You Don’t Need a Large Wardrobe to be Stylish

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a large wardrobe.   I’ve always adhered to the “more is better” philosophy when it comes to my clothes.  Much of my over-shopping in my adult life can be attributed to my wanting to dress well, as I thought a full closet was part and parcel of being stylish.

Whenever I felt less than chic, I assumed a shopping trip was in order to add new fabulous and trendy pieces to my wardrobe.   This regular practice has led me to where I am today, with a packed closet of over 300 pieces, most of which have been purchased during the last three years.  While I have been diligent at doing regular closet audits, my continuous shopping has generally replaced all of my discarded items – and then some!

Full closet not always stylish

A large wardrobe does not automatically make you stylish!

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Favorite Outfits – January 2013

Today’s post introduces a new monthly feature for “Recovering Shopaholic.”  Each month, I will post photos of my favorite outfits from the previous month.

Why post my outfit photos?  This is not really a fashion blog, but I will periodically include photos of my outfits to illustrate style concepts or demonstrate the power of remixing wardrobe items.  The outfit photos I post will usually be more educational than artistic or aspirational, but my monthly favorite outfit posts will serve a different purpose.

Revisiting My Goals

When I started my “Recovering Shopaholic” project and blog, I created a series of goals for myself for 2013 and beyond.  Two of these goals are as follows:

  • Create a more manageable and minimalist wardrobe filled only with items I love and wear.
  • Define and express a personal sense of style that resonates well with who I am and where I am in life.

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Thoughts on the Target Designer Collections

Shopping the Target Designer CollectionsOn Tuesday, I needed to return something to Target.  While I was there, I decided to check out their latest designer collaboration.  These designer collections, the most recent of which is Prabal Gurung, receive a lot of hype and often sell out within days of their release.  In fact, I half expected to see nothing left of this latest collection, as it was released on Sunday.

I knew I couldn’t buy anything, as I had already made my February clothing and accessory purchases, but I was curious as to the look and quality of the new collection.  I had seen quite a bit of buzz about these items on Facebook, with various stylists and style aficionados touting their “scores” from the coveted line.  I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about.

“Ho-Hum” and Not Worth the Fuss

When I reached the Prabal Gurung display, I was surprised that a wide assortment of garments and accessories was still available, although the size selection was a bit sparse.  I perused the offerings and my overall impression was “ho-hum” at best.   I’ve seen Prabal Gurung’s garments on celebrities and the Target offerings couldn’t hold a candle to the real thing in terms of fabric quality, design, and construction.  In my humble opinion, the Target pieces looked cheap and flimsy and not even worth their relatively low prices.

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What is a “Normal-Sized” Wardrobe?

NOTE:  The topic of this post has been revisited in an updated December 2016 post.  To read my updated and expanded thoughts on the topic of a “normal-sized” wardrobe, please CLICK HERE.


Last week, I received my March issue of Oprah Magazine, with the theme of “De-Clutter Your Life… And Discover the Incredible Lightness of Less.”  One article which caught my eye was “The Closet De-clutterfest for Couples.”  This article profiled a couple who helped each other purge their closets of old and unwanted items.

Husband Mike’s Closet Audit

Inspired by what I read, I suggested to my husband Mike this past weekend that we do some closet de-cluttering ourselves.  Since I regularly review the items in my closet and had done a “mini purge” not long ago, I recommended we tackle his wardrobe first.  He didn’t think we would find too many cast-offs in his closet, but when all was said and done, we had filled two large bags for donation and one large bag of garments to be tossed.   In contrast to my situation, some of Mike’s clothes were actually worn out enough to hit the trash heap instead of the Goodwill.

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January Accountability Post

As I have completed the first month of my journey, it’s now time for my first accountability post (see my last post for “Reflections on the First Month”).  Today’s post will be a bit disjointed, as I did quite a bit of returning/exchanging of items I had purchased in December 2012.  As indicated in my shopping rules, exchanges are permissible, as long as they are done on a one for one basis and within my designated shopping budget.  Since I will only be purchasing one item of clothing and one accessory per month during this year, exchanges should be relatively minimal after this month.

New Purchases

Early on in the month, I decided to purchase a coat as my January clothing item.  I wear the coats I have frequently and really like how a nice coat can up-level even the most casual outfit.  Unfortunately, I found the coat inventory in stores had already been depleted by mid-January.  It can be frustrating how the retail season is months ahead of what we are experiencing weather-wise.  I was forced to turn to online shopping to find my coat.

After two online coat orders didn’t work out, I finally found a winner in a black brocade coat in a classic double-breasted style.  I love this coat and believe I will wear and love it for many years to come.  My accessory purchase was a black leather embellished multi-strand bracelet from Brighton.

January Purchases

My January Purchases – Black Brocade Coat & Black Embellished Bracelet

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Reflections on the First Month

January reflectionsIt’s been just over a month since I started my 2013 “recovering shopaholic” project, with the goal of decreasing my shopping, buying more consciously and smartly, and minimizing my wardrobe.  I created rules for myself to guide my way, including the rule of buying only one item of clothing and one accessory per month.

This rule serves two purposes:  it allows me to shop a little bit instead of going “cold turkey” and it forces me to be smarter with my purchases rather than buying haphazardly.  If I only set a monthly budget for myself without the purchase limits, I would probably keep making misguided purchases at consignment stores and during retail sales.

I gave myself a few loopholes in my rules.  I am allowed to make returns and exchange unworn items on a one for one basis.  In addition, workout/lounge wear is not included within the limits, nor are sleepwear and undergarments.  I don’t have a tendency to overbuy these items and they generally receive quite a bit of wear, so they are typically good purchases.

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