Restrain Yourself (or, Myself)

6 Feb

Right now, I’m practicing award-worthy restraint in a few key areas of my life.  The only one that’s relevant here, though, is my restraint to shop.  I have pledged (as of 3 weeks ago) that I will not shop until the end of February. Specifically, I will purchase no apparel, shoes or accessories unless 100% necessary. That pretty much wiped out my main hobby. I’ve had to learn to fill those extra minutes of down time or ‘destination-less’ meandering through the city with other activities, thoughts, and phone calls.  So far, I’ve been successful and am a better woman for it.

I’ve been forced to dig deep into the closets (all five) and restyle, rematch, and reinvent the clothes and shoes I have.  I’ve seen with just-post-lasik clarity that I have enough permutations from my robust wardrobe to keep me going 6+ months without ever repeating an outfit.

With this notion to propel me further into my “no-shopping-as-entertainment” journey (for the months of Jan and Feb 2010), I decided to showcase the core of what’s keeping me alive: versatility.

Take one piece—in this case, a denim pencil skirt—and reimagine it over, and over, and over, and over….you get me.

The Skirt

A dark wash ensures it’s appropriate for work, or no work. The high waist and flat front (sans pockets) make it accepting to tucking in or billowing out. In short, it’s a stellar piece to play the mix-and-match game.

Option I—the Unexpected & Fun

Skirt + lace + motorcycle boots + knee socks

Tuck it in, show off the high waist, draw attention up to the intricate neckline. Lace is prettiest way to be a girl.

Classic Frye boots. You’ll only buy one pair in your life and the more beat up they get the better they look. Putting it with lace makes others wonder, “Hmmm, what’s she all about?”

I know, I know, funky as all get-up, right? But c’mon. You’ve got basic black, basic denim and neutral boots. Now go big with your socks.

Option II—Tuesday at work special

Skirt + silky, boxy blouse + textured tights + classic platform pumps

The boxy shape is countered by the slim, sexy fit of the skirt. Everyone will know what a rockin’ bod you have no matter what. And the open neckline shows off a beautiful collarbone and hints at your graceful shoulders.

These tights are opaque enough to be completely appropriate for work while the lace gives a nod to the girly, flirty side of you (don’t lie, you have one). And the brown is a nice neutral to pair with the dark denim.

You can’t go wrong with a sturdy-heeled, round-toed, platform pump. Basic black, classic style, smokin’ look.

All together, you’ve got a tightly streamlined, upscale, chic, and modern aesthetic.

Option III—Saturday With Your BFFs

Skirt + wedge sandals + striped t-shirt + tailored vest

I don’t think any woman can argue that these are cool as H-E-double-hockey-sticks. But the better news? A wedge is a super comfy way to wear heels and the thick straps keep your foot safe and secure.

Fun, bright, and loose-fitted for maximum comfort. The multi-directional stripes give it a more interesting look than your typical one-way pattern. And the varying widths of the stripes in the right places (take a peek at where they’re widest…you get what I’m sayin’?) are flattering and you don’t even know it.

Put a tailored item with a fluid piece and you’re having fun now! I love mixing silhouettes like this – soft and easy with trim, slim, and structured. Wear it open so you don’t block your stripes.

I’m sure I could play this game for days, weeks, months, until Martin Luther King Day 2012.  But I’ll stop here and hope that this is enough of a teaser to get you to look deep in the closet. Push apart those tightly-fitted hangers, dig underneath your typical go-to t-shirt or leggings. Seek the bottom of the drawer and bring out your almost-forgotten garments for a mixer better than any speed dating social. Exercise restraint and ye shall find outfits a-plenty.


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