July “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI) Update

I’m glad my last post on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and marketing messages was so well received.  I have been very impressed by the wonderful comments that have been written in response to that post by many of you.  I deeply appreciate everyone who has taken the time to share her thoughts.  Due to the sheer volume of comments, I may not be able to respond to each comment individually, but I am grateful to each and every one of you who has taken the time to contribute to the discussion.   Clearly, many of us are frustrated with the tactics that stores are engaging in to get us to buy more.   I will likely write more on that topic in the future…

But now it’s time for another “Love It, Wear It” Wardrobe Challenge (LIWI) update.   I usually post my accountability updates first, but I decided to mix it up a bit this time since I’m still deciding on a few of my July purchases.  As I mentioned in last month’s LIWI update, I’m not going to go into as much detail in these updates until I do my wrap-up at the end of the year.   As my “working closet” is coming together, not as much is changing every month, so I don’t need to get into as much granular detail as I did in the early months of the challenge.   However, I still have things I want to share as I continue to build a more workable wardrobe for myself, so I will persist in doing monthly LIWI updates until the end of 2015.  Then I will likely figure out a new challenge for 2016 so I can keep growing and learning…

Love It, Wear It Challenge

An Overview of LIWI

Before I dive into my update, here’s a quick reminder of what LIWI is about (read more here).  The objectives for the “Love It, Wear It” challenge are to wear what we love and to have the right types of clothing, shoes, and accessories for our lives… our real lives.  By this, I mean the lives that we are actually living in the here and now – not imagined, wished for, or previous lifestyles.

The process for doing LIWI is as follows… The idea is to create a “working closet” by moving everything you wear into a specific area of your closet space (or a separate closet altogether).   As much as possible (uniforms and dress codes aside…), you should only wear what you really want to wear.  Anything that is uncomfortable, fussy, or no longer in line with your personal style should be passed on for donation or consignment.

Although I started LIWI at the beginning of 2015, you can dive in at any time.   A lot of readers have decided to take on the challenge after reading about how it’s helped me with my wardrobe, shopping, and style. Some of those readers share their updates in the comments section of my monthly posts, and anyone who wishes to do so is welcome to play along and report in on how LIWI is going for them.  This post will be all about my experience, but if you want to see how others are navigating the challenge, I invite you to read the comments.  Questions are also welcomed!

What I Wore During July

Prior to writing about how my working closet has shaped up after seven months of the LIWI challenge, I want to give you a quick look at what I wore during July:

July 2015 - items worn

These are the 39 garments and 9 pairs of shoes that I wore during July 2015.

In all, I wore 39 items of clothing last month and 9 pairs of shoes. This doesn’t include dedicated workout/lounge wear – I generally wear “regular” shirts with lounge pants at home. Ten of the garments shown above were worn multiple times and four pairs of shoes were donned more than once (two pairs of sandals were worn five times each).

My July numbers represent seven fewer items of clothing and one less pair of shoes than I wore during June.   The weather was consistently warm, so I was primarily drawing from my warm weather garments and shoes, which is why the numbers decreased to some degree.   I suspect that my August numbers will be even lower, as I have added almost all of my summer pieces to my working closet at this point.  I do still have some jackets and shoes that have yet to be worn (to be highlighted below), as well as a few new pieces that were purchased during July and early August.   My goal is to either wear the long-standing items this month or pass them on for consignment or donation (with the exception of a small formal wear capsule that I will retain).

In regards to accessories, I wore two necklaces (one of which I hadn’t worn previously in 2015) and two scarves (both repeats) during July.   I continue to be surprised by how infrequently I wear these types of items. I wear earrings, watches, and bracelets almost daily, but I’m not as inclined to wear my necklaces and scarves. I used to wear them far more regularly, so I’m not sure if I’m going through a phase or what.   But since the objective of LIWI is to wear what I want, I’m not going to over-analyze it.   I’ll just see how things go as the year progresses.  Neither my scarves nor my necklaces take up much space, so I’m not in a huge hurry to pass those items on.   Perhaps I will start feeling inspired to wear them again soon.   I did wear a short necklace earlier this week with a tank top and really loved it, so that may be a sign of things to come…

Seven Months In – The “Out and About” Clothes

After seven months of the “Love It, Wear It” Challenge, here’s what my working closet looks like now:

July 2015 working closet

This is what my “working closet” looks like as of the end of July. 

