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Learning How To Shop My Own Closet

The beautiful thing about working retail throughout college was that I had no shortage of access to new clothes and employee discounts basically forty hours every week. I was exposed to new inventory on the daily at the consignment store and definitely had eyes bigger than my, er, closet. Even still, that rarely stopped me from springing for new items every paycheck or so, too excited by making my own money (simpler times in Cleveland, guys) and the opportunity to wear these new pieces either to class, out and about with friends, or to my next shift. I wasn't "fashion blogging" at this time so these outfits weren't constantly being shot and posted on my Instagram and blog. I was just wearing them to wear them, which I suppose was good versus buying things to just wear in photos and either (1) keep them and let them sit in my closet or (2) just tucking the tags back in and returning things that I had no intention on actually owning.

I suppose it was good that my huge influx of clothing was all secondhand, but still, the idea that I constantly needed new clothes for new outfits versus just trying to create outfits out of what I already owned by just getting a little more creative was a little bizarre and definitely an expensive habit to keep up and sustain. If you read that complete run-on of a sentence, bravo, my people. Bravo.

Now that my life is dictated by budgets–which it should have been all along–shopping newnewnew isn't an option. It's an easy way out, for sure, but it's just not financially sustainable nor like, environmentally sustainable because we all know I cannot afford that life when it comes to mass amounts. I'm not necessarily qualified to preach to the choir about the the impact that the fashion industry has on the environment so I'm not going to dive too deep into that and will instead leave that up to Megan from the newly re-branded ACTEEVISM and will continue to educate myself from her words as well as shared resources. But let's let the underlying message of this conversation be that you don't have to necessarily shop every single thing in your life sustainably, but instead, consciously.

I've been trying to shop my closet more and more lately, especially when the temptation to buy at the beginning of a new season is so strong. I know I have more than enough clothes. In full disclosure, I have a walk-in closet in my apartment that I have to switch summer and winter clothes in and out of as the seasons pass. Needless to say, shopping should not be my first priority, but I constantly want new. It's not even necessarily new things, it's just new outfits or looks or just something that keeps me from wearing the same outfit endlessly. Not that I'm not a fan of outfit repeating, because I am, but I have a habit of wearing the same outfit, just as I have the habit of listening to the same song, eating the same food, or binge-watching the same show (you guessed it, Gilmore Girls).

I used to be so into fashion and keeping up with the trends and creating outfit after outfit. Somewhere throughout the years, the passion for fashion (lol) died down a bit, and it seems that a piece of my creativity left with it. I tend to opt for a simple jeans and tee or black turtleneck combo when it comes to the colder months instead of wearing the occasionally odd looks that I used to proudly sport day in day out.

There are mornings where I feel the stress building up in the pit of my stomach because I convince myself that I have nothing to wear after twenty minutes of tearing apart my closet and trying various things on. Some mornings, I concede and wear my unofficial uniform of the season. Other times, I hold myself responsible and try to squeeze an ounce of creativity out. This usually leads me to Instagram in which I will either scroll through my actual feed or through my fahsion inspiration folder

Case in point: see above's look? I really wanted to wear that plaid skirt but I've worn this outfit so many times with different variations: plain black turleneck, black sweatshirt with oxford layered underneath, plain white tee. I wanted to spice it up but I had no idea what would do the trick. And then I took a look at my saved folder on Instagram, saw that Sophie Milner had worn a similar skirt last year with a graphic sweatshirt and immediately thought of pairing this sweater with it. It's just another black sweater, but the red Brooklyn decal that coordinated with the plaid and styled with the boots and lipstick print bag was enough flair to make this outfit seem brand new versus me just wearing the same thing over and over again.

I urge you to step back, really see what you have in your closet, and when in doubt, follow some cute af influencers on Instagram and #GetThatInspo.


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  3. Learning how to shop my own closet has been a revelation. It's not just about rediscovering forgotten treasures, but a journey of self-expression and sustainable fashion. Every item tells a story, and as I mix and match, I create new chapters. It's an art of curating personal style and embracing the beauty of what's already there.

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