Reusable Wardrobe - Cargo Vest

It's August and time to purchase an entirely new wardrobe for fall, did you know that? I didn't. But quite a few of the fashion blogs I peruse are telling you to hit sales, buy new boots, coats, leggings, etc. The truth is, you don't need to! Heck, I'm more freaked out by the people starting their "transitional wardrobe" to change from summer to fall. Apparently these people do not like in OK, where it will continue to sizzle and burn until Mid-Late September, maybe even in to October, or it could freeze out next week, it's hard to say. [Honestly, we've had a mild summer, I really cannot complain.]

Here is the deal, some of us live on budgets [raises hand] and going out to buy thousands of dollars in new clothes for the new season isn't going to suit us. Yes, I would love to get two new Tory Birch purses every season [For the record, I have zero designer purses]. Yes, I want a new pair of boots this fall. But I have to think smart with my money and ask myself questions like, "Will the boots I have last me one more year?" or "Do I really need denim in 5 different colors?" or "If I spend $80 on just this wee statement necklace, will it be fashionable [will I want to wear it] in spring?"

On a completely separate note, my son WILL need a new wardrobe for fall/winter, but he's four and growing like there is no tomorrow. I think we have like one or two pairs of jeans and maybe one long sleeve he'll fit. But he does have a coat because I had to replace that in January.

For a reusable wardrobe, you have to think smart. Ask yourself if you'll really wear something, will it go with anything you have and will it last you long term?

I try to look for smart items, something that may be trendy but I can wear it a lot. I struggle with loving a lot of fashion blogs because their clothes really don't fit into my lifestyle. I do love statement necklaces, chiffon blouses and heels, but I can't wear that most days, maybe on a date or going to church. Plus, fashion bloggers rarely ever use the same items, it's always a new outfit! Yea, they are sponsored and receive free items but... are all those clothes just cramming into a closet to rot later?

I, personally, I have been taking steps to size down my closet. Guess what happens when you over 15 dresses? You favor one or two and the rest just sit in there, unworn. If you gave them away, sold them or donated them, someone else could wear the clothes you're hoarding. I'll admit, I had a hoarding problem! I had more clothes than I could honestly wear, I've given away about 4 trash bags full, texted people to see if they're interested in items I don't wear and found homes for most of my stuff.

I guess I just woke up one day and realized I cannot wear all this stuff! I had hardly gotten rid of a thing in four years, it was madness. This is what inspired me to start trying to pick pieces that I could wear more and own less. Guess what? I spend less! Many times lately I have gone out shopping and come home with nothing, because instead of buying something because it was on sale, I questioned if I would really, truly wear it again and again and again.

I do have a few items in my closet I won't let go, even if I can't wear them. I managed to get a very pretty Jessica Simpson dress on sale, it's timeless and chic, I'm keeping it. If a summer wedding pops up, I have something to wear! I have a pair of Nine West Heels that are almost ten years old, classic black pumps, they go in and out. I'm keeping those. These are higher quality items that are worth holding on to.

I'm mostly referring to people on a limited budget, we have to shop smart and avoid wasting what we do have to spend on ourselves on items that just go to waste. But even if you have a big budget or even an unlimited budget to spend on yourself, it's worth taking the time to really think about an item instead of purchasing quickly and wasting money and clothes [someone else could have worn that!].

It helps if you pay less attention to what magazines/websites/blogs tell you to wear, what friends tell you to wear and focus on only buying what you love

Before I get into the rest of the post, here are a few tips:
  1. Wear what you love. It doesn't matter if it's trendy, if your friends think its ugly or it's "not for your shape", you'll always be happier and fell better if you're wearing what you love. Fashion is very open nowadays, you can be a jeans and t-shirt girl, hipster, vintage lover or mod fashionista! I'm not here to tell you what to wear, I'm just trying to inspire you.
  2. Disobey the rules. Pattern mixing is against the rules! Wait, no it isn't, now it's trendy!? Go with your gut and forget the rules.
  3. Be Proud of YOUR Body. Sadly, I don't think body issues are going anywhere, but remember, looking at a fashion magazine is like watching a sci-fi movie: It's all special effects. Or in fashion's case, photoshop. Yes, the models are thin, but they actually thin them out more or even fatten them up a bit to appear healthy. Your body is your body, love it and dress it as you please, don't worry about the size of your jeans, lack of thigh gap or the fact that none of us look like the models do in clothes. 
  4. Don't Break Your Bank. All the blogs are telling you that you need these $500 italian leather boots or a $300 purse when a brand stamped all over it but you really don't. If it's in your budget and you can buy it without your family going into debt or skipping meals, then that's fine. But things people sell and push are trendy and not worth penny pinching if you can't easily afford or save for the item. Look for low end knock offs so you can feel trendy without paying for it. I, for one, am a bargain hunter because less is more! Don't be ashamed to have "last years" model or one you pick up cheap at Marshall's or TJMAX.
  5. Beware of Sales/Clearance. Oh, am I guilty. Nothing makes me feel better than knowing I got something on sale or clearance for half the price or even less. But beware the lure of scoring something cheap just for the sake of scoring something cheap. Regretfully, I have donated many items that I scored cheap and turned out not to love at all. Just because the price is right, doesn't mean the item is.
  6. Avoid Buying Too Much of a Good Thing. You find an item you love AND it comes in 12 different flavors [colors], why not load up so you can always have that top/sweater/skirt/pant you love? One word: Boring. I'm not saying the item is boring, but you will get bored! And then you have 12 sweaters in the same color you are sick of wearing. Getting 1 or 2 of the same thing is fine, maybe 3, but don't fill up on the exact same item. You'll have way too many of those "I have nothing to wear!" moments when your closet is full.