The size of my working closet (for non-workout/lounge clothes) as of the end of July was 106 items.  My June number was 94, so the number has gone up by 12 items (I actually added more items than that, but I have also done a bit of culling – to be reported in my upcoming accountability update).  All of the new items are summer pieces that I added as the weather warmed up.

I suspect that my working closet number will remain around 100.   Yes, I still have items that have yet to be worn this year and some of those will be added to the working side of my closet, but I also see myself letting go of some of my clothes as well. I plan on doing another round of the “KonMari Process” before the end of the year and I’m sure I will find at least a handful of items that no longer “spark joy” for me – or maybe never did.

The Clothes by Category

Here’s a summary by category of the clothing items I’ve worn so far this year – and opted to keep (we’ll get to shoes and accessories later), as well as how the numbers have shifted since my last update:

  • 3 pairs of pants (same)
  • 7 pairs of jeans (+1)
  • 10 skirts (same)
  • 10 dresses (+3)
  • 6 coats (same)
  • 6 short jackets – motos, blazers (+3)
  • 11 cardigans (+1)
  • 21 long-sleeved tops (same)
  • 15 short-sleeved tops (+2)
  • 17 sleeveless tops (+2)

What I Added During July

Instead of showing you all of the items in my current working closet, below is a look at the clothes and shoes that I added during July (you can see all of the other items in my June LIWI update):

July 2015 working closet additions

I added these 19 items to my “working closet” during July 2015.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the above 19 items by category:

  • 1 pair of pants
  • 1 skirt
  • 3 dresses
  • 3 short jackets
  • 1 cardigan
  • 2 short-sleeved tops
  • 6 sleeveless tops (this number doesn’t match up with the above because I did some purging in this category – to be reported in my upcoming accountability update)
  • 2 pairs of shoes

The Dedicated Workout/Lounge Clothes

My dedicated workout/lounge clothes were not included in my working closet number above, but the numbers haven’t changed since June:

  • 17 workout tops
  • 11 pairs of workout/lounge pants
  • 5 casual jackets – worn for workouts, walks, and at home

I need to pare down this area of my wardrobe, as I have quite a few pieces that I’m not really wearing.  I plan to do some culling during August, so expect to see some changes in my next update.

Seven Months In – Shoes and Accessories

I’m also tracking all of the shoes and accessories I’m wearing during my 2015 LIWI Challenge.  I keep a running list of shoes worn and I track my jewelry by moving the pieces that I wear to separate areas of my jewelry box.   With my scarves, I move them from being folded up on a shelf to hanging them on a hanger in my working closet.   Here are my accessory numbers as of the end of July:

  • 22 pairs of shoes (+2)
  • 39 pairs of earrings (+2)
  • 15 bracelets (+1)
  • 10 necklaces (+1)
  • 4 watches (same – as pictured in my January update)
  • 5 scarves (same)
  • 5 purses (same)

The two additional pairs of shoes are pictured above under “What I Added During July.”  Here’s a look at the jewelry items that were added to my working closet last month:

July 2015 - LIWI jewelry additions

I added these 4 jewelry items to my “working jewelry box” last month. 

The bracelet is a brand new piece that I’ve already worn several times, while the two pairs of earrings and the necklace are all from several years ago.  The necklace didn’t photograph well.   The colors are actually cooler in tone and the pendant looks shinier.   I wore this piece with my leopard print dress and it was a good pairing.   I had previously worn another warmer-toned necklace with the dress, but I can now pass that other necklace on (it is very warm-toned and not really to my liking anymore).

What Hasn’t Been Worn – Clothes and Shoes

In my monthly LIWI updates, I also like to highlight what has yet to be worn in my closet. Here’s a look at the items that I have yet to wear this year (July acquisitions are not included in this photo):

July 2015 - items not yet worn

I have yet to wear these 14 items during 2015. 

