Winter fashion in New England sometimes stresses me out. When you venture out of your own home to face the cold you have to worry about coats, gloves, scarves, layers, etc. that are not only appropriate for where you are going, but you also have to make sure you’re warm enough. Winter is quickly approaching here in New England. I love winter, but I hate being cold! For myself and my fashion loving friends, it can be tempting to run to the store for a new warm winter outfit or coat. That defeats the whole purpose of my Thankfulness November, a month where I appreciate what I already have and only spend money on necessities.
There is another New England blogger that I recently discovered and I love reading her posts. Today I saw her lovely post about her winter coat collection. Yes, collection. She posted a photo of her closet with over 19 visible winter coats in the image. Now that is a lot of winter coats! I am not in any way bashing her beautiful collection. She knows what she likes and what works for her. But my inner minimalist was telling me “enough is enough.” Chances are, you don’t need a new winter wardrobe or another new coat. This blogger in particular owns a clothing store and a fashion blog, so it makes sense for her lifestyle, but the typical person has no need for that many coats, including a fashion loving person such as myself.
My guess, is that if you are an independent adult living in New England, you probably have what you need already in your closet. My goal while making these posts is to inspire people to simplify their lives, to travel, to explore, and to express themselves, not to buy more stuff. One of the ways I express myself is through what I wear, like many women my age. The coat collection blog was fun, but I’m not going to be wasting any of my money on collecting a closet full of coats just to have more photo variety. I’m guessing you have better uses for your hard earned money too. I want to inspire you to shop your own closet.
Now, my Thankfulness November is all about spending money on only necessities instead of wants. For a New England winter, these items count as a necessity, so if you don’t have them it is ok to put them on the list:
- A warm winter coat for outdoor adventures in the snow.
- A nice dressy winter coat for work if you work in a professional setting. Choose a color that is easy to mix and match with a variety of accessories for various looks.
- A few pairs of warm winter pants and leggings.
- A week’s worth of long sleeved shirts and winter sweaters.
- Thick winter socks.
- Comfortable warm shoes to wear to work.
- Snow boots.
- A winter hat.
- Winter gloves (snow proof).
- A winter scarf.
- Warm winter pajamas.
- Thermal long underwear.
- Snow pants (if you’re outside often in the winter).
Chances are, you already have these items if you live in New England or a location where winters get cold. If not, add them to your shopping list if you need them, but only if they are a necessity. As you can see above, I wear this headband and scarf a lot. They’re warm, durable, and I adore them. I don’t feel the need to buy a different outfit or accessories for every photo shoot I go on for this blog.
When looking at all the winter catalogues coming through the mail box, making trips to the stores for holiday and grocery shopping, reading blogs, and watching commercials, it can be easy to feel that you need another item to look more “chic” this winter. For women, the pressure to look holiday perfect can be pretty intense this time of year. People often ask me after reading my blog, “where do you get all of your clothes?” The honest answer is that most of the items were already in my closet. Most of my best shirts are hand-me-downs, and many of my favorite dresses are over seven years old. I’ve had them for a while because I was intentional when I purchased them. I chose timeless, well made, and well fitting items with the goal to make them last. Over the holidays I am also gifted new clothing that I will mix and match into my wardrobe. By mixing, matching, accessorizing, and layering, you can combine a simple closet to create any number of unique outfits.
Here are some tips on making the most of your winter fashion collection from your very own closet without having to buy something new:
- Pair down your closet so you only own items that you love to wear. Donate any clothing that does not fit you well or does not make you feel good about yourself. Recycle clothing that is stained or ruined beyond repair.
- Pull out your winter accessories. Chances are, you have plenty of scarves, gloves, and hats from Christmases past. Every year, I am usually gifted a new scarf or two. This gives me an opportunity to donate winter accessories that don’t fit my personal style and appreciate the ones that I like most.
- Repair items that need fixing: stitch up holes and replace missing or loose buttons.
- Get your winter coat dry cleaned. An old coat can look new again with repairs and a nice cleaning.
- Really clean your old winter boots and shoes. Replace the soles of worn out shoes that you love instead of buying new ones. Polish those dress shoes. By taking care of the shoes we already have, you’re also extending the life of your investment and your making your older shoes look new again.
- Get creative with your layering. Change the look of an outfit with a well thought out scarf, wrap, or belt.
- Winter sweaters are prone to pilling; those pesky little tags of fabric around worn out parts of your sleeves. To prevent pilling from happening, hang dry your sweaters instead of putting them in the drier. This will extend the life of your delicate clothing. You’ll be amazed how simple it is to fix a worn out sweater by taking the time to sit and snip the pilling off of the clothing carefully. I usually do this during quiet evenings at home while listening to music or watching a movie. It can be time consuming, but the sweater looks brand new when I am done.
- Creatively layer and mix and match tops, bottoms, and accessories to create “new” outfits.
- Consider creating a “capsule wardrobe,” a project created by minimalist Courtney Carver. You don’t have to get rid of all of your clothes, but by putting away items that are out of season, you can limit your wardrobe to the items that you will wear during winter only. Keep your selection condensed to only 33 items. By limiting your selection, you destroy decision fatigue and remove that “what am I going to wear” panic some people get when searching through their over-crowded closet or dressers.
- Borrow an item from a friend. If you feel like mixing things up, consider switching winter coats for a week to get a new look without having to buy one. Need a holiday dress for a party? You can borrow that too.
I regularly do this with my clothing to create fresh “new looks” for my blog posts. Many of my favorite shirts were hand-me-downs from my older cousins. Every once in a while I will purchase new clothing, but I always make sure the items are something that I love and of high enough quality to be worn over and over and over again. I don’t want people to read my blog posts and feel the need to buy a new outfit from my photographs. Instead I want to inspire readers to dress their best with what they already have. By shopping your own closet, you’re not only saving money, the environment, and practicing thankfulness for what you have; you are also curating a style that is completely your own.
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