Building a Workable Wardrobe – Part One

The following is a guest post from Dottie, a regular reader of this blog, who is sharing some strategies for building a workable wardrobe.  In this first part of a two-part series, she focuses on personal style, color palette, and other considerations that can help in the selection of clothing for a wardrobe that “works.” Dottie welcomes feedback from “Recovering Shopaholic” readers, especially those of you who have additional strategies that you’ve used for creating your own wardrobe.


For most people, building a wardrobe that really works may take years of trial and error. A lot of what we buy for our wardrobe is driven by what’s promoted as the latest fashion – and as this is constantly changing, it can be confusing when faced with so much choice. Just think of the options available for jeans: Slim leg or skinny? Dark wash or distressed denim? Bright colors or patterns? Coated or not? Mid-rise, low-rise, or natural waist?

One approach to building a wardrobe is to buy what fits and works within your budget. But you can end up with a lot of clothes that don’t work well across your wardrobe. When I was just starting to build a wardrobe for work years ago, I bought items in pairs – a top and a skirt or pants, for example. I made an attempt to purchase clothes in a particular color palette (the wrong one, it turns out). But, looking back, there was less cohesion – less of a wardrobe than a collection of odds and ends. Continue reading

Some Thoughts and Links on Ethical Shopping

For much of my life, I shopped almost constantly and brought hundreds of new items into my closet each year.  Over time, I came to realize some of the negative consequences of my behavior, but I thought those deleterious effects were limited to the confines of my personal closet, bank account, and relationships.  It was only after I started my recovering shopaholic project that I became aware of the ways in which my overshopping was also harmful to people outside of my inner circle, as well as to the environment.

Fashion Ethics

How much do you know about ethical shopping?

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How to Tell if a Garment is Well-Made

The following is a guest post from Dottie, a daily reader of this blog, who is sharing her insights on how to spot quality in fabric and construction of women’s clothing. Dottie learned to sew as a teenager and has used her knowledge of clothing construction to look for well-made clothing, preferably on sale. She lives in a 4-season climate, so some of her tips may resonate less with people in warm climates. Dottie welcomes feedback from “Recovering Shopaholic” readers, especially those of you who have additional tips for – or tales of – finding quality clothing.


You spot it from across the store – the perfect dress in “your” color, in the style that flatters your body, at a price that won’t bankrupt you. A quick dash into the fitting room – and you decide it’s perfect!

Or is it? Before you head to the sales desk, take a few minutes to really examine the dress (blouse, pants, jacket, sweater, etc.), preferably in good light. This may require you to leave the more dimly lit dressing room for natural light or even the more brightly lit check-out area.

Determining Clothing Quality

It’s the “perfect” dress, but is it well-made?

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Can Ethical Clothing Help Transform Your Relationship with Shopping?

The following is a guest post from Emma of This Kind Choice (UPDATE:  Sadly, this blog is no longer online).   Emma makes it her mission to make ethical fashion choices simple, stylish and satisfying.  It is her belief that fashion that is better for the planet and the people producing it is better for us, too.  Emma studies Fashion and Business in Wellington, New Zealand, and loves prints, colour and peanut butter. 

If you have an idea for a guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.


I have never been addicted to shopping. And yet I am all too familiar with the overwhelmingly strong pull followed by disgust and self-hatred, with the guilt, with the complete lack of joy in what I consumed. My experiences with disordered eating put me through all of these emotions, and I know them all too well. One thing I found tremendously helpful in my recovery was finding a way of eating that truly aligned with my values (in my case, veganism). Continue reading

My Beefs with the Fashion Industry

Today’s post is one that’s been churning around in my brain for quite some time.  In fact, it’s been on my list of post ideas for months, but other topics kept taking precedence. Well, the time is now!  I have a number of complaints about the fashion industry and the list keeps growing longer day by day.  Although I don’t like to focus on the negative, some things just need to be said.

Fashion industry rant

What complaints do you have about the fashion industry? 

I realize I may be preaching to the choir and many of you may share at least some of my complaints.  You also may have a few of your own to add to the mix.  We may not be able to change the status quo, but we can commiserate with others who feel our pain.  The following is a list of my current “beefs” with the fashion industry.  I welcome your comments on my rant and any additions you have to the list. Continue reading

How to Tell if a Piece is a Classic

The following is a guest post from Erin DePew (this is Erin’s second guest post – read her first one here).  Erin is a web developer and graphic designer who happens to love shoes almost as much as “hackathons.”  Her blog, Pixel Perfect, is dedicated to musings on minimalism, client-side scripting, and the pursuit of the perfect pumps.  

If you have an idea for a guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.


Every woman knows that having a closet of classic pieces is the secret to a versatile wardrobe. Of course, actually finding classic pieces is a lot easier said than done. While top-ten lists and fashion blogs are a good place to start, it’s important to take the time to learn your own personal style and to find out what your classics are. Because at the end of the day, some of us are just never going to wear a white button-down.

Distinguishing Classic Pieces

Can you tell if a piece will stand the test of time?

Even if you know what your personal classics are, it can be overwhelming to wade through the myriad of options out there. Here are five simple ways to tell if a piece is a classic or a trend du jour. Continue reading

Useful Links: Fast Fashion and Ethical Shopping

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week!  Since it’s now Friday, it’s time for another useful links round-up.  This week, I’m touching upon the topics of “fast fashion” and ethical shopping.  These issues have been addressed on the blog a few times in the past, both by me and in a few excellent guest posts.  If you’re new to the blog or would like to revisit these articles, click here to view all of the posts in the “Clothing Quality & Sustainability” category.

Ethical Shopping Resources

Today I’m sharing a few articles related to fast fashion and ethical shopping, as well as several links to ethical shopping guides.  While there are a number of companies who are committed to producing clothing in socially and environmentally sound ways, I decided to link to a few shopping guides instead of inundating you with links to individual retailers.

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