A Weekend Wardrobe Edit

Susan B's favorite 3/4 sleeve summer tops. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

It’s been too hot the last couple of days to go anywhere or even hang out in the yard, so I’ve been staying in and doing another Wardrobe Edit. Not a full-blown “Kondo,” but I’ve had some things hanging on the “Pending” rack that needed a final verdict.

Since having my color analysis last year, I’ve been buying less, but have still had some “misses.” Right color, wrong style. Not quite right color. Less than stellar fit (that can’t be altered). Good on paper, but can’t make it work with other pieces in my wardrobe.

Mind the gap…

I realized that a lot of the pieces I’m culling are what I’d call “stopgap” items. Not 10’s, but were the best I could find to fill an immediate need. Usually I fall into this trap with my summer wardrobe. Lately, warm weather styles are either too frilly/flowy or too oversized or too skimpy. I end up settling for pieces that are serviceable, but not quite my style.

My summer style “sweet spot” is a lightweight elbow or 3/4 sleeve top or tee, so for next summer I’m going to limit my search to those. And I’d love to find more linen trousers like those I bought in Paris last year to survive the “canicule,” in other colors besides navy.

Just FYI, the tops above were never in jeopardy; they’re Keepers and I’d love to find more like them. I ditched some too-baggy short-sleeved tees, and blouses that were either too “Boho” or too Classic/structured for me.

What “stopgap” pieces do you have in your wardrobe? What would you ideally replace them with?

Stay in touch.

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83 Comments

  1. Robyn
    September 7, 2020 / 3:16 am

    I laughed when I read this article because so many of my clothes have worn out but I can’t find replacements for them. Is it just me or have styles become more extreme? Too frilly, boxy, shrunken, oversize, ballon sleeves, flutter sleeves, whew I could go on. Many years ago I didn’t have trouble finding good basic affordable clothes. Many of those pieces are still sitting in my closet exhausted from constant wear. Plus I attempt, but not always, stay within my color palette and body shape recommendations.

    • Rita Prangle
      September 7, 2020 / 5:40 am

      Robyn,
      No, it isn’t just you; styles have become more extreme. This is the result of fast fashion that requires “new” styles to be brought very frequently. It is driven by young people who don’t worry about quality, but must be “on trend” instead. After, so what if it’s comfortable, flattering in fit and color? It has to look good on instagram, that is all!

      • Olena Rakova
        September 7, 2020 / 6:22 am

        100% !

        • Robyn
          September 8, 2020 / 2:33 am

          Thank you for your thoughtful answer. I really do enjoy your blog. I don’t remember ever having such a hard time finding basic clothes. At 61 I want to look modern but classic. Is that an oxymoron? While a trend here and there is fun, in general I’m not a trend follower. My hope is my old reliables don’t fall apart.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      September 8, 2020 / 6:01 pm

      Balloon sleeves are a serious hazard when cooking.

  2. Beverly
    September 7, 2020 / 4:14 am

    I’ve been doing the same thing! And I agree with Robyn ….everything seems too extremes and its hard to find real good basics that aren’t boring. I’ve been purchasing a lot of items from Uniqlo which I know isn’t on your radar but they have nice, good quality pieces in 100% cotton that I just love. We just recently moved from CA to FL and I wish I could find someone to help with my colors..you would think at 71 I would get it but I still don’t. Thank you always for your amazing posts…I always get such good ideas from you!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      September 7, 2020 / 5:12 am

      Hi Beverly, I love some of the styles at Uniqlo, but usually they’re too long for me.

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        September 7, 2020 / 3:26 pm

        Usually I’d think of East Asian women (Japanese, Chinese, Korean…) to be not much taller on average than you or me, but I guess the current generation is considerably taller. I still do want to try out their layers to be worn between indoor and outdoor clothing, as that can be important for travel, if we ever do that again.

        • Robyn
          September 8, 2020 / 2:37 am

          I’ve wanted to try out Uniqlo too. Their pants look polished, but comfy, and I’ve heard great things about their wool and cashmere. Thanks for reminding me to check out their website.

