April 4, 2012

Out with the Old, In with the New.

With a blizzard raging here in NL today an outfit shoot was pretty much out of the question. Instead I decided to harness my Snow Day productivity into going through my old clothes & organizing it for a future outside of my cluttered closet. I've been a bit of a hoarder all my life so there are legitimately things crammed into dark corners that I've owned since I was four. The "me" two years ago would have fought savagely had down-sizing been suggested, but the current somewhat evolved me has decided to embrace minimalism once & for all* (that being said, you probably won't see me travelling short of 3 suitcases anytime soon). So in the spirit of attachment, organization, & reliving memories via old clothes, I've decided to compile a list of my personal philosophies concerning clothes & shopping. A bit different from my usual repertoire, but here it goes: 

1. Quality over Quantity - this is an obvious rule to live by, but I'll take it a step further. I don't believe in turning your nose up at things simply because they are not expensive, or an esteemed brand. My closet covers a pretty wide spectrum. I have some thrift store purchases that cost all of $1 that I love on par with my designer pieces. That being said, if it's not a good quality fabric I don't care if it's $4 or $400, it isn't entering my closet. Same thing with sizing; if it doesn't fit absolutely perfectly don't kid yourself (unless you have a sewing machine & a knack for thrifty alternations). Try to avoid ribbing (whether on cuffs, necklines, or all over, it will stretch after one wear & never regain it's original shape), 100% cotton in dark colours (terrible for fading), & stiff fabrics which don't hang well. 

2. Buy what you want - No I am not suggesting you dig yourself into a hole of bankruptcy by going on a spree at Herm├Ęs. But when you see something you really love, as long as it's not on an mere impulse, you should have it. If you're reading my blog to begin with, you probably have an interest in fashion, meaning style & clothing are one of the things that makes you happy. Don't mind folks who scoff at you for being materialistic. Everyone likes to spend their money on something, whether it be travelling, nice cars, or decorating their homes. It may seem silly to some people, but a beautiful garment has the power to give me chills; to make me grin like a Cheshire cat. If you the "something" you want is expensive & don't have the money right away, the answer is obvious: save up! Not only will you eventually get that item that gives you confidence & a perma-smile, but you'll also feel good having accomplished a task you worked towards.

3. Don't Compromise - Having worked in a retail environment this is something I witnessed daily: people buying items because they were on sale, because they were such a great "bargain", because they were a cheaper version of something else they liked. Personally I just don't get it. This kind of back's up #3 - buy what you want, don't worry about the money (within reason of course). Why waste money on things you don't absolutely love just because it's "such a great deal". Isn't that fraction of money put to better use saving up for that more expensive item that was love at first sight?

4. Sleep on it - Nobody enjoy's a bout of buyer's remorse. Don't be one of those silly impulse shoppers who tosses & turns all night after a shopping spree & spends either the next day returning the bulk of it, or living with the guilt every time you look at that dress whose price tag will never come off. I wasn't always this way, but nowadays if I'm out shopping & see something I just have to have, I often go home & think about it overnight. I can say without hesitation that I've never regretted an item that I seriously thought about before purchasing. It ensures that you end up with items that you truly love.

5. The 5 Outfit Rule - This is a handy rule I decided to live by last Autumn, when I was despairing over the fact that none of my clothes went together. Basically if you want to buy an item, first come up with a list of at least 5 outfits you could pair it with (aim for 3 outfits if that's a more practical goal for you). That way you don't end up with piles of mismatched clothing; having to buy even more new things just to make the original item wearable. 

6. Ethical Shopping - I had a comment on my last post questioning why I no longer shop at Forever 21. Although this also goes back to the quality vs quantity debate, the questionable ethicality of company practices is the main reason I resist the temptation of a $20 top & an $8 necklace. Unfair labor practices, breaching artistic copyright, the list goes on. If you're interested in reading a bit more into this, this article on ilovewildfox.com has some great links. Of course there are other companies out there which have the same issues, so it's important to do your research. The bottom line for me is that I want to wear something that makes me feel good, & doesn't compromise my personal ethics. I'd rather pay extra to have something that I know was lovingly designed & fairly crafted.

7. Love your clothes & they'll love you back - take care of your clothes! This one seems pretty obvious to me, but I'm surprised at the amount of people I come across who chuck their clothing in the dryer without a second glance. Folks, the dryer is for the immortal durability of towels, not the clothing you put on your back. Dry clean or hand wash it & lay it out to air dry. It will wear 100x better & last you years instead of days. 

