The secret to effortless style starts when you shop. I’ve learned that buying only the best options for my shape, coloring, and lifestyle saves me lots of time and money. While building the wardrobe for my retirement years, I also consider if the items are appropriate for my age. I would not feel very confident in tattered jeans and a faded print T‑shirt, so I shop for modern instead of youthful pieces.
The following links are for current similar items from the look above. Blouse – Jeans – Shoes – Bag – Watch. My twice-daily skincare routine is here.
These are typical examples of casual looks worn to stay at home or run errands. I get dressed in street clothes each day, even if I don’t plan to go out. It helps me to remain positive and more productive to be ready to walk out the door at any time during the day.
My wardrobe includes classic, simple styles in neutral colors allowing for maximum layering, mixing, and matching possibilities. I can completely change the attitude of a look with different shoes and accessories. The blouse above can be tucked into dressy slacks and worn with a belt and a blazer. The T-shirt and jeans below will be the perfect look for a long walk when I remove the accessories, put on my New Balance walking shoes and a hat.
It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the eighties on this late October day. The navy and brown Dooney & Bourke bag added the perfect fall touch even though it felt more like summer. Links to similar if not the same items follow: Top – Jeans – Short Boots – No-Show Socks – Bag – Watch – Earrings.
I rarely shop now, but if you could look over my shoulder when I make a purchase, you would see me eliminate most items in a couple of seconds. I look at color, shape, and fabric content in that order, and I only shop for a particular need. For example, “replace the red T-shirt that is starting to look faded.” I wait until I find exactly what I am looking for. If you settle for almost good enough, you will end up with a closet full of things you don’t really love. When I shop with intention, I don’t waste time and money looking at or buying things not on my list.
I skip over the items in colors such as soft pastels, marled or garment-dyed items, tans, greens, beige, small prints, etc. Those options always washed me out and were rarely worn before giving them away. Neon or other flashy colors, bold patterns, and trendy shapes do not honor my classic style personality.
As I learned to shop for the body I have now and a semi-retired lifestyle, it became easy to eliminate things that don’t add value. Natural fabrics, neutral colors, body-skimming shapes, and classic simple styles coordinate easily and always help me feel like the best version of myself. These items also stand the test of time.
When I look back at my 2013 wardrobe, I know why I didn’t keep most of the items I blogged about here. I used to stand in the closet from my previous home and lament that I had nothing to wear even with that ridiculously packed wardrobe. I have fewer clothes now, but I am never at a loss about what to wear. Shoes, scarves, jewelry, and bags are the additions that make each outfit unique.
My current wardrobe includes casual and dressy pieces, including tanks, camisoles, shirts, blouses, T-shirts, casual jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters, blazers, dresses, jeans, and slacks that mostly all work together. Learning to combine elements I already own to create appropriate looks, rather than buying a whole new outfit for every occasion, has been life-changing and excellent for my budget.
The fabrics determine how I style or layer the items together. That also explains why I have so many white shirts and blouses. I might not wear the thin white cotton button-up shirt to dinner with gabardine slacks, but I would wear a white silk blouse with the same pants and a cashmere cardigan. When I wear a favorite item in heavy rotation, I buy two of them.
Three-quarter and long-sleeve T-shirts are for summer walks and lounging at home. The long-sleeve T-shirts, jean jackets, and sweatshirts can be layered for cold weather walks.
Layering pieces such as vests and cardigans are great for transitional seasons. A cashmere or lightweight cotton sweater can be worn almost year-round. (I hang lightweight cashmere and cotton sweaters inside out so that the hanger bumps will be on the inside.) Three-quarter or long sleeve simple tunics can also be part of my looks nearly year-round.
Blazers and casual moto jackets have been my favorite layering elements for decades. Heavier knit cardigans are folded and stored on the shelf to avoid becoming damaged or stretched out of shape. I keep all the empty hangers in one place. The tie rack on the wall is used for necklaces. The belt and tie holders are from Bed Bath & Beyond a few years ago.
I moved all of the summer weight, colorful tops, and dresses out of the way to a separate section for the winter season. The white item at the front is my robe.
Scarves are folded and stored on felted hangers.
Handbags, shoes, and accessories add the finishing touches that make the looks unique.
I am fortunate to have a finished room over the garage next to the upstairs bedroom. I use the extra room to store jeans and slacks on rolling racks. Included are straight leg styles in full and ankle lengths, slight flares, boot cuts, and a couple of culottes for hot weather. All the colors are neutral and solid to allow for more flexibility in styling.
In the past couple of years, I’ve invested in better quality bags and shoes. I find that I keep them longer, enjoy them more, and take better care of them. When I purchased trendy, inexpensive bags and shoes in the past, they didn’t stay around for long. Either they fell apart, were very uncomfortable, or looked dated in a short time.
The rolling rails, shoe racks, and wire shelves are leftovers from when I owned businesses that required lots of them. I kept a few to use in my improvised closet space. Some of my shoes are a few years old, and some were gifts, but I still enjoy wearing them occasionally. I don’t own any four-inch stilettos now, but I have a few lower heels for special evenings.
I donated lots of books to the library, so the shelf space is now used for summer shoes and sandals. They are out of the way in an alcove until next year.
I hope that this post gives you some helpful storage ideas and inspiration for building your wardrobe with intention.
Shopping links in my posts may provide a small commission to me at no additional cost to you.