Reader Request: Discarded Wardrobe Staples

Reader Alex left this question in a comment:

What are some of the things (type of garment, silhouette, color pairing, anything!) you have moved away from that you never would have thought you’d factor out of your wardrobe? If you felt so inclined to structure a post around a few of them and perhaps some of your reasoning why–although I imagine a lot of the explanation would boil down to “my style evolved and I found myself more interested in x, y, and z instead of a, b, and c”–I know I would be fascinated!

A great question, and there are more possible answers than I could tackle in a single post! But here are some highlights:

Wide belts

wide belts

Oh I sure did love me some wide belts, back in the day. Obis were trendy when I started blogging, and I thrifted and bought up quite a collection of wraps and other 3-inch-plus belts. And I hung onto a few and still trot them out on occasion:


But overall, they take a backseat to my 2″ and skinnier options. I’m not terribly short waisted, but I’m on the short end of balanced. And I don’t have a big bust, but I do have pronounced hips. All this means that a big, wide expanse of belt can make me look a bit like my boobs are sitting on top of my hips. It’s a fun, retro set of proportions to play with, but I play with it less frequently now than I once did.

Embellished skirts

embellished skirts

The first time I picked up a Boden catalog, I knew I was in trouble and it was the embellished skirts that got me. I loved them, coveted them, and lived in them for several years. But eventually they stopped going into rotation and got pushed to the back of my closet. Printed skirts I still love, but skirts with embroidery and embellishment feel overly fussy to me at this point. They can be tricky to style since they’re detailed and eye-catching on their own, and mine felt both a bit twee for my evolving style and less-than-versatile. I still buy Boden, but I go for the unembellished now.

Mary Janes

mary janes

For ages, I wore my Tsubo Acreas in constant rotation. They were comfy and a little edgy with their slanted strap, and I just adored them. I had several other Mary Jane pairs that got some play, too, but the Acreas were the main. I still have them, still wear them a bit, but have moved more toward traditional pumps and ballet flats when it comes to non-boot shoes. Again, it comes down to versatility. Mary Janes are playful and fun, but don’t feel as classic and sophisticated as pumps to me. I also like a lower vamp for a longer leg line, but the main reason is the feel. Pumps feel more like “me” now than Mary Janes do.



I used to feel like enhancing my bust was a good practice to balance out my hips, and relied on curved-hem boleros to help me out. They brought the attention up on my frame, hit just a bit above my natural waist, and made me feel a bit more busty. Then I got a proper bra fitting. And with bras that work on my figure, my silhouette changed drastically. So the super-padded bras got eighty-sixed, and the boleros stopped getting worn as often. I still have a few, and more in the cropped cardigan realm – both of which are great for vintage-y looks – but they take a backseat to traditional cardigans and blazers now.

There are others, but those four are the main categories that come to mind. As Alex pointed out, most of it comes down to the natural shifts of personal style, but some of these pieces have figure-flattery priority shifts that caused them to fall out of favor.

Who else can list off a few pieces that were once wardrobe staples, and now get very little wear? Any idea why they’re getting neglected? Has your style changed? Your figure? Your flattery priorities?

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This Week I Love …

Wendy for sitting me down ten years ago and saying, “Kid, you’re gonna do big things.” I admired her tremendously. She barely knew me. This was such a gift.

… Beth for matching my intensity at every turn and for being my professionalism and graciousness role model.

Sarah for being the person in my life who constantly asks, “What’s next for you?” and keeps me thinking about what more I can accomplish.

… JoAnna for inspiring me with her strength and bravery, and for telling me constantly that she admires me for mine.

Bets for being willing to listen to my worries, connect me with anyone in her network, and celebrate all of my triumphs. Even the tiny, internal ones.

Barbara for mentoring me without meaning to and showing me that a Capricorn CAN be self-employed and love it. By doing it herself first.

Katie for her passion and insight, support and affection.

Allie and Sarah for sending me all the good feminist jokes and working right alongside me to empower women.

… Emily and Anne and Hanna and Gaby for knowing my whole sordid history and loving and accepting me anyway.

