My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

In my last post, I shared the first ten items on my wardrobe and style “bucket list” for 2023. I got the idea for this concept from a recent episode of “The Everyday Style School” podcast, which is hosted by stylist Jennifer Mackey-Mary. Rather than setting concrete goals or resolutions regarding her wardrobe this year, Jennifer has instead opted to take on a set of tasks to help move her style forward without becoming a “year-long grind.” You can learn about Jennifer’s “bucket list” on her episode 154.

wardrobe and style bucket list items

Although my bucket list tasks are much different from Jennifer’s, I was inspired by many of the activities that she selected. I’ve already made some progress with one of my bucket list items since I last posted here:  #3 – Wear Scarves More Often. Here’s what I did:

I moved my scarves from my bottom dresser drawer to one of the top ones, adjacent to the drawers in which the bulk of my jewelry collection is housed. Additionally, I selected six scarves to wear soon and placed those on a visible shelf inside my closet. Without doing a major overhaul of my closet, I don’t have room for all my scarves in there now, but it was helpful for me to isolate a few scarves to start wearing. And I’m happy to report that I’ve already worn two of them since doing my reorganization earlier this week. Onward and upward!

Bucket List Items 11 Through 20

I’ll have more updates on my wardrobe and style bucket list soon, but now it’s time for me to share the remaining ten items on my list. As with part one, these items are in no particular order, and I give a brief overview of each one below.

11 – Buy Some Full-Length Pants that Aren’t Jeans or Black Pants

Over the past few years, I’ve been able to find a handful of colorful and/or patterned pants to purchase. However, they’re all either cropped or for my at-home wardrobe (i.e., brightly-colored joggers). At present, all the full-length pants that I own are either jeans or black pants. While I’m happy to wear these two options most of the time, I’d love to have at least one or two pairs of full-length pants in alternate colors. This is challenging, however, because only about a tenth of the pant styles for sale are offered in tall/long sizes. Additionally, the bulk of pants available in general lately have been cropped, which makes my quest all the more difficult.

It took me a while to embrace ankle-length pants and I now enjoy wearing them with sandals in the warmer months. However, I haven’t embraced the more recent trend of pairing such pants with boots for the cooler months. To my eye, that still looks “off” and like the person is wearing “floods.” Perhaps this attitude is a remnant of my many years of not being able to find pants with sufficient length, but the bottom line is that I want my cool weather pants to be full-length, full stop. This means that I need to find 34-inch inseams at a minimum – and preferably 35-inch inseams, which is a tall order (pun intended). But with some targeted searching, hopefully I’ll be able to find at least one or two pairs of pants that fit the bill.

12 – Create Outfits Using My New Items that I Haven’t Yet Worn

This item was inspired by a comment on my part one bucket list post (it replaced my original item about finding a new sunscreen, which I still plan to do but won’t necessarily write about on the blog). Sometimes my reason for not wearing new garments that I’ve purchased is that I’m not sure how to wear them. More often than not, when I’m getting dressed in out-and-about clothes, I’m in a hurry. As such, I tend to reach for tried-and-true pieces that I’ve worn often and know how to mix and match into attractive outfits. This leaves a cross-section of perfectly nice items hanging in my closet gathering dust, waiting for “next time,” which is invariably another occasion on which I’m short on time.

So, what I’m going to do is make a list of these “as yet to be worn items” and take some time to create at least one or two ensembles with each of them. If possible, I’ll play “dress-up” in my closet with the items in question so that I know the outfits I create will look good when I pull them on to go out the door.

Ideally, we should already have a few outfit possibilities in mind before we purchase something new. But failing that, we should make sure our new pieces work well with our existing items while we can still make returns if desired. “Orphan” pieces either become “projects” that require additional purchases or they go unworn, neither of which is good!

13 – Buy at Least One New (or Resale) Handbag

It has been literally years since I’ve added any new purses to my wardrobe. The main reason for this is that I have somewhat expensive tastes in this area, and I tend to focus too much of my wardrobe budget – and efforts – on clothing. I hadn’t bought new shoes in a while, either, but I made a concerted effort to do so last year. Now my shoe wardrobe is in pretty good shape, other than the athleisure options that I mentioned as one of my bucket list items in my last post (cute black sneakers and casual sandals or slides), so it’s time to focus more on handbags.