          • Duchesse
            September 8, 2020 / 5:06 am

            I like Uniqlo’s all-cotton tees, the ubiquitous down jackets, and the HeatTech base layers but the cashmere is not good enough to go the distance. As a person who wears cashmere 9 months of the year, I have learned it is better to hold out for a sale from the better brands.

          • Maria
            September 10, 2020 / 1:49 am

            I have a Uniqlo cashmere sweater that is several years old and it’s wearing really well. A more recent cashmere purchase from them turned out to be much poorer quality (thinner, problems with pilling), which is sad. Their woollen sweaters at the moment also seem to be so thin that they’re see-through.

    • September 7, 2020 / 12:19 pm

      Ninety percent of my pandemic wardrobe has come from Uniqlo. To my surprise, I found myself loving their warm-weather dresses. (I’d not previously been a dress-wearer at all.) For $15 or $20 apiece I could experiment without much risk.

  3. Sue
    September 7, 2020 / 4:30 am

    I’m in total agreement with Robyn: a nearly worn out wardrobe, but so difficult to find replacements that aren’t “too” something.
    Admittedly it doesn’t help being 5’2″, but the offerings here in France are making it impossible for this 62 year old to spend any money! Thank goodness I can sew and have been occupied renovating old items and making a few garments that don’t overwhelm my frame and which fit with my ‘winter’ palette (also an issue)

  4. Kelly
    September 7, 2020 / 4:58 am

    It does seem that it’s harder to find those basics. I was joking with a friend that I could go back to my teenage 80’s closet and be right in style! Beverly’s suggestion on Uniqlo is a good one – I love their merino wool sweaters. I’ve also had good luck with J Crew and Lands End for tees. Lands End in particular have the best heavier weight basic white tees and striped tees. They also carry various sleeve lengths.

    • Marguerite Krenek
      September 7, 2020 / 11:25 am

      Kelly, you mentioned Lands End for heavier weight tees. I’ve been wearing LLBean tees and love them. Available in petites, as well! Good source of basics.

      • Sheilah
        September 7, 2020 / 6:30 pm

        I agree totally about the quality of the LLBean tees. And the real plus is that they come in a broad array of colors in every palette- I am a spring, and they had my favorite teals, turquoises, aquas, butter yellows, and soft corals, all with three quarter length sleeves. I bought several to replace old, worn, stretched out tees, and these happy colors have really brightened my socially distanced summer.

        • Robyn
          September 8, 2020 / 2:48 am

          I agree Kelly, I wish I could go back to the old clothes I purged or wore out and get them back! 80’s, 90’s early 2000’s any time would be better than now. V neck tees fit best on me. Are the Lands End v necks low cut? A problem I have is that tees are too low cut. I do have good luck with somethings at J Crew, like jeans, cords and chinos but like so many other places their clothes have gotten a little too sweet for me. I’m a pretty basic dresser. It seems clothing stores geared for my age want me to dress like I’m an 8 year old girl.

  5. Lisa
    September 7, 2020 / 5:04 am

    Oh my goodness, it’s like you ladies are reading my mind. I’m 5.1 and 51years young. I have such trouble finding things that are just right!! I will occasionally find a 10 but most times I’m just making do, as I feel I have exhausted all my shopping avenue, even desperately looking above my affordability. I’m in Australia and in desperation I have bought from some US websites and have to guess my sizing. Unfortunately the postage taxes make it not worth sending back if the fit isn’t quite right.
    Thanks for listening

  6. Renee
    September 7, 2020 / 5:08 am

    Your post today made me feel so much better about my “misses”, Robyn! I tend to feel guilty about my closet mistakes rather than seeing them as part of an evolution or fine-tuning. Looking around my closet, you’re right, most of the “misses” were stopgap items that I needed for a trip or other outing or I got them when I decided to try a new trend that turned out to be not me. Reading your post has motivated me to do yet another wardrobe edit since it really is too hot for anything else. Thanks!

