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:
Looking good! I do also notice the overall darkness, and my first thought when I saw the shoes was “too much black”, but you are aware of both these things.
I’m not sure I would count scarves in closet numbers myself. I tend to think of them as almost jewelry, like a fabric necklace if you will. But it’s all arbitrary anyway, right?? No one’s coming to count our stuff while we’re asleep lol!
I also purged some stuff lately, but find I’m at almost 30 new items for the year if a few coming orders work out. Yikes. I can only buy about 5 more things at that rate. But I am very very happy with a lot of what I’ve added this year so I’m not going to stress about it.
I have a lounge and workout capsule, as well, but was surprised at how big yours still is. It’s funny, this is a category where I don’t mind repeating over and over, which I tend not to do so much in my ‘going out’ into the world outfits. I would guess I have maybe 6 lounge tees and 2 or 3 pants/capris, one short, and a skirt. The rest is dedicated workout wear, technical wicking fabrics, etc, that I wear specifically to sweat, not for lounging on the couch. I do have lots of sleepwear (thanks to the boyfriend gifting me sets every xmas) that I sometimes lounge in.
I haven’t counted in a few months, but I’d say my clothing is still under 125 (only 3 scarves and 6 purses for me), and shoes are between 25 and 30.
You have a good point about the scarves, Mo. They probably do belong more in the jewelry/accessories category. I thought about that after my first inventory, but I’m trying to stay consistent for the sake of comparison from inventory to inventory. As for my lounge wear, I include the type of workout clothes you mentioned (the ones to sweat in) in the same category. But yes, I think I still have too many of these types of items, especially since like you, I don’t mind repeating them often. I can see myself paring down this category in the coming months.
Congrats on doing so well with your new purchases! I can’t say I love everything I’ve added this year, but I do feel good about some of them and I’ve learned from the mistakes. I will do another purchase update later this summer. I hope to have better news to report than last time!
For the first time I counted my sweaters yesterday & there were over 100! Omg! I put at least 25 or more on eBay …. Now for shoes…
Good for you for being brave enough to count, Bella, and congrats on putting so many sweaters on eBay. I’m sure that took both courage and time to do! Good luck with those shoes. It gets easier as time goes on, I promise!
I just found your site a couple days ago and I am really appreciating your honesty and accountability. I purged my closet in Jan since I lost 2 sizes due to a health issue. So, I began to purge out of necessity and vowed to not add the same amount back. I have done well until recently and I find myself buying those pieces I really wanted when I was buying to replace my wardrobe. They just weren’t out then. I feel like my numbers are creeping back up and I can feeling uncomfortable. When I inventoried and tried on every piece of clothing (except when I knew it was a goner), I was still surprised how many pieces I owned. Your mid year inventory has encouraged me to do it again and see where I’m at. Thank you SO much! Keep up the hard but fruitful work! Kindest regards, Jules
Welcome, Jules! I’m glad you like my blog and are finding it helpful. Sounds like you’ve made some excellent progress this year. Recovery from compulsive shopping can definitely be two steps forward, one step back (or even two steps sometimes). It’s common to pare down one’s closet, only to build it right back up again. I’ve definitely done that more than a few times! I will write more about “closet set point” later this week, as it plays into things a lot. For now, good luck with your closet inventory and your journey at large!
This post came at the perfect time. I frequently fine tune my wardrobe and yesterday I gave away the ‘new,expensive but never worn items’ that has been lingering in my mind for months. I’m getting better at controlling my impulses to replenish after doing a purge and I’m also getting close to my ideal number of items. My problem is always the purge binge cycle – convincing myself that I ‘deserve’ new items after a purge for the quest to acquire the non-existent ‘perfect’ pieces that goes with everything. What I’m finding out about what I truly like and frequently wear are items that are 100% fuss free and comfortable. I absolutely hate spending any time trying on different items to get the right outfit. I’ve become more and more of a no nonsense dresser yet I still love to be stylish. My solution is to stick with 5 outfits per season since I don’t mind at all wearing the same outfits over and over again. At this point, shoes are the hardest. I don’t pinch pennies on shoes and boots and I currently have 12 pairs, which is far too many considering I only wear 5 of them. I gave away a pair of Tod’s Gommi loafers and a brand new pair of frye boots yesterday and instantly felt lighter. Now I have to constantly remind myself to NOT buy anything new to replace what I gave away. Your blog helps me do that immensely and I love reading your accountability posts in particular.
