Recently, I have been on a kick of using what I have. I’m not sure if I’m on this kick because I am moving and don’t want to pack or transport anymore than I have to or if it is because I really want to get use out of my things. Or I could be cheap and am trying to save money, but also desire the feeling of fresh, new, cool outfits. It’s probably all three of those reasons and that’s fine by me. I am documenting my experiences in the hopes that you will be inspired to go shopping in your own closets and begin experimenting and wearing your items in new and exciting ways instead of buying something new.
If you’ve been to my blog before, you know that this kick has been going on for awhile. I attempted to style my jewelry earlier this year. I styled outfits around my necklaces, earrings and bracelets in an attempt to get more use out of my shit!
I’m not sure if I need to clarify this or not, but the less you buy brand new items, the less demand is put on to the companies to produce that item, which means that there is less pressure put on factory workers, who are being treated improperly and making less than minimum wages. And it lessens the impact that creating a new item of clothing has on the environment.
If you do need/want to shop, try to shop secondhand first because you are utilizing something that is already in existence and preventing that item from going into the landfill. If you can’t find what you need secondhand, attempt to buy from ethical or sustainable brands. Of course, there are times when none of these options are feasible for you, which is okay! That’s why we shop less often and use the stuff we have so that when we do need to shop fast fashion we don’t have to feel as bad about it.
For more information on this topic, check-out this blog post I wrote about fast fashion.
In doing my last couple of posts where I styled my jewelry, I noticed that I too had a lot of purses that I did not wear very often. (Check-out my collection of bags and wallets here.) Coming to grips with the amount of purses I have along with my strong desire to be one of those fashionable ladies that changes my bag with every outfit, I decided to challenge myself to wear a different bag and/or wallet every day until I ran out.
I first did an inventory. I started out with 33 purses and eight wallets. I added a new bag into the mix in the middle of the challenge, which clocks in 34 bags.
You can do the math, this project has taken me about a month and a half. There were days when I didn’t leave the house, which added some length to the project as well. But, over the past week or so, I came up against a hault in my plans. The only bags I had left were formal bags or ones that had little to no room for all of my crap to fit into it. As of today, I have worn all of my wallets multiple times, but still have five more bags to wear.
So, what’s this all mean? What does this say about me, my lifestyle, my closet and my shopping habits? Here’s some thoughts:
- I don’t need anymore bags, but if I do buy another bag it should be a solid color and it should be spacious. I found that my printed bags were hard to style because they only go with certain things and I found that my cute, mini bags were hard to style because, let’s face it, I don’t go to that many formal events and I have a lot of shit to carry around with me on a regular basis.
- Having bags that fit my lifestyle is essential, as I have mentioned above. In the photo above on the right, I was just running to the grocery store. I was a wearing a t-shirt and bike shorts. I didn’t need anything too fancy in the way of a bag, but I needed something. Fanny pack to the rescue! Now there are days when I want something more professional for work and I have that. What this shows is that a closet full of tote bags is not going to work for me, nor is a closet full of mini bags. You know your life and your needs. Buy accordingly.
- I have a good amount of wallets, but could always use more small to midsize ones. I don’t feel comfortable sometimes wearing a small bag if I don’t have a small wallet to store all of my important stuff in. I don’t want all my credit cards and ID’s flying around in my bag. So, if I have more small wallets, I can use my small bags more often.
- I like wearing a different bag with every outfit. What makes this easy to accomplish is being able to see all of my bags, so displaying them is important, and putting all of my would-be purse contents in a designated place so that I can grab what I need everyday and empty out the contents of my bag at the end of the day. This also prevents loose cash and receipts from taking up permanent residence in my bags.
- Bags with texture are good to have in your wardrobe. For example, I thrifted the above turquoise, faux crocodile bag earlier in the summer and when worn with a band tee and ripped up jeans it makes for a cool, edgy look. Imagine if the bag was smooth with no texture? Not as cool, right? A textured accessory of any kind brings something extra to an outfit.
- Because I forced myself to style all (or most) of my bags, I realized some of them just weren’t working for my lifestyle which was probably why I wasn’t wearing it to begin with. I passed one bag on to my mom during this process and we were both happier for it.
- I like certain types of storage in my wallets and if a wallet doesn’t have good storage I shouldn’t buy it no matter how cute it is.
- Buying a colorful bag that you have nothing to match it to is silly and it will just sit in your closet unused. If you want to add color to your wardrobe, buy bags in colors that you wear often!
If you decide to take a look at your purse collection after reading this and see no prints looking back at you and wonder why, it’s probably because, as I said above, printed bags are harder to style. You can put a black bag with just about anything. You may not feel so confident doing the same with a floral bag.
So, let’s talk through how I styled this blue and white checked bag that I thrifted last summer.
As I have said many a time, if you have something printed and don’t know what to wear it with, take a color in that print and match it to the rest of your outfit. This bag is blue and white, therefore, I decided that my whole outfit was going to be blue. I threw on a blue dress and blue earrings, and for extra sass a blue and white printed headband, white slip-on shoes and a translucent pair of sunglasses.
You don’t have to go this far with your matching on the first try. A simple version of this look includes only the blue dress.
Moving forward, I am not going to worry about wearing a different bag every day, but I am going to continue to try to get as much use as possible out of my bags and think very carefully about bringing something new home. I vow to continuously ask myself if I am going to get good wear out of a bag or wallet before I buy it.
I hope this inspired you to take a closer look at your purse collection and/or your closet as a whole. If you aren’t a purse person, that’s totally ok! We all have something (or more than one something) that we have an excess of. Analyze your habits and lifestyle and get use out of your stuff or let it go.