wardrobe malfunctions

When I left the chemistry lab for a government office, my work attire made an equally dramatic shift. There was no lab coat to hide behind, but I was ecstatic knowing that skirts and open toed shoes were no longer off limits, and my clothing could be a little more feminine. Although the dress code proclaimed business casual, we were reminded that jeans did not meet the requirements. Thus, I accumulated quite a bit of workwear, all in the typical D.C. color palette. A few years later, I started teleworking, and my wardrobe again made a shift. A line dresses made way for jeans, which then made way for maternity yoga pants after I became pregnant. With a few small changes to accommodate nursing, my wardrobe returned to normal a few months postpartum.

The return to my “normal” wardrobe coincided with our move to Florida, and I soon learned that my fashion sense doesn’t seem to match that of the Gulf Coast. Adding another wrinkle to my postpartum style identity crisis: I found myself socializing with women who are much more fashion forward than I am. What I thought was a timeless sense of style suddenly felt frumpy. I acquired several on-trend, unflattering pieces of clothing. I tried one of those clothing subscription boxes that purport to cater to your personal style – and the results were unappealing, both in terms of the clothing and the price point.

It was around this time that I started reading about slow fashion. Capsule wardrobes were a trend, thanks to the Kondoing movement. So there was plenty of guidance available to those of us who were looking to pare down our closets. This more recent article, closet purge time, collates many great tips. Caroline’s blog at un-fancy has been very helpful. I especially enjoyed her posts about paring down on marketing emails, especially unroll.me. I haven’t quite reached inbox zero status, but unroll.me has been so helpful in curbing my impulse buys.

Paring down my closet resulted in several bags of donations, but I’ve also resold a lot of my impulse “this is a great deal, it’s not in my size but I can get it altered!” purchases. And in turn, I’ve realized I’m happier buying gently loved pieces that will last longer. I had a few favorite consignment stores in Boston and Cambridge, but I haven’t had as much luck building a connection with any consignment stores since then. So I’ve turned to online consignment, with mixed results. I’m pretty meh about thredUP (although if you use this link, you’ll receive a $10 credit). They’ve recently changed their purchasing policy, so I’m not sure that I will be sending another bag of clothing to them, although I will continue to peruse the site. One app that has helped me quite a bit: Poshmark. I’ve had a decent amount of luck selling clothing there, and I’ve been able to find a lot of gently used clothing at great prices. They’ve recently expanded into kids and mens clothing, too. With my referral code PAYAL, you’ll get a $5 credit.

I can’t quite say that I’ve eliminated that frumpy feeling, but I feel a little more comfortable in my own skin. Now to tackle my makeup routine…

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