Good to see you posting here again, Wendy. It sounds like you’ve made some really great progress in recent months. Understanding what does and doesn’t work for you is an important step and one I’m still working on. You have made excellent strides in that area. I hope to get to the point where I don’t mind having a few fabulous outfits that I wear over and over again. Congrats on feeling lighter after giving away the shoes that you don’t wear! I feel lighter, too, with my smaller wardrobe. One step at a time…
Fantastic work! I agree that the scarves are accessories but I would replace them with the lounge wear clothing. I see the dilemma about how to include when they weren’t part of the original clothing count. Perhaps someday you can draw a line under this process and start a new count including the lounge wear. The number of coats floored me! You have the “best” climate in the US and yet so many coats! However, I like the brightness of the colors in this coat closet. Funny how those black shoes multiply when you aren’t looking (I think they breed in the back of the closet). I have a pair of red slides and red loafers which add some brightness to my mostly black or brown footwear. I’m thinking of getting bronze or pewter sandals next year (almost got them last year but my size was out of stock in both colors). I have a beloved pair of Teva sandals (now 8 years old) that will need to be replace next year.
You and Mo made some good points, Dottie. I think it makes sense to have my main count include “regular” clothes, lounge wear, and shoes. I just did the math and that current total is 206 items, so it’s still totally doable for me to get under 200 items with that count. In fact, I’d love to get down to 180 or so. As for the coats, they are all pretty lightweight, but I agree that I don’t need that many in San Diego. I will see which ones I wear the most and maybe let a few go. I do love the bright ones, though! Metallic sandals are great and I wear mine a lot. You’d probably be happy with a pair, as I know you wear a lot of the same colors as I do.
I agree that scarves should not be counted…. I do own about 50 and that would bring me dangerously close to your 200 item number. :)) Oh, and to fess up to my ‘no shopping’ spree, I will confess to a pair of pumps to replace an old worn one and a pair of pants and linen shirt to replace a few items that could not be taken down enough to look right anymore. But looking at your closet, I am impressed how far you have come.
I don’t know why I included scarves in the original count, Cornelia, and I will probably break things down differently next year. But having scarves in the mix HAS helped me to pare them down. I’m sure yours are all of impeccable quality and many of mine were not. You seem to be doing great with your shopping this year, even though you did buy a few things. No sense in suffering and wearing things that are too worn out!
You’ve done a great job Debbie! I just counted and I have 100 items of apparel, 9 coats and jackets, 23 footwear, and 1 scarf for a total of 141 items. I looked in the comments of your last closet inventory post and I was at 199, so that’s down 58 items. I also didn’t count workout/lounge wear, pjs, etc. Since I’m enjoying having less, it has become much easier to let things go that aren’t working for me.
You have come so far, Tonya! I hope you feel proud of yourself for your great progress. Your total seems like it would be a good target for me to aim for. I’m enjoying having less, too. As I keep paring down, I find I need less and less. The plus side is that I’m focusing more and more on quality and loving what I have. I’m still struggling with what I truly need, but it’s getting easier as time goes on.
Hmmmmm … closet set points. Debbie, I think this may be the beginning of another posting. Although I have purged a large proportion of my wardrobe, it is still ample, perhaps too ample. And yet, I find I resist going smaller. Is it because I actually prefer a lot of choice? Or are you on to something with this set point thing? Perhaps over time I will be able to lower the set point bit by bit, however too much dramatic purging simply feels uncomfortable to me for now.
I’m definitely going to post more on the “closet set point” later this week, Happy Forgiver. I think there are lots of factors that go into it and it’s probably not the same for everyone, but I will give my perspective on it and enjoy getting input from others on how it feels for them. I hope you comment on that post, too, as I’d love to learn if my insights resonate for you.
