{Day 12} Keep it Real. Wear it Well.

Yesterday was so much fun I decided we needed another day to dish about what we real moms and women actually wear. 

Apparently I’m not alone in my indecision and frustration over clothes that are both appropriate and stylish.

Judging from the comments, there also seems to a universal tension between the sort of wardrobe we think we like and the wardrobe that is actually realistic and authentic for each of us. 

Let’s face it. There are a lot of identity issues wrapped up in the things we pull off the hanger each morning. Like it or not, clothing is like a walking advertisement for yourself. I think that becomes less important as we get older {thank goodness}, but I’m still years away from style apathy.

I don’t think there’s a hard and fast formula for figuring out what works for each of us. Trial and error is part of the package. And I think that’s just fine.

But I have begun to think of my closet as valuable real estate. I don’t want some freeloading blouse taking up one of my hangers when she’s not paying rent. And though I’m in the process of a major closet purge, I don’t plan to replace what I’m getting rid of. 

As I mentioned yesterday, I just want to have fewer, truer pieces. 

Recently I read an article in an old issue of Domino magazine. The article is entitled, “Our Closets, Ourselves” by reporter, Cynthia King. King turns herself over to two stylists in order to define and refine her style. It’s brilliant and witty and I’ve read it numerous times. I’m sort of weird like that.

King says that, “….growing up, I was taught that you shouldn’t worry about what to wear–but you should always look great.” 

Isn’t that the truth? What’s a girl to do?

She says we can learn something from French women, who seem effortlessly well-dressed. I’ve been to France and it’s true. Ironically, they have small wardrobes. Says King,  “They’ve honed their looks, scout accordingly and purge ruthlessly.”

Hone. Scout. Purge. 

Got it.

I’d like to add one more thing though. I think that a key ingredient in looking good is feeling good about whatever you’re in. And that’s an important question to ask yourself: Do I feel good in this? Do I feel like me? 

Yesterday I was in Goodwill and a woman nearly mowed me down with her shopping cart. She was brimming with confidence and was clearly on a mission as she sashayed through the aisles in her knee-length denim skirt, fitted red sweater, perfectly coifed blonde hair and red, anklet cowboy boots. With fringe.

She was in her 70s. 

I got a kick out of this lady. She was adorable and looked cute as could be because she knew who she was and that outfit was working for her, fringed boots and all. 

It beats SAS shoes and a rain bonnet, no? 

Though honing and owning one’s style can take time, introspection, and observation, I think it’s well worth it in the long run. Especially if we are sashaying through the aisles in our flirty boots when we’re 70.

I’m beginning to feel more inspired than tired as I survey my closet, bare though it’s becoming. 

Maybe I’ll even do a closet update post. I forgot how fun it is to chat about clothes!

Repeat after me: Hone. Scout. Purge. Own {It}.

So what about you? Do you have some honing and owning to do?


If you haven’t checked out Tiny Twig’s 31 Days to a No-Brainer Wardrobe, you should. She’s got some great advice and inspiration for all of us who feel a bit stuck.

{Click on the button for the list of all the days 
& topics thus far.}


  1. says

    i think honing is the biggest challenge. we’ve moved alot-so far-so i’m great at purging. and i try to have intentionality but i do get distracted by the shiny bauble of a cheap price on a trendy thing. and then i’ll wear it once.

    so. honing is my goal. shopping with intentionality. tiny twig’s series IS great for establishing that.

    i’ve actually committed not to buy anything for a while. it’s so helpful to take this time to evaluate what i have and what i reeeeaaaalllly want to add to my wardrobe next. hopefully. hopefully! i won’t go all willy nilly when the time comes for me to add something :).

  2. says

    Thanks to yesterday’s post, I went and read all of Tiny Twig’s post for the series. I love her advice.

    My biggest temptation is to never wear anything but pajama pants (or yoga capri things in the summer) and junky t-shirts. I like to be comfortable. I’m trying to remember that maybe my family deserves more than just me in my junk clothes all the time. :)

  3. says

    The only thing I’d like better about these posts is if you would come hone, scout, and purge with me! I’m so not kidding!

    Your description of that woman made me laugh. My kids and I are always talking about my mom’s clothing style. When they were younger and we would pick her up at the airport, we would always be looking for the most colorfully dressed person to get off that plane. Sure enough, it was always her, sporting some Hawaiian print or something equally colorful with enough big, bulky jewelry to weigh a camel down.

    Our styles are so different that I finally had to beg her to not buy me clothes for Christmas, just gift cards so I can get my own. haha

  4. says

    well….lets just say, as I remember, we both have a love for clothes that for me, has waxed and waned over the years. Sending my last one off to school this year had completely made me WAX. Help. I now have time to think about what I wear and I actually take a shower. Its been really nice. But, I have to say I am sometimes appalled that I get so excited about my outfit, or depressed. So, I’m trying to strike the balance. I kind of miss the “hurry up and just throw something on” time.
    So…I get kind of attached to clothes….but I hate when my closet gets full. I just don’t have the heart to throw them away.
    WHAT do I do??? Help woman. I need you here to help me purge. any suggestions….as I am kind of a clothing whore.

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