Remember Gwen's wardrobe tweak? Well, we also took a shopping trip. On her list of things to add to her wardrobe:
Black & Neutral Ballet Flats
Brown Cowboy Boots
Wide Brown Belt
Little Black Sheath Dress
A few more tops
Gwen is not a big shopper, and when she does hunt for clothes, she likes to hit thrift shops for eco and budget friendly options. I love thrift shops also. But for a project like this, I encouraged Gwen to try department & discount stores. How come? For one thing, they have wide color selection in a range of sizes. New things are more likely to be of the moment. There are usually great sale options. And finally, you can return them if they don't work with what you already have at home. Once we had the basic pieces of her wardrobe filled in, we would hit thrift shops for quirky accessories and unique one of a kind pieces. She had a budget of about $300 for this project and though we didn't get everything on the list, we managed quite a haul for about $150 thanks to the sale racks at Target and Macy's.
One of the finds Gwen was most excited about were these dark wash skinny jeans. She had never tried on a pair. One of our strategies on shopping day was simply to try on a ton of stuff. The point of this is to break out of the "that doesn't work on me" rut. There are many options that we tell ourselves we can't pull off, but unless you actually try them on you won't know for sure. Sure, not everything will work. But some things will surprise and delight you. Updating something as basic as jeans transformed Gwen's whole wardrobe, making it much more now. Look how great her favorite tee looks with these new jeans! The embellished ballet slippers were one of her new additions as well. Add a quirky bicycle necklace she already had and you've got a fabulous look.
Here is a look we put together for a little party that afternoon. Look how adding a simple scarf gives this look an extra dash of thoughtfulness and transforms it from "just a tank and shorts" to a real outfit. Accessories demonstrate intentionality- a big part of being well dressed!
We finished our afternoon by styling Gwen's hair with hot rollers. These babies are my favorite tool because you can put them in and then wander around the house getting your breakfast or tidying up. In ten minutes it's done- no standing at the sink chained to a flat iron or hair dryer. Gwen doubted she would do this very often, but she did go out and get a great haircut that will be no fuss to get ready each morning. I love how smooth and soft her hair looks her. We also did a quick five minute face. I'm not huge on make-up and neither is Gwen. (Thanks to adult acne, I'm wary of most foundations. I love my Daniel Kern products from Acne.org. They are the only prouducts that ever helped my skin.) but I almost always curl my eyelashes, do a swipe of mascara and add a little lipstick. It makes me feel ready for the day.
If you find yourself falling into a hum drum wardrobe routine, set aside an uninterrupted block of time, have a trusted friend come help and try to create different combinations. (Pop open some bubbly and make it a party!) How many shirts do I have that go with these pants? Maybe this dress could work as a skirt if I layer it with a tee shirt? Which shoes look best with this length of bottom? Not everything will work together. But keep an open mind and keep experimenting. Some things will surprise you.
Take photos of the winners for reference. Print them out and keep them in an easy to reach spot. (I made Gwen a little look book to keep right in her closet!) Now your outfits are "ready made" and all you'll have to do is pull the pieces in the morning. You will be shocked at how many possibilities you have in your closet already, and you will start to have a lot of fun experimenting with new looks that express the person you are. That is the whole point of fashion after all.