3 Rules To Follow Before You Shop For Spring

white dress
Milly dress; summer of 2016

Now that spring is finally here you probably can’t wait to hit the stores to update your spring/summer wardrobe. You are so sick of what’s in your closet, nothing looks fresh, nothing excites you. This transition season can be challenging, but it’s exciting too – it means this is the time to improve what’s in your closet so you have the right pieces for your lifestyle, pieces that are versatile and yes, pieces that ‘spark joy’…  Whoa, hold on, do not hit the mall yet!  There is work to be done at home first…

Rule #1 – Closet Purge!  This will likely take a few hours, so pick a time when you are unhurried.  Go through all of your clothes and shoes one by one. Get rid of anything that you have not worn in a year, anything that doesn’t fit perfectly, anything damaged, and whatever you feel is ‘just ok’.  This is not as easy as it seems, we all make excuses to keep things – “it was expensive…there’s nothing wrong with it…it will fit me better by summer…I might wear it”.  NO.  GET RID OF IT.  See the pretty white dress in above pic?  Bye Bye!  Yes, it is so pretty, but it’s a size too small for me, is not comfortable. This is one of about six items I parted with this month. Once you have completed this task, what remains in your closet are things you love, and things that fit properly. Hooray!

Rule #2 – Make a List   What pieces do you need to complete outfits with what you already have?  Maybe you can keep a list in your head, but if not, take out a notepad and start writing!  Whether it is a closed toe shoe to go with your skirts, or a beige linen blazer, write it down.  Having a list will help you to shop efficiently, avoid purchasing duplicates, and avoid buying something that you won’t wear.  Did you go through your underwear drawer too?  New bras might be added to your list – they make a big difference in how your clothes look, and will also affect how you feel. One item on my list this year is a summer weight wool navy blazer, a classic piece that works for business or weekend wear. (Stay tuned!)

Rule #3 – Start With Basics  While you may be tempted by all the trendy new styles at the beginning of a new season,  start with basics and you can add the fun pieces later.  If you work in a business setting, do you have a basic black pump and a nude pump?  Other basics for business are sheath dresses, pencil skirts, blouses and blazers.  Start with neutral colors such as navy, black, tan, then add colors as you build your wardrobe.  You can find basics at reasonable prices at stores like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic; Theory and Vince are higher priced but beautiful investment pieces for classic styles. As for basic shoes, my favorite is Stuart Weitzman; classic, comfortable, and available in different heel heights to fit your lifestyle.

Ok, now you can go shopping! ;-)

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  • Some good tips but I don’t agree with tossing clothes not worn in 1 year. I think if the item is classic (or unique), fits well and is something you have had for years but not worn recently, it should still be held onto if it looks good. Things that are well made are not always easily replaced today. Many clothing items are poorly made and not good substitutes.

    • How many years would you consider time to toss? I see what you’re saying, but even if it’s good quality and fits, there must be a reason you don’t wear it, doesn’t ‘spark joy’…Wonder what others think??? Thanks for commenting!

  • Candy,
    I have recently conducted a “closet clean out” as well. I gave away about 20 pairs of shoes, and several bags of clothing. Some things I will keep even though I haven’t worn them within the last year. These include a few cocktail dresses, and some “after 5” seperates and suits. I also kept some sentimental pieces – the dress my mom was married in, a suit that was hers and fits me perfectly, her fur coat, etc. My closet probably isn’t nearly as big as yours, but it is quite large and my dear husband has reworked it so that it holds much more than it used to. I do a clean out about 2 to 3 times per year. So I’m pretty satisfied with the current inventory I have. We’ll see how I feel in a few months time:)

  • The clothing items I was referring to were the many blazer type or fitted jackets (generally black) that I have had for about 10 years or so. I work p/t (currently on disability) now and no longer need business dress items as the store I work in gives us their clothing line to wear. Jackets are my favorite clothing item and at this point my finances would prohibit me from making major changes to my wardrobe. I remember you wearing a great Ralph Lauren blazer in one of your posts that was over 20 years old and hope my jacket collection could be this type of treasure. Pants, shoes and tops always need updates so I completely agree with you in that area.

  • Candy, I recently cleaned out my closet and gave away several bags of clothes, shoes, and purses. But I kept several things I don’t wear often due to sentimental reasons like a suit that belonged to my mom and a suit that belonged to my grandmother- I don’t wear them often but can not part with them. I realize items such as this take up room but that’s okay. I do a large clean out approximately 3 times a year so that makes up for it, right?

    • A large clean out 3 times/year is great! Believe me, sometimes I don’t practice exactly what I preach – purging is hard! Thanks for commenting!


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