How would you put together a wardrobe on $5000? I saw that Stacy London’s on TV again. Clinton’s been back for a while. So I thought it might be time to have a What To Wear extravaganza of our own. We don’t do shame here, so we’ll leave out the Not. My take.
How About A Little Look At The Reasoning?
- Necessaries. Fancy underwear is great and all, I’ve owned my fair share of fancy Swiss cotton, but at the end of the day Target is my source of choice. As I’m small/medium-busted, they can even supply my bras. I wear flannel PJ bottoms to write – why not zebra stripes?
- Workout & Swim. Here in California, where one can easily spend successive days by the pool, we need 2 bathing suits. One bikini (Thanks to Stiletto Jungle) for the days when I love the sun, one Land’s End shaper for the days I do not love my midriff. And workout gear is non-negotiable, but I’m OK with cheap Champion from Target. I’m so proud of myself for exercising that I require no image-augmentation from my sweaty clothing.
- Outerwear. Northern California requirements are clear – we want water resistance and room for layers underneath, we don’t need industrial-class warmth. A field jacket and a lined trench would be my bare minimum.
- Day Clothes. 95% of the tops I wear are t-shirts from either UNIQLO or J. Crew. The key for extreme casual style is color, color, color. I wear neutrals and blues, sometimes adding a stripe of a complementary or contrasting color with a layer. And I have realized good sweatshirts now get more use than my beloved cashmere sweaters. So I just might splurge on this expensive Kenzo number. (Mater has one of his scarves…)
- Night Out. There is absolutely no room in a $5000 wardrobe for the kinds of dresses I used to enjoy. No Prada, no Narciso, no Dries. No Lela Rose. What to do? I think I might buy a dress from Siri, in a perfect fabric, in the perfect color, and wear it so often it became my signature. I think I’d be happier with that than multiple cheaper department store dresses. For non-dress dressup, I’d stick to dark wash boot leg jeans, (happily inexpensive!) a black linen-cotton sweater from Brora, and edgy comfortable shoes a là Une Femme and Duchesse.
- Accessories. Those who can wear costume jewelry survive this category much better than I do. Needing precious metals, I chose a reasonably priced pair of gold and diamond hoops, and some interesting lavender pearls. The bag is Village England, a brand I learned of via That’s Not My Age. It’s logoless. Booyah! And a pretty colored cashmere beanie from Brora matches the requisite Etro scarf. Another case of picking quality and allowing it to become your signature.
- Shoes. Turns out, we women buy a lot of shoes not because we are fetishists but because we know instinctively that shoes can make an outfit. I like comfortable modern footwear, with a little attitude. Nikes, Vince, Birkenstocks, Havaianas (lavender!). And, again, no more Louboutin, Caovilla, or Choo. To dress up, I’d go for a pair of generic satin heels, in a fun color, with a bow. Paired with the Siri dress, memorable. And I could buy new pairs of shoes in a different color for future events. At $79/each, doable.
What I Had To Give Up And A Brief Summary Analysis
Technically, Stacy and Clinton never threw away people’s underwear, jewelry, handbags or workout gear. So we could repurpose those budget amounts, stick to the concept, and augment this very sparse list. What would be the next items, or the next upgrades to items on the list? I have a few candidates. You probably have others.
- I’d want a casual blazer. Something to wear with jeans for polish.
- I’d miss my Comme des Garçons fierce heart tee, would probably replace it.
- In making this list, I thought I wanted this Michelle Mason $600 raincoat, but I realize that’s for my pretend, swash-buckling life. In reality, I’d go for a motorcyle jacket, leather or canvas.
- Since I’d be keeping my jewelry, I wouldn’t need a 3rd pair of earrings (which would have been semi-precious chandeliers) or a necklace. Or a watch.But those are very necessary parts of my wardrobe.
- My beloved Valentino Tangos. With this budget, one has to rely on one’s own creativity for impact – there is little room for extraordinary pieces.
- Rain boots. In the California drought, I forget.
- More tee shirts. More pajama bottoms. More shoes. Probably even more shoes.
But no new category. Once you find a happy style, (for me, Extreme Casual/Polished Tomboy,) you stick to it, no matter your budget.
And with that, I’m off for the usual Quarterly Privilege Break. See you in a week(ish), with new posts, but I look forward to your thoughts on the $5000 wardrobe and chatting with you below.
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