I have mostly been carrying the same two purses (both from Brighton) for the past few years, and I’m definitely ready to acquire a new one. The new purse (or maybe two) that I acquire this year doesn’t need to be brand new, as I’m open to purchasing a resale option that’s in good shape, too. My favorite colors for purses are black and metallic, and my most-carried bag incorporates both of those shades. I like larger-sized bags, but I think it would also be nice to have a smaller, lighter-weight purse on hand for occasions when I will be walking around for hours at a time. Large and heavy bags can be painful on the shoulders, even though I love the way they look. We’ll see what I can find once I turn more of my attention to this long overdue task.

14 – Find Two New Ways to Wear My Hair, Especially for Summer

This task is more style-related than having to do with my wardrobe, but our hair is an accessory that we wear each and every day. I typically wear my hair down and tucked behind my ears when I’m in out-and-about clothing, although I sometimes will wear a ponytail as well (I almost always wear a ponytail at home). When the weather gets hot and humid, my hair doesn’t cooperate very well (it’s naturally wavy and frizzy, but I flat-iron it).

My hair is long enough to pull into a side braid, so that’s an option, too, but I’d like to find some additional ways to wear my hair that work well with my hair texture, face shape, and personal style aesthetic. I see lots of interesting hairstyle options on Instagram, but some of those fun updos don’t look all that great on me from the front. I don’t have any face-framing layers (my hair works best when it’s all one length), so pulling it all back can look harsh on my aging face. I’m sure if I browse YouTube videos, hairstyle blogs, etc., I’ll be able to find some new styles that I like and will work well on me, so I plan to take the time to do so this year.

15 – Buy at Least One Pair of “Fun Pants”

This bucket list item was inspired by one of the tasks mentioned on Jennifer Mackey-Mary’s podcast. However, while she wants to find “beyond basic but not statement pants,” I’d be thrilled to find at least one pair of pants that fits the “statement” moniker. I’ll probably be more likely to find this type of pant in a cropped, summer-weight version than full-length, but I’d be perfectly happy to wear such an option.

I used to wear a great pair of black-and-white-printed pants on repeat in the summer, but those pants are now too big for me and were pretty much on their last legs (oh, another pun – not intended!) anyway. If I could find a similar pair in the same color scheme, that would probably be the most versatile option for me. Black-and-white-print pants pair well with black and most of the other solid colors that I like to wear (predominantly jewel tones, but some mid-toned pastels as well), so they’re a great item for me to have in my closet. Here’s hoping I can find a pair that works for me!

16 – Read Through My Old Style/Outfit Logs and Summarize the Lessons Learned

I have kept outfit logs for years, ever since I first wrote about this concept on Recovering Shopaholic back in 2014 (you can check out all of my outfit journal posts HERE). I don’t consistently log my outfits, but I periodically re-start this practice whenever I feel like I’m in a style rut or want to consciously improve my ensembles. I’ve learned a lot about the way I like to dress and what does and doesn’t work for me through writing about what I wore and how I felt about it.

I’d like to go back and review all my old outfit journals and summarize the various lessons that I’ve learned over the years. Some of those lessons may have since been forgotten, and others may no longer be applicable to my current style, but I suspect that I’ll have some “aha moments” that could benefit me moving forward. I’m sure that at least one blog post will arise through this exercise, and it might even become a new series that’s reminiscent of the old one I did on Recovering Shopaholic years ago.

17 – Complete “The Closet Clarity Workbook”

Another stylist (besides Jennifer Mackey-Mary) who I’ve been following for several years is Christie Ressel, who I discovered via her popular YouTube channel. She doesn’t post much on YouTube anymore, but there are a lot of helpful videos there about personal style, closet management, capsule wardrobes, and other topics that you might be interested to check out.

Over a year ago, I purchased a workbook called “Closet Clarity” through Christie’s website.  I’ve thumbed through the workbook and it looks helpful, but I haven’t taken the time to complete it! Since “clarity” is my word for 2023, I think it’s high time that I work through this serendipitously-named workbook to see what realizations and epiphanies I might gain through the process.

18 – Pare My Holding Zone Back Down to One Box

For the past few years, I’ve made a point of confining my wardrobe “holding zone” to just one large plastic bin. That bin was where I kept pieces that either didn’t currently fit me or that I was unsure still worked for my lifestyle and personal style aesthetic. After losing quite a bit of weight last year, I expanded my holding zone to two bins: one for my out-and-about items and other for my at-home pieces. This was the right thing to do at the time, but I’d like to get back to my original one bin solution sometime this year.