Let’s take a closer look at these items by category:

  • 1 pair of jeans (new black jeans bought in May)
  • 2 cardigans
  • 1 casual jacket (for workouts, walks, etc.)
  • 5 blazers / short jackets
  • 1 long-sleeved top (pictured here – I really like it, but it’s fancy and my life is not…)
  • 4 pairs of shoes

I wrote a lot about why I have yet to wear these items in my June LIWI update, but I will say a bit about each item individually now that that aren’t that many of them:

  • Black sling-back pumps: These shoes skew very dressy and don’t work well with my casual outfits. They were a gift and were expensive, so I’ve been saving them as part of my dressy capsule.
  • Black knit moto jacket: This jacket is a bit too big for me and doesn’t look good worn open.   I like it, but I may have found a better option at the NAS last month, so it’s possible that I will pass this jacket on soon.
  • Black blazer: This blazer looks best worn with pants, but I just don’t have much occasion to wear blazers with my casual lifestyle. I’m saving it as part of my dressy capsule.
  • Black mixed media jacket: I love this jacket and recently took some time to figure out how best to wear it. I believe I will wear it soon when I go out in the evening.  It’s too hot out now to wear it during the day.
  • Black sheer-striped top: I really love this top, but it’s pretty dressy and also isn’t very warm due to the sheer sleeves. The perfect time to wear it is for going out in the evening, but I rarely do that these days.  I’m keeping it and hope to wear it soon.
  • Black straight-leg jeans: Shortly after I bought these jeans and had them hemmed (the talls were too long), the weather turned very warm. I know I will wear them when things cool off, as they are a great fit and very comfortable.
  • Grey casual jacket with black trim: This jacket looks better than it feels.   It’s very cute on, but the sleeves aren’t all that comfortable.  I will likely pass it on soon.
  • Black cross-strap sandals: Cute shoes, but the heel is too high to be very “walkable.”  I used to wear them a lot, but usually choose other options these days.  They do look good with slim-fit jeans, though, so I will keep them for times when I don’t have to walk much.   Luckily, I don’t have many such shoes any longer.
  • Cobalt cardigan: This cardigan was a bit too long to wear with skirts and dresses and didn’t look quite right with pants, either.  So I just had it hemmed by about an inch and a half.  I think I will wear it with skirts and dresses now.  I love the color (it’s my favorite, other than black of course).
  • Coral knit blazer: I’m not sure I like this color anymore and I’m not as into knit blazers, either.   It’s likely that I will opt to pass it along, unless I wear and love it sometime during August.
  • Grey knit blazer: This jacket is in better shape than the coral one and I like it more.   I just haven’t had much occasion to wear blazers as of late.  I don’t want to look too dressy, so I usually opt for cardigans or other jacket styles.  We’ll see if I wear this later in the summer.
  • Pewter sandals: I like these sandals and am not sure why I haven’t worn them yet.   I think I’ve just been reaching for my other metallic sandals by default. I believe I will wear these sandals soon and I will see if I love them.
  • Pewter sling-back pumps: These shoes are too dressy for most of my outfits. I’m saving them as part of my dressy capsule, as they are in good condition and are reasonably comfortable.
  • Polka-dot cardigan: I still like this cardigan. I just haven’t needed a topper all that often because I usually go out only during the day and it’s been very warm as of late. I think I will wear this later in the summer, but we’ll see.

There you have it… the 14 items in my wardrobe that have yet to be worn (other than very recent additions).   While I had hoped to have worn everything in my closet by this point in the year, I feel pretty good about where I am with things today.   I probably still have too many toppers and dressy pairs of shoes, but I’m willing to give it a bit more time for LIWI to work its magic.

I’m really learning a lot about my actual wardrobe likes and needs through doing this process. In the past, I didn’t give things nearly as much thought and consideration.   I just bought things because I liked them and they checked many of the boxes. But the most important facet of our wardrobe pieces is that they meet our lifestyle needs (and of course we should like them, too).   I’m discovering what does and what does not through the process of doing the LIWI challenge.

Unworn Jewelry

Next, let’s check out the jewelry that I haven’t worn this year.  It’s really not that much at this point:

  • 5 pairs of earrings
  • 2 bracelets
  • 8 necklaces

There are also the pins and pendants I featured during last month’s update, but some of those are sentimental pieces and I’ve decided to pass some others on.  My main focus in terms of jewelry is on my as yet unworn earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, which are all pictured below:

July 2015 - earrings and bracelets not yet worn

I have yet to wear these two bracelets and five pairs of earrings this year.

July 2015 - unworn necklaces

These 8 necklaces had not been worn as of July 31st. 

I’m sure I will decide to cull some of these pieces, but I’m not in any huge hurry to do so.   The summer has only been under way for a little over a month and I’m going to see if I reach for any of my unworn jewelry pieces during the course of this season.   I just wore the fourth necklace two days ago and loved it, so we’ll see if the same ends up being true of the other necklaces.