  7. Cynthia
    September 7, 2020 / 5:16 am

    Interesting that so many fashionistas are having difficulties finding those important basics. I’m 5’3 125 and short waisted (necessitating petite sizing for better fit).. I’ve been having luck with Talbots this year. I’d been a die hard fan back in the 80’s and 90’s when I’d wait for their twice yearly sale because I couldn’t afford their clothing otherwise. Then either I changed my aesthetic or they did, or both, but we fell out of love. But lately, they seem to be hitting some good notes!

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      September 7, 2020 / 3:40 pm

      My problem with Talbots is that they always seemed to be out of the colours I wanted in wardrobe staples. I love denim jackets, but crave them in my favourite colours. These days I have only worn-out and too-large indigo ones and two black ones I love, but really want more colours. My colours are hues such as deep red, deep violet, forest green. They show up on their site but are never in stock.

      If I’m working outside my home office, it is usually either at cultural events or NGO conferences. I don’t want to look corporate, which would turn off my audience, but do want to look a bit more grown-up and professional than students attending.

      Worn-out and too-large denim jacket has gone into the “cleaning” basket: clothing for doing heavy housework, painting and garden/yard work. I have to keep that small.

      • Robyn
        September 8, 2020 / 2:55 am

        I used to shop at Talbots too, many years ago. Then something changed, not sure who or what, but I haven’t bought anything from them in a very long time. For the most part I like simple classic clothes, and I feel their clothes have become less classic.

        • Duchesse
          September 8, 2020 / 5:12 am

          Ah, Talbots, with whom I have a love-hate relationship. I am devoted to their jeans, which fit me— cut for a woman, not a teen. But the tee and top colours can be shrieky and unsubtle, and a year or so ago they stuck ruffles on just about everything. They seem to have calmed a bit lately. The cashmere is decent (better than Everlane or Uniqlo), and they still offer a few items like wool flannel trousers. But acrylic has crept into their once pure wool sweaters and sizing can be off.
          They are also one of the few who still offer things like jackets in Misses, Petites, and Petite Plus, all in the same fabric. They have cut their Tall offering considerably.

          • Vicki
            September 9, 2020 / 9:20 am

            Duchesse, you are not the only one lamenting fabric changes. My favorite sweater cardigan is still offered at J Crew but has morphed from 100% merino wool to cotton and wool to this year’s 35% cotton, 35% poly and 30% merino. The price has only increased.

  8. Vikki H
    September 7, 2020 / 5:39 am

    I transitioned from wearing scrubs every day, OR nurse for 20+ years, to corporate casual life two years ago. I love color and for some reason felt that black was where 95% of my business wardrobe needed to be. I seemingly forgot that I am at my best in jewel tones (winter coloring; think Nigella Lawson but with a bit more Mediterranean). Being home instead of on the road every week has given me the time to look at my wardrobe with a critical eye. I have purged it twice this year and going back in to cull more that just doesn’t work for me any longer. I agree with a lack of staples being available at reasonable price points. I did start buying Lands’ End t-shirts again after a hiatus due to faltering quality for a few years. I have been happy with what I have purchased from them this year (basic t’s and a sundress). When I return to travel, I am a healthcare consultant now for ORs, I will have black or navy bottoms but color to brighten my days.

  9. Diane B
    September 7, 2020 / 5:56 am

    How is it that when I am in a store or searching for an item, it can look purchase worthy, then get home and I think ‘what was I thinking”. Perhaps, I think, it is because compared to the other options it is the best of the bunch. This is not a reason to add to my closet. I have to do a more deep dive into my style and stop the impulse buys. I try to now have an item in mind then only look for that. I know that sleevless is a huge NO for me, yet I can tell myself that I will wear it under another layer, thus have way too many of those that are not being worn. The frustration goes on, so I must follow you Susan and just search for what works for the life I have now, not a fantasy life I would like to have. We are having cooler weather now and today is rain so perhaps I should spend the day in the closet and edit. Great post and comments as usual.

