Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shop Your Closet

SHOPPING: the word is music to my ears, and to be quite is one of my FAVORITE things in the world to do! Yes, I admit it: I LOVE TO SHOP! The only problem with this is that I cannot always AFFORD to shop. As many of you may know...children are expensive...plain and simple. It costs a lot to raise a child, and I have 4 of them, 2 of which are still in diapers and one who has a physical disability requiring therapy. The clothing and other non-necessity part of the budget is of course the smallest, and sometimes even non-existent. So how does a girl who loves to shop still find a way to do what she LOVES??? Well, as the saying goes *necessity is the mother of invention*, so over the past several years I have honed my bargain shopping skills and creative talents, to the point where I rarely pay full price for anything, and recycle my own clothing pieces in order to achieve new looks without spending any money.

One of my particular areas of expertise is *Shopping My Closet*...I have been doing this for a very long time. I absolutely LOVE going into my closet to find pieces I had forgotten about, pieces that I wear occasionally, pieces that I wear on a regular basis and then *style* them into outfits. I am frequently amazed at how many different looks can be achieved for an individual's all about *changing it up a bit* and looking at the pieces differently. After the outfits are created I can then decide if any of the looks needs an update. More often than not I don't need anything to complete a look...basically everything I need is already in my closet. If I do think a particular outfit needs an update, it can easily be accomplised by adding a new accessory, bag, pair of shoes, or (less frequently) another garment, and the best part about it is that it can be done at any budget level. I actually make a list of the items I would like to find to complete my newly discovered looks, so that when I am online or in the store looking at the sale section, I can reference my list to see if the item is there. I will also take pictures of my styled outfit or hang the completed look in my makes getting dressed a lot quicker and easier. The greatest part about the whole process is that it really doesn't have to cost a fortune to make an outfit look entirely just takes a little bit of creativy and bargain hunting.

(For many years I have had the idea to do this for other women, as well...*Shopping Their Closets* to help them utilize their current wardrobe and feel FABULOUS without breaking the bank...this idea has finally come to fruition, and it is exciting for me. I truly believe that every woman deserves to feel FABULOUS about herself, and I love helping to make that happen).
Incidentally, I am SO looking forward to the new movie *Confessions of a Shopaholic*in theatres 2.13.09...anyone else?

Have you ever *Shopped Your Closet*? Do you have any tips you would like to share or favorite places to find great deals? Please do tell!!!


  1. Yay you posted about shopping your closet! I just mentioned in my post yesterday that I was going to start doing this. SAVES $$$! It's silly of me to keep buying and buying when i know I have tons of GREAT pieces to work with already. It's just tough at the moment because I'm stuck here in the bitter cold of massachusetts. I'd love to accessorize with necklaces and bracelets but when I'm out and about im all dressed in layers and the necklaces and bracelets get hidden from everyone. And the metals from the jewelry in the cold just end up making me colder! It's sad :(

    Just a question, do you have the serengeti patent belt? do you know how the sizing is? i know that all the belts are sized either for waist or hips and so I'm not sure which size to order... any help with that? TIA! :)

  2. Good Morning Ashley! I DO have the Serengeti Belt and it runs big...I would suggest sizing down. :)

    Have a FABULOUS day!!!

  3. Btw...I believe it is sized for the hips, but still runs one size larger than the Patent Skinny belts.

  4. I love this idea. My closet is really small, so I have to change clothes with the seasons. It's surprising how many items I "rediscover" when I switch over. The bad thing about switching over is that I'm still "weeding out" the too-big pieces, so while I rediscover some things, I lose some others :)

  5. That's a great campaign. I am for it with both hands!:)

  6. Thanks Slastena! Do you happen to remember when I posted about it last Fall on JCA? Now that we are in recession and everyone is scaling back, I thought it would be a great time to blog about it. :) It's fun to see others now shopping their own closets, and I love reading their ideas on how they personally accomplish it.

    Btw...I love your outfit with the Old Navy tee and H&M flowers...SO pretty! :)

  7. The best inspiration for shopping my closet is the outfits you, Slastena, and other bloggers put together. Please keep them coming, especially using older items, not just new purchases. Thanks!

  8. FFM: Such a great idea! I started doing this recently. I had some great pants that were just lounging away in my closet :) and bought a few versatile and neutral sweaters to pair with them in addition to other items in my closet.

  9. GREAT post FFM!

    For so long I would just pick up an item b/c it was on sale and I thought it was cute with no real thought on its ability to be worn in a variety of ways. My "style" has been rather undefined as well so I have put a lot of thought into what I really like and feel good about wearing. I have been trying to replace more trendy or lower quality items with things that are more classic with unique detailing (hence J.Crew addiction).

    You are so right about the benefits of having a "list". I have cut out a lot of useless purchases this way.

    Having something as awesome as Polyvore (and lots of great gals putting together inspiration) is also *very* helpful.

  10. FFM, what an awesome post! I'm with you. I love finding things that I've long forgotten. And while I am primarily a Sale Shopper, I need to learn to be even MORE frugal particularly in this economic climate. I need to learn to become a Recessionista!

