Custom Search

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mixing and Matching and Using What You Have: Clothing

My two favorite style bloggers are thinking about what works, what doesn't, and so on. If they have trouble, why is it surprising that the rest of us (esp over 40) do also? Duchesse, by the way, reports that her 2010 choices were better than her 2009 choices. Une Femme d'un Certain Age is looking ahead and making a list. This is a never-ending process, it seems, as we try to accumulate just the right amount, and not too much.

I was thrown into a quandary by the purchase of some chocolate brown ponte pants from the dreaded Chico's. I just happened to notice that the store was RIGHT NEXT TO THE APPLE STORE where we took our Mac for repair. I was not distracted by the sweaters and jackets on sale; I got the pontes at a great price. You all may know that I detest Chico's because of a somewhat humiliating customer service experience. But the pontes do fit and the sale was sufficiently wonderful that I suspended my Chico's boycott.

What do I wear with brown pants, I asked the salesperson. First she showed me a lime green top (you have got to be kidding--probably my least flattering color). When I looked horrified, she pulled out turquoise. I paid for the pants and left.

Poor Miss Em! She is so good at helping the middle-aged put things together. I bugged her for days. I knew I was annoying. I was even annoying myself. She was leaving for school this morning, so I told her it could wait till Mardi Gras. Ten minutes later, I discovered an array of choices set out for me! All great. Why can't salespeople do this?

Thank you Miss Em for creating a frugal and non-cluttering solution.

Isn't using what you have the ultimate frugal activity? Have you been using what you have?


Pearl said...

I grew up mixing and matching, thanks to a frugal mom. As a grownup I've developed a closet stuffed with clothes... I don't wear. Using the Express Checkout Experiment, I've actually identified key pieces I love and wear regularly, and weeded out multiple pieces for Goodwill/consignment (soooo many pieces! Hello, tax savings!). Here's my 2011 deal: really clean out the closet(s) and buying nothing that won't further my wardrobe. I am being much more mindful of what I buy and wear. The good news is: dressing is easier, I look better every day, and no more wasted $$ on impulse buys. I ahve great clothes: why not wear them?

FB @ said...

I grew up mixing and matching from my mom's wardrobe and from mine. I wore everything. Dolman sweaters as a kid to strangely coloured shoes.

As I got older, I started just observing women and seeing what I liked. Then I'd make a note, go home to my closet and try to recreate it. If I was missing a piece, I'd substitute another in, or think about whether I'd really need that one piece to make it work, and if it'd work with everything else.

Trial and error really. I just know what colours work on me (jewel tones) and what don't (pastels)

I also don't like strapless tops, and fiddly things.

Anonymous said...

Bless Miss Em. My daughters have all left home...and thus I've felt that I've lost my dressing edge in the classroom, the subtle hint that tells younger students that I "get" them. While the majority of my clothes this year will continue to be thrifted...I want to gravitate toward the positions of the two blogs you have mentioned. I can afford well selected pieces. And that is truly the "greener" choice.

SewingLibrarian said...

I'm in my last week at home before the new semester starts, and I'm sewing. This activity is using fabric that I bought and paid for a while back (in one instance more than ten years ago!), and it's keeping me out of stores. But I have to admit we seamstresses have a terrible problem keeping fabric and pattern purchases under control. I'm now trying to sew up two pieces for every one piece I buy.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Pearl--I too have noticed that it's easier to get dressed and out when there is little in the closet. Then things start creeping in again....ugh.

@FB--I did too. Now my daughter takes my stuff.

@Terri--From your blog pics, I'd say you have the edge, no question. Maybe you could borrow a friend's daughter...I'm sticking with thrifts. Much less stressful for me than stores. Those style blogs are so impressive, I must say.

Frugal Scholar said...

@SewingLibrarian--I am so impressed by sewers--but I have poor fine motor skills, am messy, and imprecise--just can't do it. Have fun with your creations.

Funny about Money said...

What WAS it about lime green that every designer on the planet decided to inflict it on us at once? I've never been able to bear chartreuse...and then suddenly, there it was EVERYWHERE! You couldn't get away from it. One reason my wardrobe runs to Costco jeans and knit tops is that the color was so repellent I stopped going into clothing stores.

Soooo jealous of SewingLibrarian! My sewing efforts come to naught, too. If it requires something other than a straight seam, I'm doomed.

My neighbor used mow her little patch of lawn wearing shirts and slacks that looked for all the world like the came from Saks. Turned out she could sew -- I mean, really sew!

In my society matron phase, I knew another society matron who could and did buy very expensive clothing. Interestingly, even though what she wore in public was precisely au courant, she generally wore her clothes until they were worn out. Outfits that were getting old were relegated to "work" and "casual" uses. Of course, such women did not indulge in the mowing of lawns. However, she would show up at the kiddies' swim lessons (we hired lifeguards from the country club to teach them...we wouldn't think of getting our hair wet...) dressed to the nines -- in her "work" clothes. Where I wore jeans, she wore Armani. Old Armani.