Friday, March 19, 2010

Transitioning your wardrobe part 2

In my last post, we looked at how we can sort through our wardrobe from our previous corporate life, and ended up with a pile of clothes that fit, flatter and were in style. The final question is

  • Can these pieces by integrated into your SAHM wardrobe?

As a SAHM with young toddlers, I am not going to start wearing suits on a daily basis. However, many of the pieces can be incorporated into my more casual lifestyle. My first step was to split up all of my suits except for one dark coloured suit and hang my suit jackets will all my other jackets, suit pants with other pants, and skirts with other skirts, etc. Why did I keep one dark suit separate?

  • it's always handy to have a suit in your closet
  • you may need an interview suit when the perfect job presents itself or when necessity requires a reentry to the workforce
  • you may need it for a funeral or other church event
The reason I keep it as a suit is that suits really need all of their pieces to be dry cleaned together to that the colour will fade at the same rate. Since I will not be treating the rest of my suits as suits any longer, I don't need to keep them together or dry clean them together anymore.

Now that you have split them up, look at how you can mix them into outfits with the more casual elements of your SAHM wardrobe. Since these new outfits will have a more formal piece in them, the look will obviously be on the dressier side of casual, which can take some getting used to if you spent the first few months (or years!) in a baby fog of sweats and tees. They are all still perfectly appropriate for almost anything your SAHM lifestyle can throw at you.

Here is a perfect example of pairing a black suit blazer (which was the backbone of most corporate wardrobes) with jeans. Add in a tee or a knit and some fun accessories and you have an outfit than can take you from kindy drop off in the morning to a night out with your hubby at a fancy restaurant sans kids. The patterned silk shell was a real feature in my corporate wardrobe as I relied on them to add colour and polish to my simple lined suits. Now I rely on them to add colour and polish to my casual pants. Paired with cotton, machine washable chinos, and a co-ordinating cardigan and you have a pretty outfit that is just as easy to put on as chinos and a tee. "But silk?!" I hear you say. Here is my secret - I throw it in the washing machine on a gentle/hand wash cycle and hang to dry. As long as the item isn't lined, most silk items can be hand washed or machine washed on a gentle cycle. Test a small spot for colour fastness first!

The twinset - was it just me, but were these in every workplace during the late nineties/early noughties? I used to wear a twinset with a pencil skirt all the time to work. Again, I loved them for the pop of colour they gave to my outfit, and I still love them for the same reason. Paired with jeans, chinos, or a casual printed cotton skirt, it is the perfect solution for those in between days when it is hot in the sun and cool in the shade! I love the periwinkle blue in the above outfit, but please, either the scarf OR the necklace, not both!

The white shirt - again, I honestly think that every corporate wardrobe has at least one of these. The white shirt can go so many places, but for three ideas, check out this previous post.

So, there you have 3 (+3 more) ideas of how you can integrate your corporate wardrobe into your new lifestyle. And if you honestly can't see yourself integrating them (and have no short-term plans to return to work), then keep one or two suits just in case, and get rid of the rest. Donate them, sell them or give them to friends, but free up that space in your wardrobe for the lifestyle you lead now, not the one you led in the past.

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