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I've just thrown out most of my clothes - please help me not be naked.

(126 Posts)
OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 09-May-19 14:09:27


After reading a thread in AIBU about people looking polished, I've snapped. I'm fed up of looking like a scruff bag. I've evaluated my wardrobe. All my every day clothes are ill fitting, old and very very sad.

Almost everything is in ragbags now. I'm starting again. Down to my shoes.

My usual style is jeans, plain t shirts and hoodies with sketchers or converse. Im still dressing as though Im a student despite having left that behind 20 something g years ago. I'm 5' 5" skinny, but top heavy. I need stuff that is comfortable, practical (for things like cycling into the shops) but looks nice.

I've no idea where to start without replicating my usual style, My total nemesis is shoes. I like leggings for instance but have no idea what shoes to put with them.

I need serious intervention for anyone who is willing. I'm going to make a start shopping on Sunday.

VanillaCoconutDove Thu 09-May-19 14:18:01

What’s your budget? Do you think some items have a top end value, like you wouldn’t pay £x for a T-shirt kind of attitude.

Do you believe in the ‘Keeping things for best’ mindset?

What shops do you normally buy from currently?

Who’s style do you enjoy? Kate Middleton, Tilda Swinton, Kim kardashian etc etc.

gotmychocolateimgood Thu 09-May-19 14:24:37

Do you need workwear or casual?

With leggings I wear ballet pumps or smart trainers or birkenstocks. They are all v comfortable. Short dress over leggings works well.

LaPufalina Thu 09-May-19 14:29:07

Assuming you're about 40, same as me? I got some lovely leggings in topshop the other day, black with a white stripe down the side. I wear them with white Nike trainers and maybe a Scamp and Dude sweatshirt.
I got a jumpsuit from ASOS a few months back and have been surprised at how hardworking it's been! Wore to my birthday and a wedding with flat sandals.

quirkychick Thu 09-May-19 14:31:59

OhYouBadBadKitten I wear lots of jeans, t-shirts and trainers, you can mix up the trainers: so leather smarter trainers, hi-tops, add in ankle boots. Perhaps swap the hoodies for jackets, or layer under a jacket?

crochetmonkey74 Thu 09-May-19 14:34:30

ooh I love this sort of thread- Ok

Are you happy to live with few things you regularly wash or do you need more items?

I would buy a jumpsuit, some nice jeans and some good quality white tops (2 or 3) to start with.
Then add in a second pair of jeans (diff colour) and a statement blouse or shirt.
I don't really like shoes either- so for those outfits I would buy a pair of suede boots in a tan colour or grey, and a pair of white simple trainers of your preferred style.
I reckon that would keep you going for a while, then you can add in items one at a time as you require them

sue51 Thu 09-May-19 14:34:49

It sounds like you want a more polished adult version of you. If you want to stick to relaxed casual but with more style look at somewhere like Mint Velvet, Hush and jigsaw. For shoes ballet flats, mules or low healed ankle boots work well with leggings. If you are near John Lewis it might be worth your time making an appointment with a personal shopper, I did this recently when I needed some clothes for a special occasion and my helper was great and not at all pushy.

VanillaCoconutDove Thu 09-May-19 14:37:18

When you say leggings, do you mean gym wear leggings? Then I’d wear with trainers.

Cotton leggings as trousers is a contentious issue for a style & beauty board.

Latex/leather leggings can suit a glamorous polished style if they are styled in the right way.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 09-May-19 14:37:49

Budget £300ish. Does that sound ok? If it's unrealistic I can revise it, I've got about 10 years of catching up to do!

I do tend to keep things for best. So I've managed to convince myself that one top and a couple of my summer dresses can be worn as regular clothing. That will help. I also have two pairs of decent leggings.

Style wise, I don't know. I like Jodie Whittaker's coat in Dr Who! And I did like Diana's clothes in a Discovery of Witches.

I tend to buy from Next (shoot me) Fat face (but their clothes are too big for me) and jeans from uniqlo when I can get to London. I'm happy to hop on a train to a big shopping centre. One of my problems is that in places like Marks their sizes don't go down to my size, apart from across the boobs.

