Thursday, August 4, 2011

PHT: Hannah's New Wardrobe, pt. 2 - Shopping Guide

First of all, THANK YOU all for your lovely encouragement about Hannah.  It was a fun day that I'm quite proud of and thankful for.  Your comments made it even more fun!

Today's post is about how we shopped to fill Hannah's empty closet.  It was kind of nice to be able to start from scratch.  Since I myself am reassessing my closet after having discovered style blogs, I was shopping for Hannah how I would shop for myself if I were to start over, with things I learned from WNTW and things I learned from style blogs.  Currently, however, my own closet is full of bad habits and old shopping paradigms that I'm having to undo, discover holes that I've created, and fill those holes.  It can be maddening sometimes!

There are a bajillion lists out there about "Wardrobe Essentials Every Woman Should Have" but I'm beginning to strongly not believe in those since every woman lives a different lifestyle.  Like, a white button-down shirt is almost always on those lists, and I have personally still not encountered a single experience for which I needed one of those.

Hannah's Lifestyle
Hannah needed a wardrobe that took her from work in a semi-casual environment as an administrative assistant to campus as a college student to weekends filled with birthday parties.

Method to the Madness
Hannah saved money for this, but it's not like we had endless amounts of it.  We were still on a fairly tight budget, especially for an ENTIRE wardrobe!  I didn't want to go in just buying whatever caught our eyes.  I wanted to get her a mix-and-match wardrobe with pieces that could each take her into at least 2 out of 3 of the categories of her lifestyle.

Choosing Colors and Basics
I made a list of pieces that would serve as foundational basics for Hannah, and I wanted to find those in neutral colors.  Then, we'd have a secondary color palette, and I had other items on our list that I wanted to find in the secondary palette.  With the mix of neutrals and a distinct color palette to work with, it was easier to know that things would "go" together and therefore create more possibilities for mixing and matching.

Bottoms Up!
We first shopped for bottoms.  I don't know what stroke of genius made me realize we needed to start there, but it was a decision I would definitely stick to again.  The 30 for 30 taught me how important it is to have different colored bottoms to have a highly remixable wardrobe.  There are infinite possibilities for tops, but bottoms seem to be harder to find for some reason.  I wanted to see what kinds of colors we could find for bottoms, create our secondary color palette from that, and then find tops to match.  Seriously, best decision ever.  (And that's what's upside-down in my closet right now.  I have no colored skirts, and my dilemma is that if I buy skirts I don't have shirts to go with them.  Bad news.  I'll save more whining for another day.)

The List
I tried HARD to NOT take her to Target, but after a shopping lull and almost as a last resort we went, and we found nearly half her stuff there.  And she liked a lot of things she's seen me wear, so you might recognize a few of these items.  :)

Click on pics for links to item...

  • skinny jeans (The ONLY thing Hannah had.)
  • grey trousers or khakis (we couldn't find any for her)
  • straight-legged dark wash jeans 

  • neutral skirt* 
  • secondary colored skirt* 
  • 1-2 more colored or patterned skirts (couldn't find)

DRESSES: had to work for both casual everyday wear & quinceaneras on weekends
  • versatile dress in neutral (LBD-ish)*
  • printed dress #1
  • printed dress #2*
  • solid dress*

  • blazer in neutral*
  • cardi in neutral (not shown online)
  • cardi in secondary color (bought in black and olive, neither are shown online)
  • jean jacket


Old Navy:


New York & Company and Express (both on sale):

SHOES (all Target):

  • wide medium-brown w/ embellishment
  • wide dark brown braided
  • medium-width black

NECKLACES (all from Charming Charlie):
  • red necklace
  • teal/gold statement necklace
  • long metallic chain

*purchased on sale in-store

That's all, folks.
I like how all the pretty colors go together.  Not the case in my own closet.  Sigh.

We only found her 3 bottoms and bought 27 garments, yet we could still make 35+ distinct outfits from her clothes.  Awesomeeeeee!  I have organization and efficiency envy.  How's THAT for a 30 for 30?

Anyhoo, on with our regularly scheduled program.  If you actually made it this far, thanks for reading!