In previous years, I used to buy a lot of jewelry, but LIWI has really gone a long way toward slowing down my purchases in that wardrobe category.   I have only purchased a few jewelry pieces all year, whereas I previously added at least a few new items each month.   This is one of the greatest successes of LIWI thus far.   I’m wearing more of the jewelry I have and am discovering what I like and don’t like in the process. I’m looking within instead of without and I have been quite happy shopping my jewelry box instead of the stores.

Conclusion

I’m so happy that I decided to do the LIWI challenge this year.   It really has done more to help me with my wardrobe than almost anything else I’ve done thus far (the other things that have been equally beneficial are Project 333 and my outfit journal).   I’m wearing more of what I have and am happier with a much greater percentage of my outfits. I also feel less guilt in letting things go, as I have a far greater awareness of what actually works for my life and what does not.   I have been honing my personal style and discovering new “uniforms” (see my previous ones here – I still like some of those looks but not all) that I like wearing and which make it easier for me to get dressed each day.   I will likely feature my new favorite formulas in a future post in the near future.

As the summer season progresses, I’m coming full circle with LIWI and am gradually refining my entire wardrobe.  I see myself tightening up my wardrobe within the next month or two, as I see what warm weather pieces I’m reaching for and which I continually pass by. I also plan to revisit my cool weather pieces to see what sparks joy for me and what feels ho-hum.   I need to take a closer look at my shoes as well, as I know I have some pairs that aren’t really serving me any longer.   A few will need to be replaced, whereas others can simply be passed on.

I’m not in a big hurry to reach any particular wardrobe benchmark.   I used to think I wanted to have a certain number of items in my closet, but that is no longer as important to me.  There really is no optimal wardrobe number.  It’s about what works best for a given person for that time in her life.   If you want to get a better sense of what that number is for you, give LIWI a try – or even Project 333 for that matter (learn more here or check out the reasonably priced “microcourse”).   Alternatively, you can find some guidelines on that topic in these previous “Recovering Shopaholic” posts:

Your Thoughts?

I know some of you have opted to take on the LIWI challenge this year. I’d love to learn how it’s going for you, as well as 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 any 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.

One More Thing…

I will be celebrating my 49th birthday on Saturday.  It’s hard to believe I am that old…  It really seems like just yesterday that I turned 40.  Just for fun, here’s a photo of me on my 40th birthday next to another photo of me from this week.

Age 40 and 49

Me on my 40th birthday and earlier this week – hard to believe 9 years have gone by!

Just one more year of my 40’s left before the big 5-0.   I want to make it count!  I will be sharing some birthday reflections with you all next week (if you’re interested, check out my 2013 post on that topic).   Until then, be well and lots of love to you all.   Have a wonderful weekend!


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Comments

  1. I’m very impressed that you have worn almost all your clothes. Your wardrobe really seems to be settling down! I wore around the same number of garments and shoes as you over the last 6 months, the difference begin it’s less than half my total wardrobe. Time to start looking at the other half!
    I look forward to seeing your new profiles.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I’m actually even a little impressed with myself, Alice. I have definitely come a long way since when I first started the blog. It takes time to cultivate a workable wardrobe, but we both will get there. Best wishes to you on tackling the second half of your wardrobe!

  2. A thought about your jewelry. To me, it seems like you have a lot (and a lot that is similar) but then again I have a lot less jewelry (and fewer clothes and shoes) than you do, so I’m judging by my standards. BUT I wondered if perhaps you might take a “time out” from buying ANY jewelry to really examine what works best for you and how your jewelry wardrobe might function with fewer but more varied pieces. Then you could have fun investigating buying a few “good” pieces of artist-made jewelry. I have a few really lovely bits of sterling silver jewelry I bought over the years from artists. My first purchase was silver link necklace I bought over 40 years ago that is still very much in fashion — and while it was a stretch for me when I bought it, it has increased in value over the years. There have been times when I have worn it less and now I wear it a LOT and get a lot of compliments on it — but it has always been a “keeper” for me because of the quality of materials, workmanship, and design. I have bought jewelry from artists in their studios/workshops, at juried art fairs, from Etsy, and at a few museum gift shops. I like the idea of getting a one-of-a-kind, hand-made, quality jewelry — and I’m willing to spend more to get a really good piece. I have a pair of earrings that I bought at an art fair a few years ago (a really big stretch at the time) that I wear for special occasions — and I could sell them out of my ears every time I wear them! Plus how much fun is it to go to an art fair and get to meet the artist and see all the delicious jewelry on display! I mix my artist-made jewelry with flea market finds and some family pieces. What works for me is to limit the color (white, black, silver, red, and so on) and metals (silver — and maybe some white gold), and overall scale and design of the piece. I avoid pieces that are too small and dainty (wrong for my body type) and too large and flamboyant (wrong for my personal style). I decided when I was 12 that “gold” jewelry doesn’t look good on me — and this was a big help in building a functional jewelry wardrobe.

