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:

grdresssuzu_outfit1

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.

Boleros

boleros

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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  • Rebekah Jaunty

    Flip-flops, nude pantyhose (not with the flip-flops!), ribbed undershirts, graphic T-shirts…

    Fun question!

  • lindaloui232

    Traditional trousers – I think there may be a few reasons for this. First, any extra pounds on me go to my thighs and just a couple of pounds can drastically change the fit of trousers. Second, I think they just bore me. It’s all I see on the majority of office workers in my area and I get tired of seeing that silhouette all the time. Third, I find it much easier to create an interesting, fun outfit with a skirt or dress or even jeans or skinny pants. Maybe because most of my trousers are in classic neutral colors and I’m a color and pattern lover, although I do have a pair of cobalt wool trousers that are fun in the colder weather.

  • gleeb02788 .

    This entry was fun to read, as I have been making my way backwards through your blog. I just love it! Right now I am somewhere in 2009, where you were wearing all of this stuff, still, so it is funny to think that you do not wear these things anymore. 5 years is a long time, though! 5 years ago, I thought low rise jeans were super flattering on me! Sure, they made my butt look awesome; however, I don’t have a super big tummy, but what I do have is totally muffin top-ized when I wear low-rise jeans, and I know that now! In general, anything that is uncomfortable and that I have to fuss with has been thrown into the giveaway pile, whereas in my 20s, those things were worn and dealt with in the name of fashion. Anyway, great question, and sorry for my super-long response!

  • random834043209

    Pants! I gave up pants, even though I used to wear them virtually all the time. I’d still like to have a few pairs of flattering jeans for really cold weather, but fleece-lined tights or leggings work surprisingly well, even in a snow storm. Since I ditched pants, my collection of big belts that fit my hips has gone into hibernation in favor of skinnier belts to fit my waist. Also, I’m always hunting for shorter tops that go to my waist or just beyond, because that’s where my skirts tend to fall. All the years I spent in high school hunting for longer tops to go with my low-rise jeans, and now I’m totally sick of trying to tuck in all of that extra fabric.

    My Doc Marten collection has gone into hibernation too. They were my all-time favorite clothing item once upon a time. I live in their heels and knee boots now, but the classic Doc Marten shape looks dreadful with skirts and my short legs. I save them for wintertime, when I pull out the pants.

  • Cleoxymore

    You know, I always loved the look of wide belts, and used to sigh and
    bemoan my short-torsoed-ness that would not let me pull them off… But
    hearing you say that they make you feel exactly like I do (boobs on
    legs), and seeing how dynamite you actually look in them, I feel
    encouraged to one day get one, all be damned!

  • Sarah Clews

    I’ve never had a ton of style sense, but with advice from your site and others, I have had a bit of an evolution. I’ve stopped wearing all solids and try to incorporate pattern and texture. I’ve also stopped wearing cropped cardigans as I always think they look silly on me. I’ve also stopped wearing so much pink!

    Becoming a nursing mother has also forced me to reevaluate some of my style choices and choose things that are both practical and figure flattering to a DD cup!

  • Susan Williams

    Hmmm that’s an interesting question. Probably fewer blazers, more cardigans. Sadly, more comfortable shoes as my feet have gotten fussier as I age. My waist is not as small as it once was so I rarely ever wear anything tucked in. And I just added my last bolero to the thrift store bag. This summer I seem to be avoiding my linen shirts, the rumply wrinkly makes me feel like an unmade bed. I’ve also noticed that every time I put on a short sleeve shirt I change before I leave the house. Something about where it hits on my upper arm makes me all twitchy.

  • http://www.lisathomsonlive.com Lisa Thomson

    Great post. I LOVE MaryJanes although they aren’t the easiest shoe to match up in a wardrobe. I used to love short, swingy skirts. I’m not sure they’re official name. Now, they seem immature for my age. I’m starting to lower my hemline. It’s not that my legs are awful but I just feel kind of trampy in a mini skirt. Platform shoes of any kind? Gone. More pumps, less trendy shoes. :) You look great in all your pics!!

  • fashionforgiants

    Great post. Great question and a great answer. I’m trying to think if there is anything I’ve stopped wearing as much and I believe I wear wide belts less often now than before. And shooties. I’ve gone in the actual bootie direction instead, or flats.

  • http://www.befabulousdaily.us Cynthia

    I’ve definitely been doing fewer big, bright Boden-style patterns lately.

  • JB

    Halter tops in summer. Two reasons: One, finally found a bra I love but don’t love the convertible version, and two, had a small cancerous lesion removed from the center of my upper back a few years ago. I’m ok with the scar (after all, I can’t see it) but got out of the habit of baring that part of my body and realized I didn’t miss it.

  • what not

    This is something I’ve thought about a bunch since my style started to coalesce a couple years ago. Gone are the browns and maroons I never loved anyway, knee-length skirts that don’t flatter my petite figure, and jeans in favor of more comfortable leggings or short skirts and tights. It’s interesting to see myself turn away from items I used to love, but many of them were never really “me”.

  • http://readinginskirts.wordpress.com/ Mia

    Ooh, I was just thinking about this the other day in one of my posts! I do fewer belts in general than I used to–and when I do, they’re almost always with dresses rather than skirt/top combinations–and I’ve also laid off the silk scarves a fair bit. There are a couple that still mesh with my current style, but the rest of them went into the donation pile after I figured out that I was having to work to integrate them instead of reaching for them naturally.

  • walkercreative

    Gave up maxi skirts and dresses. They used to be my staple and go to for work and church in comfort… and when I hit 40 my body changed and they started to look odd and cling in the wrong places. The same for A line skirts and dresses. I also have up wearing anything tucked in, which used to be my signature look. I have now embraced the pencil skirt and fitted sheath dresses which I used to look awful in. I think I switched from a pear to an hourglass over the years so doing something new has been fun!

  • Shannon

    1. Flared Jeans – I never though I’d give these up, as I always thought I needed the flares to balance my hips. Turns out girls with hips can wear skinnies just fine!! (I thank your many links to curvy girls wearing skinnies!)
    2. Padded Bras – I decided that I like my natural bust size and don’t need any ‘enhancing’ to be beautiful.
    3. Long Shorts – Again, similar to above, I always thought that I needed to cover my thighs to my knees to camouflage their diameter. I realized a year ago that this made me look stumpy-legged and that shorter shorts lengthen my legs and improves the appearance of my proportions.

  • Thursday

    I found this an interesting post to read, because after several years of honing a style that I feel is really me, I find myself working to include some items back that fall a bit outside that style. I’ve come to rely on mostly fitted, mid-century influenced items, with tailored silhouettes, and always, always a defined waist. I’m now trying to work back to some more softer, bohemian-influenced pieces, such as a floral-printed chiffon kimono jacket and floaty, full skirts. I’m trying to remind myself that I don’t need to adhere to a personal uniform, and that I can wear some “unflattering” things because they just make me happy.

    Although I have totally taken the same route on wide belts – use to wear them lots, but now I’m all about the skinny ones!