As a rule of thumb, never spend a lot of money on items that will last only a few seasons. Invest in items that will last a lifetime, both in quality and in style. The green floral Alice + Olivia dress will be in style 40 years from now. The style has already been popular since the 1960’s and it is still going strong.
Stick to A-line skirts and dresses for staying power. It flatters every woman. The style is forgiving if you gain a little weight below the waist.
Also, consider adding a few artistic pieces into your wardrobe. Art never goes out of style. The Gucci boots will still look fabulous 20 years from now. Also, the Loft jacket will still look amazing decades later over an evening dress, your Sunday’s best, or at the office.
Most importantly, you have to learn what YOUR STYLE is. If you do not know what your style is, consider going through your closet in the KonMari fashion. Look at each piece of clothing to determine what fits and which items bring you joy. Keep only the clothing that fits and brings you joy.
After you complete this task, take a look at what remains. In those items that remain, you will discover your own personal style. The key to finding that style all lies in the joy you find in the pieces that remain. In a way, you will discover who you are in the fashion sense.
From there, you will get a sense of how to build your wardrobe, focusing only on items that compliment your style. There will always be a lot of trial and errors, but discovering your style will only help you become wiser when you continue to invest in new items for your wardrobe.
[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation.]
Every NYC It Girl goes to J.Crew for the basics. Striped shirts, stadium coats, button up shirts, t-shirts, skirts and blazers are all in their arsenal.
J.Crew is my go-to for every single preppy basic a woman needs in her closet. Their basics are not always so basic. They put a fresh spin on it. Sometimes a striped t-shirt will have extremely long buttoned cuffs. Each year, they release their classic stadium coat in a new eye alluring color.
The items from J.Crew withstand the test of time. Each season, I buy the exact same thing in a new color. I have the same striped shirt in several colors and lengths. I own several stadium coats in various colors. T-shirts come in every shade of the pretty rainbow that J.Crew plucks out of the sky.
The most incredible thing about buying J.Crew basics is that every season they showcase those basic items and show you how to style it for the new season. Whoever thought to wear a button up under a t-shirt? J.Crew thought of it. Why not tuck part of your shirt in and leave the rest out? J.Crew thought of that, too.
They bank on their It Girls already owning the exact same basic products they advertise. That is why their catalogs showcase each of those items, but present you with a new way to wear those basics each season.
That mint top you purchased last year will go perfectly with their new tulle skirt this season. Those pink pants you bought last season will match the new vibrant pink shoes this season. That striped basic top, you should try pairing with a floral pencil skirt. The bright yellow top you bought and have no idea how to wear it, don’t worry, it will go with this season’s pink skirt or with the emerald green jacquard pants this winter.
J.Crew provides inexpensive basic pieces you can play up or down each season. They bank on their customers owning the basics from their collection. Their catalog each season shows you exactly how to wear the current fashion trends with the basics you already own. That is the beauty of J.Crew. In a way, it is very French chic.
What to Buy
Here are pieces every NYC it girl has in her closet. For those new to J.Crew, you should focus on purchasing a black blazer, striped t-shirt, a colorful assortment of t-shirts in various grades (the weight of the tee is different according to season), a stadium coat, trench coat, a white button down shirt, and a cashmere sweater.
You can go neutral if you want, but try buying items in various colors. Each season, those colors are reintroduced in a new way, paired with an item you may already own, or you can invest in.
J.Crew is a classic way of learning how to build up your wardrobe with qualitative pieces that have staying power.
When I was in my early 20’s, fresh out of college, I worked for a political magazine. My boss was a sought after political consultant who was on TV all of the time. He introduced me into the world of the elite and society.
I love fashion. I bought books on how to dress for political society, as well as any event that could come my way. I picked up a part-time job in the Men’s Polo Ralph Lauren department and learned about clothes in a new way. I learned about quality.
I had a steady progression. I wore Ralph Lauren for years, then Kenneth Cole. In later years, it grew to BCBG Max Azria and Calvin Klein. As I reached my mid-30s, I switched to couture, thanks to a $2 Valentino dress I got at The Outnet clearance.