I'll leave it at that. Clothing is obviously something I'm pretty passionate about, & I just wanted to put in my own two cents. Any tips or suggestions you might add to my list? I'd really love to know! :)


  1. These are such good rules to live by. I am probably the worst person for impulse buying and buyers remorse, I seriously think I have a shopping addiction! I've really been trying to "Sleep on it" though, and I really find that makes my decisions clearer!

    The Urban Umbrella


  2. really good rules, and great post! now following :)


  3. These are some awesome points! Especially the 5 outfit rule, I've never thought about it before, but it would make more sense to purchase something that will go with many things in your wardrobe, a lot of the time I just buy on impulse without thinking through a lot of the points you've made!

  4. I LOVED this. :) I found many similarities to myself, and things that I still need seriously work with. I've bought so many things in my life just because they were cheap and kinda cute, but never actually wore them more than once or twice - and even those times only because I don't want anything to be a waste! I've improved a lot in my opinion, and really thought of outfits before buying; does this go with something I already have, or "hmm this costs only 1 euro and I could make this uggly piece work with a little help of my sewing machine" etc. :D For example I've found these adorable pleated vintage skirts few years back, and wore them as dresses with belt - and now I see those on almost everyone ! Yahoo to me. :>

    Thank you for the comment & obviously for this post! It was so great reading. Reminded me slightly of my Lauren COnrad book that I still haven't finished, hehe. :)

    I hope you have a lovely Easter holiday Shawna!

    x Satu
    - Indie by Heart

  5. Awesome tips! I love reading posts like this. I always follow the 5 Outfit Rule, haha, its helped out a lot!

    Trendy Teal

  6. Excellent post! My favorites are #6 and #1. I absolutely don't want children making my clothing and I had never thought about dark cottons or ribbing before. Thanks!

  7. I love this Shawna!!!! you always have such great insight:)I am 100% percent on your page regarding F21 and ethicality of production. I havent shopped at F 21 in months.... until i went to the states. BUT i am returning to my nature of avoiding at all costs! I hope youre shopping happily (and smartly) without me as a conscious!! :) miss you lots!

    Love Kristine

  8. I pretty much agree with every rule you live by fashion wise. I only recently started to shop with the 3 or 5 (other pieces that it'd math with) rule in mind. And boy does it save me money!! I am also a firm believe in quality over quantity which is why I was not one of those people completely gaga over F21. Granted I do walk in there pretty often in the last few months (after having gone over 10 years without stepping into one of their stores), but a couple of things I've purchased from there have broken with one wear! That's just unsat to me. I will spend $100 on a dress over a $25 if I know the quality will be up to par. I am curious to read this article that you've linked for F21 because I too don't like shopping at unethical companies (I don't shop at Wal-Mart). Perhaps it'll make me stop shopping there again, lol.
    Great post, Shawna. :)

  9. I do the same when I'm bored... it feels so good!! :D


  10. great tips - I like tip 4 best because my mum tells me to do that hehe :)
    <3 xxx


  11. so true!


  12. Amazing post! I love my clothes too and I have bought quite a lot of crap during my shopping experience but I think that is something you learn. I usually buy on sales as I don't have much money too pay much of what I have in full price (hopefully one day I will). Have a nice easter!

  13. This is a very interesting post! I really should go live by them, because about 1/4 of what's in my closet, isn't exactly what I was looking for, but I bought it nevertheless, and now I don't wear it all too often (': So thanks for sharing these tips!

    XO, Imke

  14. i agree with all of this! great post!!!!
    Check out my Threadsence Giveaway!http://www.sugarfilledcloset.com

  15. It feels great to organize, doesn't it?! Thanks for all your tips. I love your 5 outfit rule. I should do that more often when I shop. I always seem to buy things on a whim that go with nothing. Then I have "buyers remorse". Its a vicious cycle. I need help : ) I'm sure if I had your wardrobe I would never feel that way. I can tell a lot of thought goes into your purchases and it shows.

    Have a great weekend and a Happy Easter!

    Danielle xo

  16. I just did this today! Your rules could have helped me haha! But actually they are all something we should live by. Thank you for such realistic advice and for your sweet comment! :)



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