    • Leoni
      September 7, 2020 / 6:21 am

      My dilemma is ridding myself of those wear once-a year-items that I miss the one time I wish I had kept them. Is it worth retaining rarely-worn “In case?” I donate and then regret…even if I haven’t worn the item that year.

      • Téa
        September 7, 2020 / 8:20 am

        My answer – YES! I culled my wardrobe years ago of “black-tie” worthy items, from years ago when we were on the circuit…I kept 2 “winners” in the back of my closet…as a petite, busty gal, off the rack is not in my vocabulary, so alterations are necessary. The 2 items I kept (a black cocktail stunner and a teal floor-length winner) can fill the gamut with any sort of event that’s posh. My advice, keep a few!!

        • Lagatta de Montréal
          September 7, 2020 / 4:01 pm

          I’m like you, Victorian figure. Large bust; narrow shoulders. Very hard to fit properly, alas.
          And I lost quite a lot of weight recently. I need at least one bra that fits properly, and they are so expensive. I can’t tolerate underwires; they make me bleed.

    • Lisa
      September 7, 2020 / 8:49 am

      For hard to fit or hard to find I suggest finding a local seamstress. You can get what you want in fit and style and you are supporting a local business. Win win. Although fabric stores may not be as plentiful, there is still choice out there and you can have unique one of a kind garments that flatter you.

  10. Karen in Cowtown
    September 7, 2020 / 6:05 am

    I like to think that someone else might love to have my fashion mistakes and those lonely items I never choose to wear. So I happily pack them up and donate them to my local thrift/resale shops that support homeless women and women’s shelters. I’m always striving to reduce my wardrobe to only my true loves that I am sad to see wear out.

  11. Mary
    September 7, 2020 / 6:10 am

    HI Susan
    It might be fun to see your misses and near misses and why??
    I hope you are safe and coolish-
    the Bay Area hit 100 yesterday–
    Yes to basics and also linen tees for this weather–I am wearing a Massimo Dutti (on sale)
    white linen tee as I type–very comfortable (and a picture of a Paris street screen printed on the front of it). And I bought a pair of wide legged Eileen Fisher linen pants-also very comfortable in this heat.
    Great blog and fun to read!
    thanks!

    • Kendall
      September 7, 2020 / 8:22 am

      I agree with Mary, Susan! I think it would be interesting to see what you got rid of, and for what reason. I love all your posts!

      111 degrees in Copperopolis, California yesterday. I might work on my closet today, too!

      • lyn
        September 7, 2020 / 10:37 am

        Yes. I’d love to see the mistakes, too. There is a lot to be learned from them. (And they are fun!)

        • Kale
          September 7, 2020 / 11:06 am

          I too would love to see the mistakes and learn the whys.

  12. September 7, 2020 / 6:11 am

    Oh no! are you getting rid of that cute shirt with the mermaid? Oh, I love that! sometimes I think we focus too much on wearing the same style, same colors, etc. that we are used to. I do edit my wardrobe and usually when I have bought something that really did not suit me in the first place. Right now I really don’t need any new clothes since we are staying home a lot due to COVID. I did just buy a beautiful linen blouse from Johnny Was. I do love boho style!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      September 7, 2020 / 6:16 am

      No the mermaid shirt is one of the keepers! all of the shirts in the photo are.

  13. September 7, 2020 / 6:50 am

    I need to cull my closets again. Thanks for the encouragement.
    p.s. Glad the mermaid shirt is not in jeopardy!

  14. Debra
    September 7, 2020 / 7:12 am

    I decided yesterday to go on a shopping hiatus until the end of the year in order to ‘clear my head’ and then am going to do a major clean out. My goal is to start thinking each day, “Why did I choose to wear this today? What do I like about it?” so as to better identify my style. I’ve kind of been all over the place in my shopping and need to stop that! I find you to be quite an intentional shopper and I appreciate that – my role model 🙂

    • Eve
      September 7, 2020 / 9:12 am

      I have too. I find that good fit is most important to me so I’m weeding out all that don’t quite make it. I have large bust but small frame so shoulder fit is hard to come by so I have to settle. Like Blanche in “Streetcar,..” Though, I can’t settle anymore. Out they go.

