Living a Simple, Intentional Life | Pt.3 Clothing

I will be the first to admit I am a clothes hoarder. I love sales, the clearance rack and I keep clothes forever! I still have (had- just got rid of them) clothes in my closet from when I was in college (10 years ago). I just don’t like to let go of things. My closet started getting out of control though and really, I only wore such a small fraction of what was in there. I started questioning what I was keeping and why? My style has changed so much since becoming a Mom. Most of the stuff just sat in there because it was too dressy, to busy for my tastes now a days or I thought it had some sort of special meaning. My closet did not reflect the person I felt like on the inside. A girl who is much more confident in what she wears then her closet let on. I think if someone that didn’t know me opened my closet doors, they’d think the owner was all over the place, not knowing what she really liked at all. When I started cleaning out all our drawers, pantry, cupboards, basement, toys, and things else where in the house, my closet was no exception. I felt like Stacy and Clinton. I didn’t have anything that was terribly out of fashion like in that show, but I was harsh and got rid of everything that I didn’t currently wear. Have you read 7 by Jen Hatmaker? I just kept thinking of that chapter over and over. We really DO NOT need thousands of items in our closets. Next time you say “I don’t have anything to wear” go count how many items of clothing you have. I bet the number will make you cringe a little.

With a pretty much empty closet staring at me (I either donated or sold all old clothes), I decided it was time to invest in some good pieces to fill it partly back up. Pieces that would last more than one season. Pieces that could be mixed, matched and worn a hundred different ways. Pieces that wouldn’t go out of style in 6 months. No fast fashion. Every one is talking about a “capsule collection” in the blog world these days and I love the idea behind it, I do. I personally didn’t want to set up any strict rules for myself though. I want this to be something I stick with. More of a lifestyle change than just a season or say 40 days. I also wanted to be able to wear whatever items from my closet that I hadn’t gotten rid of. I made a list of items I thought I needed to add as we head into the dreaded Northeast winter. I told myself after I found those items that was it though, no more spending on random things here and there. I needed to know/believe I didn’t need anything else. It’s fun to window shop for sure but there is a difference between looking for fun and feeling like you need things when you don’t. I want to find that balance.

I saved up the last few months to invest in some of these items for fall/winter. When you aren’t buying clothes all season long, it allows you to save up and then wisely make choices for new items when the next season rolls around. Having a plan it key. Then you don’t end up with tons of random items that don’t match and you only wear once. Here are some items that will be getting me through this up coming winter.

Sweaters:

sweaters

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Sweaters are a big one for me. It’s so dang cold, for so dang long here that it’s worth the money to buy some nice sweaters. I love cardigans because you can layers all your summer tees and tanks and make them last into the winter. Still obsessed with Everlane’s u neck white tee. I love thin slouchy sweaters that you can half tuck in the front of your jeans. I hand wash all my sweaters and line dry them so they keep their shape and don’t get all pilly.

Shirts:

shirts

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Keeping it simple here. A cream silk blouse, totally cool to wear with a pair of jeans and ankle boots. Can’t go wrong with a chambray shirt and ooooh I could have a hundred buffalo plaid shirts and it wouldn’t be enough (jk) but I kept it to two different colors this winter. Love the simple striped cotton tee from J.Crew but making it a little more interesting with 2 shoulder zippers. The ottoman striped popover from the Loft will definitely be my most worn item. I’ve already worn it like 2 times this week.

Pants & Jeans:pants

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I swear these are not all black. The coated racetrack jeans from Madewell are amazing! Oh Man! Such a good purchase. Love the high waisted grey BDG jeans from UO. I have them in ankle length and the longer length. Grey jeans are where it’s at this year. Goes with everything! The black ponte pants from the Loft are my alternative to leggings. I am just not a girl that feels comfortable wearing leggings out in public. They are pjs in my head and I feel weird wearing them out. So these pants are great. Soft, stretchy, but have butt pockets and a button to make me feel like they are actually pants. Cranberry colored cords just scream fall and winter to me. Love the fit of these ones. Also, the legging jeans from the Loft are amazing. Extra skinny, perfect rise, great color.

Skirts & Dresses:skirts+dresses

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Amazing all around. I can’t wait to wear all of these with thick tights, ankle boots and warm sweaters. Love the cranberry cord mini- so many outfits to make with it! I’ve been looking for a “leather” mini that is stylish with still being ladylike. This one fits the bill! Not to short, but with cute elastic waist and exposed zipper detail. I wore this striped black and cranberry dress to the conference this weekend.

Shoes & Boots:shoes

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I am kind of obsessed with my Vans high tops. LOVE THEM! Sneakers and ankle boots. My go to for everything.

You can read Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 of this journey here.

Loft is 40% off right now just so you know!

  1. I love this post so much! I’m such a huge fan of your style Jen (in fact I’ve purchased a few pieces because you’ve either worn the exact same thing, or something similar). I’m very interested to see how this intentional wardrobe works out for you. Keep us posted!

  2. I LOVE this, Jen! I have done very much of the same thing after I had Lilly. My body changed so much and nothing fit me anymore so I pretty much started my closet over from scratch and it made me realize how little I really need.

