February “Love It, Wear It” Challenge Update

I just completed the second month of my “Love It, Wear It” Wardrobe Challenge (LIWI), so it’s time for another update.  Here’s a quick reminder of how the challenge works (read more here)…  The idea is to create a “working closet” by moving everything I actually wear into a specific area of my closet.   I will only wear what I really want to wear and anything that is uncomfortable, fussy, or no longer my style will be passed on for donation or consignment.

Love It, Wear It Challenge

The objectives for the challenge are to wear what I love and to have the right types of clothing, shoes, and accessories for my life.   By “my life,” I mean the life that I am actually living in the here and now, not an imagined, wished for, or previous lifestyle.

What I Wore During February

Before we look at how my working closet has shaped up after two months of LIWI, I want to briefly touch upon what I wore during February.  The focus of these updates will center more on my overall working wardrobe than on any given month, but I want to at least show a photo of the pieces I wear each month.  Here’s what I wore during February:

February 2015 -items worn

These are the clothes and shoes I wore during February 2015.

I previously did not include workout and lounge wear in these updates, but I want to more accurately reflect what I’m wearing for all aspects of my life.  I do not have photographs of all of my workout and lounge items, but I’ll show the ones I have and mention everything in these reports.   I wore more items during February than in January (more on this below), but I also didn’t count my workout and lounge wear in my January report.   In addition to the 58 items pictured above, I also wore 13 tops exclusively for workouts and 5 pairs of pants to the gym and on walks and while I’m at home.  I also wore my walking shoes (shown here) for all of my exercise activities.

I’ve made a point of wearing “regular” tops more often when I’m working from home, but I still wear yoga-style pants at my desk most of the time for comfort purposes.   I’m fine with this, as I have far more tops than bottoms in my wardrobe and my bottom pieces rarely fall into “benchwarmer” territory.   I feel a lot more put together at home in my “regular” tops, so I’m happy that I’m now reserving workout tops for that purpose only.

Two Months In – The Clothes

After two months of the “Love It, Wear It” Challenge, here’s what my working closet now looks like (the shoes shown are not included – see below for a look at the shoes I’ve worn thus far):

February 2015 Working Closet

These are the clothes in my “working closet” after two months of LIWI. 

As you can see, things have filled in quite a bit since my January update!   You’re now looking at the majority of the cooler weather items that I own.  Where I live, the cooler weather usually encompasses both the winter and spring seasons, although with our temperate climate, we definitely get some seasonal crossover.   My guess is that the closet view above won’t change too much for a while, but time will tell and I plan to let LIWI work its magic and see how things unfold.

In terms of clothing (we’ll get to shoes and accessories later), below is a summary of what I wore during my first two months of the LIWI challenge.  I’m breaking things down a bit more than I did last month, as it’s difficult to see the individual items in the photos.

  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 4 pairs of jeans
  • 1 skirt
  • 5 casual jackets (worn for workouts, walks, and at home)
  • 6 coats
  • 1 short jacket (moto)
  • 5 cardigans
  • 21 long-sleeved tops
  • 9 short-sleeved tops
  • 3 sleeveless tops
  • 23 workout tops
  • 6 pairs of workout/lounge pants

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the garments I have worn during 2015 thus far (most of the workout items are not pictured):

February 2015 working closet view

A view of my “working closet” at the end of February (shoes not included). 

February 2014 working closet - jackets and coats

Jackets and coats worn as of the end of February 2015

The Other Side of the Story – Items Not Yet Worn

While I have worn most of my cool season wardrobe, there are still a number of items that have yet to make it out of my closet:

  • 2 pairs of pants (I may downgrade one of these to lounge wear)
  • 5 pairs of jeans (at least two pairs may be on their way out)
  • 5 long-sleeved tops (mostly because they are dressier)
  • 3 short-sleeved tops (one is dressy, two are new)
  • 5 sleeveless tops (usually worn with long cardigans, but I’m moving away from that style)
  • 1 long cardigan
  • 2 long jackets (one is a formal blazer)
  • 2 casual jackets (will likely be consigned)
  • 1 coat (will likely be sold – wool and too itchy)

I haven’t been as into wearing the open cardigans that were once part of my “uniform,” but I now wear them at home to help keep me warm.   The one that hasn’t been worn is less warm, so it’s possible that I may choose to pass that one on at some point.  As the season moves on (our warm weather usually doesn’t start until June or July), I’m sure that some of the items above will be designated for donation or consignment.  After all, why hang on to things that I don’t feel compelled to wear?  Of course, “dressier” pieces can be the exception and I’m okay with wearing those items less frequently (but I’d still like to wear them at least two or three times per year).