Tehilah for her marvelously rambly phone messages, sage advice, and unending support. I know for a fact that if I needed her, she would hop the first flight out of JFK and be at my side in mere hours.

… Claire and Maureen and Anita and Christy for asking, “What can we do to help?” And meaning it.

Trinity for making me think hard about my actions and their repercussions, and for her curiosity and kindness and patience.

Annie for showing me that when you’re chasing your dreams, very little else matters. And for making me laugh my ass off.

Christina for her gentle compassion, flexibility, and unending generosity.

Megan for forgiving me even when she probably shouldn’t have.

Liz for hatching big plans with me, swearing fluently with me, commiserating with me, geeking out with me.

Autumn for reminding me that being candid is always a good idea, and that kindred spirits are rare and precious.

Audi for being my polar opposite and mirror image all at once. And for reminding me to RELAX, for God’s sake.

Amy for kicking ass and taking names, for cracking me up on the regular, and for inspiring me with her meticulous plans for world domination.

Letta for being brilliant, hilarious, effusive, and unstoppable.

This week I’m thinking about the women in my life and how essential they are to my happiness and well-being. I am blessed and fortunate to have a large and loving network of women friends who do nothing but support me, encourage me, and lift me up. In a world where the media pits women against each other, focuses on competition instead of collaboration, and manufactures cat-fights to drive ratings and page views, I want to take a moment to say that I love my women friends so much. More than I can ever express in words. We stand together, we work together, and unlike the TV- and movie-depicted women we never steal each others’ boyfriends. Or thunder. Or anything at all.

I started this blog because of my women friends. I realized that I was having the same conversations over and over again about weight and body image and confidence and self-esteem. My friends struggled to feel good about their bodies in a constant and exhausting way, and I wanted to show them that they didn’t need to change themselves. Not ever. And that instead of digging into another crash diet or investing in a round of Botox, they might consider exploring dressing options that highlighted what they already loved about their bodies. And practice some daily acceptance and forgiveness. I had those conversations in person, and they helped me move toward having them in writing and in a space where they might support and validate even more women.

I write and speak and teach to empower all women including the ones I’ve never met, but the people who make that work possible and keep me going when I’m ready to throw in the towel? They’re my women friends. The people who hug me and tell me they’re proud of me and remind me to be grateful. The people whose successes thrill me, whose tragedies crush me, whose new endeavors and adventures fill me with pride and joy. The people who see me often yet are always visibly glad, or see me seldom but welcome me as if not a day has gone by.

The older I get, the more strongly I believe that it’s essential to tell the important people in your life how important they are. Tell the people you love that you love them. I tell these amazing, inspiring women that I love and value them as often as I can to their faces, or to their phones and computers. I probably do it a little more than is strictly necessary, but I’d rather err on the gushy side. If you have women in your life who support and celebrate you, I’d love it if you would take a moment today to reach out and let them know how much you appreciate them.

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Body Positive Wisdom

Audi will be back in a few weeks with a new post – so for today, enjoy these uplifting quotes!

beauty quotes

“Growing into your future … requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is.”
~ Victoria Moran

“You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.”
~Geneen Roth

“Girls of all kinds can be beautiful — from the thin, plus-sized, short, very tall, ebony to porcelain skinned, the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing and all in between. It’s not easy though because many people still put beauty into a confining, narrow box…Think outside of the box…Pledge that you will look in the mirror and find the unique beauty in you.”
~Tyra Banks

“It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now … with its aches and its pleasures … is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.”
~ Pema Chodron

“Even the models we see in magazines wish they could look like their own images.”
~Cheri K. Erdman

“Real beauty isn’t about symmetry or weight or makeup; it’s about looking life right in the face and seeing all its magnificence reflected in your own.”
~Valerie Monroe

“One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body. I got tired of hating myself.”
~Gabourey Sidibe

“Each individual woman’s body demands to be accepted on its own terms.”
~Gloria Steinem

“Everybody has a part of her body that she doesn’t like, but I’ve stopped complaining about mine because I don’t want to critique nature’s handiwork … My job is simply to allow the light to shine out of the masterpiece.”
~Alfre Woodard

“Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.”
~Rosalind Russell

Image via Pinterest

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