I love shopping. Back in college, I had the credit card debt and huge wardrobe to prove it. Now, since we have a smallish closet and no credit card debt, and since neither of those is likely to change, I have to be extra careful about my clothing purchases. I really want to love what I buy, and it has to be a bargain. I have read other bloggers posts about their minimalist wardrobes and dreamed of the day of a few beloved pieces in my closet that would mix and match together to create a treasure trove of endless possbilities, not matter the affair or season I was dressing for. But, I had no idea how to accomplish this.
First, I tried only having black shoes. This seemed to work well since around that same time I discovered Crocs and the sales they run at the end of the year. I stocked up on black flats, mary janes, flip flops and boots last year for a steal. They were comfy and fit my casual needs. But the rest of my wardrobe was still all over the place. And it did not help I was pregnant at the time with a maternity wardrobe, a nursing wardrobe and a “normal” wardrobe spanning four different sizes. I had no idea which colors were best for me and which made me look more tired and drab than I actually felt.
Then, a few months ago, I came across a post about a book from the 80’s called Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson. I used some Swagbucks earned Amazon giftcards to purchase a used copy, and have never looked back. If you are familiar with “seasons” based on your coloring, than you are familiar with this book. Matching my characteristics of hair, eye color and skin tone to Jackson’s descriptions, I determined myself to be an Autumn. Jackson lays out all the best and worst colors, including a page of swatch colors to make shopping easier, and a section with an example wardrobe for warm and cool months. My best colors are Earth tones, browns, golds. My worst are cool tones like pink, blues, purples and blacks. (So much for the black shoe wardrobe! Luckily, Crocs had good clearance sales at the end of this year too so I stocked up on comfy brown flats, flip flops, boots and wedge heels…). She also has a section on make-up and wearing your make-up colors, but I found this section to be a little dated, to say the least, with 80’s shadow and blush techniques (unless that’s your thing…). There are many other books and online resources to help you determine your “season” and best colors. One online resource is The Chic Fashionista, where you can see the description of my season, autumn, can actually be broken down even further into three types of autumns. At the bottom of the page there is a link to do your own color analysis.
This makes my shopping SO much easier and much more financially sound. I am not buying anything, no matter how good a deal it is, that does not look great on me! And it makes shopping at my favorite thrift store, Goodwill, a cinch since they organize according to color. I can just skip over the sections that do not apply to me, and look for my sizes in the colors that I know will work. Clearance racks are just as easy to scan for “my colors” and save me a ton of time when shopping, especially when I am actually at the store to buy something else. (Off topic, but I joke my kids are going to think all clothing stores are supposed to have shopping carts!) The colors Jackson suggests really do highlight my eyes and hair, and make me look glowing. Plus, now I really do notice how my “bad” colors bring out dark circles under my eyes, or my yellowish skintone look sallow. I am focusing on basics, a few accessories and shoes, and am able to pull it off with minimal effort and investment. I have gotten creative with my jewelry, as most of it is silver and my best color is gold. I started using leather strings (about $1 each in the WalMart beading crafts department) in my autumn colors to hold my beloved James Avery pendants instead of silver chains. It looks really cute, and is much more afforable than buying new gold jewelry! Of course, I could blow a ton of money on a shopping spree, but the point is to be creative and use what I already have. When I do buy items to mold by new minimalist wardrobe, I can make careful choices and only buy what I need, what looks good, and what is in my budget at the time.