Building My Ideal Wardrobe

ideal wardrobe

Loafers | Red & White striped tee (on sale!) | Gray sweater | Black dress | Black cardigan | Pencil skirt | Bar necklace | White button-up | Lace-up flats

My style has had quite an evolution over the last year. I used to veer toward punchy prints and bright colors – in the spring and summer, at least – because of what I like to call the “ooh, shiny!” affliction. I’d walk into a store and immediately spot a pair of statement pants, or an undeniably fun blouse, and grab them without second guessing it. I’d try these clothes on and buy the ones that fit, with the misguided notion that they’d blend into my wardrobe seamlessly. But once I brought them home, they lost their appeal after a few wears – and it took me until just recently to pinpoint why. I’m not the type of person who wears day-glo brights, giant polka dots and trendy silhouettes. I admired the look on other people, sure, but I didn’t quite realize that it was important for me to have my own aesthetic.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t still find myself drawn to bold patterns or statement pieces – of course I do – it just means that now, since I’ve had this epiphany, I’m better able to process that initial reaction. Do I really love the piece and see myself wearing it day after day, for seasons to come? Or is it like something shiny you see on the sidewalk – interesting for a moment, only to be soon passed by and forgotten? It’s usually the latter. And passing over the fun clothes that I used to think were for me has been a lot easier than I thought it would be, which only reinforces the fact that these things weren’t my style. 

I’m working on defining an actual vision for my wardrobe right now, based on the things that I’ve been buying lately, and pictures I’ve found online (hello, Pinterest!) that genuinely speak to me. Right now, my summer closet has been curated to a point that I’m comfortable with – it’s not overflowing, yet I never find myself struggling to piece together an outfit, and all of the clothes I have are pieces I truly love and feel comfortable wearing. Sure, it means passing up on some trends, but in the end I’ve found a look that I feel at home in, and that’s all I could really ask for.

Of course, though, that’s just this summer. Naturally, I’ve started looking ahead to the fall and winter – and this year is especially big, since I’m moving. I’m figuring out the colder-weather basics that will serve me well through the colder months, along with some other pieces that can be in heavy rotation year-round. The things above are what I’ve come up with.

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Spring Stock-Up

madewell favorites

Button-up | Bracelet | Blouse | Jumpsuit | Jeans | Romper | Bracelet | Jacket | Shorts | Tee | Bracelet | Peplum Tee | Loafers

In the last few months, my style has changed considerably – it used to be a big mish-mash of stuff that changed from season to season, but I feel myself starting to settle into a new, comfortable rhythm when it comes to clothes. And…I must give a lot of credit to Madewell. I stopped in there on a whim one day when I was looking for winter sweaters and saw some in the store window. Fast forward a half dozen or so sweaters and a few months and I shop there way more than I probably should. I used to think their stuff was too preppy, but now it all feels like the perfect mix of classic and trendy – bold patterns, timeless shapes, not to mention stripes (!). Either I’ve changed or they’ve changed, but regardless, I love it – here’s what I have my eye on for spring. (Can we talk about that pelican shirt?!)

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Fall Essentials

fall essentials

Hello, and apologies for the radio silence! I’ve been crazy busy, and adjusting has taken a little while – but I’m back now! (Of course, it does’t help that my computer is being particularly touchy lately.) Being the over-eager shopper that I am, I actually did the majority of my fall shopping before fall even started. I’ll probably need to pick up some more heavy sweaters as the weather gets cooler, but I was able to stock up on some essentials (on sale!) that I’ve already gotten a good bit of wear from, and that I know will take me through the season. Here are some of my must-have fall pieces, along with a few items I’m still coveting.

1 // Last year, I found myself over and over bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have an easy, slightly slouchy gray sweater to throw on when I was up early and craving a comfortable, low maintenance – but still effortlessly cool – outfit. So finding the perfect one was my top priority this season – and of course, I found it at Zara. It comes in a bunch of great fall colors (I’m thinking I should grab another one), and it’s the perfect layering sweater: thin, but still more substantial than a t-shirt.

2 // Another item I knew I needed: moss green denim. I was looking for something a little more interesting than black or gray, but that still offered the same comfort level and style. I knew moss green was the answer, but struggled to find the right color and shape: too many were frosty, others were cargo pants, some still were overly distressed or loose. But these ones, from Gap, are perfect: the color is dark enough that they still pair with nearly everything in my closet, and they’re a classic skinny jean shape, with a slightly high waist, that’s super comfortable and flattering. (They’re running out of this color, but I highly recommend any jeans from Gap’s resolution line.)

3 // I struggle to find coats that are both stylish and functional – I’ve ended up with marshmallow-esque parkas (which have their place) to pea coats that are basically decorative. This one checks off both boxes – it comes in a gorgeous deep purple-burgundy, but has plenty of pockets and an extra-warm furry lining. And the name, field jacket, just sounds so classic.

4 // I haven’t yet added a short, streamlined bootie to my wardrobe, but that needs to change. The bootie strikes the perfect balance between a combat boot and classic riding boot – it’s short, modern, but still distinctly casual. This patent pair from Zara is cool and sleek, and doesn’t veer towards the edgy or rustic vibe that tends to come with most casual boots.

5 // Another bootie option I love: an updated take on the combat boot. This pair from Zara is less dressy than the aforementioned boots, but they’re still more polished than the average lace-up pair. Their flat heel and streamlined profile keeps them casual, but metallic hardware ups the chic element.

6 // So I actually bought these boots a year or two ago (in a slightly different color/textile), but I’ve only started wearing them with regularity recently. They make any outfit a little edgier, and they’re a step up from basic flats. Despite their height, they’re pretty comfortable – I can wear them for a full day without pain (or becoming exhausted). Another plus: they’re budget-friendly!

7 // During the Zara sale this summer, I found what might be the most perfect cardigan (see this post for evidence) – I haven’t worn it too much yet, but it’s seriously cozy. I found a pretty similar style on H&M because everyone needs a giant, black and white cocoon sweater. You can throw it over a maxi dress, pair it with a mini skirt and simple tee, wear it with jeans and a thin sweater (see #1)…basically, it goes with everything, looks effortlessly chic, and feels like a blanket. You’re welcome.

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Favorite Bright Skirt

skirt 7

Anthropologie skirt | New York and Company shirt | Vintage earrings | Vintage ring | Steve Madden sandals

I know I just posted yesterday about how excited I am for fall, but I have a few more summer outfits to share while the weather is still warm. This skirt I was initially hesitant about (it’s a little brighter/preppier than the things I normally wear), but it was $15 at Anthropologie! How can you pass that up? Of course I got it, and I’m so happy I did. It’s surprisingly comfortable and really lightweight, plus it has great pockets. I pretty much only wear it with solid tees in black and white, but I haven’t gotten tired of that combo yet, so I’m okay with it. I’m hoping to wear it at least one more time before I switch to my fall wardrobe.

And, in case you were wondering – these pictures are indeed from a while ago. I’m not currently lounging by the water, much as I wish I were.

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Yellow Geometric Blouse

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Zara blouse // New York & Company jeans // Birkenstocks // Vintage clutch

I love patterned tops, and this bright yellow one makes me so happy. You can wear one with a neutral bottom and it’s an instant outfit, and doesn’t require accessorizing or layering, which I personally don’t have patience for in the summer. This summer has been pleasantly mild, which means I haven’t had to give up my jeans in favor of shorts. This is sort of a go-to outfit for me, and it was perfect for walking around quaint towns while on vacation a few weeks back. (And, as you might be able to tell, it was really, really windy when I was taking these pictures.)

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