Cultivated Wardrobe

4 Fall Uniforms + That Time I Didn’t Buy Clothes for Six Months

On Monday I shared with you my transition away from using a capsule wardrobe and my new focus on planning for uniform style each season.  I provided some examples of the four uniforms I identified for fall but wanted to share at least one more example of each before winter weather really sets in!  Yep, that’s right. You’ve got four looks coming ‘atcha — right now. )

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UNIFORM NO. 1 / jacket + dress + ankle boot + leather bag

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure this variation of this uniform feels entirely like my style. I think it might be because my hair is up on top of my head? Maybe I would feel differently about it if my hair was down with a loose wave…?  If you’re in a warmer climate you can still totally rock this look. With temps on the south side of 55 around here I’ve officially retired it until spring. :)

01 | Jean jacket (old), similar

02 | Dress (old), similar

03 | Ankle boot (old), similar and similar made responsibly

04 | Leather backpack bag c/o Lily Jade

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UNIFORM NO. 2 / hat + button down + skinny jean + ankle boot

This uniform is by far one of my all time favorites. It’s so easy to keep this one on repeat but not fee like it at the same time. In the warmer weeks of fall I wore my peep toe ankle boots, but have seamlessly swapped them out for a more cold weather appropriate bootie now that the temps are dipping.

01 | Hat (old), similar made in USA

02 | Chambray button down (old + secondhand), similar and similar made responsibly

03 | Distressed skinny jeans, (secondhand), similar wash and similar with distressing

04 | Peep toe ankle boots (old), similar

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UNIFORM NO. 3 / sweater + basic tee + skinny jean + tall boot

This look has been a go-to one for me for a long time: basic tee with skinny jeans and sweater thrown on over top. The shoe situation is the only variable here and early this fall I added a tall boot back into the mix.  I steered away from doing so for quite awhile simply because most of the looks I encounter with a tall riding boot are a little too classic or polished for my taste. But I like to think that pairing them with distressed denim and the messiest of mom buns says, “hey, I most definitely do not have my you-know-what together.” :)

01 | Cardigan sweater (old + secondhand), similar and similar under $80

02 | Knit tee (old), similar also made in USA

03 | Distressed skinny jeans, (secondhand), similar wash and similar with distressing

04 | Tall boot (secondhand), similar

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UNIFORM NO. 4 / hat + oversized sweater + skinny jean + ankle boot

This look isn’t all that new to the scene here either, but it’s definitely been fine tuned with that beloved hat of mine. It’s definitely my favorite out of the four. It feels easy, balanced, natural but also a little bit refined — which I love. :)

01 | Hat (old), similar made in USA

02 | Turtleneck sweater (old), similar and similar made responsibly

03 | Distressed skinny jeans, (secondhand), similar wash and similar with distressing

04 | Chelsea boots (old), similar and similar made responsibly



So this one time, I decided on a whim to: do a big ‘ol closet clean out, put together a capsule wardrobe and then didn’t buy a single piece of clothing for another six months.

And I was really happy about it.

And now here I am almost two years later — with a closet I love even more than I did back then — still wanting to buy SO many clothes. Albeit I’m not actually buying everything I want to buy… but the desire is there. The mind space is there. The habit is there.

So, in an effort to get back to that little happy place of mine I was in about a year and half ago… *Deep breath* I’m going to do it again.

I’m not going to buy any clothes for the next six months.

A retail recess — if you will.

(I almost can’t believe I just typed that.)

Queue the frenzy of questions:

But what if I *just* saw a sweater that is the perfect rust color I’ve been after, would be perfect for winter and I have to have? (30 seconds after I published this post) What if my underwear rip a hole in the crotch? (Which actually did just happen last week…) What if something I’ve had on my ‘master list’ for over year pops up as a secondhand steal on EBay? What if…???

That color was not *just* created, there will be others — you have enough sweaters.  You can buy a new pair of underwear for pete’s sake — underwear are not a part of this retail recess.  AND if it popped up now, it will pop up again. You’re not checking those Ebay search alerts now anyway. Right? Did you hear me? You have enough.

You have enough and it’s time to start focusing on that.

Guys, this is probably gonna be rough for me. I’m in such a bad habit again of perusing. Because even though I’ve curbed the actual spending too much money on clothes (although I probably still do spend too much money on clothes) it’s the mind space I want back right now.  

I want to think less about acquiring material things in general. 

Will you join me?

For 6 months? For 1 month? A week?

Will you join me?

If you do, use the hashtag #retailrecess and share with all of us. I’ll be documenting my thoughts + process along the way and I know I could sure use some inspiration!

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  • Reply
    Emily Jones
    November 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I’ll join you!

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      November 17, 2016 at 6:21 am

      Gah! I’m so excited! :)

  • Reply
    November 16, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    I’ll join you! I’m excited for the journey!

