These year-end wrap-up posts are quite enlightening for me to write and I hope you also enjoy reading them. If any of you were wondering what prompted me to start my 2015 wardrobe challenge (now called “Love It, Wear It” or LIWI – a big thanks to Kim for the suggestion!), you’ll better understand after reading this post and my next one.
I have now been tracking my wardrobe for four years. Ever since the beginning of 2011, I’ve recorded how often I’ve worn all of the clothing and shoes in my closet (I haven’t tracked jewelry and other accessories, but it might be time to start!). Each year, I’ve aimed to improve upon my stats from the previous year. Seeing that 2012’s numbers were just as abysmal as those from 2011 was what prompted me to start this blog! And the blog has been helpful in that I did start wearing more of what I own and have pared down my wardrobe to half its previous size.
In what has become my most-viewed post, I shared that my ideal frequency of wear is 12 or more times per year (at least once per month on average). Some simple calculations revealed that in order to make that happen, I need to have 30 or fewer items in any given wardrobe category. That, of course, assumes that I wear “regular clothes” every day, which isn’t always the case with my current lifestyle. So in actuality, I need even fewer items than I previously calculated.
Why am I sharing all of this? It’s a prelude to what I’m about to reveal today and in my next post, my wardrobe all-star and “benchwarmer” statistics for 2014. The numbers lead to quite a few powerful conclusions, the most striking of which is that my wardrobe is still far too large, despite the fact that I’ve downsized considerably since starting this blog.
My hope is that my “LIWI Challenge” will help me to determine what I really love and actually wear (hence the appropriate name of “Love It, Wear It” that Kim came up with!) so I can release everything else. I know I’ll be writing a lot about this subject in future posts, so let’s move on to my 2014 recap.
I always like to start on a high note, so let’s begin with my wardrobe “all-stars,” the focus of today’s post. Since I have a lot of numbers, thoughts, and photos to share, I’ve opted to split this 2014 wardrobe review into two parts. I know that whenever if I get tired from writing a post, it may be too long for some of you to read! One of my “resolutions” for the blog this year is to cut down on the length of my posts (at least some of them), hence this two-part series.
So what is a wardrobe “all-star”? Although I eventually want to be wearing my closet pieces more often, I started out by defining an “all-star” as any item that gets worn 8 or more times within a given year. Two of my goals for 2014 were as follows:
- Wear one-third of my wardrobe pieces at least 8 times during the year.
- Wear half of my clothing and shoes at least 5 or more times throughout 2014.
So how did I do? Not exactly stellar, to be honest. I ended up wearing 28 items eight or more times, which is only about one-sixth of my wardrobe, not one-third. These items are broken down into the following categories:
- Shirts: 5
- Casual Jackets: 4
- Coats: 2
- Cardigans: 1
- Blazers: 1
- Pants: 2
- Jeans: 3
- Skirts: 2
- Shoes: 8
Here’s a snapshot of all of my 2014 wardrobe all-stars:
A Closer Look – The Clothes
Let’s take a closer look at my 2014 all-stars. Here are the 20 garments that were worn at least eight times last year:
What do these items have in common? I think it’s always helpful to look for patterns, as they can help to inform our future behavior in terms of shopping and wardrobe management. Here are the characteristics that I identified:
- 7 of the items (more than a third) are black. While maybe not a “blackcident,” I do like to wear black a lot!
- 8 items are worn solely for walks, working out, and when I’m at home.
- All of these pieces are in my defined color palette, which is a good thing. That means I’m on the right track with something!
- Almost all of the items (with only 3 exceptions) are knit or denim, which works well for my casual lifestyle and desire for comfort.
- Speaking of casual, virtually all of the pieces above fit into that category. The only dressier items are the black trousers and cobalt coat. Even the two skirts are very casual in nature, although they can be dressed up depending upon what they are paired with.
A Closer Look – The Shoes
Now let’s look at the shoes that I wore eight or more times last year:
I can see some common ground among my all-star shoes, too:
- 4 of them are black.
- 3 are metallic.
- 4 are flat or low-heeled sandals.
- There are two pairs of black boots. As I mentioned in my last post, I have three pairs of quite similar black boots. The third pair wasn’t worn much last year (but I’ve been wearing them this year), but the others were worn 31 and 15 times, respectively. Clearly black boots are staple shoes for me (but I still don’t really need three pairs!).
- There are two pairs of ballet flats. The black AGL flats were very expensive, but I’ve been both loving and wearing them. I may even opt to buy a second pair in another color this year. The leopard print flats have been all-stars for three years running and are showing serious signs of wear. I may end up replacing them this year, or I may decide to buy an alternate print (perhaps black and white).