I don't need smart, just presentable, which I'm not really at the moment.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 09-May-19 14:39:53

oh you awesome people smile

Thank you so so much! I've got work for a few hours now, I'll be back later to read and answer questions. I should really have started this when I wasn't about to go back to work, but I thought I might not get any replies. blush

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 09-May-19 14:41:43

Before my client arrives, I am in my 40s, my leggings are gym type. I normally wear them with over long jumpers. But we are beyond that season now, so they tend to be retired for the summer.

ememem84 Thu 09-May-19 14:44:46

A staple for me (also big of nork) is a denim/chambray shirt. Fitted. I wear it untucked over a white lace topped cami with black jeans (skinnies) and either tan or leopard print flats or tan boots.

I also wear this to work tucked into black trousers with a tan belt.

Have a look on Pinterest and see if you can find outfit ideas you like.

HappinessIsKey Thu 09-May-19 14:49:18

Your budget could be a good amount or very can still find lovely very stylish clothing.
I have enough money to buy expensive clothes, but I just won''s a waste!!
High street shops are amazing for clothes. They are the best!!
Basic t shirts in every colour are essential! And a couple of good fitted skinny jeans.
You can change this basic outfit into casual, smart casual, or smart in an instant!
Extras can be a blazer (light coloured for summer) with make it smart add a pair of heels instead.
I'm 30 but that's basically my wardrobe! Jeans always Topshop (pair of blue and black) , T-shirt's and vests Primark, blazers Primark or a bit more expensive Zara.
Another tip I do is buy a few long thin dresses, with a tie waist (if you understand)
I wear these over jeans and a vest but just tie the dress at the back, so it's open but adds more colour and makes outfits more stylish. Then you can just wear the dress by itself if you like!
Clothing items that have double uses are a must!

I would love love love to be your friend!! My dream is sorting out my friends clothes 😂

XingMing Thu 09-May-19 15:42:57

Decide on a base neutral colour that suits you. It might be black/grey/navy or warmer shades of brown/taupe/oatmeal depending on your colouring.

Think about what's happening in your life for the next three months: any big events you have to dress up for? If not, concentrate on everyday and ordinary social stuff, to cover work and play. Ignore holidays for now.

Buy a couple of fashion magazines and look through them, several times: Elle and Vogue perhaps (but not celebrity gossip magazines); which images take your fancy?

Then consider what reasonable towns with a decent range of shops are nearby? If you don't go there regularly, plan a day out (best not at the weekend unless you've no alternative). Wearing jeans and a plain T shirt, start by walking around and looking in the windows. You will like some more than others: start there. Just go in and pull a few jackets off their hangars and try them on. This doesn't even involve changing rooms. Do you like what looks back at you? Does a particular colour make you look well, and your eyes sparkle? Does one shape work better than another, eg single or double-breasted? Put it back, and walk along a bit more, then repeat the exercise in another shop with different colours and shapes.

You don't mention your underwear, but at this point it's a good idea to try on bras (you need two or three in nude and/or black). Don't buy any before you've pulled your T-shirt back on to see how you look dressed wearing them (this is important, as it needs to vanish under clothes, making the shirt look better: it's my reason for suggesting you go out in jeans and T-shirt, because that's your comfort zone).

Try on more jackets, and if you've found one that fits on the shoulders, fastens comfortably and flatteringly without pulling across your bust, look for a skirt and trousers in the same colour, or a colour that tones, and a blouse or shirt in a pattern that includes the main colour and some lighter/brighter/other colours.

If you are still reading, and have ticked all these off, you might like to buy a few new T-shirts/vests in the colours you've selected so far. If your base neutral is grey or navy, go for those, plus white and something else.

Next, I would look for a dress, possibly cotton poplin (summer is coming), maybe a midi-shirtdress that buttons from collar to hem, in another pattern based on the colours you're liking on yourself. You should be able to layer the dress over all the plain T shirts, and put jeans/leggings underneath like a thin coat, or wear it alone, buttoned or unbuttoned as much or little as you like. If it has long sleeves, you can roll them up or down, and you should find a coordinating belt to define your waist. A simple pair of pale sneakers, and some jazzy earrings. If you manage all that, you're well on your way to your new capsule wardrobe! You would be lucky to get it all in one shopping trip unless you stumble across an independent shop and a salesperson (often the owner) who has a very good eye and time to help you. A personal shopper somewhere like JL or Debenhams might also take some of the pain out of it.

There is a link to a useful illustration of a capsule wardrobe in the how to look polished thread, about 100-150 posts back IIRC, with lots of pictures. It's mainly US stuff, but there's lots of sound advice.

I've spent ages thinking and writing this, and someone else is bound to have said similar. Best of luck OP, and I wish you success.