  3. I am LOVING this intentional life series! Thank you for writing about this topic… I already pinned your post about toys for future reference (my 8 month old already has a bunch of toys and I want to nip the chaos in the bud now!), and this post about clothing is great, too. I appreciate that you aren’t limiting yourself to any number of items set by someone else, but instead are focusing on classic pieces that you feel good wearing for the long haul! Hope you’ll write some follow-up posts showing the way you style these pieces 🙂

  4. Oh. My. God. Holy shopping spree!

    I’m coming from a place where my take home pay is like a grand every two weeks so and that covers all the variable spending like groceries, gas, kids stuff and clothes for our family of 4. There’s no way I could rationalize this as simple or intentional. But! I’m not a fashion blogger who may or may not get clothes or make money based on referral links (? I’m not really sure how this whole thing works)…but if I was younger or didn’t have my priorities right (don’t over spend and save for the future) I sure might feel a lot of jealousy over this post. After all, who doesn’t want to donate/sell everything in their closet and start fresh?

  5. Hi Sarah!
    Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your honesty. I maybe should have made myself more clear in my post and for that I am sorry. I didn’t really get into finances because it’s so personal and different for everyone person. Kev and I have a strict budget we set for each month including money we save and money we spend. It’s a number we are comfortable with. That won’t look the same for everyone. I however have worked hard for the past 6 months selling a lot of extra things through etsy, worked out some partnerships with this blog/business and saved up money above our monthly budget for this fall to spend on clothing for myself, the girls and Kev and for some other extra expensive we have going on. For us it was intentional. It was purchases that will last through a couple winters so that over the next few seasons not much will have to be spent. This might not work for everyone and I totally understand that. I wish you all the best! Thanks again for the comment.

  6. Regardless of budget, I think the idea of saving for something that will last more than one season — and being intentional about it — is something we can all take away from this post. I’ve been feeling stylistically adrift lately and it’s tempting to head straight for F21 for a quick, affordable fix, but it’s important to remember that fix won’t last. It will likely fray or get a hole and end up in the donation bin. Instead I’m buying nothing and methodically cleaning out my closet, paring it down to what I really love, similarly to what you’ve done. I may have fewer clothes, but getting dressed in the morning sure is easier and I tend to feel a lot better in my clothes because they’re ones I love.

    ps – miss you

  7. I’d love to see a before/after shot of your closet! I have a really hard time getting rid of things too, and find myself sometimes overwhelmed with dressing because I have too many things. I’d also love to hear your opinions on dressing for special occasions, because I’m totally guilty of wearing those outfits only once.

  8. I’ve taken this concept and have cleaned out my entire apartment. My style has changed over the 4 years that we’ve lived in here and so rather than living with something “just because” I have sold a lot of my stuff on Craigslist and only living with pieces that I absolutely love. The same goes for my closet too. I’ve donated majority of my clothes and only investing in pieces that I really, really like. Just because it’s on clearance does not mean you have to buy it!!! It’s not worth the single wear!!! Glad to see that not the whole world is about materialistic goods…sometimes I feel like it’s going that way. Sad. On a side note, the last pair of boots shown – the Dr.Martens – swoon!

  9. Yes! I agree with you completely and am doing the same thing myself! After becoming a mom, I also just felt like 98% of what was in my closet no longer worked for me. Just last week, I decided to clear everything out and now I’m staring out new!

    Thank you for this post! You said everything that I’ve been thinking!

    Annie
    The Mama Gazette

  10. christine •

    I applaud you! What a tough but true challenge.

  11. Alainna •

    Loved Jen Hatmaker’s book 7. It has had me looking at my entire life differently. Good luck to you in your efforts to (continue) simplify!

  12. Julie C. •

    I LOVE this post and your style! Thank you so much for sharing your great finds. Can I ask about jewelry and coats? 😉

  13. I applaud you for simplifying and trying to live a more intentional life! I have been a blog reader of yours for many years and can really see the changes you have made (from what you choose to share online). I’ve been thinking about this post this past week (and the comment Sarah made above) and it has raised some questions for me as I look at my own stuff– clothes, belongings, etc. I also adore fashion and well-designed things. So I am really not out here to judge you or make any sort of dramatic commentary. I will get to my point…ha! Their is this statistic that replays over in my head more and more lately and as believers I wonder more and more what our responsibility is to it. The stat is that 80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day. I think as Americans we can be comfortably entitled to pretty massive consumption, but as American Christians, I think our constant longing for the newest clothing/etc should more and more be a bad taste in our mouth as we see it in proportion to the world’s massive poverty. I spent some time in India and saw the reality of this truth. I don’t know, just thought I would put some of these thoughts/questions out there as your blog has pushed me into thinking about my own things. You obviously have a huge heart and you have ministered to me in how you love your family so deeply and are so willing to even embrace the risks of foster care. I really commend you as you keep seeking after the Lord in the things He has called you to.

  14. @Rachel Thank you for your comment. They are thoughts we should all consider in our life!

  15. Bravo, Jen! One of the things that gets under my skin the most about fashion bloggers is the sheer amount of wasted money spent on clothes. I mean, they’re just clothes! And many of them don’t get worn more than a time or two, or beyond the season. I understand wanting to look nice, to be fashionable, etc., but there is a line that needs to be drawn, so I applaud you for starting to draw that line for yourself. We live overseas so regularly see the poverty so uncommon in America, and we are very intentional in what we buy that goes in our closets. We spend good money on shoes (I’m looking at a pair of Frye boots right now…) but not on something that doesn’t go with nearly everything! I think it’s wise to invest in quality pieces that are classics: good jeans, sweaters and shirts in neutral or solid colors, basic shoes and boots, etc. Beyond that, buy a few “statement” pieces that are currently in style to update your “basic” wardrobe. Westerners can do a much better job of being good stewards of their money and of not supporting slave labor in 3rd world countries to indulge their need for something new. So thank you for being a good example for your readers of cutting out the unnecessary!

  16. My closet started getting out of control though and really,

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!


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