I still shop at The Gap, Ann Taylor, Forever 21, Loft and Banana Republic. But I also buy the investment pieces from the couture brands, because I know the pieces are going to last a very long time.
My weakness though are handbags. I have a collection. I started off with the designer labels (Kenneth Cole, etc.). Then I bought my first Valentino bag second hand. Next, I bought a Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. I realized that I could build my couture handbag collection without spending thousands of dollars on brand new. I learned that if I want a brand new bag, I shop around because I might find it for a cheaper price elsewhere.
Today, I’m sharing Gucci finds under $1k. I paid $30 for my first vintage Gucci. It is a black leather handbag that I still own to this day. The girl didn’t know if it was real or not, but I looked at it closely and saw that it was indeed the real thing.
When you buy vintage or secondhand, you need to know how to spot a fake from the real, especially if it does not come with its own documentation. There are plenty of instructional guides out there on how to spot fakes from the real deal. Louis Vuitton is the only brand that is becoming more and more difficult to spot a fake from the real one. LV is the only brand I will not purchase secondhand unless it is direct from a licensed retailer (like Portero or Fashionphile).
If you are looking to invest in a couture handbag, here are a few rules: 1) Never, ever buy white. It gets dirty and discolors quickly. 2) When buying leather, make sure to buy it in a color that ages well. Black and Tan colors age very well as the wear progresses. 3) Try to avoid suede for the long run. It does not age well. 4) Go for functionality. Totes are usually the way to go. Go for leather or a material that wears well in the rain and is easy to clean off. The Louis Vuitton Neverfull is one of the most popular bags. Every major designer has their own version. This type of tote is the best investment for bags that pack a punch. 5) Buy a classic look, i.e. one that will last for years to come.
Take a look at some of my Gucci favorites under $1k. Maybe you’ll find your first Gucci in this batch!
As the Opera season ends the Ballet season begins in New York City when the American Ballet returns to the Met Opera house. I have my tickets for both the Gala and the upcoming performance of Stravinsky’s “Firebird.”
In other words, gown season has officially begun for me.
While I was pondering what to wear to the Gala, I realized this was a perfect time to finally pull out the tulle skirts in waiting, because what goes better with ballet than tulle?
For those who are looking for tulle skirts, I highly recommend Shabby Apple. They come in a variety of sizes, colors and lengths [they do cater to plus sizes, they only list current inventory, so check back often or contact them to ask if they can let you know the moment a skirt you like becomes available in your size, they have excellent customer service].
I picked up the mint maxi tulle skirt. It’s basically a wrap skirt with tulle for miles. It’s my happy skirt. Granted, it takes up half the space in the gown closet, but it’s my happy skirt.
I’m really excited that I’ll be able to finally wear a couple of my tulle skirts next month as the ballet season opens, especially the Shabby Apple Wooster skirt.
One question I do get asked a lot on Pinterest is where someone can find a tulle maxi skirt in black. I made sure to include a few in the gallery. If you’re looking for something specific, let me know. I am always shopping for gowns, so I may know where you can find what you’re looking for.
For those who pulled everything out of their wardrobe and pared everything down, you may be in that state of not wanting to purchase anything new because you like how you have less clutter in your closet.
Then there are people like me who went through the first KonMari round with their wardrobe and still continue to KonMari the hell out of their closet to no avail. I have a lot of things I do in life: work, play, relax, attend events, opera, theater, rock concerts, red carpet events, and so on. Simply put, I have the socialite wardrobe…a versatile wardrobe that goes along with whatever event may come my way. My wardrobe is prepared for anything. That means I have a closet full of gowns for the red carpet, opera and weddings. I have coats for the snow days, rainy days, extremely cold days and the special event coats. I also have the closet for work and everyday wear.
In other words, I have the wardrobe I need to maintain the life I have. Although, that also means I need a bigger closet!
