What I kept for F/W 2013 overhaul (long, wordy, and pic heavy)

Shannon, Suz, MaryK, and everyone else reviewing their seasonal spending inspired me to do the same and take a serious look at the damage I have done this season. Some of you know it was a hard year for me in more ways than one - I went through a traumatic event, changed jobs drastically, and changed many of my wardrobe needs in the process. My shoe collection especially needed an entire revamp. Note that many items I bought for S/S are still getting lots of wear because of our weather here.

So, looking back at my receipts to make sure I didn't miss anything, I've kept these clothing items:

  1. Dark turquoise leather moto (won out over rose gold Muubaa and galaxy moto - both returned or resold)
  2. Blood red Guess moto (lucky find bought for wear-red days at work, replacing blush Muubaa as it is less $$ and a more needed color)
  3. Vince Camuto citron silk shirt (replacing old poly Ann Taylor shirt)
  4. Tahari leather jacket (Zap copycat, replacing United Face outdoor jacket. Price offset by reselling)
  5. Vince Camuto green draped blouse (replacing the silk one that fell apart)
  6. Theory lanai Blazer off Ebay (replacing AllSaints denim jacket)
  7. Theory taupe blazer from Marshall's (replacing taupe cutaway blazer)
  8. Lululemon Urbanite blazer (replacing cutaway Gibson blazer)
  9. Madewell blue colorblock dress
  10. Theory new recovery navy pants (replacing cobalt Sloans)
  11. Halogen cashmere blend hi-low sweater

*Also sold and purged much more that were irrelevant to new activity levels to further offset spending. But it seemed to make more sense to only list the direct replacements.

And these footwear items:

  1. Ash green leather wedge sneaks (partially funded by reselling worn 80%20 calf hair wedges. fits nicely into work footwear capsule)
  2. Vaneli cat flats (replacing Crocs flats)
  3. Paul Green Optimist boots (funded by replacing tan lace-up Fryes, cognac platform Timberlands, and tan Vic Matie boots, all resold)
  4. Ugg Cortona convertible boots (funded by replacing chocolate brown Frye boots, chocolate Apepazzas, and black Gidigio buckle boots)
  5. Oh! Shoes black platform dress booties
  6. Earthies burgundy pointed toe pumps (replacing gold glitter pumps that no longer fit and were too high for work)

Honorable mention:

  1. My olive Burberry trench (which doesn't really count since it was from windfall money and also my milestone birthday gift to myself, which I have not yet "received" since my bday is in December!)
  2. Purple Zella coated jacket, which was bought for warmer weather but has seen lots and lots more use in Fall. 
  3. Anthro brocade pants, which were bought with a gift card but are still part of the F/W acquisitions.

On one hand, this kind of gave me the heebie-jeebies and made me feel like a glutton to type up, because I spent much more than in the past. On the other hand, it's refreshing, because I've actually accumulated less stuff than in the past - and for possibly the first time, I've actively replaced an item that has worn out, rather than getting sick of it first and donating. On the other hand, if we're going by Mo's theory that we don't need any more than 6 items in one category, I've almost bought an entire season's wardrobe here! But on the other hand, well, it makes sense to buy a new wardrobe for a completely new lifestyle (from 99% sedentary to 100% active). 

So, to heck with it, I'm going to call it a wash on the wardrobe morality scale (it almost was a wash monetarily... almost... almost... I still have a few more things I might sell). It actually doesn't look so bad when it's put in terms of a wardrobe overhaul, right? And I've been using the heck out most of these items already. 

I am very curious to see how this wardrobe holds up over time - this is by far the happiest I have ever been with mix-ability, re-wear-ability, and comfort. I feel like these pieces should get me far and allow me to purchase less next year, provided that I don't have anymore career upheavals. But since I've never done this before, it's all simply hypothesis. 

Do any of you have greater perspective on this? Has your wardrobe been a well-oiled machine one year and completely broken down the next (because of changes in fashion or personal taste)? Or is it true that, once you get in a good tune-up, you can get by with proper maintenance? 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Thistle replied 7 years ago

    This was a terrific analysis!  I have really seen your style change over the past year. Some due to all the changes in your life and career, but maybe some changes in you as well.

    I am always amazed at how well you resell pieces and make the finances work.

    While it does seem like a lot of pieces at first, your big hitters were footwear and toppers. Both needed in the new job. Your footwear now needs to be comfortable for long long days on your feet as well as stylish. That redefines the game. And the toppers extend your wardrobe into a dressier arena that your new position demanded.