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        September 7, 2020 / 3:56 pm

        I’m like you, Victorian figure. Large bust; narrow shoulders. Very hard to fit properly, alas.
        And I lost quite a lot of weight recently. I need at least one bra that fits properly, and they are so expensive. I can’t tolerate underwires; they make me bleed.

  15. September 7, 2020 / 7:18 am

    Thank you for sharing that you make mistakes! I feel at this age (65) I should know what I am doing, but often don’t. When you are out of the ordinary (5’1″) I think it is much harder to find just right things. We also
    have lost all of our brick and mortar stores except Kohl’s and T.J. Maxx. So most shopping has to be done online and I think that leads to poor choices. I keep things I would not if I was trying on in the store. I have resorted to second hand and restyling old things. I am also trying hard to be happy with what I have. I remind myself that buying less and second hand is good for the planet! Thank you Susan for your inspiring blog. You are the top on my list of favorites.

  16. Pat
    September 7, 2020 / 7:24 am

    A couple of years ago, Chico’s had the perfect length, 3/4 sleeve length tee, nice weight tee. I bought a few in white, that are still in my closet. I rarely wear them since I don’t want to wear them out. They went to the longer, more boho style the next year. I so wish they would keep the basics along with keep up with trends. Lands End has been my best source for a basic white tee. Problem is the sizing for me at 5’4” the regular M is long, and petite L is better length, yet a little large.

    • Rondi
      September 7, 2020 / 9:03 am

      I, too, love Lands End for t shirts. They wear well and are a good weight. V neck and crew neck. Pretty good color choice. At 5’3″ I buy their petite t shirts. But I don’t go up in size. So I would buy a medium in regular or petite. Hope that helps!

  17. Darlene
    September 7, 2020 / 7:27 am

    I hope you keep the orange with poodles!! I have tried to buy some dresses this year wanting to change my style a little. But I really have not been successful. Now I have a closet full of things that probably won’t make 2 seasons. I hate it when I do that! I have bought some things you have modeled and usually they are winners for me!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      September 7, 2020 / 8:26 am

      Yes, kept that one too! Will probably wear it today.

  18. Cathy
    September 7, 2020 / 7:31 am

    Thank you for your posts! Like you, I find the styles don’t fit me or my life style. At 71, shortwaisted, 125lbs and 5’4”, I’m better with petite tops and regular bottoms. I’ve given up on Nordstrom except for shoes! Simple tops that aren’t fitted but aren’t huge ( looking at you JJill!). Love all the clothes you post, but they’re usually sold out by the time I view them.

  19. Elizabeth
    September 7, 2020 / 7:35 am

    Susan, please don’t get rid of the yellow top with squares that you’re wearing in the side bar photo. It’s the most flattering of all and you just sparkle in it.
    As for the new fall fashions, been there, done that, back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I’m your age and I want clean straighter lines. Interestingly, when I travelled in Europe in my 20s & 30s, as well as now in my 60s, the older women (guess I’m in that category now!) always dress so smartly in clothing that fits properly, has clean straighter lines (even if they have heavier figures), up to date glasses, little make-up and a perfect shorter hair cut. To me, it’s a streamlined, no baggage look.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      September 7, 2020 / 8:19 am

      I kept that one too, not to worry! 😉 It’s a favorite.

    • Margaret
      September 7, 2020 / 10:06 am

      Yes, when I was in Europe several years ago, I felt that I fit right in! In Texas, not so much…

  20. Linda
    September 7, 2020 / 7:53 am

    Hi. Totally unrelated but wondering if you could do or have done a post on different types of clothes hangers and what works best for different item types.

    Thank you.

