Retirement Remedies: Stretching a Wardrobe: Spring/Summer, Part I

When you're working within a budget, you have to use tools available to you to stretch your dollars.  I am in need of summer clothing.  In the South, Spring lasts about two weeks and then we're into some pretty warm weather rather quickly.  When you're at my stage of life, heat is heat is heat and you swelter.  So yes, though it's just April, I am looking for a summer wardrobe.

In my closet I have a few key pieces, same as most people have: black dress pants, gray dress pants, white jeans, black jeans and blue jeans, a Chevron striped maxi skirt.

I have a mere handful of tee-shirts and blouses in coral, black, green, white.  I have a few purses and several pairs of sandals.  I have costume jewelry and a few shrugs and scarves.  Anyone looking at my closet would see that it is modest.  Not a room sized closet for me.  It's a modest sized walk-in which I share with John, various stored items and we have plenty of room to walk in. I have one 3 1/2 foot rack for my clothing.  That's winter, summer and in between seasons.

So you see I'm not bewailing my 'nothing to wear' status with a room sized closet full of things to wear.  I have a need however, to make do this summer as much as I can, replacing only what must be replaced and using to the fullest those things I have.  At present, I'm not ready to replace, so I must use.

I went on Pinterest and looked at fashion boards to determine how I might use the pieces in my closet.  I looked for specific elements and pinned those outfits that use what I have in the closet already or for which I could adapt pieces I have to achieve the same look.  I write these ideas down too, and then I build outfits and hang them in my closet ready to wear.  This saves that dithering at the closet when you really need to be moving.  I suffer from wardrobe anxiety, lol, second guessing myself if I start trying to build an outfit on the run, so I choose to do this when I have time and can change out pieces that don't look as well as I'd like.   I don't try these on unless I'm very unsure about how it might look.  One advantage to having few pieces is that what you have is comfortable!

Outfit #1:  So I thought today I'd show you a few of the outfits I'd pinned...and how I used what I had to create a similar look.  I wish I could do these side by side but they will most likely show up one under the other. The link for this first look is here though I went four times and never saw it.  Still the original link is posted in case anyone wants to know whose credit this goes to.

Dark wash jeans, white tank, navy cardigan and navy/white scarf, black shoes, white purse, silver earrings.

 I may end up dyeing my jeans to try and make them darker.  That would certainly be an inexpensive enough fix and would essentially give me two different colors of blue jeans.  I used a white tank and a tissue thin navy cardigan.  I accessorised with silver bangles.  I have earrings there too but confession time: my silver hoops are broken.  I'll be replacing them as soon as I can.  The scarf is more navy than it shows in the photo.  If it's very warm, I'll ditch the cardigan and wear a white tee and the scarf and likely substitute the black sandals for the shoes.

Outfit #2:  This was the inspiration for the next outfit. Photo credit here
If you click on the link you'll note the chevron is neither taupe or gray as it reads but fine navy/white lines.  However, it reads enough like my own Chevron maxi that I felt I could do something with it.  Now I didn't include my denim jacket but I do have one.  I used the white tee rather than than a tank.  I'm not really comfortable exposing so much of my upper arms since I don't expect to wear the jacket.

I noted the shoes had a natural earthy sort of element to them.  My own shoes are just glittery flip flops until I can find some nice plain brown leather.  In the meantime, I used that earthy element in my accessory necklace.  The bag has the same feel as the one in the inspiration photo.

Outfit #3:  photo credit here
This outfit really stretched my imagination to use what I did for it.

 I have this chambray colored tee-shirt and white jeans, white bag and silver sandals and bangles.  I used the pearl necklace because it has the same delicate light feel the bag does in the photo above and I chose to use some pearl earrings a friend made me years ago.  I could swap these pieces out for a delicate matching set of earrings and necklace in light turquoise and silver as well.  If it is cooler, which is a possibility in April, I can use my grey tank top under this shirt as it has a wide neck.

Outfit #4:photo credit

 I loved the rather bohemian look in the above photo.  The peasant blouse, the bright bag...Everything else are pretty basic.

