Monday, November 14, 2011

A New Feature: Style & Reason

Last week, as I was convalescing at home, I decided I wanted to start a new feature on my blog. A style inspiration feature. I regularly (and sometimes obsessively!) look at style and fashion blogs, websites, online journals, and what not. Last Monday I shared with you a video from the fantastic website, StyleLikeU. It is my personal fascination to step into someone else's wardrobe, which this wonderful site allows you to do via their short interview videos and photo galleries. I had meant to post expand on my thoughts about style and fashion then, but as I was not feeling well, it was put on the back burner 'til now.
(*all photos credited back to their source*)

Coury Combs of Fancy Treehouse
As I was saying I love to step into other's wardrobes. . . And that has led to some problems when it comes to stepping back into my own wardrobe. As a gal continually fascinated by clothes and all that we adorn ourselves with, I am in constant revision, assessment mode of my own apparel. What shoe do I need to make that dress look perfect? What color cardigan am I lacking? Do I need another three-quarter length skirt in just the right shade of oatmeal? 

Gypsy Den - From the Bell Jar's Darling Little Blog

And while I do love to shop, and I do love clothes, and I do love to put outfits together (so much!) I am not a rich girl. I am not even a "sort-of okay as far as money goes" girl. I am a girl who has decided to make a go at making a living off of her art and am subsequently dealing with the financial reality that my decisions have created. In other words: money is really really tight!

Looking at fashion blogs and all of the other gazillion fashion-related sites one can find on the web started out as a way for me to stay inspired, and encouraged my resourcefulness. I discovered handy little tricks that I could easily employ: Tuck a short dress into a skirt and Voila! A new blouse! And I was continually given the extra courage to try things that others might think a bit odd.

Marie Antoinette Gown
But as I said, that was simply how things started. Eventually I found myself sincerely craving certain "statement" pieces. Shoes, bags, coats. I found myself "window shopping" on certain sites I would have never even considered shopping from in the past, simply because I knew they were distinctly out of my budget. And while "window shopping" doesn't break the bank, the longing it created inside of me could not be tempered. I would attempt to save money for a $300 pair of boots only to realize, before buying those boots (luckily) that I needed that money for any one of a dozen other things. 

My roots in fashion have been forged in thrifty soil. I do most of my shopping at thrift stores. I comb through free boxes in my city whenever the opportunity presents itself (which, in Berkeley and Oakland, is quite often.) I alter things I have that I love but don't fit quite right, I re-stitch hems and seams, and get my shoes re-soled, I love (love love love) to find ways to make "ugly" pieces wearable. Somewhere along the way I started craving more than I could afford. While I am already on my way towards a better balance again, one where the inter-webs are fodder for inspiration rather than frustration, I thought that this moment was the perfect one to kick-start a little challenge for myself.

My challenge: To go one whole year without purchasing any new (to me) "wearables." Meaning no clothes, shoes, jewelry, purses, coats, etc, etc. I am absolutely allowed to purchase genuine needs. And I am allowed to get my existing items repaired if I so desire. Also, trading is a-okay, given I am planning a clothing swap at my house in the near future. And, with Christmas on the horizon, gifts are fine too.

Honestly, I am genuinely excited by the prospects of my challenge. And yes, my challenge is "stolen" in a way from other bloggers who have committed themselves to a similar challenge. I am excited for many reasons. One, I think this is going to really make me realize what in my wardrobe works for me and what does not. Two, I am going to be much more motivated to work through my "alterations" pile. Three, I am going to save money, and hopefully, find that I don't want or need nearly as much as I have been lead to believe I want or need.

I may fall off the wagon now and then. I may throw my arms up in the air a month from now and say "I quit." But I am going to give this my best try. Here I go!


  1. As you know I have always admired your style. can't wait to see how your challenge goes. I too have struggled with wanting stuff that i don't need....kind of due to over stimulation on the internet. Hurrah for alterations pile. mine is massive. good luck!

  2. Thanks, Tina! Yes, this challenge won't be easy, but it is something I have wanted to do for quite some time now. Getting through the holidays may be the easiest part of all of this, 'cause I'll be too busy with Tangleweeds and seeing friends and family to care about anything else!