Building The Perfect Beast (My Wardrobe)

From being a regular reader I conclude that you have an Imelda Marcos syndrome except for clothes. Where do you store all of the garments? (Don’t feel bad-I am similarly afflicted).

Emily

Thank you for the prompt Em!

A nod to the great Don Henley.  You probably have seen here or certainly can see from my Flickr page, I have a massive wardrobe.  I am now the master of my domain, having gotten my arms around it, understanding how my presentation should be dependent upon my circumstances on any particular outing.  I do believe that my sense of style comes through in my photos.  My goal on every time out is to present myself properly (appropriate for my body type, the circumstances of the outing and my advanced age).  That doesn’t mean I don’t wish to look pretty or won’t take fashion risks.  Yes, I will wear a skirt maybe a little short, but overall my outfit won’t draw any unwanted attention.  Style, class and dignity are what I am striving for.

A friend asked me about my style.  I tried to explain that I am different than many girls.  While I have learned a lot, I am really not conversant in what my style is.  I am not good at knowing designers, dress types, names for skirt styles, am not good at verbalizing what I look for in an outfit.  But I know my body, I know what looks best on me.  I know what I like!  The example I used is that we are both equally talented musicians.  She can read music, I cannot.  I play by ear.  My style is instinctive.  Make any sense? I do know this, I am pretty damn good at assembling an outfit.

In building my wardrobe, I acquire pieces and assemble outfits at home.  I often find a piece at my price (usually now a buck, no more that a few bucks) and know immediately what it will go with that is already in the wardrobe. Coming out of the pandemic lockdown, stores were either almost giving clothes away to turn the seasons or they were liquidating, where I picked up quite a bit of new things for pennies.

Most women probably go shopping with a particular item or outfit in mind, at least looking for something that will be worn to a specific event.  I never do that.  Since I thrift or will only generally buy on clearance, I am simply stocking my inventory for some future use.  I am frequently buying summer things in the winter and winter things in the spring as that is how they show up in thrift stores.  During the last week of December a few years back I picked up two adorable sundresses at thrifts.  About a month prior I bought a gorgeous white sundress, an outstanding cold shoulder number and another black and white NY&Co sundress.  Buying off-season is a huge cost saver.  I don’t think I have ever paid full price for a new dress.  I have purchased new dresses, but they have to be on sale and/or I have to have a coupon.  I am trying not to make my “hobby” an issue in my marriage by overspending.  There is no indication of that and that is how I hope to keep it.

One of the reasons I purchase so much clothing is that my job has frequent downtime. So I could spend money killing time on coffee or food (I pack my lunch in case I am not able to stop and eat, plus, of course, it is cheaper and better for me), I kill time in thrifts. One thrift has $1 items, they change the tag color on Monday. So every Monday I quickly walk the aisles to see if I can find a treasure. I often do.

I know what works intuitively for an event or outing and what works best for me personally.  I try this and that before settling on what I believe is just the right fit, but it is all done from my closet, not on a shopping trip.

So what do I look for?  Early on, I just acquired specific items: jeans, tops, blouses, skirts, dresses, etc.  As we have discussed, cost is a huge factor.  All thrifts have special days and/or daily specials.  I generally shop only for those items.  Some provide coupons and I use them all.  I have passed on beautiful items because I felt they were overpriced (for a thrift) or was willing to wait until they because discounted, running the risk of losing that item.  I had been in a thrift store probably five times a week, less so now.  You have to check frequently as you can walk in and find nothing or you can walk out with a bag full of treasures.

I will occasionally shop at consignment stores, but I tend to find them overpriced.  I’d rather spend that kind of money on clearance items or at places like Marshall’s or T.J. Maxx to get a new item as opposed to a used one.  I do have a consignment store that I use to sell items and will use the funds from those sales to buy things at that store.  I will then only buy 50% off items and am a bit more willing to spend a few dollars more because I just look at it like recycling, using the money from items I have sold to acquire new clothes. I frequently will troll the 90% off rack at Piece Unique.