    BTW, you look fabulous in your recent photo!

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for your compliment on my recent photo, Dottie. Your advice for my jewelry is good. I actually have only added 3 pieces of jewelry to my collection this year – and one of them was a gift. So I have already cut down substantially and I feel good about it. When I used to live in the SF Bay Area, I used to go to a lot of art and wine festivals and purchased some unique jewelry pieces there. The festivals in San Diego pale in comparison, but I like the idea of buying only one or two high quality pieces each year. There is a store in Tahoe (where my mom and brother live) that has the type of pieces you referenced and I could definitely select something I love on my yearly or twice yearly visits there. I would look forward to doing that. Like you, i decided long ago that gold jewelry doesn’t look good on me and I have narrowed my jewelry color palette down considerably just like with my clothing.

  3. Constance says:

    I started following style and fashion blogs about 4 months in an effort to gain some insight into why I continue to wear the same boring clothes regardless of having a very full closet and often buying more. Your blog has been so helpful on many levels. I appreciate the staggering amount of time and effort you have put into analyzing yourself, your closet, and your style. I relate to so many things you talk about but want to respond to something I have seen you say. I too am tall- 5’11 3/4″. I also really have a difficult time getting rid of pants/jeans I rarely wear and have even caught myself simply saying “I guess that will do” when a catalogue order of tall pants come in and I don’t love them and they don’t flatter. It is especially hard to find jeans that flatter. Hence so weird scarcity/deprivation thing kicks in. I have recently lost 25 pounds, am size 6-8 and know maintaining is easier if I feel really good about how I look. Health IS a motivator in maintaining but sometimes vanity is MORE motivating. Superficial but true for me. I feel I have wasted a lot of time, energy, and money on hunting for bottoms and often just put on workout wear if I can’t put a satisfactory outfit together b/c I don’t like the bottoms. My lifestyle is casual, I work as a nurse in scrubs. So I rarely need or desire to wear dresses and skirts. But workout wear is not appropriate either. We are built similarly but I am in my fifties. Where do you find your slacks/pants/jeans? I prefer a slim straight leg. Thanks so much Debbie.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I can really relate to what you wrote about pants, Constance. I have at least a few pairs in my closet now that I should probably pass on, but I keep them because it’s SO challenging to find new pairs. Recently, I’ve had good luck with Lucky Brand jeans. They carry 34″ and 36″ inseams in many of the styles they offer and their curvy styles fit my body well without the need for any alterations (they have many slim straight styles). Their jeans fit me better than any others I’ve found, but I’ve also had some luck with both Gap and Eddie Bauer, who also carry tall lengths. I haven’t bought any non-jean pants in a while, but the ones I do have are from either Gap or Eddie Bauer. Another reader who is built similar to me recommended Loft for both pants and jeans, so that could be something to check out, too. I wish you the best of luck in your search. I know it can be challenging and you’ve even got two inches on me!

  4. My two cents’ worth: I think you should think about your “dressy” capsule as including date night wear rather than just dressier items for business purposes. Or, maybe you have a small “dressy” capsule and a small “date night” capsule. Or maybe you are already thinking of it this way? I guess my thought is that even though you say you don’t go out at night much it is nice to have something special to wear when you do. It seems like the black sheer-striped top could be the foundation of such a capsule, and if you put it in that mental container, you could enjoy wearing it when the occasion is appropriate, without stressing yourself out about not wearing it very much b/c of your lifestyle.

