental value to me. Here’s my shortlist of items that I’d keep:

  1. brown leather Hatton Henry tote
  2. black Caboclo shoes
  3. Gibran sandals I got in Buenos Aires
  4. black jumpsuit I got in Philadelphia
  5. black appliqué dress from s.t.e.f. studio
  6. orange hammami blanket/scarf I got in Istanbul
  7. lemlem dress I just got
  8. blue/black/gold ace&jig dress I got at Bird Boutique last year

What are you wearing RIGHT THIS SECOND?

Well, I’m writing this in the morning and am still in my pajamas, so it’s not the most exciting ensemble, nor is it fit for public consumption. I’ve currently sporting a white t-shirt with a Back to the Future reference on it, a gray sports bra, and a pair of floral-print pajama pants from Target. Très exciting, no?


clear the clutterfind your style

When it comes to building a new wardrobe, stylist Laurel Kinney is the best of the best (she helped me find my new jeans that don’t suck!) and is hosting a FREE call on June 1st. In the call, Laurel will be sharing some invaluable wardrobe tips and tricks, and she’ll also be giving the scoop on an upcoming style workshop! Do yourself a favor and snag your spot for the call on her site at

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