After the first round of going through my closet, I was able to get rid of 5 large bags of clothing. Now, when I wear something or go through my closet, I look for even more stuff that I can get rid of that does not bring me joy. I am constantly trying to fine tune my wardrobe to get rid of the things I don’t need anymore.
But there are times when you feel like you may need something a little different, but loathe the thought of adding yet another piece of clothing to your wardrobe or spending a lot of money on it. You’re afraid of going back to your old ways where you had more clothes than you had space.
Maybe you have a big event coming up and need a new dress. Or maybe you have a hot date coming up and want something nice to wear for the evening. Or maybe you’re a fashion blogger and need new pieces coming in on a steady basis for your blog, but don’t want the clutter or to break the bank every month. Or maybe you just want to try out a new trend without truly investing in it completely.
Whatever your fashion need, there’s a way now that you can rent your clothes without a) breaking the bank and b) without adding to the clutter.
Le Toteoffers wardrobe rentals for $59/month (Maternity boxes are $69/month). You pick the items you like, a box is curated based on the items you place in your virtual closet (in your size). What you get in each box: 2 shirts, pant/skirt/dress, and 2 accessories (i.e. 5 items). Wear it as many times as you like. Return the items for something new. If you decide to keep the item(s) (or the box), you will be billed accordingly.
You can get $25 off your first box by using this LINK.
Rent the Runway has been known for years to rent designer gowns for special events. They have now gone UNLIMITED. What does that mean? Like Le Tote, you can rent up to 3 designer items at any time. Unlimited is slightly more expensive at $139/month (plus $29.95/year for unlimited shipping) because of the designers they use. For instance, for my first shipment, I requested a $1,690 Reed Krakoff handbag. I can keep the handbag for as long as I like and return it whenever I like.
You get a new item whenever you return an item.
Rent the Runway Unlimited is designed for fashionistas such as myself. There are designer gowns, handbags, coats, jewelry, eyewear, dresses, workwear, etc. It is ideal for me, because it saves me from running out to purchase new formal wear every single time I have an event. I can just put in a request to receive a gown (or 2 or 3) along with the handbag/accessories to match. Plus, I’m not stuck with the gown afterward. (It’s very rare I get more than one wear out of a gown.)
If you are a handbag fanatic like me, you can use the service to rent handbags all of the time. I think this option is great, because other services where you can rent handbags, the price is contingent upon the handbag you are ‘borrowing.’ For instance, at Bag Borrow or Steal, a Chanel handbag could cost you $350/month to rent. It will cost you $350/month every month until you return the bag.
While Rent the Runway Unlimited doesn’t currently carry Chanel, allowing a $1,690 handbag to be part of the rental for $139/month and you can keep the bag as long as you want, return it when you are done (plus, you get to have 2 additional items out at the same time)? That seems to be the steal.
Sizes go up to size 22 at Rent the Runway Unlimited, but keep in mind, the options grow smaller for clothing when the sizing goes up (hopefully, since this is a new service that will change soon). A huge plus is that they do carry Eloquii!
You can get $20 off your first order by clicking on this LINK.
As for me, I subscribed to both rental services. I am using Le Tote for workwear, so that I can have a few extra options to play with by mixing it in with my current wardrobe. I am using Rent the Runway Unlimited for handbags, gowns, and dresses…mainly handbags. I love handbags. Gown season will be starting soon for me, so it’s nice to know I can order 3 items at a time for $139/month. If you’re constantly returning items at RTR Unlimited, you could get up to 6-9 designer items a month out of that $139/month. That is a serious savings.
The positives to this type of service is that it creates less clutter in your home. You have a steady stream of fashion coming to your door. You’re also not paying an arm and a leg for new clothes, especially major designer clothing. For me, I could spend anywhere between $300-$1500/month on clothing and accessories. That, of course, is the old me. That kind of lifestyle was not only expensive, but it caused a major clutter issue at home.