Hi Debbie! How did you decide on 200 items? I ask because like you said, I would think it’s more important to find an amount of items that works best for your lifestyle rather than an amount just to reach a number. I have not counted the items in my closet, however I started doing seasonal closet purges and am very happy with the results! I wear tops with bottoms I’ve never paired before, dresses and skirts with new jacket and cardigan combos, etc. They’re the same pieces I own, but they are getting more wear and I get more compliments. Now that my closet is not over stuffed I can actually see what I have. I have to confess though, I do need to work on my shopping! Although I have limited it a great deal, I still collect several pieces every month. When I buy something, I do think of where I’d wear it to, if I have something to wear it with, and if I can wear it for more than one occasion (like work and out with friends or weekend and trips, etc) If I can’t then I don’t purchase it. This way I know that the piece is really getting use!
Thanks for your comment and question, Millie. The 200 target was somewhat arbitrary. I chose it because I thought it would represent good progress over where I ended last year. I didn’t want to set the number too low, such that I might get rid of things for the sake of getting rid of them. But I also wanted to stretch myself a bit, and I have. Congrats on the progress you’ve made with both your wardrobe and your shopping! You seem to be doing much better in both respects. The fact that you stop to ask yourself powerful questions before you buy something will be very helpful. Many of us just buy things because they’re “cool” or “a good deal,” but stopping to ask questions can help us avoid buying mistakes. Keep up the great work!
Thanks Debbie. After reading some of the readers in the comments section I decided to take inventory. I did not include lounge/workout/sleep wear or shoes or purses. My total was almost 300 items of clothing alone!!! (mind you, this is after seasonal purges and a big closet clean out in the beginning of summer) I definitely felt better about “not having enough clothes”. Although I do live in a 4 season state, I could still decrease my closet size…especially my shoes which I have yet to tackle! Thanks for all your great tips.
Congrats on being brave, Millie, and thanks for sharing your number. There is no one right number of clothes to have, and it changes over time for many of us. Check out today’s post on closet “set points” for more insights on this topic. It’s often better to proceed slowly with wardrobe pare-downs, as the results are more likely to be lasting that way. I wish you continued success!
I just pared my closet down SUBSTANTIALLY and the thing that has greatly helped me focus that energy, is I signed up for a program called “dressing your truth” and I helped me identify what I really truly like and enjoy. I also started by turning my hangars backwards and if I had not worn it in 3 months, it went “bye bye” I am working on a 100 system, and am feeling better than ever. I am actually liking what I see in my closet, where before I thought I had nothing to wear.
Congrats on paring down your closet, Kim! I’ve done Dressing Your Truth, too, and that has helped me define what I like and what works best for me. What type did you end up being? I am a Type 4 (with a secondary 2) but was dressing like a Type 2 much of the time previously. For those who are reading this and want to learn more, here’s the link (I am not an affiliate): http://dressingyourtruth.com/
Good job on using “the hanger trick” to help you pare down your closet. I’ve been doing that for at least 4 years now and it’s helped me a lot. At one point, I would guess I had around 500 items in my closet! It’s an easy and effective way to pare things down.
I am a type 3 dominant, with some type 1 characteristics too. I nearly gaged when I saw the color palette for type 3 (earthy and jewel tones – as I had everything but that in my wardrobe), but have found ways to make it my own and actually am much more content with it. If anything, having direction and a color palette that everything can mix and match is a huge help in trying to pare down and create a good wardrobe.
Thanks for responding, Kim. I think a lot of people resist their types at first, at least from what I’ve seen from the club night recordings. I’m glad you are happier now that you’ve adjusted to the type 3 colors and styles. I’ve never done a post about Dressing Your Truth, but now that we’re conversing about it, I may opt to write about it at some point. I agree that having a smaller color palette can help immensely with wardrobe management!
Kim and Debbie: I sussed out the “dressing your truth” website a few years ago and was very impressed with it. (I’m Type 4.) Thanks for bringing this to the attention of readers of this blog because the course contains a LOT of info that is missing from most wardrobe/fashion resources. It took me years on my own to learn what style of clothing (in addition to the color analysis I had 30 years ago) worked best for me. This course is a valuable short-cut to identifying style/color/pattern/accessories/fabric….