Although I’ll likely hold on to at least some of my too-large favorite pieces for the foreseeable future, there are probably lots of other items in the bins that I’ll opt to pass on upon review. If my weight remains relatively stable at the lower level, I may decide to have some additional pieces altered to fit me at my current size, but I’ll only do that for things that I truly love and would look forward to wearing. Alterations have gotten increasingly expensive, along with pretty much everything else, so I want to be prudent about what I decide to tailor.

I think that between doing some alterations to bring certain pieces back into my closet and letting go of less-loved items, I’ll be able to consolidate the remainder of my holding zone back into a single bin this year. I like the idea of not holding on to too much even though I have the space because I’d rather see things get worn by others while they’re still relatively current and desirable. If I don’t see myself ever wanting to wear something again, it’s time to move it on. If I’d want to wear certain items if they fit me – and they’re not easy to tailor down, I’ll be all means keep them in my holding zone bin. I’ll continue to review my holding zone at least twice a year and make determinations on “keep or return” at those times.

19 – Solve the “Droopy Pants” Problem

As I mentioned in my last post when I was talking about my underwear issues, gravity has not been kind to my back side. This has led to issues with my pants as well as my undergarments. A lot of my pants and jeans “droop” in derriere area, which is extremely frustrating! This leads me to want to wear longer tops and toppers in order to cover up my less-than-stellar-fitting pants. Since I don’t want to feel like I must hide that area of my body all the time, I want to try to solve the droopy pants problem, at least to some degree.

The first step I took in this regard was to try on all my out-and-about pants and look at the back view using a hand mirror. I made a note of which pants looked okay in the back and which didn’t. Since I don’t have all that many out-and-about pants, this wasn’t a time-consuming endeavor. My next step was to evaluate whether or not I felt an alteration might either improve or complete mitigate the problem. The result was mixed, and I need to consult with my tailor about whether alterations can successfully be done for some of my pants. If she agrees with me, I’ll move forward with altering a pair or two at a time.

I think I may need to size down in pants more often than I usually do. I want to be comfortable, but many pants stretch out with wear, especially jeans. So, if I purchase them a bit snugger-fitting, they might fit better overall and still be comfortable after wearing them for a short period of time. That’s something to keep in mind with future purchases, but I’m not about to replace all my pants now. I’ll likely tailor a few pairs (taking them in at the back and/or side seams) so I can wear them with shorter tops and either shorter toppers or no toppers in warmer weather.

I thought it was just my rear-end that I was self-conscious about, but it turns out that the fit of my pants is an even bigger problem. Now that I know this, I can take steps to reduce my self-consciousness and also improve the way I dress. I’ll let you know how this all works out for me, as pants that fit well in the back have become a “missing tile” for me. I feel like pretty much every other woman out there has pants that fit her well in that area, so what’s wrong with me? But it’s time to focus on solutions (and failing that, acceptance) rather than the “compare and despair” proposition!

20 – Create a Few “Beauty Bundles”

My final bucket list item has to do with my accessory wardrobe. The concept of “beauty bundles” was originated by Brenda Kinsel, an image consultant and style blogger who wrote multiple books and trained other stylists (and who tragically passed away suddenly in 2020 – RIP).

Brenda defined a beauty bundle as:

  • Three or more accessory items that go together
  • Can be used in two or more outfits
  • Are the thread the ties an outfit together
  • A shortcut to getting dressed

Beauty bundles can include all types of accessories, including shoes, bags, belts, scarves, and jewelry. In this 2015 post, Brenda outlines why beauty bundles are important and how to put them together. You can see examples of beauty bundles in a series of articles on Brenda’s website, as well in this post from Imogen Lamport that shows groups of accessories in blue, red, turquoise/teal, and multicolored pieces that go together.

I read about the concept of beauty bundles years ago, but I forgot about it until recently, when I was reminded via some threads on the You Look Fab forum. When I was compiling my 2023 wardrobe and style bucket list, I decided to add a task for pulling together some beauty bundles of my own. It’s easy to pull on black shoes and carry a black bag, but it gets a bit trickier when we want to get a bit more colorful with our accessories. I also struggle sometimes when considering which jewelry pieces to pair with which shoes and purses (both in terms of color and balance). This is partially because I grew up in the age of “matchy-matchy,” which is no longer a style requirement.

I could see having beauty bundles in black, metallic, burgundy, red, and blue. I already own many of the pieces, but I need to take some time to figure out which items coordinate best together. I also might need to purchase a few more accessories to round out some of the groupings, but I’ll try to keep that to a minimum. This will likely become a blog post or two, once I wrap my arms around the concept a bit better. I plan to delve into Brenda’s old posts on beauty bundles, as well as see if I can find some more articles on the topic from Imogen Lamport and other stylists.