Two Months In – Shoes and Accessories

I’m also tracking of all of the shoes and accessories I’m wearing during my 2015 LIWI Challenge.  I’m keeping a running list of shoes worn and I’m tracking my jewelry by moving the pieces that get worn to separate areas of my jewelry box.   With my scarves, I’m moving them from being folded up on a shelf to being hung on a hanger in my working closet.   Here are my accessory numbers thus far:

  • 7 pairs of shoes (another pair that I wore during January has been passed on)
  • 23 pairs of earrings
  • 12 bracelets
  • 2 necklaces
  • 4 watches (as pictured in my January update)
  • 3 scarves
  • 2 purses (my plan is to switch out my purses at least once per month to make sure I still like the ones I have)

Here’s a look at the shoes and accessories I’ve worn so far this year:

February 2015 working closet - shoes

These are the seven pairs of shoes I’ve worn so far this year (all black and grey!)

Earrings worn Jan-Feb 2015

Earrings worn – January and February 2015 (mostly silver, black, blue, and green)

Bracelets worn - January and February 2015

Bracelets worn – January and February 2015 (lots of silver and black with a bit of color)

Necklaces worn January and February 2015

These are the only two necklaces I’ve worn so far this year!

Scarves worn January and February 2015

I’ve worn these three scarves so far this year. 

Purses carried January and February 2015

These are my January and February 2015 purses.

What I’ve Learned So Far

That’s it for the numbers and photos, but there’s still a lot more to share!  The most important part of the LIWI challenge is the learning and growth that takes place along the way.   The patterns that I noted in my first LIWI update have persisted, including the fact that I crave variety the most with my tops, earrings, and bracelets.   I did expand my shoe repertoire beyond the two pairs of boots that I wore in January, but many of my shoes remain unworn, as is also true for my large scarf and necklace collections.   More on both of those issues below…

My Desire for Variety Increased

Like when I took on Project 333 back in 2013 and early 2014, I was more comfortable with fewer options early in the LIWI challenge.   As February moved on, I felt increasingly compelled to add new items to my working wardrobe, particularly in terms of tops.   I see a few reasons for this:

  1. I wanted to wear my tops to make sure I still liked them and that they still fit my body and sense of style.
  2. I got into the habit of wearing my “regular” tops at home and enjoyed the mood boost it gave me to do so (I felt more attractive and put together).

I haven’t culled many of my tops as of yet, but a few of them may be passed on at the end of the season or reserved for at-home wear only due to their showing signs of wear.

Although I enjoyed wearing various earrings and bracelets, many of them still haven’t been worn, which shows that my collection is probably still too large.  I will likely do some more culling later this month as I see which pieces I’m not that interested in wearing.   There are some items that I wear most often with skirts and dresses, so I’ll hang on to those until the warmer weather comes around.

Too Many Open-Toed Shoes

A reader recently pointed out that I have far more open-toe than closed-toe shoes.   Surprisingly, I hadn’t really noticed that before, but she was definitely right!   While I do live in a warmer climate than most, I rarely wear open-toe shoes during the winter and spring months, so it seems logical that there should be an even distribution of shoe types in my closet.

I currently own 26 pairs of shoes (not including workout shoes and slippers), down from 56 when I started this blog in January 2013.   Here’s a snapshot of the shoes in my closet:

Shoes I Own - March 2015

These are the 26 pairs of shoes I own as of March 2015.

Of these shoes, only 10 pairs are closed-toe, while the remaining 16 are either peep-toes or sandals of some type.   The proportion was even more askew before I purchased my grey boots and pewter ballet flats last month (larger view of both here).

I’m not sure if all of my current shoes will make the cut, as I’ve only worn 7 pairs so far this year, but it’s been helpful to take a closer look at the type of shoes in my closet.   A fellow blogger recently messaged me to ask how many shoes I feel a typical woman needs.   I told him 15 to 20, but I also mentioned that there are many variables that impact this number.   A few years ago, I’m sure I would have said at least 25 to 30, but like with our clothes, most of us have quite a few pairs of shoes that are gathering dust and rarely get worn.  I’d love to get your thoughts on the “how many shoes” question, though!