I did Dressing Your Truth course also and am a Type 2 / secondary Type 4. While I agree with much of the course with regard to personality, physical features, and some of the clothing styles, I am not in total agreement with the color palettes. I tried for 3 years to wear the Type 2 palette and found it to be depressing. I recently had a color draping done and turned out to be a Bright Winter, so I need to wear lots of really bright and saturated colors. Since beginning to wear these colors over the past few weeks, I have found my mood to be dramatically improved and the compliments flowing in. Certainly, my experience may be different than others but I would proceed with caution on the color palettes until I was sure about them. I wasted a lot of money going down the “soft and muted” road and got rid of a lot of things that I wish I still had.
I agree with you about the colors, Grasshopper. When I first did the course, I couldn’t decide if I was a 4/2 or a 2/4. The colors were a big determinant for me, as I didn’t like the Type 2 colors at all. I would imagine that women with all different types of coloring are in the four types, but the colors they recommend won’t work for all skin tones, eye colors, and hair colors across the board. In my case, the Type 4 colors work well for me (and Dottie, too, from what she’s shared about her coloring), but I would not look good in the muted tones of Type 2. The colors are a big part of why I don’t wholeheartedly recommend Dressing Your Truth. I think the program has a lot of merits in other ways, but it doesn’t always work in terms of color. I’m glad you did the color draping (I hope to do that at some point) and are embracing your Bright Winter colors now!
Found your page while looking for some motivation on my minimalist journey.
I’m far from being minmalist, having spent many years and great amount of money accumulating way too much things. I’m trying to downsize down, to declutter and minimize my stuff.
Yes, easier said than done. Started in 2012, purged and gave away many car loads of books to the Salvation Army. Next was my toys collection, including jigsaw puzzles and models. Now, I’m working on my clothes.
My problem is shopaholic. I shop when I’m stressed etc. Some people eat to forget their problems, I shop more than I eat. Going thru my clothes, I discoved that I have bought many pieces of clothing of the same style and colors. Enough to sell as my mum would put it.
I’m also overloaded with stationery. The list goes on. Not too bad for bags and shoes.
So, my priblem now is, I still find it hard to give away some stuff. I’ve too many new clothes but I still cannot bear to give away my old clothes that I’m still wearing.
It is not easy but I now know that minimalism is the only way to go if I want to have a quality life, un-loaded with stuff.
Welcome, Blues, and thanks for sharing part of your story. Many of us overbuy in other areas besides clothing. I did a post about that a few months ago. I recommend that you check it out and read the comments: https://fulllifereflections.com/2014/03/31/what-else-do-you-overbuy-besides-clothes/ It’s definitely a process to pare things down. I simplified in most other areas before I started tackling my clothes. I know it can be hard to give things away. It can help to pack them up for a month or two to see if you miss them during that time. Passing old clothes on to loved ones can also help to ease the blow. But when I give clothes I’m not wearing away, I now feel good knowing that someone else will use what has just been sitting in my closet. You’re right that minimalism can contribute to a happier life. I know I feel a lot happier with less stuff. Best of luck with your journey!
Thank you for the reply
I now have the habit of clearing stuff. Whenever I have time to spare, I’ll just pick up a bG and go around the house. Whatever items that we have not been using for some time, I’ll just put it in the bag. The general guideline is what experts have been sharing.
Do we need it? Do we use it? Does it make us happy?
The answers are always clear. This is so simple but it took me many many years to realize it and finally put it into practice.
Thanks again to all who have shared. Decluttering and ultimately minimlaism is the way to go.
Sounds like you’re doing well with decluttering overall, Blues. Good for you! The questions you mentioned are simple but very powerful. The one I use (borrowed from The Minimalists) is, “Does this add value to my life?” Oftentimes, the answer is no. Great advice to go around with a bag periodically and let some things go. That’s easier than letting it build up and having to spend a whole day or days decluttering.
Great progress Debbie! Selecting more lighter coloured garments is an issue for me too. I often settle for darker ones because they’re less see-through, even though I look better in lighter colours. I’m really getting frustrated trying to find a white or other light coloured tee or top that doesn’t need a camisole underneath! Our summers are too hot and humid to wear layers. I’ve also been trying to choose more colourful bags and shoes. Not long after I decided to limit my colour palette, I came across a cornflower blue bag that I knew instantly would go with almost everything in my closet, and indeed it’s been getting a lot of use. This was huge for me because in the past I usually avoided non-neutral bags as they would only work with a small portion of my wardrobe.
