1 Pant, 12 Looks

Two “rules” I try to follow when shopping for clothes are:

1) Buy clothes you’ll wear on a Tuesday afternoon, not a Saturday night — few people lead Saturday-night lives. I originally read this on Susan’s website, and it jumped right off the page at me. I am SO guilty of buying for Saturday night! A beautiful silk blouse, 4-inch heels, denim that requires 4-inch heels to wear…sure, these are absolutely fantastic items, but they don’t represent my life. (I WISH they represented my life, but no. Not right now.) For the most part, my day-to-day grind involves writing from home, errand-running, park playdates and school drop off. As much as I love Saturday night clothing, I’m just not sure I’m getting a return on investment from them at this point, and have become much more mindful of that when buying new clothing.

Another phenomenon that baffles me is what I’m willing to pay for certain items. I’ll completely rationalize spending $200 on a silk blouse that might be worn once every few months on date night, but balk at $80 cotton canvas pants (like below) that I could wear several times a week. Explain that ridiculous line of thinking, will ya?

2) If you love something, buy in bulk. I know, I know. It’s just so UNROMANTIC. Of course I want to have a closet full of unique, finely-curated items that I’ve procured on trips around the world, but once again, I need to be realistic about what I’m comfortable wearing on a daily basis. However, this isn’t to say that I don’t love unique pieces. I seem to make up for some of my more “conventional” clothing with shoes, jewelry, scarves and the like. I guess my line of thinking is that if I find a shirt or pant that looks and feels great, I’m going to buy it in several colors.

Like these pants. I would have never given these pants a thought had I solely seen them online, yet, they instantly caught my attention while poking around my local J. Crew. I tried them on, liked what I saw, and decided to make the plunge and buy all three colors. (At $74 a pop, I admit to balking. I mean, they are COTTON SURPLUS PANTS.) Let me just tell you, I have worn the hell out of these pants this summer. Grocery store runs, kindergarten volunteering, lunches with girlfriends, even to an evening of cocktails.

Here, let me show you. (Click thumbnail for full photo.)

[nggallery id=4]

Who would have thought, right? And I could have shot 12 more outfits easily. (But my room was starting to look like bomb full of accessories had detonated.)

Now, I’m not saying these exact pants are right for you, but I feel they perfectly exemplify the point I’m trying to make. Be realistic about how fashion plays a part in your day-to-day life, and if you find something that really works, buy a few. (FYI – If you DO think these pants are for you, they are on final sale with an additional 30% off. Um, that breaks down to $17.49 for a pair. Final sale is a risk, though, since you can’t return, but sizing is true to size, if not running a little large. I waver between two sizes at J. Crew, and bought the smaller size in these pants.)

What are some of your fashion rules? Do you find yourself drawn to “Saturday night” or “Tuesday afternoon” clothing? How do you find the balance between expressing your unique style and being realistic about your day-to-day grind, i.e. – moms handling dirty kiddos and/or stains galore? (I should own stock in Tide To Go pens.)

  1. Mama Bub

    September 7, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Well color me a follower because I just bought those pants in all three colors.

  2. Rebecca (Bearca)

    September 7, 2011 at 7:32 am

    GET OUT OF HERE!!!! I just ordered these pants yesterday in a rare (these days) J Crew sale binge! I am so excited to see your ringing endorsement. :)

  3. Amy

    September 7, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I really love this advice—I want this lovely closet full of delightful things from Anthropologie, but my reality (and uh, budget) is that I’m a high school teacher, so just about everything needs to be washable (overhead pens!), easy to move around in and comfortable. I rely a lot on dresses, yes, but it’s more likely that they’re made out of cotton and can be paired with TOMS wedges instead of stillettos. Great tips!

  4. Amanda

    September 7, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Nice! I’m afraid that I too have been struggling with shopping for the life I have, and I’m trying to be more mindful of that. My JCrew score was the Minnie pant in stretch cotton. Slim enough to look good with flats in warm weather, and I suspect they’ll look alright tucked into boots in cool weather (though I’ve yet to try this out fully).

  5. Torrie @ a place to share...

    September 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I’ve struggled with this in the past. I’ve gone back and forth- shopping primarily for Saturday, and then having NOTHING to wear on Tuesday, and vice versa.

    When I worked, I never went near the clearance rack- not so much because I didn’t think there would be anything good there, but I just didn’t have the time to dig/sort through it! Not the case anymore. I usually wear the ‘clearance finds’ or clothes that were less expensive (but still cute) during the week, and the more “upscale” items on the weekend. But I love this way of looking at it… why not invest and spend a little on what you wear most?? (as long as I’m fully armed with Tide pens) :)

    A great post… and I’m a big believer in doubling up (my super-chic cousin looked at me like I was crazy when I did this in her presence).

  6. Torrie @ a place to share...

    September 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

    thanks for reaffirming that I am not in fact “crazy” :)

  7. whoorl

    September 7, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Amanda, I had such high hopes for the Minnie pant! So many people love them so much, but for some reason, they taper strangely on me. :(

    If anyone else didn’t have luck with the Minnie, might I suggest these pants from Gap? I love them!


  8. Neda

    September 7, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I love your advice (and I need to take it)! I have been slowly getting over my Saturday night shopping addiction…I’ve been buying “nice casual” clothing so I can wear them to the office and switch out accessories and shoes and look decent enough for the weekend. Sometimes it works, sometimes I feel like I look boring on the weekends. It’s a work in progress! :)

  9. lucy s.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:37 am

    great advice. i need to remind myself of this more often.

    ps – you look super pretty in each photo!

  10. whoorl

    September 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Neda, it’s definitely a work in progress! That’s why I truly find myself spending the majority of my shopping budget on accessories. That way, I can always change the look of an outfit.

    Lucy S. – thanks for the compliment!

  11. steph

    September 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Looks 4 & 7 are my favorite! :)

  12. Kristin

    September 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I have two rules:

    Buy things that I can wear to work and will also double for out-of-work.

    Buy colors I don’t already have a lot of. Like, don’t keep buying green if my closet is already full. If I like a certain style, I just try to find it in a different color (but still colors that are pleasing with my skin-tone).

    I like buying for Saturday night. I like having fun while shopping, but honestly, there are times I come back from shopping with a bag full of khakis. That kind of makes me sad when I do that. So boring, but you have to do it!

  13. Sarah

    September 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Fun ideas…thanks for sharing the sources, especially the scarves. The Epice (sic) is gorgeous. (p.s. My name is Sarah, and I am a scarf junkie.)

  14. DeAnne Olguin Williamson

    September 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    This hit some serious home. I literally just bought these fabulous leapard print wedges and have nowhere to wear them! And on Tuesdays, I got nothing. Man, I really need to take this to heart. Clothes for Tuesdays. My new shopping goal. You are so right. Those wedges will never work at the park on a play date.

  15. Siera

    September 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I enjoyed this Vlog! If I can figure out how to do audio only I will. You say route the same way I do. Caramel is way different. This could be fun. It’s funny as soon as I get across that border into from BC into Washington state major accent change. It’s funny what a few miles will do to an accent.

    Guilty as charged for Saturday night shopping. I don’t really have any rules per se but am leaning towards just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean I need it. I have done this at Ross quite a few times in the last year with jeans. Sure the jeans are $15 doesn’t mean they will wear well. I have a few sitting in my closet. One rule I have is if I’ve been eyeing for a year, its there, fits and looks good then I need to get on it like white on rice. I did this with a pair of boots this weekend. I was all gung ho to wear them to work this week and then summer decided to finally show up and I’ve been living in skirts.