It’s hard to believe the year is almost half over. Time flies while you’re focusing on shopping less and cultivating a workable wardrobe (among other things)! As June draws to a close, it’s time to see how I’m doing with my closet pare-down project.
If you’ve been following along since the beginning of this year, you may remember that my goal (number 6 on this list) is to reduce the size of my wardrobe to 200 total items, including clothing, shoes, purses, and scarves. I began the year with an inventory of 233 pieces, down from 386 at the start of 2013. I was very happy to have met – and exceeded – my 2013 goal of paring my wardrobe down to 250 total items. Let’s see how the numbers shake out today…
My Core Wardrobe Numbers – June 2014
Listed below are all of today’s item numbers for my core wardrobe categories, followed in parentheses by the change since my January 2014 closet inventory:
- Coats: 11 (same)
- Blazers/Jackets: 13 (+2)
- Cardigans: 13 (-4)
- Sleeveless Tops & Tanks: 25 (same)
- Short-Sleeved Tops: 17 (-7)
- Long-Sleeved Tops: 22 (-3)
- Jeans: 7 (same)
- Pants: 5 (-1)
- Skirts: 12 (same)
- Dresses: 10 (+2)
- Purses: 11 (-4)
- Scarves: 26 (-10)
- Shoes: 32 (-4)
For the categories that remained the same, there were still some items that came in and out of my closet. In fact, for pretty much all of the categories above, I added new pieces and purged existing pieces. Select replacements were made and some brand new types of items were added to my wardrobe along the way.
Summing Up the Totals
Now let’s take a look at some additional statistics that shed further light on my closet landscape:
- Tops: 64 (-10)
- Bottoms (skirts, pants): 24 (-1)
- Toppers (coats, jackets, cardigans): 37 (-2)
- Total Number of Garments: 135 (-11)
- Grand Total with Shoes: 167 (-15)
- Grand Total with Shoes, Purses, and Scarves: 204 (-29)
My Goal is Within Reach!
As you can see, I’ve almost achieved my closet inventory goal for the year. I’m only off by 4 items at this point! I definitely believe I will reach my goal of having 200 or fewer items in my core wardrobe before the end of the year. While I still plan to purchase a small number of additional items this year, many of them will be replacements for existing pieces. I also believe I will continue to purge pieces from virtually all my wardrobe categories as I see what I do and don’t reach for when I get dressed each day.
Here’s a photo of the 38 items I’ve purged so far this year:
The items in the photo have all been covered in previous accountability reports or will be addressed in the June update that I will post next week. As I look at the photo, I don’t miss any of the items shown. They were all either purchasing mistakes or pieces that were past their prime. Hopefully, I’ve learned from my mistakes and will not repeat them moving forward!
Some Photos and Comments
Here’s what my closet looks like today:
Yes, it’s still pretty full, but it’s less than half of what I had when I began my recovering shopaholic project in January 2013. It still feels like too much stuff to me, but I’m not sure what my desired end point is. I think it’s more important that I have a wardrobe that works well for my needs than to reach a specific number. If someone asked me today what is an ideal number of clothes for me, I’d probably say 100, but that number is not set in stone.
On Wardrobe Size and Brightness
I will write more about this later in the week, but it’s been helpful for me to pare down gradually rather than all at once. I truly feel that most of us have what I call a “closet set point.” If we go too far below our current set point, we’re very likely to “binge” and buy a lot of new things to restore our sense of equilibrium. I’m slowly getting used to living with a smaller wardrobe as I purge pieces that don’t serve me while strategically adding new items to my closet.
Another impression I get when looking at my closet photo is that my wardrobe is still too dark. I like wearing black, grey, and dark jewel-toned colors, but I’d like to add a bit more lightness to my closet. I’d especially like to find a few lovely white pieces to add to the mix. I’ve been searching, but have been dissatisfied with the quality of what I’ve seen on offer. Most white items are so thin that I can see my skin and/or my bra under them, and that’s not acceptable! I haven’t given up, though. I’ll keep looking for high quality white and light pieces to buy, but it may take me a while to find them.
The photo above shows my main closet, but I store my coats and casual jackets in the closet near our front door, as shown below:
The casual jackets on the left are worn around the house, for workouts, and on walks (one casual jacket is not pictured). My coats and long jackets are on the right, beginning with the orange anorak. I especially like my brightly colored coats and jackets, but I plan to add at least one printed item at some point just for a change of pace. There’s a lot of black in there (two of the jackets are navy), but the black pieces are different enough that I can justify keeping all of them – for now. I may feel differently at the end of the year, but I’m currently happy with this section of my wardrobe.
