Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dress Rules

image from Real Simple, January 2014
I wear a lot of dresses. As in, about six out of seven days of the week, I'm in a dress. I love them because they are the easiest way to look polished and get out the door fast -- pick a dress, pick a pair of heels, toss on a headband, and head out!

A few years ago, I realized they are what I wear the most, so I began purchasing more dresses to fill out my dress options. I bought many cheap dresses because my goal was to add to the number of options -- it was getting very boring to feel like I had nothing to wear most days. But after a couple years, I realized that while my dress collection was much larger, I often still felt like I had nothing to wear: Most options were too similar.

Because my goal no longer needed to be fattening up my wardrobe, I was able to start requiring more of my dresses. I had the option of limiting my purchases because I had enough of a wardrobe that I really didn't need anything more. So I took a closer look at what had accumulated, and started to put some goals in place for future purchases.

One thing I noticed is that a large percentage of my dresses are sleeveless. That's all well and fine in the warm months, but I realized I even have three wool, sleeveless dresses. How useful is that? They can only be worn during cool months, but nearly always require a sweater worn over them. Since I made this observation, I've made a conscience effort to stop purchasing sleeveless dresses, and I've found that it ends up stopping me from buying many dresses I would otherwise be tempted to purchase.

Much more recently, I've added a knee-length goal. I love fit and flare dresses, but most are short, so in order to balance my wardrobe a bit, I've decided to do my best to only buy dresses that are a few inches longer, in hopes that the slightly more demure styles will help equalize my options. Add in that I'm getting more particular about what colors to purchase, and my choices become very limited.

I knew these rules would help me create the wardrobe I wanted, but what I didn't realize is just how often I would find myself putting dresses back on the rack, and walking away from a purchase I would otherwise make. Of course I make exceptions for dresses I fall for, but overall I find myself limiting my purchases.

These rules help force a pause, which in turn helps save money. So not only is it easier to love everything in my closet, but I no longer make impulse buys, either. Be it dresses or anything else, the more rules one follows for her purchases, the better for the long run -- both financially and to create a collection of beloved pieces.

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"There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- God damn it, you've got to be kind."
-Kurt Vonnegut