My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

This is the fourth and final installment in my wardrobe “do’s” and “don’ts” series. When I set out to do an update on my original exploration of this issue from six years ago, I thought I’d just do a single post. But it turned out that I had a lot more to say on the matter than I originally anticipated. Here’s a recap of the posts I’ve done thus far:

This last post may be the most surprising – and the most fun to write. It’s where I get to talk about how I’ve gradually come around to liking some of the styles, silhouettes, colors, and patterns that used to be big “no’s” for me. If you would have asked me back in 2015 if I would ever wear many of the pieces featured in the post, I would have said something to the effect of “Hell, no!” But I’m here to tell you that some of my major “don’ts” have now become “do’s.”

The No Longer Don’ts

As with my “no longer do’s” list, there are ten features that used to be absolute no-go’s for me that I now happily wear. I single out each one below and include both images and commentary to illustrate my points.

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Welcome to the third installment of my wardrobe do’s and don’ts series, which was initiated after I decided to revisit the “yes and no lists” I created back in May 2015. I wanted to see how much my lists might have changed over the past six-plus years. Before even perusing my old lists, however, I took some time to jot down my present day “musts” and “deal-breakers,” which were shared in the first two parts of this series:

  • In the first installment, I compiled a list of all of the qualities that I look for when shopping for clothing, shoes, and accessories.
  • In the second post, I shared my extensive list of wardrobe don’ts, those characteristics that I try to avoid when it comes to my closet pieces.

Both essays also included a number of visual examples of pieces that are either currently in my closet (the “do’s”) or those that had been purged from my wardrobe over the past ten or so years (the “don’ts”). As the old saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words, but of course I also offered quite a few words in my posts, too!

wardrobe do's and don'ts

Speaking of wordiness, I originally planned for this to be a three-part series, but I’ve decided that there will now be a fourth part. As I was putting together what was supposed to be part three, I realized there was more to it than I had originally anticipated. Therefore, I decided to split it into two portions, today’s essay and another one that will go live next week. Clearly, I have a lot to say – and show – on the topic of wardrobe do’s and don’ts! I hope you’re finding this series both interesting and helpful.

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In my last post, I shared my wardrobe “do’s,” which are the characteristics that I want to be present in my clothing, shoes, and accessories. It’s helpful to be crystal clear on what we like so we can zero in on those features when we’re shopping. But it’s equally important to have clarity on the features of wardrobe items that we don’t like. Sometimes a seemingly minor detail can make or break something that we’re wearing, transforming what should be a wardrobe workhorse into a closet “benchwarmer.”

It serves us well to catalog our sartorial “deal-breakers” in addition to the characteristics of our closet pieces that have us wanting to reach for them often. Today’s post, which is part two of a three-part series, will focus on my wardrobe “don’ts.” I first created a list of my do’s and don’ts in a May 2015 essay on my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic. Some important things have changed over the past six-plus years, which I’ll highlight in the third and fourth parts of the series, to be posted in the next two weeks. But for now, let’s move on to those deal-breaker “don’ts…”

defining our wardrobe don'ts

Are you aware of the features that you DON’T like in clothes, shoes, and accessories?

I’ll use the same format for this post as my last one. My “don’ts” will be listed according to the following categories:

  • Overall characteristics
  • Colors and patterns
  • Tops
  • Toppers
  • Pants
  • Skirts and dresses
  • Shoes
  • Accessories

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Back in May 2015, I published a post on Recovering Shopaholic about my wardrobe do’s and don’ts, the attributes of clothing, accessories, and style that did and didn’t work for me at the time. I thought it would be interesting and fun to revisit these characteristics in 2021, as a lot has changed for me since 2015. I’m six years older, I’ve transitioned to my natural gray hair color, I’ve gone through menopause, and my body is no longer as slim and firm as it used to be. Additionally, a lot of my style preferences have shifted, due to my body changes and also a gradual evolution of what I like related to my clothing. I wondered how different my do’s and don’ts lists might be today as a result of these shifts.

revisiting wardrobe do's

What makes particular clothing items your favorites?

Before I re-read my 2015 post, I took the time to jot down some notes about what I currently like and don’t like in the following key wardrobe areas:

  • Overall characteristics
  • Colors and patterns
  • Tops
  • Toppers
  • Pants
  • Skirts and dresses
  • Shoes
  • Accessories

After creating these new lists, I reviewed my previous lists to see what has changed. I was actually surprised to learn that while some shifts have taken place, a lot has also remained the same. One important thing that I noticed, however, was that I’ve gotten a lot more specific about what I want and don’t want in my garments, shoes, and accessories. Therefore, my lists are now quite a bit longer.

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Analyzing why certain wardrobe items don’t work for us is one of the most helpful things we can do to improve our future shopping. We usually buy clothing with great intentions and believe that we’ll love and wear our new acquisitions for years to come, but that doesn’t always end up happening. When we opt to pass something on, it serves us well to take a few moments to jot down our reasons for letting the item go. If we commit to this practice, over time we tend to notice patterns that can help us avoid future mistakes. When we know better, we often do better – or at least we have more “ammunition” for doing so.

In today’s post, I evaluate twelve purchases from 2020 that didn’t end up working out for me. I share photos of the items, where they were purchased, why I bought them, and my reasons for letting them go. I also look at some common elements among these items in order to gain more insights about my purchases that fell flat. At the end of the post, I encapsulate the lessons I learned from the shopping mistakes I made last year.

A Look at the Items and Some General Information

Here’s a look at the twelve shopping mistakes I’m going to evaluate below:

2020 shopping mistakes

These items can be broken down into the following categories:

  • 2 jackets
  • 2 cardigans
  • 1 kimono
  • 4 tops
  • 3 pairs of pants

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