Looking at the photo I shall swap out the multi strand turquoise necklace for my bold chunky turquoise one.    My tunic has a silver/gold threading on the bib which matches the sandals.  I don't have the colorful bohemian style bag...and I'd love to find one but I shall work with what I have.

I seemed to have been focused on the white shirts in my wardrobe this week when I put together outfits.  I'll share more as I set up more but at present four outfits will likely do me for a couple of  weeks.


Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

This was such a fun post..You did a great job , recreating the look...
I need some summer clothes too. We have hot/long sticky summers too. [I am in Ms.]
Have a great day..

Anonymous said...

Cute ideas - what do you type I to Pinterest to bring up outfit ideas? Pam

Anne in the kitchen said...

Smart to use what you have to complete "new" looks. I am trying my hand at doing some refashioning this summer, to update some of my looks without spending anything.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the inspirational ideas. When I was young putting together outfits was so easy. Not now. I can get a shirt and a pair of pants together but what to make it look stylish? They show so many outfits with blazers or cardigans or other long of 3/4 sleeve tops over everything. That will not work for summer. They really show that look for ideas on how to camouflaged hips. But what about when it is 100 and HUMID too? :-) My upper arms need to be covered but still our looks would work with tops with sleeves of any length. This post has got me thinking of upping my looks! Thanks for the boost! I have worn earrings always and now bracelets a lot but need a more put together look and so I too will get my thinking cap on and plan ahead!! ;-) By the way...your going to really look good this summer!! Sarah

Sparkiedoll said...

What great ideas and inspiration. I am a shocker for not getting properly dressed because I can't pull an outfit together. I'm going to spend this afternoon taking a leaf out of your book. I spend my working life in a uniform (just 2 days a week now) so if I could get just 5 outfits pulled together it would be great. Thanks as always for writing my favourite blog.
Rose x

a8383 said...

Oh what a great inspiration! I am with Sarah- when we were young- outfit- no problem. Now I just find myself putting on jeans and a shirt and never feel put together. Gonna work on that this spring! Angela

vickie morgan said...

Love this....I think being organized like this is the key ...then you don't just stare at the clothes like I do every morning!

Lana said...

Good job! I need to do this too! I am having too many clothing meltdowns when I need to be dressed and ready. I have trouble finding white shirts in my area for some reason and they are so useful in the wardrobe.

Lana said...

Forgot to say-my husband wears jeans for work in a casual office and so we have to keep him in newish jeans all of the time. When he gets new ones I make sure that my jeans get in the wash with his new ones and they get re-dyed that way. I can really stretch my jeans out that way.

Tammy said...

Thank you! I've always wanted to see when you put outfits together every season, and I love the styles you chose. I love that you include the jewelry and shoes when you assemble them. In summer, I don't like anything around my neck, so I don't do necklaces or scarves if it's hot and humid, but they really do make the outfit look pulled together.
Slowly my 10 year-old clothes are being deleted from the closet, and I'm trying to update my wardrobe, but new yoga pants have been the biggest investment this past year.
I did just order a couple of new blouses and summer dresses using my jury duty money, so will take inspiration from you and put together outfits with them when they arrive. I'm so excited!

Rhonda said...

Terri, what a helpful post. I've never paid much attention these outfit style shots but now I will. Your outfits look amazing. I am very impressed you were able to put together these very pretty look-alike outfits with what you already have,

Janell in Georgia said...

Please come dress me. I have been having hot flashes and want the coolest least clothes possible. Since I hardly leave the house, I don't have many 'nice' clothes. I wear mostly dresses (see above statement about hot flashes) and I have had most of them at least 3 years. Shopping is just too dang depressing since I've gained so much weight. Your outfits are great

Kathy said...

Love your outfits!
I am a jean and t-shirt girl, but feeling more frumpy lately. Thanks for sharing your outfits!

Anonymous said...

Very nice! I am still in winter clothes here in the north, but it is getting warm so the spring and summer things will come out tomorrow. I am thinking instead of putting all the pants, tops, ect. together in my closet I should try your system. I am also thinking that when I go shopping for a new piece I should wear what I want to wear it with, instead of just eye-balling it although I have pretty good luck. Don't really live in a fashion conscious personal society so I generally look pretty good. Someoine dressed to the nine's here gets noticed! Gramma D.

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