The Triumphs and Trials of Dressing Deliberately, Part 1: The Purge

For the last ten years or so, I haven’t really had much success with my wardrobe. Back-to-school shopping really takes a backseat when you’re working a 9-to-5 all summer, which is exactly what I was doing every summer during college. So my wardrobe aspirations slowly trickled away, resulting in a closet full of $20 jeans and $5 t-shirts. And there I stayed, waking up each day to throw on whichever t-shirt was closest and pair it with my same-old ragged pair of Chucks.

I still have those Chucks and I still have a few $20 pairs of jeans, but I can count my t-shirts on one hand and have rules for wearing them. Take a look at how, over the course of a Saturday, I reinvented my wardrobe.

Most lifestyle blogs will tell you that overhauling your wardrobe is a complex process that involves weeks of planning and weeding out and figuring out what you like and what you look good in.

First of all, anyone can look good in anything that they like. Wear what you like with confidence and you’ll rock it.



Plus, I knew that I’d talk myself out of making any major changes if I gave myself the time. So I didn’t give myself the time.

On July 20, I got a $200 bonus for meeting some goals at work. I promptly spent about $40 on two jackets I’d been eyeing that would fit in with my new style. On July 21, I withdrew the other $160 and went to Plato’s Closet with my sister Emma.

I knew I’d never be able to pull off a complete wardrobe overhaul on such a small budget, but a secondhand store would make a big difference.

Three armfuls of clothes and several hours later, I walked out with 7 shirts, 5 things to layer with, 2 dresses, 1 pair of jeans that actually fit, and 3 necklaces.

When I got home that night, I put it all in the wash (to get rid of that that thrift-store smell) and hung it up to dry on a clothesline I rigged in the second bedroom. (Because of course the one day it rains is the day I have a bunch of stuff that can’t go in the dryer.)

Then I went into my closet and put all my plain $5 t-shirts in a bag to donate. I tossed out everything that I didn’t actually like to wear. I didn’t want any more excuses. I wanted to look like I got dressed on purpose instead of tripping into whatever articles of clothing I found first.

The next day, I dropped off all my old clothes at Savers. If I don’t have them, I can’t fall back on them, right?

Stay tuned to hear how my first couple weeks of dressing deliberately turned out!

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