    But I think you may not need the black cross-strap sandals. Do they really look so much better with your slim-fit jeans compared to other similar options that are more comfortable/walkable? I don’t know, keeping an item around to wear on those rare occasions when it might not cause TOO much discomfort seems backward to me. I mean, I do understand that maximum comfort all the time would leave us inappropriately dressed for many occasions! But I just suspect that you have other shoes that could create a similar look/feel with greater comfort. (Thinking of Bridgette Raes’ “when would I choose this item over other similar items?” advice.)

    And happy birthday! It’s true, you don’t look a day over 40!

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your insights, birthday wishes, and kind words (nice to know I look younger than I am), Sarah! I do think of my dressy capsule as including items for date night, but I haven’t been going out at night much at all lately due to my health issues. But you’re right that it’s nice to have things I would enjoy wearing for such occasions when they come around. About the shoes, you may have a good point. I need to spend some time putting outfits together and see which shoes work best. I have mostly been wearing my black boots with my slim jeans, but I want to broaden my horizons a bit. If there is another pair of shoes in my closet that works better than the cross-strap sandals, I will let them go. I CAN walk in them, just not that far, and that could be a problem.

  5. Wishing you much birthday joy, fun, love and laughter. Debbie, you are gorgeous and other than your current much smaller, better, wardrobe, you haven’t changed a bit. You look as lovely now as you did 9 years ago. I know you don’t always feel well, yet you look vibrant, so clearly you are doing plenty of good things heading you in the direction towards better health. And your wardrobe progress is stellar! What an excellent map you are offering here, showing the way for anyone who wants to reduce a large wardrobe and turn it into a medium sized well-functioning wardrobe. Back when I was 49 I’m guessing I would have wanted a closet about the size of yours.

    For me today, working from home, my age (62) with a far more casual lifestyle now, means that I don’t have use for near as much as I needed and wanted 13 years ago. I also do not have any specific number in mind for my wardrobe. My only goal is to maintain the right amount of clothes for me, and for my (current) life. My closet is on the small side and currently I’m no longer growing my wardrobe. I replace or update items when they wear out or go completely out of style. What I’ve discovered by following along with LIWT is that I could easily reduce my wardrobe size even more. But I don’t want to, because I don’t want to be a bare bones minimalist. Yet I can see that I could easily be well dress, and be happy with a teeny tiny amount of out-and-about-smart casual wear. My warm weather clothing includes: 5 dresses, 4 skirts, white pants, jeans, lightweight black pants, assorted short sleeve tops, 2 jackets and 4 lightweight sweaters. In July I wore all of 5 of my dresses, 3 skirts, white pants, a few tops (but I have not worn all of them) no jeans, no jacket and no sweater because it’s too hot! I own 12 pair of shoes, yet in July I only wore 3 pair of sandals for out-and-about, flip-flops at home, and tennis shoes for exercise wear. It’s been so hot this summer while working at home I’ve worn shorts and tank tops, and change into my better clothing only when I leave the house. Although my wardrobe needs are token currently, I still enjoy reading about what others with larger wardrobe are experiencing. I am after all the granddaughter of an outstanding seamstress, and even though my wardrobe is small, my interest remains high.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      As always, I appreciate your kind words, Terra. It’s always nice to hear that I don’t look as old as I am and that I look vibrant even if I don’t feel very well (I actually had the start of a migraine when that photo was taken and felt VERY bad within an hour of it). Thank you for complimenting me on my wardrobe progress, too. I can see that I have come a long way and I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel more and more these days. Your summer wardrobe sizes sounds perfect for your lifestyle and would likely work well for mine, too. It HAS been too hot for jeans, hasn’t it? I have only worn jeans once since summer started and it was at night. I can see that I could pare down further, too, especially in terms of shoes. I have been mostly wearing the same couple of pairs even though I wore 9 pairs in July. We really don’t need a lot, especially those of us who work from home and have casual lifestyles.

  6. Constance says:

    Debbie, I also wanted to send my wishes for improved health in the coming year. Happy birthday!

