I’ve always worked outside of the home and styling outfits for the workplace has been a major part of my daily life for years. So when daily life changed for so many of us in March of 2020, this routine was disrupted and I found myself scrambling to try to fill a fashion void. I have to be clear: this wasn’t a shopping void, but rather a need to fill a creative void. For me, lounge wear and pajama pants were all fun and games, until they weren’t.
I felt off. So I decided to create and participate in a few different online closet challenges, including two rainbow challenges, the 12 Months of Thrifting Challenge (pivoted to shop my own closet), and a Surprise Style challenge where I’d close my eyes and pick something out and style it.
Not thrifting for nearly two months, slowing down, and participating in these closet challenges taught me a few things about my style and thrifting habits, and reinforced old things I had forgotten about. This is what I learned:
Slacks before Sweats
If you’ve been around here or the podcast long enough, you’ve probably heard me preaching about how important it is to shop for your lifestyle. Boy did I take my own advice, almost to a fault. Going from spending 40 hours of my week in business casual clothes to a life that called for “daytime pajamas” and then nighttime pajamas, I quickly learned I have NO comfortable, functional lounge wear. I don’t even own a single pair of sweatpants. This slower lifestyle reminded me the importance of having a couple sets of quality, comfortable, classy lounge wear that will serve me well, even after I go back to my daily grind.
Jackets are my Jam
Documenting all of these closet challenges showed one reoccurring theme: jackets are my jam. Dresses? Add a jacket. Pants? Add a blazer. My love for blazers and coats is no surprise but I didn’t realize that I subconsciously added one to almost every outfit, to the point where I had to verbally tell myself to shed a layer. At least I’m putting my coat collection to use!
I’ve always known that I love yellow – it’s part of my wardrobe color palette. But what I didn’t know was that 99% of the yellow I own is a solid piece. I did a rainbow closet tour and shared all of my yellow secondhand finds, and as I was sharing my closet with IG I realized that I subconsciously gravitate toward yellow pieces that are not printed. This is probably because I wear a lot of yellow as the statement color in my outfits.
Speaking of colors, for someone who wears a lot of color, I really love a black shirt. Taking a step back and looking at my closet with fresh eyes showed me that I have a lot of solid black tops. I also don’t own any purple, have very few blue pieces, but a whole lot of pink.
Other than the realization that I desperately need comfortable lounge wear, this break from thrift stores and online shopping taught me I don’t need a single thing. Doing the Surprise Style challenge gave me 2020 vision and taught me that I could easily see things with fresh eyes if I give myself the time to do so this year. (2020 vision, see what I did there?)
Craving for Creativity
Some people get their creative energy from crafts, music, writing, exercising. For me, that creative source comes from personal style as a form of self-expression, and thrifting is a huge part of that. I think I’ve always known that, but this experience really cemented it into the ground.
It’s the creative energy that comes from the process of putting things together; the frustration of trial and error, and the adrenaline I feel when I get it right. It’s seeing a flower bed on a daily walk and then running back to my closet to replicate the color scheme. It’s watching the evolution of my personal style and making a conscious effort to wear what I love and what makes me happy, even when I fail.
I guess I sort of always knew that creative source was always there, but I didn’t realize how much of my time and energy was spent there. It just took “daytime pajamas” to remind me.