    All in all, I think you did a fabulous job trasnitioning, and your style is more sensational now than a year ago. And that says a lot!

  • replied 7 years ago

    Well, I think you are amassing a proper adult, fun wardrobe, after trying out tons of things. You are looking better and better every time you post!

  • Amy replied 7 years ago

    Rae, I love your style. You've really honed in on what works for you and makes you happy--as well as what is suitable for your career.

    I love those kitty flats.

  • CocoLion replied 7 years ago

    As you work in the fashion industry, you have greater need to buy and wear stylish, well-made pieces.  I think you've done a great job.  I am particularly impressed with your ability to sell so many things in a timely manner.  I am just not good enough at eBay to do it quickly, the time required still overwhelms me.

  • jenanded replied 7 years ago

    You look amazing and those pieces are gorgeous. Totally love the burgundy shoes. In fact all the colours go beautifully together. Nice work...

  • Mary Beth (formerly LBD) replied 7 years ago

    I really love where you are with your style, and where you seem to be going - sleeker, more refined, more cat-like, somehow. 

    I have done a lot of thinking lately about the 'how many items' question, and the answer I have finally arrived at is, there is no set-in-stone number.  Some people are thrilled with minimalist wardrobes.  I am thrilled by the concept, but in reality, I am happier with more than a bare minimum of pieces.    I think I am mostly content with where I am now, although I do see more culling in the months to come.

    If you are taking great satisfaction in your current wardrobe, and you look forward to getting dressed every day, then you are definitely doing the right thing :)

  • Caro in Oz replied 7 years ago

    This doesn't seem like a lot when you consider the change to your work. I love how your wardrobe looks so cohesive. Your WIWs are a treat.

    For me it is a seasonal thing.  Winter is usually pretty good but summer kills any sense of style I have - no jackets/coats or booties/boots which are the backbone of my wardrobe. I've been working to change that & so far so good but there is a long way to go & a lot of outfits to wear.

  • CocoLion replied 7 years ago

    Rae I too love where your style is going.  6,7,8 10, 12 and 20 have something uniquely "you" going on that I like.  I am going to try and come back to this, with a bit more articulation. It might be interesting.

  • Adelfa replied 7 years ago

    Too tired to say anything intelligent, but I wore our VC citron silk shirt today. It makes me so happy. And my new boss says it's her favorite color :-)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Rae, what an exceptional analysis and how intelligently you've curated your wardrobe this year. It's been tough going sometimes, I know, but you've kept your costs very reasonable (like Denise, I am in awe of your e-baying skills) and you have also made substantial upgrades to items that are crucial to your needs and style -- the jackets and footwear especially. I just love the new taupe Theory jacket -- did I ask you already what one that is?  I think I need to keep my eye open for that. And your bag has been a stroke of genius. 

    Like Denise, I'm especially interested in 6,7, 8, and 10. There is a simplicity and clearness of line coming through more, an ease, and more reliance on the cut of the clothes to make the statement. 

    You're such a thoughtful self-stylist. And your wardrobe is getting into better and better shape for the life you lead now. I can't help but think your clients are very lucky to work with you! 

    I know there can be a temptation to give in to self-recrimination when we total up these numbers and take a hard look at what we've bought, purged, sold, donated, not worn, etc. I guess that's why I was always a bit loathe to do it, myself. I preferred making "guestimates." ;)

    But weirdly, since I've forced myself to make the calculations and the counts, I actually feel better. I am more in control of the process, and it makes me more mindful. Do I really want that new top if it means I won't really be able to justify a jacket? That is part of it.

    But also -- I came to see that my choices were actually reasonable. 

    Each of us needs a different sized wardrobe containing different elements depending on: workplace, place of residence, age, variety of activities, and so on. And each of us has a different boredom threshold. Sure, we should try to be mindful about what a constant process of buying, reselling, recycling, etc. may have on the environment and on the people who make our clothing. But at the same time, it's only by making a few mistakes (going overboard here or there) and thinking the process through that we can come to understand our actual needs. 

    In this case I don't think you've gone overboard at all. It's a bit like buying after a big weight change. You need what you need. 

  • shevia replied 7 years ago

    The pictures tell the story - you really look amazing in all of them. You switched from a conservative field to a high exposure fashion job where how you look is truly important and replaced your wardrobe with these fantastic pieces and almost offset the cost with resale? Win, win, win!