  7. Happy Birthday Debbie! I hope that you have something wonderful planned for the day.
    Even though I felt like I was finished with LIWI a couple of months ago after wearing or passing along everything in my closet, I decided to go another round with my warm weather clothing. This led me to my new and perhaps final? plan to keep my closet and shopping under control. I have 33 items of “regular” clothing/shoes for warm weather. Right now I have 23 for colder weather, but I plan to add some things to that and won’t go over 33 items. For lounge/work out wear I have a week’s worth for cold and a week’s worth for warm weather with a couple of extra t-shirts for painting, yard work, etc. I have 4 coats/jackets, one dressier and one casual for warm and cold weather. I also have 3 purses and 1 scarf. I don’t plan on adding to those numbers. I didn’t want to do a traditional capsule wardrobe because the best place to store my off season clothing is in my closet and I have plenty of room for it with several feet of unoccupied space. I also want to have access to a pair of jeans if we have unseasonably cold weather in the summer or a short sleeve top if we have a warm winter day. This seems like a good number of clothes for me and my life. I haven’t bought anything for a month because I know I have all that I need for the summer.

    • That’s about where I am too. I have approximately 35 out and about items worn in warm weather and about 30 items for cool weather, and it feels like plenty, sometimes like more than enough. I also do not plan to add to those numbers.

      • I usually don’t do well with limits and boundaries that I put on myself, but I’ve been surprisingly content with this. I think it’s because I have taken emotion out of the equation. Instead of not trying to buy anything because I was “bad” and over shopped, I’m not buying because I have enough. When cooler weather comes I have a list of 8 things that I’d like to get. 5 things I need, 3 I want, and I have 2 empty spaces in case something I really like comes along. It seems like a good balance to me.

        • I feel exactly the same way. I recently bought a new bra and jeans because I need them, and I was not tempted to buy anything else, nor did I feel the need to put any restrictions on myself, I just feel like I have plenty for now. When the cool weather arrives I will revisit my winter wardrobe. But my guess is I won’t need/want much because I love what I have and it feels like enough.

        • Debbie Roes says:

          Both you and Terra inspire me all the time, Tonya! I look forward to not shopping because I have enough. I’m sure I already do, but I look forward to FEELING that and not shopping for that reason instead of because I don’t have any budget left or would be embarrassed to have to report what I bought here. I know that the feeling of enough is just around the corner for me and you both inspire me that I will get there eventually…

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for the birthday wishes, Tonya! We have tentative plans based on how I feel, but fingers crossed we’ll be able to do it. I will share when I do my birthday reflections post. I’m SO impressed with the progress you have made with your wardrobe! I know I say that every month, but I am amazed at how quickly things have kicked in for you and how you have cultivated a much smaller wardrobe that really works for your life. How great that you didn’t have to make rules for yourself about how many items you could own and how it all seemed to come together organically. I hope that will happen for me, too. Maybe it’s just taking a bit longer. We all have to go at our own pace. You are kind of a minimalist now! I bet you never would have thought THAT would happen two years ago! Good for you!

  8. Deborah (Deby) says:

    Happy birthday Debbie! You don’t look any different now than in your younger picture.

    I noticed this time that the colors of the clothing in your closet look “happier” than they did in the past. I don’t think you have too much jewelry. I have a lot of jewelry myself, much of it handmade. I cull through it occasionally but for the most part I continue to like pieces that I’ve had for many years. I don’t always wear everything all the time, it goes in cycles. Besides, its ruinously expensive to some things now.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for the birthday wishes and nice compliment, Deby! I like that you think my colors look “happier” these days. I’m definitely happier about the colors I’m wearing and I feel that things fit together better, so maybe that’s part of it. I share your thoughts about jewelry. I feel pretty good about the size of my collection now. I see myself maybe cycling a few pieces in and out each year, but I don’t think I will end up culling too much more this year. I liked Dottie’s idea of adding a special piece here and there from an art fair or somewhere else where I can find something unique. I tend to keep my jewelry much longer than I keep my clothes and like you, I have cycles in terms of what I love and wear. I’m okay with that.

  9. I aspire to LIWI. I have been working on identifying the styles, colors, shapes and fabrics I like best and eliminating the rest. I currently have about 350 items but that represents a big improvement, I probably had twice that at the end of last year. That said, that includes everything except underwear, sleepwear and most of my socks. Last week I calculated my theoretical working wardrobe size based on one of the reader comments you posted. As I wear between 8 and 10 items daily, my number came to 224 items. That takes into account working, playing, going to church and working out. It does not consider the fact that I work at two offices with two different dress codes, our 4 season climate with special items for rain, snow, etc. or occasional formal wear. All things considered, I think I could be happy with eliminating another 100 items or so. So in the spirit of LIWI, I have spent the past couple of months recording my items in a wardrobe app that permits me to track what I wear when. I am hoping it will help me plan my outfits as well as reveal my orphans. It has already reacquainted me with what I actually own. Now before I buy something, I can search the app on my phone to see if I have anything similar. I am becoming more thoughtful about what I wear and enjoying it more, but I have a long way to go.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Congrats on your amazing progress, Misty! I’m glad you are acknowledging how far you’ve come even if you still feel you have a long way to go to get to where you want to be. You seem to have a very sound plan in place that is working well for you. I have heard good things about those wardrobe apps. I have considered using them myself, but I have already spent SO much time and energy on tracking my wardrobe that I am pretty much going to stick with what I’ve got at this point. I wish you the best of luck in paring down another 100 items and reaching your goal. You will get there, one day at a time!