  21. Nancy MK
    September 7, 2020 / 8:00 am

    Ah, if only the thrift stores where my mistakes go were open! I keep buying Eileen Fisher linen and cotton tops, lovely colors, well-made, yet I cannot stand the cut, just a square with sleeves which fit in no size for me. Then there are the EF cardigans, need something to cover the arms, bought several, can’t stand them either. My theory is that those with broad (or at least broader than mine) shoulders regardless of size look good in EF. T-shirts from Three Dots, St. James and LL Bean fit well, neither too tight nor too loose, last for years so are worth the cost.

    • Jan Whichard
      September 7, 2020 / 8:55 am

      I used to buy a lot of EF. Something has changed with her styling or lack thereof. Quality, IMHO, has declined and her pricing continues to be a bit higher than what one receives for the money. Boxy, baggy, slouchy is not terribly flattering for most of us…I’m leaving EF to the long legged, tall, slim gals who can pull it off!

      • Jeanne
        September 7, 2020 / 10:53 am

        Agree on EF. Some thrift mistakes of EF got re thrifted. Too shapeless and boxy.

        • Robyn
          September 8, 2020 / 3:01 am

          The sizing doesn’t work for me either. I have broad shoulders, a larger chest, narrow waist and hips. The clothes are lovely but look like a square rag on me.

  22. Kathryn Berry
    September 7, 2020 / 8:11 am

    I want some solid wardrobe basics too. I don’t want non-functioning buttons and zippers as decorations. And belled 3/4 length sleeves? Really?
    I listened yesterday to an excellent podcast chronicling the decline of the fashion industry and looking toward its future. It mentioned some reasons for the addition of frills/buttons/frou frou and so on to basic styles. If you have an hour to spare, it’s worth a listen (and it’s not entirely about sweats) : The Daily (a free NYT podcast), “Sweatpants Forever”, 08/23/20202.

  23. Téa
    September 7, 2020 / 8:34 am

    Staying home has really made me “think” about what 1. feels good and 2. looks good. As I’ve dressed these last few months, if it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t get worn. I’ve been altering items myself (thank you 1970’s home economics teachers!) and giving them another whirl. At 5’3″ it’s been a lifetime of “too long sleeves”. 6 months later, all my sleeves work for ME! It’s taken me a long time to realize this. I LOVE a 3/4 sleeve, too!!

  24. Francesca B.
    September 7, 2020 / 8:34 am

    My beautiful 27 year old daughter is back living with us because of covid and money/social worries and the other day I cleaned my closet and she got “first dibs” and she was delighted with everything! All the mistakes and the goodies of old. Really made me thankful. One of the highlights was a Collette Dinnegan dress (used to live in Australia) that I bought to go to Sydney Opera with my Papa on a very specail occasion which I can nolonger fit into it, and she looked amazing in it and breathed new life into the dress. Good moment ladies. Another favorite I have is a vintage black velvet Hardy Amies jacket which is divine but too small now but i will never get rid off it because of the memories attached.

    • Vicki
      September 10, 2020 / 7:17 am

      So glad your daughter was able to appreciate your clothes. I still have a strapless velvet and netting cocktail dress from the 1920’s from my mother which I wore frequently. It was timeless and the fabric and craftsmanship is found only in couture now. It is still a connection to my mother that I hope to pass to a grandchild one day as I had no daughters. If not, I may have it framed!

  25. Kyle
    September 7, 2020 / 9:04 am

    J Crew makes a very nice, basic Perfect Tee that has long short sleeves and a flattering crew neck. I wear them a LOT.

    • Debra
      September 7, 2020 / 5:04 pm

      I think I have a dozen! Only issue is that the sizing is inconsistent. But once I find the right size, it’s perfect indeed.

  26. September 7, 2020 / 9:43 am

    How interesting to go and analyse your mistakes – we normally gloss over such things before swiftly moving on and repeating them, so I really enjoyed this post. I have learnt (and will probably need to learn again several times over) not to buy tops with a pattern, I have white hair/pale eyes/pale skin and am a “winter” but also a relatively low contrast winter, wild patterns/busyness overwhelms me – and I always go off patterns on my upper half rapidly, love them on others but on me – no. Also certain brands I love on other people, on me – ick, I cant do with fussy bits (I think manufacturers often use excessive fuss to detail shoddy design/implementation), and I dont do fabrics with an excessive amount of man made fibre. Sounds pernickety I guess – but give me plain well made tees in my colours and I’m happy.

