Sunday, January 20, 2013

Closet Revival - What Happens When You Work With What You've Got

I've fallen victim to that "thing" lately where I'm very sure I have nothing in the world to wear. The timing couldn't be worse.

I was never a frequent shopper or a big spender, but if I was near Old Navy I would stop in and TJ Maxx was my secret lover. I used to stalk clearance racks and buy skinny cords on J Crew's Final Sale annually for $20 a pop.

Yeesh, don't even get me started on J Crew. There was a day when I wouldn't think of going "home" to Ohio without fitting in a J Crew outlet run.

More and more, I've learned to stay away. I've forced myself to stay away. Because as Howard the cat is my witness, I cannot go into one of my favorite stores without walking back out with something in my claws. It's a proven fact.

I can't pinpoint exactly when all of this started to change for me. I have a hunch it was somewhere around March 2012 when I read Jen Hatmaker's book 7. Dang that girl.

Then we moved and reallocated our funds and suddenly, there's just no room in the budget for surprise stripes or impromptu plaid.

A month or so ago I started to tell myself that I deserved to do a little damage. Just the tiniest bit. One hit. A quick fix.

But the strangest thing happened. I started to see what I already have with fresh eyes. And I realized all over again that it's not about needing "something", it's about wanting something new. Different.

If you remember nothing else that I ever say, remember this: Layers are your BFF. They will surprise you, energize you. They will inspire you and make you feel like the genius that you most certainly are not.

 Exhibit A
 I bought the jeans six months ago at TJ Maxx with a store credit. I could elaborate, but I'll only say this: fate smiled at me that day.

The rest of the outfit pre-dates my youngest child.
The button-down and t-shirt pre-date my oldest child.

I dare you to layer a button-down under a t-shirt under a cardigan under a blazer.
You will emerge feeling brand new.
You will emerge with limited range of motion in your rotating joints.

{The bag: my friend Jason Loper made this bag. I can't stop carrying it. It's roomy with a contrasting liner. I can sling it on messenger-style. Adore-adore-adore it. Pretty sure it's no longer available, so go on and hate me.}

Layering tips: Pull button-down cuffs out of the blazer. If you have a lining in your blazer or jacket, roll it! Instant texture and funk. The goal is, lots of layers in lots of places. A bunch of random bracelets tops it off.

Exhibit B

You may have already seen this, but bear with me, because it seemed like the dawning of a new age when I thought of layering this long stripey T under a fleece jacket then topping it with something super fancy.

Juxtapose, baby.

If you worry that it's all wrong, it's probably just right.

 Just gonna put this out there - it's awkward posing for pictures like this.
Also? Cold.
I get impatient and sometimes it shows.
I never know what to do with my arms.

My neighbors across the street are always watching.
It's...uncomfortable when I stand just outside the front door and Cory takes pictures from the porch.
Mostly for them.

Also? My eyes aren't in Kansas anymore.
Reality has come knocking.
Exhibit C

Stripes (always, always, always stripes!) with plaid.

Then, what the heck? Tie a 25-cent thrift-store table runner around your neck and pin it down with a weirdo vintage button.

But don't forget the belt! Tuck just 1/3 of the front of your shirt in and let some belt peek out. In a perfect world, it matches nothing else you're wearing.

Sidenote: I bought the jacket 12 years ago at TJ Maxx. Tawelva. When I brought it home my mom laughed hysterically and asked if it was for a 2 year old.

This clearly isn't rocket science. It's not even 7th grade Intro. to Physical Science.

The truth is, most of the time I'm not too worried about all of this. If you know me in real life you question my taste on a regular basis. You wonder why I've given up. You wonder why I had you over for potato soup and I was wearing the blue shirt over the gray shirt, then the next day I blogged about the Chinese Buffet and there I was, wearing it again. You wonder if I might have worn it a third day. (You wondered right.)

Again, I blame Jen.

In the midst of my closet revival I started thinking, This is it! I shan't make another purchase for the rest of the month, nay, the season!

Then I made a fateful trip to Old Navy to buy Cory a pair of much-needed jeans and walked away with a $7 sequined tank. It happens.

So, I'm not making any big proclamations tonight. I'm just here to advocate for looking twice when you believe you haven't got a thing to wear.

Let's wear something ever-so-slightly crazy tomorrow, wanna?? I've so got your back.

*7 link is an Amazon affiliate link.