And then there are my shoes… I’ve never taken a photo of all of my shoes together before, but here it is:
Lots of Black and Some Duplication
Again, there is a lot of black! Most of my shoes are either black or metallic in color, but I have a few leopard print and tan shoes in there, too. The only pair of non-neutral shoes I own is a red pair of sandals I’ve had since 2008. I’d eventually like to buy a few other pairs of non-neutral shoes to add more visual interest to my outfits. I’d also like to add a bright purse, as indicated on my shopping priorities list. After seeing all of Bridgette Raes’ posts on accessorizing, I’m convinced of the importance of brightly colored shoes and bags!
I do see some areas of duplication in my shoe wardrobe. For instance, I have four pairs of black boots! Only two of them are worn on a regular basis, so I may opt to release the other two pairs soon. There is also some duplication among my black sandals and black flats, so I’m sure I’ll end up letting go of some additional shoes before the end of the year. I’ll just have to see which ones I wear and which gather dust in my closet.
I currently own 26 scarves, which is a bit more than half of what I had in January 2013 (I started 2013 with 44 scarves). I don’t really think this is too many scarves to own, but I don’t wear scarves as much as I used to. Most of my scarves are lightweight, printed, oblong styles, which are the type that I prefer. Only three of my scarves are heavier, winter-weight styles, which is appropriate for someone living in a temperate climate with very few cold days.
I plan to push myself to wear scarves more often during the second half of 2014. When I do wear scarves, I like them, but I often forget about them when I get dressed. I may opt to do a scarf challenge of sorts to make it fun to revisit this area of my wardrobe.
What About Workout and Lounge Wear?
I did not include workout and lounge wear in the initial closet inventory I did in January 2014. In fact, I didn’t even start tracking these wardrobe categories until July of last year. While I don’t have a tendency to overbuy items to wear to the gym, on walks, or at home, I still feel it’s valuable to keep track of those numbers.
I don’t really have a target number for workout and lounge items. I tend to wear these types of garments often, but I don’t wear them at home exclusively like I used to. Since October 2013, I’ve been making more of an effort to wear “regular” clothes when working from home. That has helped me to feel more attractive and put together at home, and it’s also facilitated my getting more wear out of my standard garments. Win, win!
Many of my workout and lounge pieces have been downgraded from my core wardrobe. I don’t keep anything that is threadbare or has holes in it, but I try to extend the lifespan of my garments by cycling them through other closet categories. Some basic tees become workout tees and a few have ended up being worn as sleepwear. If something is still in decent condition, I try to hold on to it and get good wear out of it for as long as possible.
Workout and Lounge Wear Numbers
Here’s what I have today in my workout/lounge wardrobe:
- Casual Jackets (worn on walks and to the gym): 5 (-1)
- Lounge Jackets (worn only at home): 2 (same)
- Long-Sleeved Tops: 4 (+1)
- Short-Sleeved Tops: 19 (+2)
- Long Pants: 6 (same)
- Capri Pants: 3 (-1)
Here are my workout and lounge wear totals and how they compare to my January 2014 numbers:
- Tops: 23 (+3)
- Bottoms: 9 (-1)
- Toppers: 7 (-1)
- Grand Total: 39 (+1)
As I mentioned above, I don’t have a specific goal for this wardrobe category, but I’m happy to see the number is staying relatively consistent (my total was 39 in July 2013 and 38 this past January). I think I’d like to keep the number under 40, but I may want to decrease it to 30 or so items as I work to keep the best and let go of the rest.
I’m happy to see that I’ve made good progress since the beginning of the year and that I’ve almost met my goal. My plan is to just keep on doing what I’ve been doing: wearing and evaluating everything in my closet and adding a small number of pieces to replace existing items, fill wardrobe gaps, or upgrade my style.
I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel in terms of my having a smaller and more manageable wardrobe. I feel like I’m becoming clearer on my style and inching closer to having a wardrobe that works for my body and my lifestyle. I’m going to keep on keeping on, and I know I will eventually reach these goals! I’ll be back with another closet inventory update before the end of the year.
If you’re unhappy with the size and make-up of your wardrobe, I highly recommend that you take a closet inventory. This will give you a starting place from which you can set goals to work toward. You can use my process above as a template if desired. I also recommend that you take photos of your closet as well as particular areas of your wardrobe. Seeing the photos of my clothes, shoes, and scarves really helped me to notice color and style patterns and areas of duplication.
Once you’ve taken an inventory of your closet, take some time to evaluate what an ideal wardrobe size might be for you. It may be helpful to refer to these previous “Recovering Shopaholic” articles to guide you in that process:
After you make that determination, you can start the process of paring your wardrobe down. Here are a few articles that can assist you in doing so:
- “Decisions, Decisions… The Keep or Purge Question”
- “Reader Question – Help with Paring Down a Large Wardrobe”
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