SunshineSpring Thu 09-May-19 15:55:32

Do you have a picture of the dress over jeans tied open???
I'm going to need some serious shopping, because currently I live in shorts for 10 months of the year, but coming back to the UK, and feel Im going to need something a bit warmer! Thank you

Tofslan Thu 09-May-19 15:56:11

Thanks for typing that all out XingMing ! I am in similar position to the OP and normally a trip to the shops involves me wandering round aimlessly slowly feeling more and more shit about myself. I LOVE having a step by step guide to try and will give it a go next time I get a chance.

(Sorry OP no actual advice! I’m probably even scruffier than you and have the exact opposite physique - not skinny and no boobs! grin Good luck though!)

Ninkaninus Thu 09-May-19 15:56:18

Most important thing is do not keep things for best! I mean except for the odd thing for actual events. But really, it’s completely a false economy - takes a bit of time to shift your mentality but it’s quite important that you do, IMO.

Secondly, a capsule wardrobe sounds counter-intuitive - it doesn’t seem possible that a well curated selection of a few well chosen items is better than loads and loads of random bits, but it generally really works well, especially if you’re not a natural dresser with an innate sense of style.

Before you do any shipping think about what your actual lifestyle is and what you feel comfortable wearing. You can still look polished in casual clothing, for example. You need to buy for the life you lead.

Before you do any shopping look up what colours suit your skintone. Pick a few within that range to be your primary colours, and a couple to be accent colours. As an example mine are olive/khaki, navy, burgundy and cream. For summer my accent colours are mushrooms taupe and coral/peach/orange. If your whole wardrobe goes together well you will look put together every time, because everything will go nicely together.

Look up outfits on Pinterest to give you inspiration. Look for repeated items that you can build your wardrobe on.

Pay a bit more for your footwear and coats/jackets. Whatever you are comfortable spending.

Pick your fabrics carefully. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better quality.

Have to go for a bit but I’ll be back!

HappinessIsKey Thu 09-May-19 16:18:04

@SunshineSpring I'm in Dubai at the moment so I'm wearing all my dresses by themselves, but back home I just tie them behind my back, with a vest and skinny jeans..leave it with me, will find you images 😊

CountFosco Thu 09-May-19 18:29:21

I'd not necessarily get skinny jeans, trouser shapes are beginning to change. Maybe go somwhere with loads of different shapes (M&S or John Lewis maybe) and try on different styles and see what you like. If you are skinny then boyfriends might suit?

Midlifechic did a comprehensive series in January about capsule wardrobes and onthespike did a few years back as well. Both are the most useful and realistic descriptions of capsules I've read. Very fond of the Spike's advice that we all need a mad skirt grin.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 09-May-19 20:04:26

oh goodness smile This is so helpful, thank you! I can see how much time and thought people have put into replies and I really appreciate it.

I'm ok for decent bras, mn sorted that one out for me ages ago. I was thinking about getting the train into Westfields (London) so that I had lots of shops in one place, but that might be overwhelming?

I'll pick up a couple of magazines tomorrow and get on to google too.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 09-May-19 20:08:01

To answer crochetmonkey I'm more than happy to have just a few items to wash. I cycle through 2 pairs of tatty jeans, 2 pairs of leggings (hence summer is coming crisis) about 4 t shirts and 2 hoodies at the moment.
It'd be nice to have more choice!

HastaLaVistaPrint Thu 09-May-19 20:14:27

I had a revelation lately when I bought a shirt from Hush instead of yet another long sleeved t shirt. I feel much more stylish.

Replacing the shirt at the top end and swapping trainers for boots at the bottom end has made a huge difference.

quirkychick Thu 09-May-19 20:23:08

I agree with CountFosco the skinnies and a long top silhouette is changing, you could always try slim or straight cut jeans as they're not that big a step from skinnies. I only wear leggings as tights really, so would wear them under a short denim skirt, for instance, or faux leather leggings which are a step up from just leggings. I would wear them with trainers or boots quite happily.

I'm not great at shoes but I have been eyeing up some doc martens lace ups, which seem to manage to be smart but also have that casual vibe. I saw someone looking very chic in black polka dot shirt, black slim jeans and patent dms, I might borrow that look!

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 09-May-19 20:53:58

I do like DM style boots very much, but what would I use in the warmer days? Trainers?

FleurNancy Fri 10-May-19 00:26:16

If you look up Putting Me Together (website, Facebook, Insta) she's got some great tips for putting together a capsule wardrobe.

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