I only started counting my wardrobe size at the beginning of this year (excluding gear, underwear and accessories/shoes), and so far it’s been stable at about 100 (my set point, perhaps?) because although I’ve been purchasing quite a bit, I’ve also been ruthless in letting things go that no longer work for me. I hope there’ll be less comings and goings after this year. I’m looking forward to your post about wardrobe set point.
Kayla, I totally agree about the blue bag! I’m carrying a blue crossbody bag all the time now. It’s a crocodile embossed leather in a soft, medium-wash denim blue color. It goes with almost everything in my closet!
Your bag sounds lovely, Kim! I’m happy to know someone else is enjoying carrying a blue bag!
Sorry to hear that you’re struggling to find nice light-colored garments, too, Kayla. But your new bag sounds lovely! I have a bright bag on my shopping priorities list but haven’t found one I love just yet. I know that bright bags are often far more versatile than we think they will be. Congrats on your progress in paring things down this year! I hope you like what I have to say on closet set point. Please share your thoughts after I do the post (likely tomorrow).
Well done, Debbie. It’s particularly helpful to see the visuals of your progress. Although I am a regular shopper, I follow the one in one out rule and do seasonal purges. However, I had never done a clothing count until recently when I was inspired to do so after reading about your journey. I quickly counted 100 items in my bedroom closet and dresser. But then there were the clothes in the closet/dresser in the other bedroom and the coat closet and the out of season boxes under the bed. I was shocked to discover that I had over 250 items of clothing/shoes. I felt overwhelmed by owning so much. I have since been able to release 120 items. Another 30 items are packed up and ready to go. I have now limited my wardrobe to a few core colors and am shopping with a list. While I have added 20 new items in recent months, they more accurately reflect my current lifestyle and are being worn regularly. While I still have work to do, I feel that I am making progress.
Congrats on having the courage to do a closet inventory, CMO. Most of us have more clothing and related items than we think we do, but it’s good to do the count and increase our awareness. You have done very well in paring down in such a short time – bravo! You definitely seem to be making wonderful progress. Keep up the great work! Happy to inspire 🙂
One line that stopped me in my tracks – after normal wear, a tee becomes work out wear, and only then, becomes sleep wear?!!! How can this be? You are married, non? Surely you select something exquisite and silky and special to wear in bed with one’s beloved, whether it is pyjama shorts or a slip or nightdress , or some thing pretty and fresh in lawn cotton. But not the washed out rags, you and Mr RS deserve so much better! Please, this is an imperative, clothes are essentially about pleasure, not just utility .
Well done of the slow pace of reduction , this is most sensible and likely to be long term sustainable, like the food dieting.
I can see how that line would stop you in your tracks, Rachel. In re-reading it, I realize what I wrote was misleading and I have since corrected it. I assure you that I do have nice sleepwear, especially after I started addressing neglected wardrobe areas last year (I wrote about that in this post: https://recoveringshopaholic.com/neglected-wardrobe-areas/). I occasionally wear a downgraded t-shirt to sleep in, but that’s mostly when it’s that most unwelcome time of the month. You’re right that both my husband and I deserve better than my sleeping in threadbare tees! I don’t even keep the super worn out clothing anymore like I used to, but your comment has motivated me to take a second look at my sleepwear category and make sure it’s up to par!
Ah yes the transparency of white garments. I believe the cotton of raw cotton is soaring year on year and if the garment manufacturer does not default to a man made textile to lower the cost, they make cotton of lower density, less fibres per inch, to cut costs. Hence the fabric is thinner and lighter and more see through. But men, they do not wish to be almost naked in the office so their cotton poplin shirts remain sturdy and of better quality , I think, than shirts made for women. For work (I am an attorney working In London) I buy women’s blouses made by traditional Men’s outfitters , it is noticeable how much better the cloth is than most women’s blouses found in the women’s section of department stores. You are right not to buy until to find exactly the right thing , we vote with our wallet and should not buy the substandard stuff they are trying to foist on us as female consumers .