Today's post is a little meatier because I'm just getting started for reusable wardrobe. Next time I'll try not to be so long winded.

My first pick for a reusable item is the Cargo Vest or Military Vest or Travelers Vest, whatever you desire to call it. There are, of course, low end models and high end models.

Now you know where to find one on many prices levels, how would you wear it? I love mine because I can wear it completely casual or a little dressed up. Obviously, this is not a dressy item, but looks great paired with the right items.

Right now, for summer, I am loving it over my dresses. It's a little warm if I'm outdoors but if I know I'm going to the coffee shop, a movie or the mall, it gives me extra warmth in the air conditioning.

Dress: Ruche {Similar Here, Here and Here} || Shoes: Target {Old}

First off, I paired it with this breezy floral dress. This is one of those items I bought because I loved it, not because it was right for my figure. It has a dropped waist and ruffles and I have curvy hips... but I don't care, I love it. And I just happen to have pink wedges to compliment it. I tried to find a similar pair but nothing came up after I searched around. I could find that style and that color, just not that color in that style. Mostly, I think that style has been phasing out so there isn't a huge assortment. Ah, well! I'll wear mine anyway.

I kept jewelry simple, a couple of bracelets on one arm and my watch on the other. You can't tell, but I have a delicate pair of diamond studs in. The vest is already a big piece, the floral pattern catches the eye and I did not feel the need to compete with big jewelry. 

It's a sweet and feminine way to wear your cargo vest.

Dress: Target {Sold Out Online, I like This, This, and This} || Shoes: Target {Check in store! I got mine on clearance}

Before I get into it, can I get a round of applause for my muscular legs? All those squats and lunges pay off!

This is one of my favorite outfits I have created so far with my vest. The dress is comfortable but still looks chic paired with the vest and the shoes dress it up just enough for me to feel put together but casual. I'll easily be able to wear this outfit through fall, swapping for booties when it starts to feel cooler, add tights when it's cold!

Top: Target {Old, I like this and this} || Boots: Sears

I had to think a little to put together something more for fall because it isn't cool enough for boots and jeans just yet. I took a quick glance around my closet and grabbed a few items I have been dying to wear. I nabbed these boots on sale about a month ago, not boot weather but filled my desire to have a pair of black ankle boots. The polka dot blouse I picked up last year and no luck on a match for it, sorry. Topped it with a simple statement necklace and voila, an easy look I can actually wear everyday.

Drapey Tee: Target || Leggings: Charlotte Russe || Sneaker Wedges: Target

And for my last one, I decided to use a few items most people probably won't want, but I love them. Leather leggings and sneaker wedges! Remember what I said about wear what you love? Well, this is it for me. I long, comfy tee over my [faux] leather leggings and my comfy sneakers. I get that people think the shoes are ugly, maybe they are, but they are comfortable and give a short girl like me a boost. The cargo vest helps me pull the whole outfit together so I don't feel "naked" in just a tee and tights. Obviously you could sub in regular black leggings, patterned legging or skinny jeans. And, of course, regular sneakers. This is a great example of going for low end when you want a part of a trend that may not last. My leggings and my sneakers were cheap, on sale or clearance. I was shocked that Target still has the sneakers online, they have a few different styles if you're in the market for a cheap pair. 

And lastly, this is what it all boils down to. I have to have versatile, reusable items, on a budget because this guy is ultimately more important than all the things I own or wear. I'm his mother but I'm still a person. I'm worth more than a stainy tee and crappy old jeans, though sometimes I do wear that around home and I'd gladly make that sacrifice if I had to.

Today, he just wanted to be included in my "fashion show" as he called it and show off his "karate outfit."

Of course, Daniel-san, of course.


That's all I have for you today!

If I have inspired you, send me an email of your outfit or find me on twitter or instagram {Tag me!}.

- Amanda

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  1. Look at you and those faux leather pants! Come help me with my wardrobe now please...All I wear is yoga pants and workout shirts...Is that acceptable for someone living in CA?!? hehe

  2. Well, I would say if you're happy with what you're wearing, then it's just fine, wherever you are!

    But I'm always happy to help 😁


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