Does your closet feel like a never ending wasteland of boring clothes? Do you have approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds before your child comes staggering in the bedroom demanding water, breakfast, and tv? Every.Single.Day do you have "nothing to wear"? When you're frustrated with your wardrobe, the solution is not to buy more clothes, but rather invest in more jewelry.
The beginning of the end of my style.
2 years ago, after the birth of my second daughter, I completely gave up on my style. List any excuse, I used it. There's no time, nothing fits, I can't afford new clothes, they are just going to get barfed on anyways. I wore the same pair of jeans day in and day out until they had holes in the thighs. Every now and then I would get a itch to do something about it and decide that it was well worth spending my savings on a new wardrobe because I deserved it. I'd buy the basics; jeans, a few nice shirts, some tanks or tees, a pair of seasonal shoes and be content with my new favorite pieces. Two to three weeks would go by and my new "favorites" had been worn in every combination possible and they were boring me to sleep. Once again I felt like I had no style and no clothes.
And so the cycle would happen again every couple of months. I'd save some money, replace my jeans, add to my t-shirt collection, feel sexy and excited for a few weeks, then come crashing down from my fashion fix. Because really, it was just a band-aid to my terrible mom style. I convinced myself that the only way I would have a nice wardrobe is if I won the lottery, but I don't play the lottery so really, having a nice wardrobe was never going to happen.
It wasn't until I started my own business with Chloe + Isabel that I started to see the real value in the jewelry I was selling. When I started, I thought it was pretty, I could (and did) sell it to people who actually wore jewelry, people who actually had nice wardrobes, fellow moms and women who had professional jobs they had to dress nice for. Slowly I started experimenting with pieces on myself, the simplest of pieces. And something happened that I didn't expect. I felt beautiful, I felt confident, I felt like a stylish person again.
I started dressing for the jewelry.
I picked out what accessories I wanted to wear and then built the clothes around that. Clothes that I'd worn a thousand times before and swore I'd never wear again (but still couldn't part with, what is wrong with me ?!) started to look new and exciting again. And suddenly I realized - it wasn't that I needed a new wardrobe, I needed a versatile wardrobe and jewelry seemed to be the key to make that happen.
See your accessories like a spice rack. I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out.
I LOVE personal stylist Bridgette Rea's chicken anology. It goes a little something like this "Like chicken, your basics need to be accented with something to make them tasty. Your style rut is equivalent to throwing chicken into a pot of boiling water and just eating it…blech! It’s edible, but it sure isn’t exciting. Like spices, the best way to pump your basics up is through your accessories. This is why I want you to view the accessories you own as your clothing spice rack."
Maybe it's because I'm currently counting calories and eating a lot of chicken that I can relate to this so very much - or maybe it's because IT'S SO TRUE. Can you imagine how many ways I could wear jeans and t-shirts if I just added a little spice!?
But Rachel, I can barely figure out WHAT to wear in the morning, you're adding more to my already full plate?! I hear you, I understand, so let's talk it out.
If you're already struggling with what to wear, I realize now adding how to accessorize can sound daunting. But the truth is it's actually a time saver. Let's take a very basic denim jeans + white tee shirt. It's a perfectly acceptable outfit by itself, but that's all it is - jeans and a t-shirt and we've already learned that we burn out real fast on these not-so-exciting outfits. Add a piece of jewelry and suddenly it breathes more life. Add a different piece of jewelry and suddenly it's new AGAIN. Add something minimal and it's perfect for running errands or a play date. Add a statement piece and now it's the perfect date night outfit. Mixing in jewelry is how this very basic look can be changed up to create new looks for different events, adding variety to your wardrobe, maximizing what you already own, thus saving you money and time in trying to figure out what to wear.
So now that we feel better about adding accessories, let's talk about how you actually decide on what to purchase. Don't overthink it, here are three simple steps for you.
My quick and dirty response to that - choose what you are drawn to. Jewelry always fits, there's no figuring out what style and color is best suited for your figure. Plus it's the job of the jewelry brand + me to figure out what's stylish. With Chloe + Isabel, we even go as far as to group jewelry by classic, vintage, essentials, and statements. Simply put, buy what you like. It will better represent your personality and your identity than something you THINK you SHOULD buy and wear.
Step 2: Review your existing wardrobe.
See if you have any color themes in your existing wardrobe. For me I'm black, white, and grey with a touch of navy and purple. All day, every day. It's what I feel most comfortable in, it's what I feel most confident in, it's just me. Don't worry, it took me 35 years to figure that out. If you are a neutral color kind of gal, then jewelry with pops of color will take your wardrobe to a whole new level without feeling out of your comfort zone. You know you've been dying to figure out how to add colors like kelly green, turquoise, and coral to your wardrobe without ACTUALLY purchasing said color clothing.
This does not mean your clothing has to be neutral and colorless. Here is another example. If your wardrobe is very seasonal, meaning spring colors, pastels, and florals are all you wear during warmer seasons, then a great way to accessorize is with metals and precious stones, as well as highlighting the colors in your clothing.
Step 3: Buy a variety.
Let's go back to Rea's spice analogy. You wouldn't walk into the grocery store and buy 6 bottles of basil, that just doesn't make sense. So don't buy pieces that look the same. For example if you come across a pair of dangling tassel earrings that are so sparkly you just have to have them, stop yourself when you go to buy the next pair of trending tassel earrings. Move on to a new area, like necklaces or bracelets. Maintaining that variety will create the versatility we are trying to achieve.
Build your jewelry box over time.
If I only had oregano to spice up my chicken, once again I'd be in the same bland chicken rut. The more spices I have in my spice rack, the more I can do with my bland chicken. The same is true for accessories. One silver chain necklaces is going to start feeling like the same grey t-shirt you wear every day. You have to add variety and we don't need to win the lottery to do so. Just as you slowly add pieces of clothing to your closet, you can slowly add pieces of jewelry to your dresser. The new clothing will make your existing jewelry feel fresh and new jewelry will make your older clothing feel alive again. See how that works?!
I've even created this FREE workbook to help you start building your jewerly box. Download it below!
Let's get started on the brand new you.
But first, do have any further questions or concerns I didn't answer? Contact me! I'd love to hear your pain points and help you work through them to get you one step closer to a more confident, stylish you. If you are ready to dive in, head over to this blog to view the starter sets I put together to launch your new versatile wardrobe.