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      November 17, 2016 at 6:21 am

      Sa-weet!! Yay!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    I’m in! I soooo need this. I, too, am perusing way too much lately. I need to stop and your shopping recess may very well be the perfect exercise in restraint. I’m going for the full 6 mo the! I’ll blog it, too. By the way, I love your style, and the honesty in which you write.

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      November 19, 2016 at 6:40 am

      Woot! So excited to hear! And thank you Autumn! That really means a lot :)

  • Reply
    Christina Akin
    November 17, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    One way to do it… cut clothing purchases out of your budget! Ha!

    But really, after I had my baby back in March I saved a little money to purchase a small number of clothing for Fall/Winter once I figured out what my new body would be (first pregnancy!). We decided I would quit my job and stay home and that had a pretty large impact on our budget as I had the larger income. So no more seasonal capsule budget. And to be honest, I love it. I have the smallest wardrobe I have ever had (including when I followed Unfancy and had a 37 or less piece seasonal wardrobe). But I feel content and while I know that I will have to make some purchases for Spring/Summer since my old clothes legitimately don’t fit, I am at peace with my wardrobe for the first time ever. And that feels so good! Part of the peace comes from the fact I know I can’t go out and just buy one more top. So I don’t stress about it. I think a lot of my stress came from the fact I knew I was only going to get one top and so it had to be the ultimate, most perfect top ever! But that doesn’t exist.

    On another note, I also agree with the movement toward a more universal wardrobe that seasonal pieces flow in and out of. This is my goal and my other goal is to build slow. It won’t happen overnight and I’m okay with that (now).

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      November 19, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and share Christina! :) And I couldn’t agree more about the stress factor. We’ll see how it goes right? ;)

  • Reply
    November 20, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    I’ve been thinking about doing the same thing! It’s going to be my New Years challenge! Excited to follow along with you too.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    I apologize for this long, incoming and probably rambling comment!

    I admire this goal and have also been thinking about doing it myself, after overspending my budget for the last three months (but 1 month is about the longest I can imagine my own shopping-ban lasting, although I so admire the 6 month goal!) I think a lot about this whole crazy consumerist culture we’re all a part of, regardless of whether we’re “conscious consumers” — the key word is still consumer, I think. I really think you hit on something when you say that even after your capsule, even after your careful planning and hard work to stay within your articulated goals, there is still so much that you WANT. I feel this way. I think we all do. And the more I think about it, the more I think it’s simply just a condition of being human, interacting with other humans, a manifestation of the reality that we are all, in many ways, trying to better our situations. Which is not to excuse mindless consumption, but rather to reflect on *why* we are all doing it, not just personally but as a species.

    Ultimately, I think there are lessons to be learned from a shopping fast, just like there are lessons to be learned from a month of not drinking, or not eating dessert, or not buying take-out coffee, but the idea that these experiments change us in anything other than temporal, habit-driven ways is puzzling to me. Are we struggling against the culture and time we live in, e.g. a place (America) where you can get literally anything without having to do more than click a button or drive to the store? Because if so, I believe we’re barking up the wrong tree. My husband is an historian and he often says “You can never go back,” and I think that’s true. We will never return to a time when five outfits will be enough to make us happy, at least not in *our* lifetimes, barring a desperate situation like war or intense famine. And if that does happen, our clothes will be the least of our concern…Anyway, all this is to say that I would like to not shop for a month, but mostly it’s to “atone” (at least in my mind and through my budget) for my sins of over-shopping! Good luck on your journey, I always enjoy your blog.

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      November 21, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      No apology necessary! I’m so glad you took the time to share your thoughts. :) Honestly? I don’t believe I will ever reach that point of “arrival” either. You know the one where I won’t continuously feel the need of wanting more. I believe that I will always “battle” with that, and like you stated that it is a part of our human condition, so to speak. But I definitely have felt a shift in attitude in myself since I have started down this path of a “less is more” wardrobe. And I believe wholeheartedly that the habits we foster will ultimately shape the attitude of our day-to-day. I’m using my constant desire to acquire pieces for my wardrobe — whether backed with a valid need or not — as feedback from which I can gather that I’ve allowed some unhealthy habits to creep back into my life. So I’d like to think that simply taking a break from constantly perusing clothing sites and shopping for clothing all together for a significant period of time (and for the duration of a time I really don’t identify any true clothing needs, i.e. I don’t need more sweaters, etc. but I still don’t have a pair of jean shorts that fit so I’ll put that on the back burner until summer — when I’m “allowed” to shop again) will help me re-establish some of my day-to-day habits. And utilize that otherwise lost time more effectively. If nothing else than being more time with Nick and my boys. :)

      Seriously, thank you for your insight! Love hearing from you! :)

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