  1. Really Nice. I've been looking for colored pencil skirts. I only own black and Brown and grey and recently navy blue. I never thought colored pencil skirts were an option. They are hard to find though. I will check out the one you selected from Ny and Co. Thanks for following me by the way. 

    Kemi at www.beautystyleandgrowth.blogspot.com 

  2. I have a suggestion: sewing up a basic skirt in a fabric of her choice is quite easy for her patterned skirt option. There are a lot of tutorials out there that help you make it. You can start with this. http://lovetosew.com/makeminiskirt.htm

    BTW, I love the shirts from Old Navy. I'm kind of wary buying from that store because in the past, their clothes tend to be low quality for me. I may have to rethink that.

  3. I love this and previous post. Your friend looks great! Great job!  I love your comment about white shirts - indeed not every woman need one and it is definitely not flattering for all body types. Happy Weekend!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this segment, both part 1 and part 2.  I like how thoughtful you were about choosing pieces that would be versatile and fun as well!   It must feel nice for Hannah to start from scratch and learn what to add in her wardrobe so it isn't too overwhelming!  Great job!!  Sounds like you want to do this for yourself also!  ^_~ 

  5. Love this post... I too and re-building my wardrobe. I used to buy without intent and have a whole lot of nothing wasting space in my closet... I am trying harder to think outside the box and shop with a purpose now. Its hard but so worth it :)

    xo Teresa

  6. I love this.  It is very helpful as I am trying to "gow-up" with my clothing now that I have a professional job.  I have been looking for a way to do it without just buying a million suits.  I would love a post with all of the outfit combos!

  7. Love this!  I plan to start from scratch in the next couple of months.  Doing research and your blog has provided a wealth of information!

  8. Audrey, would you ever consider coming to Maine to do my wardrobe? :-) I am a new teacher, and I want to look professional, but not frumpy! Have gotten so many great ideas from your blog-previously, I didn't even own a skirt, but after reading your blog, I went and bought a print skirt today. I love it, and I'm going to wear it on the first day of school! Thank you!

  9. So helpful!!

  10. So..I am still figuring this out. Tell me more about these secondary colors and how you chose them. I need the colors in my closet to go together too.

  11. Amen! --> "Like, a white button-down shirt is almost always on those lists, and I have personally still not encountered a single experience for which I needed one of those. "

  12. Thank u thank u! I am so excited to go back into my closet!

  13. Okay--here's a tip that I hope will help. Those two Target dresses? (The LBD and the pink patterned one--both with pockets?) DO NOT THROW THOSE IN THE DRYER. No matter what you do!

    I bought THREE of those dresses, one black, one blue patterned and one teal--and I wore the black one frequently for job interviews but never washed it since I just took it off the hanger, wore it for 20 minutes, then returned it to the hanger---

    The teal and blue dress were ruined. They didn't appear to shrink visibly, but when I put them on they shrunk in TWO places ONLY--the stomach and butt area. I was horrified at first thinking I had somehow put on 30 pounds overnight--but then I realized it was only those two dresses, and the black one is fine.

    I hope this saves some people from misery. I'm still sad about this. (And I still have yet to wash the black dress because I'm so scared!)

  14. I'd love to see some photos from Hannah on how the outfits come together. Follow up post?

  15. Hey Liz, that's what Part 1 is all about. (This one is titled Part 2). You can find it all there.

  16. You are a genius!! Thank you very much for all

  17. Love it! I would really love to get some help from you. I am in desperate need of some styling advice. I don't know how to dress for any occasion I'm always dressed looking dull, I've read through all of your posts and think you are amazing. I've even tried buying what I see on a magazine or manikin and it has not worked in my advantage. Please help.

  18. Hey Tania! If you're serious about receiving more tailored styling advice, I can be hired for personal help for $50/hr. I can help you put together outfits from your own closet, help you fill in your closet gaps, help you start your own wardrobe from scratch, or we can chat on the phone or via video chat with whatever questions you have. Email me to connect: audrey [at] puttingmetogether [dot] com.

  19. awesome! do me next!


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