Conclusion – and Your Thoughts?

So, now you’ve read my twenty wardrobe and style bucket list items for the year between this post and my last one. I know that it might be challenging for me to complete all of them, but since it’s also been difficult for me to blog regularly in recent years, perhaps I can combine both efforts as a “win-win” proposition!

Each task can be at least one blog post, and some of the items on my list could lend themselves to a series of articles. In any event, I’ll update you on my progress with my bucket list as the year progresses, and I invite you to also share with me and your fellow readers how you’re doing with your wardrobe, style, and shopping goals, resolutions, and action items for 2023. I look forward to us supporting each other through our commentary.

I now invite you to comment on anything you’ve read in today’s post – or part one from last week. I also welcome additional shares on what you’re working on in terms of your wardrobe and style, as well as your wins and challenges in these areas. If you have resources to share, you’re welcome to do so, too. Thank you for your support and for sticking with me through my sometimes-sporadic posting schedule. It means a lot to me that people are still interested in reading what I have to say after all these years!

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8 thoughts on “My Wardrobe and Style “Bucket List” – Part Two

  1. RoseAG says:

    I think you should be mindful about alterations. it seems to me that in your analysis of things you’ve taken out of your wardrobe you often have had the item altered. Better to figure out what cut of pants flatters your rear and buy them than to spend money on alterations and risk still not being happy.

    If you have nice pants, and it sounds like pants that are the right length are important for you to salvage, have you ever considered padded panties? I ordered a pair of panties, that have a pads on the backside. I’ve never actually worn them, filling out the backside of my pants doesn’t seem to be an issue for me -so why did I buy them???- but they did add some curves. If we can wear shoulder pads and lined bras, why not padded panties?

    Regarding hair. I am an avid Instagram watcher of hair videos. Now that I’m not coloring my hair I can do pulled back styles because I have no root grow-out to hide. I love to pull my hair back, think the Kate Middleton half-up do, and have strands that are braided. My gray hair is streaky and the intertwined braid shows off that off. I bought a small baggie of clear bands, they work well for holding small strands of hair. It’s been surprising to me how limited my hair styles were in those last years of coloring my hair. It grew out so fast it was a constant thing to be hiding the grow-out.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your comment, Rose, and I apologize for my delayed response. Your comment about alterations is a good one. You’re right that I’ve done some ill-advised alterations in the past in the hopes of “saving” items. That has often been with mistake purchases or sale buys that I was trying to “remake,” but there have been other alterations “misses,” too. I ended up taking in ONE pair of jeans to be altered in the rear, so I’ll see how that turns out (fingers crossed). I have never thought of padded panties, but that’s definitely something to look into… I honestly didn’t even know that they existed!

      I used to pull my hair back a lot, but I got away from it due to roots, both when I was coloring my hair and when I was growing it out. I had the same problem as you did with my roots showing shortly after I dyed my hair, which is part of why I decided to stop. I need to explore and experiment with other hairstyles because I really only ever do down, side braid or ponytail, or baseball cap with ponytail or braid (this is for when I’m going on walks or working out). I’m sure there are some other good options that I can do!

  2. Great post, Debbie – I like how you have such a varied set of items on your bucket list, which I think will make it easier to find one to work on that fits where you are at any given time.

    I think the droopy pants one is going to be a tough given how difficult it is already to find full-length pants for your long legs! So I can see why you’re thinking alterations there, though as RoseAG points out, that is a bit of a tricky area for you where you have often not been satisfied with the results. This said, my husband who has no rear whatsoever has always been able to get his professional/office pants altered so that they fit well in the seat, so I am hopeful that this is an alteration that will work. But I would definitely start with one pair to see how it goes. And I should point out that my husband has always gotten alterations from the store where he bought them – I think stores selling men’s professional wear just expect that every piece will need to be altered to fit well, which is not something that exists as much for women (which is crazy, since it’s not like women are easier to fit!). You might consider whether your tailor may just not be a good fit for the kinds of alterations you need…which is a nice way of saying maybe you need to find a new one. Some tailors are up for easy alterations like shortening hems on pants but not for work that involves reshaping.

    I love the beauty bundle idea as an outfit creation short-cut, and I agree that it might work very well for you! I have had fun putting mine together.

