As part of my continued quest to nail down my personal style, I took part in the #colormycloset challenge created by Chlo and Clothes. I watched my friend Tasha take part in this challenge last year and I decided that I’d jump in on it the next time it happened.
Rather than break down what I wore day by day — you can check out my Instagram if you want to do that — I want to bring together the common threads of what I wore that week.
What I repeated
I live in these. They’re basically Converse for grownups. The two pairs that get the most mileage are the black and cognac flats I got from Target’s Universal Thread brand. Between the two of them, they match almost everything I wear to work so I don’t have to do much thinking.
However, they aren’t the only pairs I own. Blue was a casual day, otherwise I would have pulled out these cobalt blue beauties I got from Stitch Fix. These mustard yellow flats I got from another Fix have seen better days. Both pairs are looking a little rough, reminding me to take better care of my things or else they’ll go unused.
But that doesn’t mean the shoes I’ve loved since I was a teenager are going anywhere. They made an appearance both on casual days and on an office day, showing off just how versatile these can be.
Cardigans made appearances twice during this challenge, though I own far more than just those two. The only thing that surprised me about this is that I didn’t wear more of them. I think we can chalk it up to two factors. One: it’s summer so I don’t need to layer as much. Two: I typically don’t match my cardigan to my top. Instead, I like bringing different colors together. For a monochromatic(ish) challenge like this one, my usual choice didn’t work out.
Bandolino black cropped jeans
I own two pairs of these thanks to Mama Barcelos. Because they’re black, they’re just a touch fancier for work. (Not that my workplace cares if I wear jeans or not.) Because I like to wear color so much, having something simple to wear on the bottom makes wearing colorful tops easy.
Madewell high rise skinny jeans
These are the most expensive pair of jeans I own. I typically bought jeans from Old Navy, Gap, and Target in the past. They worked fine and I still wear a Gap and a few Target pairs of jeans regularly.
But buying new things at my usual places has been rough going lately. I like something with a high rise and I feel like the trends starting to swing the other way.
So I decided to cave into the hype and try a pair from Madewell. The verdict: worth it. These fit my waist, my butt, and my thighs perfectly. I don’t feel like a sausage in too small a casing. Triple digits is a lot for jeans, but well worth the cost of not crying in a fitting room because nothing seems to fit.
Where my clothes come from
Yes, I am that kind of basic bitch that walks into Target for one thing and accidentally walks out with a full cart. Almost all my basics come from here, from my ballet flats to plain colored tees to jeans and shorts. It’s so easy to swing through the women’s section (it’s dead ahead when you walk in for a reason) and grab a few things on your weekend Target run.
However, I am trying to be a more ethical consumer. Part of that means thinking more and more about the cost of making and selling things at that price point. But on the other hand, I can’t completely turn down basic tees that hover under $10.
Ultimately, I think this is a place where individuals should pick their own battles. We can’t die on every hill, so pick yours. (Mine is Amazon, by the way. My Prime account is expiring in October and I am cutting them out for good because there are no ethical billionaires.)
So much responsibility is pushed onto individuals. “Buy ethically,” is right up there with “Use less water,” and “Bring your own straw.” Yes, these are good and helpful things that we should do. But individuals are not nearly as responsible for water use and plastic waste as corporations. Being an ethical consumer is good, but pushing for regulation is even better.
So yeah, I’ll cut back but not eliminate buying clothes at Target.
Considering that I used to blog about this regularly, it’s no surprise that a good chunk of what I wore for the challenge came from these boxes. While I’ve moved on, I don’t regret this phase of my fashion journey. It exposed me to new things I love.
It just got be an expensive habit and a crutch I didn’t need once I had a better grip on my personal style. I’d still recommend it to anyone curious!
Hand me downs
I was talking to my mom earlier this week (Hi, Mãe!) and even she noticed this. “Wow, you do wear a lot of things I give you.” A lot of the people she works for will hand off clothes they don’t wear — sometimes still with the tags! — for her to find them a home. Consider this the Barcelos family’s contribution to being more responsible consumers?
An extra special example of this is the skirt (with pockets!) I wore on Day 4. I loved it but it was too wide for my waist. Luckily for me, my mom was able to alter it down to fit me perfectly. She made clothes for me when I was young and she’s still got that talent. It’s something I wish I’d learned when I was younger.
What I brought out of hiding
While most of this challenge was me wearing what I usually wear, I did dig into my closet for things that don’t often make it into my everyday rotation. I wanted to think about why and what I can do to wear them more since they survived my latest closet purge. Here are some examples:
Picked this up at Marshalls last summer to replace the floral blouse from my first Stitch Fix that I love but can’t seem to find everywhere. It’s not quite the same as the original, and that’s why I don’t think I wear it as much. All I see is how much it’s not like the original. It has a deeper neckline. It’s short sleeved instead of elbow length. The fabric’s a bit thinner.
But you know what? It was still cute enough for me to keep. Like in so many other things in life, I need to stop focusing on the negatives here.
Polka dot skirt
I think the reason I don’t wear this more is because I don’t know how to style it. It’s navy blue with brown and cream polka dots, which sounds super neutral and easy to pair with things, right?
Ehhhh, not so much. I hate black and navy blue together, and I also hate white and cream together, which means the two most basic pairings are out. The brown tee I wore for the challenge and a chambray shirt are the only things I’ve ever worn this skirt with.
Any other suggestions? I’m all ears.
What started as a fun Instagram challenge wound up making me think far more than I expected. It’s been a long time since I’ve done something like this and I want to do it more often. What do you do to challenge yourself when you’re getting dressed for the day? Let me know!