Spending close to $200/month on rentable fashion without adding to the clutter? To me, that is a major deal and stays in line with the clutter free life at home. I can still have new fashion pieces coming in all of the time for all aspects of my life, and I don’t have to keep the items around. After all, I’m sure there are plenty of ladies out there like me that would buy something, wear it once, decide you don’t like it and it ends up getting donated. Or maybe you get 3 wears out of it and then you decide you don’t like it anymore. Well, instead of throwing it out…just return it to get something different.
The Way To Truly Take Advantage of Your Wardrobe
One thing you need to keep in mind is that these rental services should only be used to COMPLEMENT your wardrobe. Buy the basics that you need. Rent the stuff you don’t need. Use the rental for special events or because you want to try out a new look. Use it because you want to constantly have something different to wear beyond your go to basics.
The stuff you keep in your wardrobe are the items that bring you joy every single time you wear it. These are the items that fit you perfectly and make you feel good about yourself every single time you wear it (oftentimes, you wear these pieces a lot). The purpose of renting is to not add to your ‘things’ you have to take care of. It’s to prevent yourself from continuing to add clutter to your wardrobe because you like a new trend. Renting curbs your need to consume by adding more to your possessions. Instead, you can indulge in your fashion passion without having to add to your clutter.
What I really love about Rent the Runway Unlimited is that I can indulge in my designer loves, especially handbags. I could have a different bag every week without having to spend thousands of dollars on each handbag. That, to me, was the major selling point, especially when I saw which bags I could try out.
Of course, if you like the item and want to keep it, you can buy it. Because they are rentals, you can purchase the item at a discounted price. That, in itself, is worth using the service. You get to try it out for months (if you want) before truly committing to buying it.
For those who dream in fashion, I have a sale for you to make your Fantasy Wardrobe just a little bit happier.
I will admit that I never announce a major sale until AFTER I’ve shopped it. What can I say? It’s the New Yorker in me that sees a sale, hopes no one else sees it, peruses the store and then makes a mad dash to the “Checkout” when I realize other people may have stumbled upon the sale. It’s like that infamous “Will & Grace” episode where everyone is fighting over sale items at a Barney’s sale.
And yes, I am one of those people that protects my cart while shopping because people like to shop your cart in NYC. [I am not joking when I say that.]
A YOOX 90% off clearance sale is very similar to that Will & Grace episode, except if you don’t purchase it fast enough, someone else may buy it…thus meaning it’s SOLD OUT while it is still in your cart. The Outnet (sister site to Net a Porter) clearance sales are very similar.
I’ve been wanting a Missoni scarf for a few years now but every time I went to purchase one at Rue La La or Gilt, I just didn’t feel like that was the price I wanted to spend on a Missoni scarf. YOOX’s price of $37…no one is twisting my arm. That was more than just the perfect price.
The Cavalli bag for $73? I bought a similar bag a few years ago for $550. I love that bag so much. I take it with me whenever I travel because it’s light, it can take a punch, and it is like Mary Poppin’s magic carpet bag (you just can’t fill the thing up). I bought this new one just in case the other one gives out on me one of these days. At $73, that’s a major deal for me considering I know already what I’ll get out of the bag.
Before you go running off to the site to shop the sale, you need to know a few things first. You need to know HOW to shop it.
First, it is essential that you REGISTER for the site. You cannot access the sale unless you are a registered customer.
Second, after you register, a yellow tab called MYOOX will pop up at the top. Click on that tab. It will take you to the “Up to 90% off sale.”
Right now, the sale is for subscribers only. The sale goes public on April 2.
The reason why you want to subscribe and register now for the site: if you wait until April 2, you are basically getting the scraps.
To get a little bit more cash back, make sure to use Ebates to get 2% cash back when you checkout. Not a user of Ebates? Register HERE. New subscribers get a $10 gift card to a retailer of their choice.
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This is a Fantasy Wardrobe post. Fashionistas dream of having the most amazing wardrobe, but most oftentimes don’t have the bank account to fuel their shopping passions. Fantasy Wardrobe posts at PerfectionistWannabe.com are designed to help you find ways to make your dream wardrobe come true. These things don’t happen overnight. It takes time to make the dream a reality. This site will show you how.