One For All

May 22, 2011

By Katrice 

I'm always peeved when I go to the consignment shop with an item that I believe transcends "seasonal," and am told to bring it back in a couple months. I understand the theory behind this merchandising tactic {space} but if you're using this philosophy with your own closet, allow me to suggest a slightly alternative point of view.

Moving has taught me a few things about my shopping habits. One, because each season in the Midwest is so profound, I ended up with a wardrobe for each. Second, I often duplicated purchases of sweaters and tank tops, among other things. And in all of that, I wore just about 50 percent of the things that I owned because it was either a "favorite" or functionally transitional. 

When I relocated to Atlanta a few years back, I came with 15 coats, 23 pairs of boots and too many scarves to count. As each year passed, I got rid of more and more things that were not easily convertible. I also started shopping more for the mild weather that is typical for three quarters of the year in the Southeast. But, most importantly, I realized that there are a few key essentials in my wardrobe that make all the difference: cardigans of all types, tees & tank tops, smart handbags and peep-toe pumps and plenty of color. Why these items? Because they're my transitional pieces. 

Cardigans are a classic alternative to blazers. While I love blazers, the odds of owning one blazer that has just the right fabric for both winter and summer are minimal. A cardigan, on the other hand, could believably an all-weather staple. I own one from Express that I've had for several years and wear frequently all-year round. 
The key: Choose a fabric that is pliant enough for comfortable layering. 

If I have a few white tank tops, I'm set. When I talk about how necessary tank tops are to my wardrobing, sometimes people think I'm only referring to simple cotton-style racerbacks. I love those too, but the variety of fabrics and styles are so wide-ranging now that I can go from jeans and a tank or tee, to one with a skirt, jacket, accessories and pumps. 
The key: Higher-quality fabrics, ornamentation and fit.

The smartest handbags are usually not black. I used to only carry handbags that matched what I was wearing to a T. Bo-ring. And if you've been on MVL long, you'll know that I loooove handbags. But, thank goodness I've moved beyond the black and brown section. Handbags are meant to add to your ensemble. And they do NOT have to match your outfit dead-on. However, it should make sense. A smart handbag -- on a very base level -- is one that is classic and not eccentrically trendy.
The key: Find one that can transcend your own "seasonal" clothing and that you could imagine yourself carrying every day. 

Peep Toe pumps do double duty. They actually do more than double the amount of other shoes in my closet because they take me between seasons and clothing styles. I wear heels with jeans, dresses and shorts {makes my legs look longer.} 
The key: Leather in solid colors.

My closet is a rainbow. As soon as the summer hits, I can be seen in every color in the spectrum. I'm all about color in the warm weather. In the winter, for some reason, it turns into all black everything. It's a preference, though ... not a rule. I will add color with cardis, handbags and shoes. My goal, however, is to always be using my entire wardrobe.
The key: Search for pieces, that you are tempted to get in black or brown, in hues that you are extremely partial to and resist making extreme color purchases because you'll be less likely to wear them. Remember, it's more about fabrics than color as the seasons change. 

A few other things to consider:
Even if you love it, buy just one. I have a horrible habit of buying multiples when I love the fit of tank, cardi or pair of jeans. If it's a white tank, I could get away with it because I wear them so often. Everything else, not so much. Unless you intend to literally wear it every other day, one will last you. 

If you bought it, get it home and constantly second guess the purchase -- take it back. Buying what you actually need and curtailing your wants to those things that you absolutely can't walk away from {or can't stop thinking about, if you do walk away} will make your wardrobe more robust. Think quality {pieces you'll actually use} over quantity. 

The editing tree. Say you've kept an item in good shape but are ready to edit it out of your repertoire, consider consigning it first. If your consignor doesn't want it, your next stop should be Plato's closet. If you're unsuccessful there, as well, there are organizations {other than the Goodwill} like All About Developmental Disabilities that will actually come and pick up your gently used clothing items at your home or office. Depending on what you want to do, you can earn a little cash or a tax deduction. 

You Might Also Like


  1. Great piece ~ thanks!!! I have been a habit of seeing something I want, buying it and leaving it in the bag - with all tags on - for one full week. If I still (love) it and think it was a "smart" purchase, it goes in the closet :-). Works wonders for me.

  2. These are all great pieces. I am trying to revamp my closet now.

  3. AWESOME blog post! Cardigans ARE my staple. Ever since I saw Michelle Obama rock it the first time I knew my lack of finding the perfect blazer could be replaced with the perfect cardigans. I have over 15 and I am ashamed to admit but they are so versatile.

    Thanks Katrice for sharing!

    S Nicole

    PS - maybe if i incorporate the "editing" tree concept to consignment shops...maybe the good kharma will come back to me when I search for my "curvy" vintage style pieces. Nice way to look at it!
    Love much!!!

  4. I know this was last years blog, however it sure was helpful to me this year! So glad I'm a fan!!!


Like us on Facebook