Thanks for your suggestions, Rachel. I HAVE noticed that my husband’s tees are thicker and of higher quality than mine. He rarely wears white shirts, but the other shirts he have are nicer than the ones I’m finding on offer for women. It’s sad that manufacturers are cutting so many corners with cotton tops. I know that I’d be happy to pay more for thicker weight, higher quality garments, but even the higher end stores are selling the tissue weight tees. If I find some decent white tops, I will definitely share, as I know many others have this problem.
Sadly, not just white cotton. There is better stuff in the men’s dept. but -alas!- men’s tees for me are too boxy and have too high a neckline. I hope someone sources quality women’s tees someone and shares this news….
If I or anyone else finds good quality white/light tops, I will definitely share the news, Dottie. I agree that men’s tees won’t fit the bill for many of us, especially those with hourglass or pear shapes. I know some women wear men’s tops, but it isn’t a viable option for many of us. There HAS to be some good white tees out there – I’m not giving up!
Excellent work Debbie!!!! You’ve come such a long way and should feel proud.
I also am happy to report that though I’ve added 25 items so far this year, I have purged so well that I only have 81 pieces of clothing now (not including outdoor or lounge) and 87 accessories and shoes! At one point I had 250+ pieces of clothing and another 100+ accessories. I still am making steps towards purging and as I wear things I understand better if it works for me or not and make the decision to let it go or not. I am close to my comfort level in number of items but have identified several items that need replacing.
You’re a superstar, Meli! You have done amazingly well with your wardrobe so far this year. Even the items you’ve added seem to be a good fit for your lifestyle and personal style aesthetic. I could see cohesion among them for sure. I hope your new job is going well and that you’re enjoying wearing your new clothes.
Ah, the closet set point…my nemesis. I swear, I do a great closet cleanout, only to find myself buying buying buying to fill it back up! It’s so frustrating! This just recently has been happening to me. I did a great closet purge near the beginning of the year, only to have gone wild shopping for items to make my wardrobe “perfect.” Sigh.
I would love to hear more about how you conquer this issue and still successfully purge your closet.
You are definitely not alone, Chelsea! I did the same thing MANY times until I decided to try a different approach this past year and a half. I will share some tips along with my philosophy in my next post. The same approach won’t work for everyone, but if what we’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to try something new. There is no such things as a perfect wardrobe. It’s taken me close to 50 years to figure that out, but now I’m just aiming for a happy and functional wardrobe. That’s a doable goal for me…
Great work Debbie! I recently purged my scarf/hat/belt/gloves drawer, and it felt great to get rid of some scarves that were really NEVER worn. And now everything really does fit in one drawer (except for baseball hats which are elsewhere on a hanging contraption). So much better. I found I hung on to scarves because individually they were so small and what was the need? But they still were part of a “too big” wardrobe, and contributed to the general feeling that things were out of control. So, good for you for tackling scarves as well as all the other areas.
I’ve also been searching for lighter colored items, and finding them all a bit too see-through. Ah well, I will keep on keeping on. One of these days we will find good quality pieces that will fit the bill. And at least it is helping me purge some of the multitude of black items without replacing them!
I think I hung on to the scarves (as well as jewelry items) for the same reason, Sarah. When you have the space and something is small, it’s easy to just keep it around. But I feel good having let the pieces I don’t wear go. I plan to release some more soon, too. A bit at a time and I’m getting to the wardrobe size I desire. Interestingly, that dovetails nicely with the post I just published today 🙂
As for the light-colored pieces, I definitely feel your pain. Although I don’t typically make brand and product recommendations on this blog, I will do so in this instance once I or someone else finds white/light garments that aren’t see-through. It seems to be a common problem that many of us are experiencing!
Superb progress! It’s important to take time to recognize how good your closet is looking after all your hard work so far. I do see lots of black, but I also see your outfit formula’s right away. Black with a pop, either from a strong bold color, or from stripes (or a print). And I don’t think there is anything wrong with a black heavy wardrobe. If you like it and it’s flattering, then keep on with the black items. If you want to mix up your black a bit, I would focus on textures (your new moto is a great example of a texture item in black and say a uneven hem tunic or a drapey trouser or skirt would add texture to an all black look).