christen to the rescue, part three: what to buy

The past two weeks, I’ve written about my experience learning from Christen how to audit and edit my closet, and how to dress not only better, but also more like the person I am: a young, fashion-curious person who works in a non-traditional industry. Not only do I want to look more “cool,” I should.

Post-Christen revelations, finale

We finish the evening by making a shopping list. First and foremost, invest in more neutrals that aren’t black. Of course, I wear a lot of black, so adding more to it is the easy choice. But if I add more cream, white, tan, navy, I’ll get a wider range of outfit options, not just by adding pieces, but by adding all colors that are guaranteed to go together — I can feel more comfortable putting anything in my closet with anything else in my closet and call it a day.

As for the pieces I should add, they’re below:

elizabeth shopping list

1) Flowy, sleeveless shells. Great for blurring the contrast between my waist and my hips in a way that’s flattering, so I don’t look like pieces from two different puzzles.

2) Blazers. I’ll need to commit to tailoring these properly, and making sure to buy the appropriate lengths and materials, but a good blazer should last me long enough and give me enough wears that I’ll get a good return on investment.

3) Pants. Not jeans, nice pants. Christen maintains I need to try joggers, but I’m not sure I’m convinced. I will, however, take her advice and search out a good pair of tuxedo pants.

4) Less structured pieces in general. Aside from blazers, of course. I should be aiming for more floaty hemlines, more interesting draped cuts — things that don’t cut off my short frame, but stretch it out visually. It’s also easier to mix and match if not everything is structured. It makes sense when she puts it this way, but it’s not something I’ve thought about before.

5) More leggings. I only own two pairs, both basic black. This shocks Christen, and I vow to buy more, as well as the types of tops I can wear with them without imagining my father looking at me and asking if I’m planning to put on pants over my long johns.

6) Black flats. Actually, lots of flats, but particularly black ones. Christen tells me, “No more round-toe ballet flats. Everything else works, from pointed to almond to oval, but the short round toe box is most certainly on its way out.”

She’s given me a lot to consider in my wardrobe, and that’s a good thing. I’m inclined to buy by rote, almost, so it will be refreshing — and probably safer on my budget — if I’m thinking of these things when I’m shopping. If it doesn’t fit the Christen Criteria, it doesn’t need to come home with me.

I’m relieved that she doesn’t share ways to minimize my curves, but rather accentuate properly. (There’s a right and a wrong way to do everything, isn’t there?) It’s always been one of my pet peeves when fashion advice to curvier girls consists basically of, “And then put on all of your shapewear because no one wants to see your hips.” I happen to like my body, and I’m glad when Christen recognizes this and makes suggestions that will be flattering — not minimizing — to my shape.

The shoes will be a tough one. I actually prefer a pointed toe on most things, but I’m also very hard on shoes–within days of buying pointed anything, the toes are scuffed and scratched. I’ll have to try harder to walk more gently, and break the bad habits I have, like allowing my foot to catch the chair leg to keep my legs crossed at dinner. At one point, Christen looks at a pair of red patent point-toe flats and asks how long I’ve had them. She is shocked when my answer is that I wore them for only two months last summer — they look like I’ve had them for years. (I start thinking about how old my shoes are in human years as compared to shoe years, and decide that shoe years must be even worse than dog years. This is a sad prospect for my footwear.)

I walk Christen out after we finish, and feel excited about my vestiary possibilities for 2016. I’m grateful to have her guidance, because I feel like she was able to really take my personality into account, and give me recommendations that don’t just suit my body type, but suit my needs — financial and practical in addition to sartorial. I am so pumped to share in a few months how this venture is going! I have a good feeling about this year.

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