Things I wish I Knew about Clothing… in my 20’s



I promise this is not a lame fashion post about tired topics like “What to wear to the BBQ this weekend!” or “How to look effortless during festival season!” I mean, really? Well, you might still find it lame but whatever.

Like most of us, I have a full closet. I also suffer from “I have nothing to wear.” For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to have a small selection of only my favorites. A few pieces that when I open my closet door I get overwhelmed because I want to wear everything THAT DAY.

Days I have felt that way so far? zero.

I hated everything. I used to buy tops just to wear them once or twice and end up despising them for whatever reason. I spent too much money at LOFT and then never wore what I purchased. Normally I would hate the way they felt or the fit was wrong but I loved owning them and liked having them hanging around in my closet.

Recently (within the past few years) my mind has been completely blown as I discovered a few things about clothing (and myself). If I could go back in time- this is what I would have sat down and told myself over a cup of coffee.

Truth #1: Buy your correct size.

The majority of my life I have been on the smaller size. To purchase things at stores like LOFT or Banana Republic- I choose the smallest that they carried or grabbed things off the petites rack. Petite means “very small” right??? NOPE. I am not a petite by FAR. Petite is the cut of an item. Over time I have accepted the fact that I have a long waist. Meaning my torso is longer than a typically cut item of clothing. Petites are traditionally cut short in the waist. I purchased soooo many items from the petite section and never realized that’s why they were never long enough! Side note: I am slightly embarrassed to even admit to this.

Truth #2: Fabric is everything.

I love a good cardigan and try to wear them all year (I feel secure with my arms covered- it’s like a constant hug). Now, I would buy fabulous cardigans and be uncomfortable- too itchy, too hot, etc. Then I would relate being miserable with wearing that piece and never wear it again. Little did I know that it was all about fabric content. You can’t wear a wool sweater in weather that is above 60 degrees! For me it’s almost painful. I once wore a pair of adorable polyester shorts to a baseball game in the mid-summer heat. I could have cried. Also it turns out that even polyester pajama pants do not work in the summer months. OH, and this little nugget of info… Cashmere might seem soft but its a form of WOOL. So that gorgeous cashmere scarf wound around my neck is going to annoy me and put me in a bad mood. Apparently cotton is best for summer, wool and polyester for winter. I have learned what I like and when to avoid certain compilations of fabrics.

Truth #3: Quit washing your clothes.

Not really. BUT I had the habit of washing my new clothes immediately after purchasing. Wash and dry. Upon taking them out of the dryer I would hate them. They would no longer be the same size or shape. That on top of buying a petite size- I basically had a slew of 90’s crop tops that I sure as hell wasn’t about to wear! The answer? Cold, hand-wash cycle for EVERYTHING. Then hang to dry. EVERYTHING. I practically do not need a dryer anymore. Magically my new clothes fit exactly how they should and the same as when I tried them on at the store.

Truth #4: Stop buying cheap shoes.

I am not saying that all shoes must be high-end designer (at all)… but ill-fitting, blister-causing heels from clothing stores at the mall are not a wise investment. When you are young your feet have more “fat” in them and are padded better. As we get older, the padding goes away and we get callouses, hammer toes, corns, and all sorts of unpleasantness. In our teens we ALL think that we are immune to such horrific things. But buying shoes that are low quality because they are cute or trendy is not fair to your little piggies in the long run. When I was younger, to have lots of shoes to choose from, I would purchase these pairs. Much like my “petite mistake” I would end up hating these shoes and not wear them or they would break/wear out very quickly. Working with a tight budget like me? Here is the solution: don’t spend $100 on 4-5 pairs of shoes… search the sales at your local department store and buy 1-2 pairs that are quality and that will last longer than one season. Better yet, shop on Poshmark- you can get amazing shoes at even more amazing prices! Back to materials… LEATHER will let your feet breathe and won’t be as sweaty if you are not wearing a sock or stocking. Lesson learned.

Truth #5 Wear what you like.

Caving to the latest trends can be the biggest mistake you can make in your closet and your wallet. If everyone is suddenly wearing high waist jeans and they look awful on you, don’t waste your hard-earned money for a pair that will inevitably sit in your closet. Does a poncho look like a “snuggie” on you? Leave it at the store. Do you find that you are drawn to the same style of clothing? Do you feel like you wear the same color nail polish or lip stick and fear you must be in a beauty rut? It’s ok, you aren’t. I seriously doubt that you will be Maury’s next guest for “Help My Friend Dress for this Decade.” The reason that you are drawn to a hair style or find yourself in a skirt every day is because it is your personal style. Embrace this. Not everyone has it. Some girls (and guys) always follow the trends and never find what they truly love. If your friend says “Oh- this outfit TOTALLY looks like you!” Smile- because you have a style and others have recognized it. I have finally learned that I am almost always going to choose to wear jeans- so I make sure I buy quality denim. Also, I stopped buying bright colors and pastels, I will never wear them. If I like an article of clothing- I go ahead and buy it in black AND gray because those are my favorite colors. I like clothing basics and I have decided that it is completely okay.

I am still working toward my “Love Everything” closet goal… but I now at least know the minimum requirements when shopping for pieces.

If you are rolling your eyes because you already knew all this and can’t believe it took me so long to realize such basic lessons… cool. I only wish YOU had written an article and I could have read it in Seventeen when I needed it 🙂

What are YOUR closet goals?







  1. I just wanted you to know I loved this post! I feel the exact same when I step into my closet, I feel like it needs a mature overhaul lol. Since getting into my 30s, I too realized I had no clue when it came to shopping. It was always quantity over quality on my college budget lol! You made me smile AND feel encouraged with this post Elle, thank you!

  2. Loved thus blog. And yes, I do get the “this looks like you” when shopping with friends, hubby or my steps daughter. So I guess that means I have a style. ☺

  3. Love this blog. Timing of me reading it is perfect. My favorite color is black. It can have other colors but 50% of my closet is black or at least goes w black. The rest is more fall, deep colors. It just looks better on me than spring/summer colors. Lately ive been telling myself must expand, get into more colors, trending now styles, i do, then realize ive just wasted money on something ill wear once, if that. It just doesn’t go w my personality, the lighter colors & most of the trends. So thank u for reassuring its ok to like ‘ur’ colors & have ur own ‘im comfortable’ style.

  4. Also – the tailor is your new best friend! I’d rather spend an extra $20 and have an item fit me perfectly then semi-like it or think it looks good but it really doesn’t.

  5. Awesome post! I knew SOME of these things but the thing about personal style really stuck. I’ve never liked my personal style because it seems boring, but it’s mine and I will embrace it. So now to sell all these high waist jeans and crop, JK. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is perfect!! I have exactly a closet that everyday I look in and say I don’t have anything to wear. I just am in a rut with nothing feels right lately. I have a TON of stuff that I even bought on Posh and haven’t worn yet but Nope it never is what I am looking for. I am needing to get some new shorts and I hate to go shopping because the misses dept never really fits me right and the juniors dept is SO short and my body is def NOT a juniors body anymore!!! Lol love your articles!! Thanks for sharing

  7. Hi Elle! I just love your blog😊. I find myself agreeing with everything! Keep writing… do a great job!

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