  • Aubergine replied 7 years ago

    That's just a stunning collection of clothes! I think I actually drooled on the keyboard at some of the shoes and jackets.

  • Neel replied 7 years ago

    I have serious jacket envy now!!  And what a brilliant analysis!  I am ashamed that I could probably never come up with something like this!  You look stunning in every pic and I think every choice is well made!  And I really think if something makes you feel and look this good, it is worth every penny spent :)

  • peacechick replied 7 years ago

    Suz said everything I was thinking and why YLF is such a great community. While people love shopping here, it is done with so much mindfulness, attention to detail, and reflection.

    Rae, I think it is a great journey you're on and I can really see the discipline in the pieces you have returned or resold. I haven't been here long enough to know your story about your career change but you have a really good eye for clothes and that is a talent you're putting to work!

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    "this is by far the happiest I have ever been with mix-ability, re-wear-ability, and comfort".

    And THAT dear Rae, is called complete success :)

  • LACeleste replied 7 years ago

    Great job Rae!  You have brought considerable intelligence and self-knowledge to the task.  Very cohesive style!

  • Day Vies replied 7 years ago

    Very thoughtful post Rae -- I empathize with your career change woes. This is the first year that I have had enough of a sense of my own style to say definitively what in my wardrobe authentically represents me professionally and in my life. I am working towards a well-oiled machine (meaning completely  integrated work and play with no closet orphans).
    Since developing a very good sense of my own style this year I have hesitated in purging as memories of past purges (...darn I wish I hadn't given that away) have been plaguing me lately. While not every item is pulling its weight, all new item have been heavily scrutinized for their ability to play nicely with my wardrobe workhorses.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting - it has been a bumpy road at times (especially with drawn out K/Rs), so I really appreciate the thoughts and feedback. 

    Thistle, you are so right that the shoe overhaul made this project much bigger than it would have been otherwise. 

    Denise, good point. It is still weird to think of it in terms of "working in fashion." It doesn't feel nearly as glamorous as that! But I suppose it never does. But it totally makes sense that Fashion People have to step. it. up.  - even if they were already into fashion and thought they were sufficiently stylish before, lol. It's a whole different ballgame. I am intrigued by the outfits that stood out to you!

    LBD, cat-like makes me smile! But you knew that. I 100% agree that there is no set number of things people need. 

    Adelfa, high five to my citron shirt twin! 

    Suz, I am 90% sure the Theory blazer is the Gabrielle style. It said the style on the tag, which I meant to keep but somehow misplaced. Bless you for your in-depth analysis and non-recrimination. I actually do feel better by laying everything out here and not guesstimating. Chalk that up to being on Team Fret, I suppose - always planning for the worst. Especially interested in the concept of relying on cut versus embellishment. 

    Shevia and Aubergine, those comments make it all worthwhile! Thanks for the lovely words. 

    Neel, I totally copied off the papers of the gals sitting next to me (Suz, Mary, Shannon). I don't think I would have come up with this on my own, either. :)

    Peacechick, I used to work at a Very Corporate Bank doing Very Serious High-Dollar Investments. Now I'm a Personal Stylist... quite the leap over a year! Thank you for calling me disciplined - I will have to frame that part for hubby. I always feel like my self control goes out the window when it comes to clothes.

    Shannon, you hit the nail on the head. That is supposed to be my philosophy for life, so why not clothes, too? Happiness = success!

    Day Vies, I hear you! There is always the fear that purging is the wrong choice, and I still kind of wonder what might have been for the rose gold jacket, to be honest. Especially here, where you are almost guaranteed to find someone who will know how to make a piece work! A balancing act between working it, needing it, and using it. 

  • Mander replied 7 years ago

    I aspire to have so many fabulous things, and to wear them as well as you do!  Well done!

  • cciele replied 7 years ago

    I love how you've been replacing and purging, and not just adding on. The pieces you've kept, you done so thoughtfully and consciously. I'm also curious to see how this holds up through time! So glad you are happy with it, because everything looks great on you and for your new career.

    As far as my own experience goes, the first option you mention ["Has your wardrobe been a well-oiled machine one year and completely broken down the next (because of changes in fashion or personal taste)"] has been more true than the second. My tastes, lifestyle and body start shifting and then suddenly things don't work anymore! I've been doing quite a bit of purchasing recently just to replace things that plain don't fit anymore or don't fit my current coloring.

