Cole Porter wasn’t talking about fashion when he came up with the title of his 1934 Broadway musical, but he might as well have been because now-a-days, it seems like Anything Goes.
I was talking to my twin sister the other day and we came to the conclusion that today’s fashion trends seem to be “there are no fashion trends." Have you noticed this too? Everywhere I look, everyone seems to wear whatever the heck they want. As long as they feel comfortable in it and it reflects who they are, it’s IN.
So if there are NO fashion trends and anything really does go, then I guess the only accessory you really need is confidence--confidence to trust your true personal style and to wear the clothes that make you happy.
If you think I might be wrong in this conclusion just look around you. At the office, at school, on TV--eclectic personal style has become the norm. You and I might not care for what someone else is wearing (because it doesn’t suit our own personal style) but that doesn’t matter. What they have on is THEIR style and that’s all that counts.
America has always been an individualistic society, which means we are a culture that is oriented around the self, independent instead of identifying with a group mentality (thanks Wikipedia). Don’t take that as an insult, because it’s not, and we’re not the only country to be labeled this way. Most of Western Europe is also classified as an individualist culture.
So what does that have to do with style, fashion, and not buying new clothes?
It means that we don’t have to be driven by TV, fashion magazines, and department stores to buy new clothing every month just to define WHO we are and to “fit in." We’re Americans-- we don’t want to fit in! And that’s how they try to sell clothing to us--be unique and stand out by buying this t-shirt that 100,000 other people are going to buy too!
That’s not individualism. That’s what is known as a herd mentality.
You’re an individual, your style is your own. You don’t have to buy into trends and seasonal fashion to feel and look good. You already have what you need buried in your closet. Pull out your oldies but goodies and the items you tend to wear over and over. There’s a reason they are still in there and why you go for them so often.
It’s because they represent you and YOUR individual style.
So here’s what I want you do to this week--go to your closet and put together one Anything Goes outfit, something a bit different but that makes you smile and represents YOU. Don’t go look at your Pinterest clothing board for inspiration and don’t pay attention to a certain fashion blogger who said red is the “it” color right now, or that chucky accessories are a “must have." What do they know of your individualistic style?
Isn’t that what this year is all about anyways? Not adding to the chaos of our existing wardrobes and learning to use what we already have in new and fun ways?
Can’t wait to hear how it goes and, please, feel free to post a photo comment of your Anything Goes outfit!
I’ve never been more critical of my clothing then I have been in the last two months. I know it’s because I’m not adding new pieces and I’m trying to rediscover old pieces. Just this morning I pulled a sweater out of the bottom drawer (you know, that drawer that you NEVER dress out of) and I examined and reexamined it.
I know I hadn’t wore it in almost two years but I never felt the need to get rid of it and as I stood there looking at it I thought, “This would go really well with these black slacks”.
And just like that something old had become new. Mind blown.
Seriously, I don’t think I would have ever worn that sweater again if I had not started this challenge. Normally when I get bored with my clothing I just go out and buy something new, but that can’t happen now. What is a girl to do?
She moves on to Plan B.
Plan B is taking a rarely worn item and wearing it a new and completely different way. And at this very moment I’m sitting at my desk wearing Plan B (the bottom drawer sweater) with my black slacks. You know what – it looks really nice too. Now I’m thinking of all those other “bottom drawer” items and if they really should be pitched cause I haven’t worn them in a year or if they were just waiting for me to change my point of view.
Suddenly my wardrobe just got a bit larger. It’s kind of freeing knowing that everything in my closet is fair game.
I’m looking at each piece of clothing and asking myself, “Why did I stop wearing this?” Was it out of style? Did it shrink? Did I become bored with it?
We’re just like our kids who stop playing with a toy because it’s not new anymore. Don’t you hate when your kids do that?! We look at this perfectly good toy and think “What a waste of money!” It’s funny because as soon as another kid comes over and starts playing with that same toy – BOOM – your kid wants it again.
So I guess my advice for this week is to pull out some of those old “toys” and try them with something completely different. If you’ve always worn that sweater with jeans, try it with a skirt and boots. Take that blouse and pair it with skinny jeans and flats. Go crazy. Who knows what will spark your creativity and help you find your true style.
Yesterday I had a head on collision with reality. I can’t buy a purse this year.
Did you know the average woman owns 11 purses? When I read that my first thought was, “Only 11?” I finally purged a lot of my purses last year when I moved and I still own ten myself. Buy why did I hold on to those ten? Why am I so emotionally attached to these purses? And why do I feel like getting rid of them will be the hardest part of this year?
Everyone who knows me knows I only carry Kate Spade’s purses – it’s my ONE splurge in life. I buy myself one new Kate Spade purse every year and to justify this I TRY to buy it during the yearly 75% off sale. Guess what happened yesterday…yup…the BIG sale.
