Consolidating my wardrobe

Sorting through my wardrobe with an eye toward garments that I really love and actually wear was a fun experience! I’ve always enjoyed thorough sorting, clearing out, and getting rid of things, but I’m also pretty sentimental. I tend to hold onto things that I might use someday, and things that I imagine looking great on me, whether it’s the case or not. I work in a pretty casual office, and we don’t go out very much, so the number of party dresses I own is a bit excessive… But once I  carefully considered each of the pieces I haven’t worn since moving here (six months), I went on to evaluate pieces by how much I actually like them. Do they really look good on me? Are they flattering? Are they appropriate for the kinds of things I do? For tops and bottoms, how many other pieces do they match?

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As prescribed by the instructions for creating a capsule wardrobe on every fashion blog I consulted, the first step is to remove everything from the closet. Kumquat was concerned, since she has a great time burrowing into my slippers and chewing on the strings to my nightgown. When I pulled each item out, I did a rudimentary sort into three piles on the bed:

1) Wear it all the time- absolutely keep

2) Haven’t worn it in a while or don’t really like all that much- try it on and decide

3) Don’t wear often, doesn’t quite fit, etc.- donate or sell

IMG_7409Instead of a capsule for each season, I decided to sort my “keeps” into two categories/capsules/seasons. Since there aren’t four equal seasons here in SC, just an endless-seeming summer and a little blip of cool that the locals call winter, I think my layering and pairing technique will continue to suit me fine.

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This gorgeous dress came from Ghana, and I love it very much (although I know my face doesn’t look it… I was more concerned with making sure the camera captured the whole skirt than with my face and it seems that it shows.). The problem is that I never have an occasion to wear a flowing halter-top maxi dress. The fabric is gorgeous, the smocking is flattering, and I really love the color. It’s a keep, but definitely in the summer category.

The next step was to address any pieces with stains, tears or popped seams, etc. This dress, aside from being wrinkly, had a split seam up the back and required a little bit of TLC. Now that it’s repaired, I’ll make a point to wear it in the next couple of weeks- though it’s a bit dressy for work, it would be great for a day I’m feeling like “dressing for success”- there’s nothing like a tailored, well-fitting garment to make you feel like taking yourself seriously. For that reason, it’s perfect for interviews- since I don’t anticipate needing interview clothes for another year or two, this is in “quarantine,” a section of my closet dedicated to those garments I’m holding onto because they fit well and I love them, even though there are almost no activities in my regular schedule that warrants such a tailored piece. Plus, I got it for $4 at a thrift store, so I feel a bit possessive of it.

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Now that I’ve gone through and evaluated everything, I’ve said goodbye to eleven pieces (the majority of which were neutrals or solid color pieces- I do love bright colors and splashy patterns!) and moved eight to that “quarantine” section, where I’ll keep an eye on whether I ever have opportunities to wear them. All eight of those are dresses, which makes sense- though I work in an office, I don’t need to wear skirts or dresses to be work-appropriate. And unfortunately, I don’t have much need for party dresses in my usual day-to-day… Maybe that will change!

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So, here’s my final, curated wardrobe, for both warm and cold weather (excluding elements like socks and tights/stockings, but including leggings; excluding coats that are exclusively outerwear but including sweaters and layering jackets). There are 67 pieces in there, for the entire year. I didn’t get very far when attempting to differentiate by season- though it’s decidedly fall around here, I’m still wearing my tanks and short sleeved shirts, just with cardigans and boots. I’m still wearing skirts and sundresses, just with leggings and jackets.

What did I learn? I suppose this combing-through exercise reinforced the fact that I am an emotional collector (read: pack-rat). I like wearing the same clothes all the time (read: creature of habit), and I feel strongly about my clothes. Clothing is an important extension of my identity, whether it’s the pieces I’ve made or the pieces I’m proud of having kept for a log time, purchased secondhand at a great deal, or repaired. The pieces I’ve chosen to keep are important to me because of why I have them or how they make me feel, and no matter what their origins, I intend to wear them for a long time.

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2 thoughts on “Consolidating my wardrobe

  1. well .. one thing I would have gone further with my quirkiness about closet cleaning (which I am attempting after your inspirational closet success), is to color coordinate as a rainbow or chakra system, just for a fun view that makes the eyes smile 🙂

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    1. That is a good idea! I organize mine by type of clothes- dresses, then skirts, then short sleeves, then long sleeves. I certainly could categorize further with colors, but I know by the time we do laundry the first time after that process it’ll be all randomized again!

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