The “Ultra All-Stars”
I mentioned that I’d eventually like to be wearing all (or at least most) of my wardrobe pieces 12 or more times per year, so I thought it would be interesting to see which items actually got worn that often last year. There were 13 items that met this criterion:
As you can see, it’s all pretty dark – lots of black and dark blue. The only colors in the mix are my burgundy and green casual jackets. Mind you, I haven’t been tracking my workout tees and pants. However, I’m sure virtually all of them would fall into this “ultra all-star” category (and many of the tops are quite colorful).
Here’s how often I wore the items pictured above, from most to least worn:
- Navy cotton jacket: 74 times (this is the jacket I bought a replacement for in December)
- Black parka with grey lining: 70 times
- Green sweater jacket: 31 times
- Short black Clark’s boots: 31 times
- Black flat Ecco sandals: 27 times
- Burgundy fleece jacket: 27 times
- Dark-wash Lucky boot-cut jeans: 18 times
- Black Eddie Bauer knit pants: 16 times
- Short black Paul Green boots: 15 times
- Black AGL flats: 14 times
- Black skirt with piping details: 12 times
- Black Not Your Daughter’s jeans: 12 times
- Dark-wash Gap long and lean jeans: 12 times
I’m happy that I’m wearing at least some of my closet pieces on a regular basis, but I hope to expand upon this “ultra all-star” group this year!
What Got Worn 5 Times or More?
When I first started identifying wardrobe all-stars back in 2011, I defined them as items that were worn just four times or more during that year. At the time, I had a very large wardrobe and there weren’t many pieces in my closet being worn even that often. In 2013, I decided to raise the bar a notch higher to 5 times per year.
Using my 2013 criterion, my all-star grouping expands considerably, to 56 items. This is roughly one-third of my wardrobe (I will be posting another closet inventory soon, but it hasn’t changed much from my last one). My goal for 2014 was to wear at least half of my wardrobe five or more times, so I missed the mark. I basically stayed fairly consistent with my 2013 numbers, as I also wore about a third of my closet pieces five plus times that year.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of the 56 items that got worn at least five times last year:
It’s definitely a more colorful picture, with blue, green, burgundy, purple, and red sharing the stage with my beloved black. Metallic and leopard print shoes are also prominent in this modified all-star picture. Hopefully, my items worn 8+ times group will be as large as the group above (if not larger) by the time 2015 draws to a close.
Lessons from the Analysis
I shared a lot of numbers and photos above, but I don’t want to close out this post until I glean some lessons from it all. Clearly, I’d like my number of wardrobe all-stars to increase this year. Here’s what needs to happen:
- I need to pare down my wardrobe further.
- I need to get out and about more often so I can get more wear out of my clothes.
- Alternatively (or in tandem with the above), I need to wear more of my “regular clothes” at home.
- I need to start tracking all of my clothes, including my workout and lounge wear. When I did that for the second half of 2013, I learned that 21 items were worn at least twelve times during the time period (and two of my workout/lounge pants saw 100-plus wears!).
- I need to stop buying items that don’t really work for my casual lifestyle. That way, a greater percentage of my wardrobe will be suitable for my real life, rather than for occasional events that are more on the periphery of how I live.
Ideally, a combination of the above will occur. One goal I have for this year (I will formulate all of my goals in a future post) is to spend my clothing dollars more proportionally to how I actually spend my time. For example, if I spend only 10% of my time going to occasions that call for “smart-casual” outfits, I should only spend 10% of my clothing budget on such items. This will ultimately lead to my having a large casual wear capsule, which is what I wear most of the time anyway. After all, if I wear my workout/lounge pants upwards of 100 times per year, shouldn’t I aim for the best quality possible and to unequivocally love these types of items? I think so! It sounds so simple, so why have I been getting it wrong all these years?
We all know that we can turn back the hands of time and get a “do-over.” If we could, I’d change far more aspects about my life than just my wardrobe! We can only learn from our experiences and make changes in the present and moving forward. So that’s just what I plan to do, and I think my I think my “Love it, Wear It” Challenge will help in that pursuit, at least on the wardrobe front. As for everything else, well that’s the focus of another post…
As I mentioned previously, I will share my 2014 wardrobe “benchwarmer” statistics and musings in my next post. I need to rest up for that one, LOL! Now it’s time for you to chime in, whether it be about my wardrobe “all-stars” or your own. I know that most of you don’t track your clothes to the exacting degree that I do (it’s actually much easier than it used to be!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t determine your own closet MVPs. I’m sure that if you spend a few minutes looking at your clothes, shoes, and accessories, you’ll be able to pinpoint the ones you wear most often. It may be helpful for you to make a few notes and jot down the common features you notice among these items. You may learn a few things about what you do and don’t wear and why.
If you’d like to share what you learn about your wardrobe – or comment on mine, feel free to do so in the comments section. I’m open to both praise and constructive criticism, as I really want to grow and I know I don’t have all the answers! If you notice any patterns that have escaped my notice, or if you have any suggestions for how I might better approach my wardrobe in 2015, let me know. You may even spark a future post!