Unloved Scarves and Necklaces

Speaking of gathering dust, that’s pretty much what’s been happening with my scarf and necklace collections since LIWI got under way.    While I’ve seen a recent uptick in how often I wear my scarves (I’ve worn three during the past two weeks), I’m finding that I just don’t feel like wearing necklaces most of the time.   They also don’t work well with the majority of my long-sleeved tops, as many of them are prints or Henley style.  However, we’ll see if things shift as the weather warms up and I start wearing more short-sleeved and sleeveless tops.

I’m not going to try to force anything.  That goes against the spirit of LIWI, which is to only wear what we most love.   If it turns out that I don’t really love scarves and necklaces much anymore, I will likely pare down further.  But I do think it’s a bit too early to tell, especially since weather is a factor.  Neither my scarves nor my necklaces take up too much space, so I’m okay with keeping them around until I really see what strikes my fancy during the various seasons.   I’m sure I could be perfectly happy with far fewer of both types of items, though, which will likely be the end result later this year.

On the Subject of Pants

I used to lament how few pants I had and how difficult it was for me to find new options.   While the latter is still the case, I’ve made peace with mostly wearing a few pairs of pants and jeans and sticking to dark neutrals in both cases.   While I think it would be wonderful to have a bit more variety with my pants, it’s not a necessity in order for me to be happy with my wardrobe.   I haven’t even worn all of the pants I own at this point!

I think that I’ll probably be ready to let go of more pants and jeans later this month.   I’ve always been so afraid to cull pants from my closet because it’s so hard for me to find new options that work.  But seeing how easy it is for me to get by with just a few pairs (only 7 total for January and February, and some of those were rarely worn) is helping me to be able to let go.   I really do have enough, even if there’s not much variety in the mix.   At this point, new pants and jeans are more of a “nice to have” than a wardrobe necessity for me.  I’d rather focus on wearing the more modern fits I picked up last year (skinny-ish and boyfriend styles) and aim to buy a few shorter and narrower skirts during my spring/summer shopping.

Moving Forward with LIWI

My working closet is now relatively large, with 87 garments (including workout and lounge wear) and 53 accessories (including shoes).   But as I mentioned last month, just because something makes its way into my working closet, it doesn’t mean it will get to stay there.   If I notice that I’m not reaching for something or if I put it on and don’t like how it looks or feels, I’ll have no problem letting it go.   After all, the objective is to love everything that’s in my closet, not just tolerate it or think it’s “okay.”  I want everything to be at least an “8” on a scale of 1-10 and if I’m really honest with myself, I know that there are some “7”s and below in there today.

As we move into spring, I know there will be more unseasonably warm days on which I’ll break out some of my warm weather items.   That will fill my working closet in even more, but I don’t think my overall numbers will increase too much this month.   I suspect I will do more re-wearing of pieces, as well as more culling, coupled with less shopping both in my closet and at the stores.   Not only have I reached my quarterly budget, I’ve also purchased too many pieces so far this year and I’d like to slow things down and wear more of what I have.

I’ve been enjoying shopping in my closet and looking at my clothes in a new light.  While I have been tracking what I wear for years (see my method here), there’s something almost “magical” about physically moving items into my working closet.   It’s like I’m consciously choosing my clothes and accessories the second time around by doing this.   I’m basically telling myself that I would buy these pieces again if I had it to do over again today.   This isn’t 100% true for everything in my working closet at this point, but I’m going to use this criterion as my benchmark as I re-look at things this month.   I look forward to seeing what I learn and to sharing the outcome with you next month!

Your Thoughts?

So there you have it, my second “Love It, Wear It” Challenge update.   I know that some of you have opted to take on the challenge as well and I’d love to learn how it’s going for you and what you’re discovering about your wardrobe and yourself in the process.   Please share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.  For those who haven’t yet adopted the challenge but are interested in doing so, it’s not too late!   If you have questions or concerns before you get started, I would be happy to address them.

For everyone else, I hope you’ve found this post interesting and I welcome your insights, too.   I’ll be back next week with the results of a fun “deliberate” project I recently took on and more content related to shopping, wardrobe management, personal style, and more.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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