  • Lisa replied 7 years ago

    Even though it seems like a fair amount of clothes, at least now you know and can make changes for the future.  I recently realized after over 3 years on YLF, and numerous purges of perfectly good clothes, I STILL own too many clothes.  Is this bad? Of course because unworn clothes is wasted money and it's not making me happy.  And happy is the end goal.  But I figure if I know and do NOT continue to just purchase and donate blindly, then it was worth it.  Even if it was learning the hard way. 

    I had this when I first joined YLF and tried to figure out my style.  For a while I bought and bought and bought until I figured out what colors worked, what shapes worked, and what did not.  Then I moved on to purchase and returning fiend, again until I figured things out.  Now I shop so much easier though.  I can tell straight away if an item will work for me based on color or shape, without even trying it on.  I shop faster and hopefully smarter.  And I rarely return now.  But it's been a long and expensive road to get to this point.

  • Aida replied 7 years ago

    Rae, I really enjoyed reading your analysis. I think you've done an amazing job, and it really was an overhaul. As you said, 99% sedentary to 100% active is a HUGE flip, especially in the footwear department. Even though I wasn't around much of this year, I have enjoyed seeing how you incorporate more classic elements while keeping very true to your style; it looks like a few of those items were sold off to make room for better replacements, and it's really awesome that you have that as an option rather than just chalking all mistakes up as a loss especially for pricier things. I also enjoyed seeing which single items replaced a few other, less than perfect (or no longer relevant), items; that's a wonderful lesson.

     This whole analysis is very inspirational to me as I have been putting off a wardrobe overhaul for at least a year now. It somehow feels so much harder when you've worked hard to get to the point where you're happy with your wardrobe, only to find that a big change is needed. But I am trying my best to get motivated to bite the bullet and just do it (a struggle for sure). I've never really kept track of my purchases or done proper budgeting, but I think that perhaps this would be a good chance for me to do so; it might help keep me focused on replacing several "almost" items with a "perfect" one, as well as teach me a few things about my purchasing habits. Thank you for sharing your findings on all of this!

    (PS : the sweater in #10 is amazing!! Is that still for sale somewhere??)

  • Jewell replied 7 years ago

    Gorgeous pics! Thanks for sharing your analysis- sounds like you've reached a very happy place. Now, because I've been away from the forum for many months, I have two questions: What's the exciting new line of work you're in and what is the fab handbag I see in so many of your pictures?

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Lisa, shopping easier and faster is a blessing! Even if you end up with something that doesn't quite work, at least you are not out that time in your day!

    Aida, I am pretty sure it is this one. Mmmm, tempted by other colors, but how many dramatic dusters does one gal need. http://www.freepeople.com/ribb.....8570a33d06

    Jewell, I went from wealth management and investments to being a Personal Stylist with Nordstrom! I love it, and ironically it gives me far more intellectual stimulation than the former line of work. :) The bag is the Brahmin Vivian Vineyard satchel. Currently sold out online:http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/br.....el/3491364

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    I approve of it all, but I have to ask: you sold the Gidigios?!  And the blush Muubaa?  I am considering selling mine only because I never get to wear it, but I am still madly in love with the Gidigios and wearing them today.

    Thanks for the visuals!  I definitely see you moving away from UWP, at least the RATE version, and becoming more refined and polished - but still with your own unique sensibility.  Also, what Shannon said.

    Transition IS hard, and the learning curve never seems to end!

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Una, yes I unfortunately am selling the gidigios... Not because I don't adore them but because they are too flat footed for me to wear all day at work. For some reason they were great at the Rack but not as a stylist. I keep reaching for the cortonas for comfort.

    The blush muubaa is just too big. I like how it looks with two outfits and that's it. Plus you were right about the color all along -limiting for you and me (no matter how much I envy it on Mo).

    I agree that I am less RATE because I like presenting polish at work. But I do feel I have re-embraced UWP instead of going more classic. Polished UWP is still more comfy and ready for action!

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    Totally understand.  I can do both the Gidigios and the Cortonas all day.  Am struggling with the height of my Rag & Bone booties now that days are long.  :(

    I am also trying to mesh polish with UWP somehow.  For me it's been going more luxe with fabrics and textures.  Not easy but I guess that's the princess-y part for me, not femme but upscale!
    And I am glad you are still firmly in Camp UWP!

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