    But speaking of shopping your closet, I recently came across an old necklace I had purchased from Ann Taylor in NYC in 1987. It was kept in a box of fashion jewelery from the late 80s that I had put away when the minimimalist look was hot. It's a hammered, matte gold necklace with a long heavy chain and a 2 inch avant-garde heart. It hangs down to about my waist. (It really doesn't sound as bad as I've described it. In fact, it could pass as one of the pieces of jewelry that JC currently sells). Anyway, I had it on the other day and a few of the girls in my office asked if it was a new J Crew piece (they know that I'm a J Crew fanatic) and told me how much they liked it. They were bowled over when they found out that it was from the late eighties.

    Again, great post! Have a wonderful day!

  11. What a lovely post!

  12. I've been participating in a 30 day self-imposed shop my closet challenge on my blog. Doing this requires a lot of will power with all these sales going on, but in the process I'm discovering a lot about who I am as a shopper. I think my next purchases will be more intentional and not impulsive.

  13. You are so right. But the problem is FFM, I need to pull you through this computer screen into my closet and have you do all that creative work for me. I promise to let you go by dinner!!!
    But seriously, you are so right.
    I find it well worth my while to sometimes just stand in my closet and flip though the hangers to remind myself of what I have. And I sooo wish
    I'd bought the berry astrid in plum or blue - I have it in charcoal and absolutely love it - but seeing your pics makes me wish......

  14. hi FFM! you are are so right. often i just buy new and i have a similar piece already!
    i am getting better at shopping in my closet, but please keep your ideas coming.
    OT do you know what to pair with a deep persimmon V-neck cotton sweater and how does the color look? red or orange or coral?
    TIA ina

  15. What a great post and great idea! I always tell myself to wear what I have but now I'm more motivated - not only because of this recession but because of your enthusiasm.

    PS I'm really looking forward to the movie 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' too. It will be a great movie to see with girlfriends.

  16. FFM: speaking again of items in my closet, i wondered if you would give me some idea as to what to wear with the J.Crew Pavia, in both the heather graphite (my fav) and the bright rhubarb.

    I'm trying to go for as close to business attire as possible though i am pushing the envelope a bit due to the sweaters' knit gauge and cut. But they are so comforting on really cold days, and much more substantial than my traditional suit jackets. :)


  17. My February Harper's Bazaar came in the mail today and there was an article in it about "shopping your closet". Of course, it was written by some big-league fashionista who doesn't even mention J Crew, but it was relevant and inspirational anyway, almost as much as your post!
    BTW, I can't wait to see "Confessions of a Shopaholic"! I loved the book and I think Isla Fisher is hilarious!

  18. FFM you're an inspiration to us all (I've purchased tons of items after seeing them on your blog)! I am constantly amazed with your polyvore sets, and knowing you can be fabulously stylish without breaking the bank and while juggling 4 darling boys... just blows me away! For years, my underlying strategy in shopping my closet consisted of sticking to four main colors (navy, white, beige, and black) as you really can't go wrong with the color combinations. But it just got soo boring.

    I've since stepped out of my comfort zone and have added red and green and purple to my color palette but more on a one-off basis, and find I still have a long way to go (love how you matched the shoes to the shirt).

    I also love how JCrew offers a whole suite of items in a consistent range of colors, so I can gradually broaden my outfits and hence my closet from one season to the next with additional sweaters / shirts / shells / shoes / coats from the same color family.

    Keep up the excellent work!

  19. FFF, another great post and I totally agree! Sometimes it is amazing what one can do with changing it up and mixing new things together. I love the JCrew pink tee and those "Tar-Jay" shoes.
    I too will look forward to seeing "Shopaholic", if you go to my page of what I like I list the Shopaholic books there! I can't wait to see your spring line...I am sick of the snow where I live.

    Laurie "LuLu"

  20. Hi FFM, I am so glad you posted about this. I just recently started paying more attention to what I wear, after a brief bout of baby blues and "letting myself go" after the baby was born. It is so inspiring and wonderful to know that when you dress well, you feel fabulous (I sure do!). It is even better to know that we can do this with what we already own and do not have to break the bank. I think one of the first steps for me is going to be to actually clean out my closet ... there are so many things I discover I own that are rumpled in the back corner. I am really curious to know if you have any tips on how your closet is organized and on what the essential basics are to build from. I tend to buy what's on sale too but then have a hodgepodge of items that don't really go together. Thanks for what you are doing here -- and I am AMAZED at all you do with 4 boys!

  21. Great post! I'm all for it. Do you think there's a fix for someone who can't stop checking JCrew's website for deals everyday? lol

  22. Thanks for your post. BTW, I love your blog! Anyway, my friends and I plan a "dress up get together where we bring an outfit clothes,shoes,accessories, we also plan a weekend where we bring an outfit and we can shop at a friend's closet and also exchange outfits. One of the things we also did was we buy different colors of shoes or cardi or top and we can again "dress up". BTW, I agree with you that it cost a lot to raise a Child.