    On the summer hair topic…it was a game-changer for me when I added a two side braids look to my hair style repertoire of (1) worn down with a headband and (2) low ponytail. Having just one more option has made a difference.

    Congrats on already making progress on wearing your scarves!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I always appreciate your comments, Sally. Thanks for sharing about your husband’s pants issues and tailoring. As I mentioned to Rose above, I took one pair of jeans in to be altered in the seat area. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve mostly been happy with the work my tailor does, but she used to have some other people working for her that made some mistakes. Now it’s just her and I’m usually happy with the results. She also tells me if she doesn’t think a particular alteration is a good idea, and I’m much better at listening to her now (not as much in the past). It’s weird how stores do alterations more for men’s clothing, although I’ve had multiple items altered at Nordstrom (but they charge more for sure).

      I’d love to read your posts on beauty bundles, if you have them. I’m wondering if you always include shoes in the mix. It’s trickier for me because I mostly only wear black and metallic shoes, although I have burgundy boots and red sandals, too. I’m open to other shoe colors, too, and would probably be more likely to wear them regularly if they were part of a beauty bundle.

      You’re right that just ONE more hairstyle option could make a big difference, so that will be my first goal before summer. If I find others, that will be “gravy.”

      1. Ah, now that you’re just working directly with your tailor who you’ve had good luck with in the past, hopefully your alteration success rate will increase!

        Here are links to two beauty bundle posts I did over the summer, if you’d like to see how I approached it and what I came up with for several colors. I did include shoes because colorful shoes are a key part of my personal style, but you could easily do them without shoes for colors where you’d wear black or metallic shoes instead.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Thanks so much for sharing your links, Sally. You have SO much vibrant color in your wardrobe, and I love how you showed so many examples of how to wear your beauty bundles in outfits. I especially love your red and burgundy bundles, but they’re all lovely. I would be open to more colored shoes, but I never got on board the trend of just wearing ONE pop of color in an outfit in the form of bright shoes. If I repeat the color somewhere else in my outfit, like with a top, scarf, or jewelry (or more than one of those things), I would feel much more comfortable wearing the bright shoes. I don’t think I will ever dress as colorfully as you do (which you do very well), but a bit more color would be nice to have. I’ll start my beauty bundles more WITHOUT bright shoes for the most part because I don’t own many (just burgundy boots and red sandals), but I may incorporate them in the future like you have.

  3. Maggie says:

    Hi Debbie, I have been hard set against anything but full length pants for years because of the “floods” fear. (I am petite and getting pants the right length has been an obsession for years.) That being said, I have started to cuff my pants right above my new Chelsea boots and now I look like everyone under 30 walking around the mall. What began as a style trend is now here to stay – at least for a while.

    As to the purses, I have a nylon crossbody/organizer that I use at the moment (bought from the thrift store 2 years ago) but I would like to have one fancier option. That being said, I am starting to see fanny packs/belt bags worn diagonally across the chest and I am starting to consider the possibility. I am leaning towards the neoprene Dagne Dover Ace fanny pack in dove gray because I could be hands free all the time. (There is also an Addidas one on Amazon if I want a logo.)

    As for printed pants, I know Isaac Mizrahi on QVC does a lot of printed pants in Tall.

    And for the flat backside, I am right there with you. My approach has been to wear pants that have a sort of compression (like workout pants do) from Athleta so the bagginess is gone, wear stiff jeans that skim my backside, or rayon wide leg pants and roll the waistband down once to take the extra fabric away in the rise.

    It might be worth having your tailor make you a set of printed pants that fit you well. Marcy Tilton fabric website always has some lovely prints.


    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I think that pants length can be an obsession for both petite and tall women because we’re the ones who struggle so much with it. I haven’t embraced cuffing pants with boots, although I have done it with sandals. I have liked the look on others, though, so maybe I should try it.

      You always offer so many great suggestions, and I appreciate it! I’ve read good things about Dagne Dover bags (Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen has written about them multiple times, for example). I’m excited to check out the Isaac Mizrahi printed pants in talls – very exciting! Thanks for the tips for the flat backside. I have quite a few pants from Athleta, but if they’re the “city pants” styles, I still struggle with the droop. I think I need to size down more in my pants because they almost always stretch out (and that stretching out is often what creates the bulk of the droop). I have thought about having pants made for me, but my tailor doesn’t offer that service. At one time, I tried to find someone local who does that, but came up empty. Things might have changed in that regard, though, so maybe I will try again if I can’t find some good pants by summertime.

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