Now when I shop, I look for something that simply grabs me.  Truth be told, I probably could put together a different outfit for every single day of a year with what I own now.  When I walk into a favorite Goodwill, I first start with the dresses, looking for something to jump out.  Then a quick perusal of the blouses and tops.  Eyeball the skirts for an obvious purchase and then thumb through the blazers.  Walk the shoe racks and off I go! 

Work?  Yes it is.  Worth it?  What do you think?

Now regarding storage. I’ll do my best to describe things. In our bedroom, I probably have six drawers with my Kandi clothes and a few things hanging in our closet. In another bedroom, I have an entire closet and a complete dresser. In the basement, I have a storage area under the steps, with a few rods for hanging things. With the exception of dresses, everything is hung five to a hangar. I have those long skirt and pant hangars, full. Bins full of dresses and skirts. Another closet with a set of drawers where I store my sweaters, purses and swim wear. There is one of those temporary closets for all of my blazers (five to a hangar) and I use another bedroom closet for coats.

I now wear something once and get rid of it by trying to sell it at a few clothing exchanges. The other day I got rid of two dresses in exchange for a new sweater. New stuff, with a wardrobe reduction. Win-win! Anything I cannot sell goes to Margie’s Closet. I do keep staple items, like black or solid color skirts, but now everything is almost always sold after being worn.

Yes, it is exhausting!

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This past weekend was spent working the Rock Hall Inductions. I was the Talent Escort for Brandi Carlisle. I knew very little about her going in and found her and her support staff to be very down-to-Earth people and kind to all, including myself. I will spin a few more tales here but these were two memorable moments.

During Friday rehearsals on the finale, the first ever meeting of the Carlisles (Brandi and Belinda) occurred! If the camera panned slightly to the right of Jane Wiedlin, you would see yours truly. Brandi and Belinda are apparently often confused for each other or people think they are related.

See the all-access passes hanging around their necks. I had one as well.

Carole King is an inspiration to just about every female singer-songwriter. Brandi wanted to meet her so I said I would see what I could do. Unfortunately she made this request at about 7:40PM. The show started at 8:00PM and Carole was the first inductee. This made the task difficult.

Fast forward about an hour and a half and Ms. King is inducted, finished performing and done running the press circuit. She is then getting ready to head out. I send someone to pull Brandi from her table (she sat with, among others Paul McCartney, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman). While that is happening, I ask Ms. King’s Escort to tell her Brandi is coming and ask her to stay a bit. Well, I did it! Brandi went into her dressing room and this photo is proof! I made that possible, just sayin’

At the end of a very long evening (the show ran four and a half hours), we’re all in the dressing room and I am helping everyone, including Brandi get to their limo. I ask her how the meeting went and she pulled out her phone and showed me the picture. Pretty special!

More stories coming soon!

4 thoughts on “Building The Perfect Beast (My Wardrobe)”

  1. Your headline caused me no end of confusion…..!

    Oooooh, I thought when I read it. Kandi’s releasing her inner Norm and building a wardrobe – that’s Norm Abram of New Yankee Workshop, a legend even on this side of the Atlantic. And it’s going to be a beast too – a room filler as a bare minimum! So I eagerly started reading.

    It was only when I got halfway through that a couple of things struck me. First off, there didn’t seem to be any mention of wood, screws, hinges or anything like that. And secondly, why didn’t Kandi say she was building a closet which I believe is the vernacular on that side of the pond?

    That was when the penny dropped!

    It was a great post, Kandi, and I only have a tinge of disappointment that there wasn’t any mention of table saws, pillar drills and biscuit jointers (funny thing though – every week Norm would get his biscuit jointer out – but why didn’t he call it a cookie jointer?).

    1. There is no greater safety rule than to wear these….safety glasses!

      I would have a much easier time writing a piece about how I flew to Mars that I would writing a piece where I did any woodworking. Handy, I am not.

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