Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fashion Diet

I have been on this diet for quite some time now, but diets don't last right????

The economy has forced even the biggest shopaholics to put the breaks on spending.

I have spent too much money and too many hours shopping for things that I didn't necessarily need or want. I now keep a list of things that I actually NEED and have learned that WANT is a separate category. Needless to say the list is tiny, so it looks like I might be on this diet for longer than I'd like.
Here are some things that will help you look your best and curb your appetite to spend-

Make A Plan

Many women love markdowns and tend to shop impulsively when it's such a good deal. It is much better to shop with items in mind and buy selectively to avoid surprises on your card or account. I suggest only going to the store when you need something, not just go to look around. This is hard for me because not every season I like the things that are in the stores so I like to look year round. Unfortunately looking leads to spending so I go A LOT less then I use to, but maybe a bit more then the average person.

Before heading on a shopping trip, it's best to look over your closet and assess what you already have and what you will still wear. This is why it's good to clean out your closet every three months so there's nothing in there that's sitting around for no reason.

And the more clothes you have the harder it is to find something to wear. Usually it's because you can't find it or see it! And cleaning out your closet four times a year is really not that much. It's better than doing it every couple years, which then gets overwhelming and can take hours if not days to sort through.

Need vs. Want

I want it, I deserve it, it makes me feel better are all things that lead to dangerous spending.

We all go through times where retail therapy is the only kind of therapy that will make things better, but we all know what happens when you think with your heart and not your head.
I tend to shop at stores that have a flexible return policy so if I do make a regretful purchase then it is easy to take it back.
But then I am back at mall or store and sometimes I end up exchanging the item for something I like better, which can be good because then I'll wear it or bad because I'm out that money.

I go through a series of questions (not out loud) like how many times will I wear it? Is it versatile enough to wear from day to night? And can I see myself wearing this next year?

When I went to Poland and took a look at some of my cousins wardrobes I was seriously impressed.
By the way if you don't know, Poland is one of the most fashion forward countries in Europe and people just get how to dress well. Hence how I was inspired by my mom who is still one stylish woman.

The wardrobes I saw were small, simple and very organized with lots of accessories. I'd say most closets are the size of an average bathroom closet if that helps. I saw a lot of black and minimal prints. Everything looked stylish, fitted and of quality. On average there were 15 shirts, 10 sweaters, 8 pants, 5 dresses, 3 skirts. Several scarves, tights and a nice amount of fashion jewelry. I also saw only 2 handbags and maybe 4 pairs of shoes.

I wonder if people would shop more if the closets in Europe were bigger? But I don't think so. They really are smart shoppers who buy things that they actually WEAR. And when it gets worn out or they need something for a special occasion, that is the ONLY time they head to the store.

Quality or Quantity

There is definitely a difference in a $25 dollar shirt and a $250 dollar one. I think you should spend what is in your comfort zone, but the reality is is that a $25 dollar shirt will only last you through one season, two if you are lucky. And aren't you usually buying several at a time and spending a couple hundred dollars anyway??

While $250 is a bit much, I find that the best shirts I own are over $100. I have had them for years and they never lose shape and always look great. But you have to really study the fabric because it can be easy to spend a lot of money on things that won't last that long. If you are not familiar with the label there is usually someone you can talk to at the store about the item and honestly if you are spending a lot of money, you should ask questions! Most importantly the clothes should fit your body well and be COMFORTABLE. Never spend money on something that looks nice, but doesn't feel amazing on you. What's the point? You won't wear it again.

Building a high quality wardrobe takes time, usually because the pieces are expensive and it takes time to get a feel for what you really like.

I think it's best to spend the most on accessories. Handbags, scarves, and shoes are my indulgences. They completely transform any outfit. Spending a couple thousand dollars on a bag might seem extravagant, but when the cost is amortized over several decades of use, the price may seem a bit more reasonable.

Skip Trends

Find things that REALLY look good on you and build your wardrobe around that. If it's a skirt that looks great on you then use it to pair with tights in the winter months, pair it with tank tops and button down shirts in the summer, wear it with boots or heels. You don't need ten skirts, just a couple that suit you well and your needs.

Having some kind of signature style will really help because then you just add things here and there. If you like trench coats, you can wear it with almost anything- over a dress, with jeans, etc. But it has to look and fit amazing and a color that looks good with anything. For example, mixing t-shirts and jeans with unique or vintage jewelry or cocktail dresses with motorcycle jackets.

I actually despise trends. Or any store that screams trendy. Even if I go to H&M I still don't get anything trendy, which by the way is very rare. I usually go there for swimsuit cover-ups or things that I don't mind ruining or losing on holiday. I stay away from prints or super bright colors as much as possible, only because I know what works for me. I would have a hard time spending a couple hundred bucks on something with a pattern. Chances are it will be out next season and for years to come.

I think every woman should own the perfect blouse, a great fitted pair of jeans, black pants, a versatile skirt, and PERFECT black dress.
There is so much you can do with that black dress. You can dress it down with a jacket, make it look preppy with a sweater, wear with sandals for a more casual look or dress it up with high heels and eye catching jewelry.

I know that by following some of the things I've learned throughout this fashion diet have helped me come into my own style even more. It seems the less I shop, the better I am at understanding what I like and what I gravitate towards.

And you definitely don't have to be in designer wear from head to toe. I recommend mixing and matching labels and fabrics as it adds more texture and helps the nicer things really stand out.

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