  27. Holly Beaver
    September 7, 2020 / 10:46 am

    I, too, would love to see your ‘misses,’ Susan. I have been wearing the silk blend lightweight, short-sleeve sweaters from J. Crew; Not slim fitting as their t-shirts, which are always too long for me anyway.

  28. Jeanne
    September 7, 2020 / 10:49 am

    I’m a little horrified when I see in my closet clothes that I have worn once or twice! I now factor in cost per wear. I found some nice soft tee shirts at Talbots and Gap this year and also a linen blouse and easy breezy cropped pants fro j crew. But that’s about it. Trying to wear what is old and also finding with covid there is nowhere to go so wear a cute outfit. Ugh. Just retired and now will try and purge work clothes but it will be tough. I had a different identity for 40 yrs! On to the next chapter.
    I do think fashion is a little out of control. I remember much better clothes (like from Ann Taylor) and now it’s alot of cheesy stuff. Another reason to keep the oldies but goodies.

  29. Anon
    September 7, 2020 / 11:09 am

    The classic simplicity that I loved during my younger years is nowhere to be found. Add that to the difficulty of finding plus-size garments when plus-size stores are shutting down, and many online retailers that don’t sell their plus sizes in Canada.

    I reject much of what is being sold as not simple enough for my taste. Then there’s cropped pants, which are fine in the summer if you like them, but very impractical during the cold of winter. Even puffy sleeves are impractical in winter with sweaters and coats. Then there’s all the ethical issues with clothing, including the appalling way the clothing industry treated their manufacturers and garment workers during this pandemic. Add to that a notable retail chain here getting caught up in a hideous scandal. Maybe best to wait for all this to blow over before making new purchases.

    • Karin
      September 7, 2020 / 5:09 pm

      “Classic simplicity” – Yes! I won’t be going anywhere (except the supermarket) for the foreseeable future, so I don’t really need new clothes, but out of boredom (L.A. dweller trapped by the heat this weekend like you, Susan) I perused a bunch of Labor Day clothing sales online.

      Hideous! Chambray drop-waist sundress with elbow-length bell sleeves? Random shoulder frills and embroidery? “Peplum” on a baggy T-shirt? And most of it seems to be in pale pastels. . . more suited to a 14-year-old than a 55 year old. (Although even my teen blanched at some of the things on offer in the Nordstrom sale.)

      I guess I’m not missing out on anything. . . putting the money I used to spend on clothes toward kitchen ware instead.

  30. Michelle Hamric
    September 7, 2020 / 11:34 am

    I’m not sure what it is about summer, but I’m most likely to buy too big, flowy boho tops and dresses. Sometimes I also error on the colors. This season I REALLY began paying attention to the types of summer clothing that’s actually ME! Boho, flowy and oversized clothing styles never last in my wardrobe beyond one summer season. The pieces that remain are always classic/contemporary semi-fitted whether a top, skirt, dress, pants. I suppose summer conjures up images of the boho lifestyle. Again, not me. I’ve decided to stop dressing an image and dress the real me!

  31. Francesca B.
    September 7, 2020 / 11:51 am

    Hi Susan,
    Please tell me if you feel like where did you get the yellow striped shirt above on the hanger?
    Cheers,
    Francesca B.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      September 7, 2020 / 12:00 pm

      Hi Francesca, that one was from J.Jill, but seems to be sold out. Here’s a similar style in a different color: https://bit.ly/2ZhPYQq

      • Francesca B.
        September 7, 2020 / 1:09 pm

        Thank you kindly. I could not get the link to work but never mind:)

  32. Kay
    September 7, 2020 / 12:48 pm

    My house burned down 10 months ago, so I know all too well the idea of “stop gap” items bought out of necessity. I am waiting until winter to do a cull of those so I can replace them with things I really like and can use. I found several replacements for things I had loved on Poshmark, most of them new with tags. Shoe replacement has been the most difficult since the pairs I used to have had been carefully vetted and found after long searches. I wish you luck in your “edit.”

