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Sunday, March 05, 2006

More outfits, for free, today!

Rebecca has a great post up about shopping in your closet. The Bargain Queen LOVES closet shopping. If you've never tried it, it's a great way to get more outfits for no money, by making better use of the things you already have. You might find things you've forgotten about, or as Rebecca says:
Even if you don't have any new items, you may have combinations you have never tried.
Here's The Bargain Queen's tips for finding more outfits in your closet:
  • Get organised. The Bargain Queen has another guilty fashion secret to share: often, half her wardrobe is crumpled in the washing basket, waiting to be folded / hung and put away. The first priority for closet shopping is putting everything away where it belongs, so you can see what you've got. While you're at it, making everything look nice helps. For example, if your hanging space is grouped by type, it's easier to work out what's there. The Bargain Queen has dresses and evening tops, then daytime tops from sleeveless to long sleeve, then trousers and skirts, then jackets. Within these categories, everything is organised from lightest to darkest colours. Of course, it doesn't always stay this organised - but whenever The Bargain Queen puts it back in order, at least one forgotten garment comes back into use.
  • Cull. It might seem paradoxical, but getting rid of some of your clothes can help you find more outfits. When you open your wardrobe and see things that don't fit, are the wrong colour, don't go with anything or you just don't like any more, it feels like you have nothing to wear. In contrast, it's surprising how few garments you need in order to have a great outfit each day, if each garment really works for you. If your wardrobe is stuffed with things that aren't quite right but you can't bear to part with, at least move them somewhere else. Out-of-season clothes, things kept for sentimental reasons and evening wear do not belong in your wardrobe, where they'll be in your face every morning.
  • Analyse. What are the main activities you need outfits for? When do you most feel like you have nothing to wear? What do you want those outfits to say about you? Giving some thought to the kind of outfits you need makes it easier to see the things you have that fit the bill. The Bargain Queen never does this as a formal step (how dull), but if you're less fashion-obsessed and haven't thought about this for a while, give it a go!
  • Style. Pretend you're a Hollywood fashion stylist, creating a [glamorous / sexy / sophisticated] outfit for the character called you, in the scene where she's doing what you do each day. Try different combinations and evaluate them for appropriateness as well as good looks.
  • Add an item or two. Buying a single well-chosen item can make a dozen outfits look fresh. For example, a cute new pair of round-toed flats can work with skirts, trousers, dresses and maybe even shorts, and any outfit instantly looks more up-to-date with great shoes. A belt is another item that can give lots of outfits a lift, or you might add a v-neck sweater which works over shirts or camisoles, under jackets and coats, or all by itself. Or you might find that you really do lack something critical - say, black trousers - and filling that wardrobe gap makes all the difference. The key is choosing something that makes you look and feel fantastic, that coordinates with a lot of things you already have.
  • Get creative. Try some unexpected combinations and see if they work. You might be surprised.
  • Have fun. If an outfit doesn't work, laugh about it. Make faces at yourself. If you look like a cow in the ill-advised pony skin coat you bought years ago but never wore, moo at yourself in the mirror (then eBay the coat). This shouldn't be a serious task, because the worst that can happen is you'll look silly for one day of your life - unlike real stylists, whose mistakes show up in magazines for years afterwards.

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  • At 3:43 am, Blogger Rebecca said…

    I couldn't have said it better myself (esp. the part about how few items you really need). The funny thing is that my teens think I have terribly few clothes, but my friends think I am always wearing something new.

    I'd love to stick around and chat, but it's $1 day at my favorite thrift store!


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