    • I was very interested to read you numbers, Misty. I started off with 355, including shoes and scarves. After a year, its now down to about 320. Like you, I can be in a variety of work environments (academic, board room, casual), plus ‘play’, which together with a 4 season climate means a very minimal capsule is not going to work for me right now. However recording outfits as I wear them has been helpful, sometimes with notes as to why I liked them.

      I am currently working on honing the middle level, i.e. pieces that can be dressed up or down for the various environments, as ultimately I want fewer, better quality and more flexible pieces, rather than too many self contain sets for different situations.

  10. Happy Birthday from Oz! You are both beautiful and an inspiring.

  11. Cornelia says:

    Happy Birthday, Debbie! Still following your progress and it is impressive. I have pretty much maintained my +/- 100 items plus 30 pairs shoes over these last three years which is my office and casual at home wardrobe. Still Have and always will have a soft spot for a really great pair of shoes, but I have high standards and my feet have to be happy! ? Best wishes.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you, Cornelia. I know you have been following for a long time, so it means a lot that you are impressed with my progress. I’m impressed by your small wardrobe and hope I get to that point sometime soon. I love shoes, too, but some of mine need to go. I am getting more and more particular about what I wear these days in terms of both clothes and shoes. My feet need to be happy, too!

  12. Glad to see the zig-zag black/white skirt made a comeback. It’s cute.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks, Ginger. I like it, too, and plan to keep it around for a long time. Some of my other skirts have been passed on, but that one is still a favorite.

  13. Happy 49th. Take heart, it’s not that bad being in your 50’s but enjoy the final year of your 40’s.

    I was thinking along the same lines as Dotti re: jewelry. I used to be a big fan of costume jewelry in my 30’s and loved big earrings and beaded necklaces. I now only wear diamond studs and silver or rose gold necklaces and bracelets, several from jewelry artists. I just don’t even look at the jewelry departments anymore. Maybe it’s because I am in my 50’s and I now prefer simplicity – I just can’t be bothered to change my earrings everyday.

    Although I haven’t actually read the book, I’ve read enough reviews and articles about the KonMari method to get the gist and have been applying the joy idea to my closet. It’s been surprisingly easy to identify what sparks joy and quite frankly, there’s quite a bit in there that doesn’t. Not surprisingly the things that do are things I reach for over and over. And then I came to realise that wearing dresses is what really sparks joy in me and so this has totally curbed any impulse shopping in the sales. I have a nice collection, all of which I wear. I don’t need anymore little tops and t-shirts and different colored pants – I have enough. My working wardrobe is shrinking.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for your kind wishes and your comment, Carolyn. I intend to make the most of the last year of my 40’s. I do have some trepidation about turning 50, but it is better than the alternative 🙂 Actually, if I can improve my health enough, I won’t care how old I am… Congrats on taking on the KonMari Process. I don’t think it’s totally necessary to read the book, but it is interesting and I enjoyed reading it. The gist of it is the “sparks joy” principle, which seems like it is working well for you. Hopefully, you will be able to pare down to only those pieces that you truly love and wear. That’s what I’m trying to do as well, but I still have some work to do there…

  14. Thanks for documenting your journey, it’s been great cheering you on.

    Also happy birthday! You know we celebrate our birthdays at the *end* of the year. We celebrate our first birthday at the end of our first year, celebrate our tenth birthday at the end of our tenth year, celebrate our 49th birthday at the end of our 49th year and so on. 🙂 [feel free to ignore that if you like. I am a numbers/mathematics geek and amuse myself by thinking about these things but I also believe until I turn 40, I am in my ‘thirties’ no matter what.]

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