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      September 7, 2020 / 12:49 pm

      Oh, Kay, how horrible! I hope you’re able to get settled again, and rebuild.

  33. September 7, 2020 / 1:09 pm

    Nice to hear you’ve made some mistakes. So you had the guts to get rid of some no nos. I guess you’re giving me the green light to remove some tops I never wear. Thanks for always helping me.

  34. Lee Rosenthall
    September 7, 2020 / 2:18 pm

    Would LOVE to see the “near misses” so maybe we can all learn a thing or two for next time!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      September 7, 2020 / 2:29 pm

      My friend has already picked up the lot, but I’ll try to remember when I’m trying things on again.

  35. Nancy
    September 7, 2020 / 3:16 pm

    Oh yes, yes and yes to all the above listed habits/errors and “misses”. I have done and sometimes continue to make these mistakes. Guilty about wasting the money,…. should I keep them and wear at least once to “justify spending ? or just donate and not have to see them in my closet ? Interesting that so many of us echo each other here. Why does shopping/ editing/culling the closet seem so overwhelming to us otherwise smart gals ??

  36. Janet D.
    September 7, 2020 / 5:44 pm

    What a great post, Susan, and what great comments from everyone as well. Thanks for the tip about Uniqlo — I’d never heard of them & will be looking at what they have to offer. I think I’ve gotten rid of most of my “stopgap” items: when I retired I unloaded a lot of clothes, then discovered replacing them with more suitable items wasn’t as easy as I’d anticipated for the reasons others have mentioned. Also, I’m not a reckless shopper: I won’t buy something on sale — don’t care HOW good a sale — unless I love it & have other things in my closet to go with it. I never buy trends unless it’s something I love & the “trend” part is just a happy coincidence (I’ve worn a flash of leopard for decades & will continue to wear it for decades to come, but right at this moment I’m on trend). I finally have a good eye for what styles & colours suit me. For years I kept buying round necklines & wondered why they hung in my closet, unworn, while the V-necks got worn out. Hello! An hour in front of a good mirror trying them all on told me why! Same with colour. And finally, I’ve banned “good enough” and “it’ll do” from my wardrobe vocabulary. It’s either “I love it” (even for the simplest white tee), or off to the thrift store it goes! Really, all I NEED is a few items to keep from having to go naked — anything beyond that is NOT a necessity, so settling shouldn’t be in the discussion.

  37. Marta
    September 7, 2020 / 7:43 pm

    Am I the only medium tall (5’ 6”) broad shouldered/long leg gal reading your blog??!? Just kidding. . .enjoyed and benefitted by all the comments today. And I LOVE Uniqlo, esp their 5th Ave NYC flagship store. It is always a visual treat, although coming from San Diego, their winter season is a bit much!

    • Robyn
      September 8, 2020 / 3:11 am

      I agree with the commenter who said many clothes, even the ones geared for women of our age are juvenile. I remember my mom, and grandmother and how beautifully they dressed. They were simple, elegant and stylish. Even to this day, my mom passed away 8 years ago, people comment on how classy she was. They dressed to be taken seriously, but they didn’t take themselves too seriously.

  38. September 8, 2020 / 4:38 am

    I call them purchase failures and I give them away as soon as possible. They never make me happy.
    Greetje

  39. Suz
    September 8, 2020 / 11:38 am

    Not exactly on the same topic, but how many “outfits” do you keep on hand for gardening, potentially messy hobbies, housework, house maintenance chores?
    I seem to have several composed of older items that maybe weren’t ideal choices for me from the get go….And these days, I wear those ALOT!
    Thanks for posting. During these times, a real ray of sunshine !
    Suz from Vancouver

  40. Carlene
    September 11, 2020 / 11:17 am

    There is a top for sale at Neiman Marcus Kobi Halperin Merlyn Floral Keyhole Blouse. Only available in XS but I think you’d like it!

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