The notice pops up in my email and my heart skipped a beat! I immediately logged in and started browsing for my yearly splurge. I was half way through the pages when it hits me – this is shopping – I CAN’T do this – I CAN’T buy a purse.
No lying, I was sad. I closed the website and put my phone down. No splurge this year. Sigh.
That disappointed feeling stuck with me all morning too. Later that day I sat at my desk and looked over at my current Kate Spade and thought, “Well I guess I could just pull one of my old ones out of the closet, I have at least 7 to pick from.”
Wait – I have 7 Kate Spades in my closet?! Why?! It was at that moment I realized that after a year carrying a purse, I NEVER carry them again. I don’t sell them, I don’t give them away, I don’t do anything with them. They just sit there, inside their dust bags, all lined up like really expensive purse headstones. That’s what I’ve created, a purse graveyard.
If this year of self-growth is going to mean anything I NEED to get these purses out of the “purse retirement home” and give them away! I instantly called my sister to tell her and her first response was, “Finally! I call first dibs!” And just like a mother watching her first child head off to college, I’m excited to see them go. I’ve given them a good home and now they can make someone else as happy as they have made me.
I’ve decided that I’m going to keep 4 of my purses. I’m going to keep my current Kate Spade, it’s large and great for everyday use. I’ll also keep my small cross body Kate Spade since I think it’ll be great for vacations and trips and it is a lot lighter than my big bag. I’m also going to keep my red patent leather Kate Spade wristlet, it’s great for nights out and dressing up. The last purse is a handmade green leather cross body that I picked up in Italy. It was actually altered just for me while I waited and I had the loveliest conversation with the artisan. I mean…hello…Italian leather and made for me by an attractive Italian man? Yeah, I’m keeping this one.
So maybe owning 4 handbags isn’t exactly the minimalist way, but it feels right for me. It’s less then what I had before and it’s a step in the right direction. And that’s what this year is all about - forward progress. Moving towards a minimalist lifestyle is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I didn’t accumulate all this stuff overnight and it’s going to take time to get rid of it all. I’m going to take pride in every step (no matter how small) towards that goal.
I’ve discovered that I like giving you your own challenge at the end of each of these posts. So here’s what I have for you this week. Go count your purses and if you find yourself surprised at the number, then give some of them away. Be tough on yourself too! With each one you pick up ask yourself these two questions: “Will I ever carry this purse again?” and “Who else could benefit if I give it away?”
Next, snap a photo of the ONE purse you could live without and post it in a comment. I’d love to see what everyone got rid of!
The first month of this year long challenge is done and I feel REALLY good about how I’m doing. I haven’t bought ONE SINGLE piece of clothing! That might not seem like a big deal to everyone but this the longest I’ve gone without buying clothes since becoming an adult.
And let me just say this – not buying clothes has been freeing. Really! I don’t waste time in stores anymore, I don’t worry about what I “need to buy to complete this outfit”, and I don’t have ANY shoppers’ guilt. And I’m sure we can all use less guilt in our lives!
I’ve started to get creative with my outfits too. I look through my drawers for hidden treasures and come up with new ways to use them. I have worn my black scarf three times this month with three different outfits AND I wore it three different ways! (Thank you YouTube for teaching me how to wear my scarf.)
But not buying clothes hasn’t been the main activity of my life this month. I mean, it’s easy to NOT do something. What’s really difficult is making a change in your life that requires you to actually DO something. So not only am I NOT buying clothes, I am actively decluttering my life of stuff.
I’ve been reading a lot of articles on the Minimalist lifestyle and it’s been eye opening. One great online resource is www.becomingminimalist.com. The writer, Joshua Becker, made this really good point –
Owning less is great. Wanting less is better.
How does a person do that? How do you not only own less but WANT less? I think the “wanting less” comes with time and I’m determined to put the time in. Here’s how Joshua explains it:
Because I don’t want to own more than I already have, I am freed from the constant comparing of my stuff to others. I am no longer bound to the incessant pursuit of more money and more stuff. I have found contentment in the things that I own. I have discovered more room for generosity. And I have begun to bend my pursuits towards things that matter.
So owning less and wanting less leads to all of that?! Sign me up!
An added bonus to writing this blog and moderating a decluttering group on Facebook has been meeting people who also feel this need to simplify and a desire to “bend our pursuits towards things that matter”. It’s refreshing to know that there are other people out there who don’t believe “Bigger is better” and “Whoever dies with the most toys win”.
Maybe the question we need to be asking ourselves is if “you can’t take it with you” then why don’t we get rid of it now?
My name is Misty Day (yeah, that really is my name) and I'm a normal every day person. I'm a twin, I work as an analyst, I take my daughter to Girl Scouts and swim team, I play bass guitar in a band, I love food and wine, I like new clothes, and I'm trying to be a better person.