I just completed my first month of my “Love It, Wear It” Wardrobe Challenge, so it’s time for an update. Here’s a quick reminder of how the challenge works (read more here)… The idea is to create a “working closet” by moving everything I actually wear into a specific area of my closet. I will only wear what I really want to wear and anything that I find uncomfortable, fussy, or no longer my style will be passed on for donation or consignment. In addition, I will only buy new things as replacements for worn out favorites or if I find myself continually wishing I had a particular item to include in my outfits.
The objectives for the challenge are to wear what I love and to have the right types of clothing, shoes, and accessories for my life. By “my life,” I mean the life that I am actually living in the here and now, not an imagined, wished for, or previous lifestyle. While there is room for a small formal wear capsule in my closet (I will write more about that soon), I definitely don’t need to hang on to a plethora of fancy or going out wear when the majority of my life is spent at home or engaging in very casual activities.
Month One in a Nutshell – The Clothes and Shoes
In terms of clothing and shoes (we’ll get to accessories later), here’s a brief summary of what I wore during my first month of the LIWI challenge:
- 25 tops
- 3 pairs of pants
- 6 toppers (5 coats, 1 cardigan)
- 2 pairs of shoes
Please note that these numbers do not include the yoga-style pants I wore around the house (3 pairs) and for walks/workouts (2 pairs) or my workout tops. Perhaps I should start including those items as well, but I don’t really have a problem with not wearing them often enough. Rather, my issue has been that I’ve worn them too much, so I’ve been pushing myself to wear more of my “regular” (read, out and about) clothing when I’m at home. This way, I will feel more polished and put together at home, plus my clothes will see more wears. Win, win!
I didn’t have many repeat wears in terms of tops, but I did focus on wearing what I most wanted to put on each day. In most instances, I found myself reaching for a top that hadn’t been worn yet this year over one that was already in my working closet. I suspect this will the case less often as my favorites all gradually make their way from one side of the closet into the other. In the spirit of the challenge, which is to love what I wear, I’m trying not to think about it too much and just follow my heart.
While it’s true that I did not wear any dresses or skirts last month, it’s not because I don’t love many of those items. Rather, it’s that my dresses and skirts are primarily geared toward warm weather wear. I have expressed wanting to wear these types of pieces more often year round, but I now realize that most of what I have in these categories are too lightweight and not suitable for cooler weather. I either need to stick to wearing pants when it’s cold outside or purchase a few heavier weight dress and skirt alternatives.
Here’s a quick view of the clothing and shoes I wore during January 2015, as well as a look at my working closet at the close of the month.
Month One Accessories
I’m also keeping track of all of the accessories I’m wearing during my 2015 LIWI Challenge. I’m tracking my jewelry by moving the pieces that get worn to separate areas of my jewelry box. With my scarves, I’m moving them from being folded up on a shelf to being hung on a hanger in my working closet. Here are my January accessory numbers:
- 10 pairs of earrings
- 6 bracelets
- 1 necklace
- 4 watches (that’s pretty much all I have except for one sentimental watch and one I plan to pass on)
- 1 scarf
- 1 purse (not pictured below, but I will include my purses in future updates – I plan to alternate purses at least once per month to make sure I still like the ones I have)
Here’s a look at the accessories I wore during January:
What I’ve Learned So Far
That’s it for the numbers and photos, but there’s still a lot more to share! The most important part of the LIWI challenge is the learning and growth that takes place along the way. As many of you know, I’ve been tracking my wardrobe since 2011, by means of the “hanger trick” and other simple methods. That tracking has been very helpful, but LIWI has taken things to another level, as it’s allowed me to see at a quick glance what I’m actually wearing.
I’ve noticed a few patterns so far:
- I like a lot of variety in the tops and toppers that I wear.
- I also enjoy having variety with the earrings and bracelets I put on.
- I don’t need much variety in terms of pants and shoes.
- I don’t wear scarves and necklaces very often at all, especially considering how many I have of each (25 and 26, respectively).
Wardrobe Variety Needs
Let me elaborate a bit on the bullets above… I enjoy variety in what I wear, but that doesn’t apply to all wardrobe categories. I tend to stick to a few tried and true bottom pieces and shoes while expressing my sartorial creativity primarily through my top pieces and jewelry. I suspect that this realization will allow me to let go of some pants and shoes that I rarely wear, especially those items that are more geared toward cooler weather. I do like to mix up my shoes and skirts more often during the warmer months, but I think I’ll still find that I don’t need as many as I currently own today.
I used to wear scarves more often and I’m not sure why I don’t feel as drawn to them today. I do know that I shouldn’t buy any new scarves given how infrequently I’ve been wearing them lately. As for the ones I have in my closet now, time will tell which will get worn and which will continue to collect dust on the shelf. Even though scarves don’t take up much space, I can see myself paring my scarf collection down to half or less of what it is today. Many of my scarves are not very high quality and some have seen better days. I’m not going to force myself to cull my collection immediately, but I will continue to notice if I feel called to wear them, which will inform my future downsizing efforts.
In regards to necklaces, I don’t think I ever wore them all that often. I think that I wanted to wear them more regularly, especially since I like the way they look on others. However, in practice, there are only a handful of necklaces that I’ve worn on a regular basis. When I tracked my jewelry wears from September first through the end of 2014, I only wore 7 of my necklaces and some of those were only worn once. It’s highly likely that I’ll be able to pare down my necklace collection significantly this year even though I have some sentimental pieces in the mix (even those will be subject to scrutiny).
I think part of the reason why I don’t wear necklaces very often is that I wear a lot of printed tops. Since I have a fairly minimalist style aesthetic (even though my wardrobe is still quite large), I sometimes think that a necklace and a printed top looks too “busy.” Thus, I generally veer more toward wearing interesting earrings and bracelets with those types of tops. I’m going to experiment with wearing necklaces as I’m inspired to do so, as I do love a lot of my necklaces when I look at them. But we often like things in principle but not in practice and that may be true with me and necklaces. We shall see as LIWI unfolds this year!
Moving Forward with LIWI
In future updates, I will share both what I wore in the previous month and my “working closet” numbers (and photos) as of that time. While many items will continue to be worn month after month, others will be integrated in with weather changes, and still more will be passed on as a result of being worn out or no longer loved.
Just because something makes its way into my working closet, it doesn’t mean it will get to stay there. If I find that I just don’t reach for something, or if I put it on and find it lacking in some important way, I will let that item go. I’ve concluded that my wardrobe is too large for my lifestyle, so there’s no reason to hang on to something if I’m not loving and wearing it!
So that’s it for my first “Love It, Wear It” Challenge update. I know that some of you have opted to take on the challenge as well and I’d love to learn how it’s going for you and what you’re discovering about your wardrobe and yourself in the process. Please share your thoughts in the comments section of this post. For those who haven’t yet adopted the challenge but are interested in doing so, it’s not too late! If you have questions or concerns before you get started, I would be happy to address them.
For everyone else, I hope you’ve found this post interesting and I welcome your insights, too. I’ll be back next week with my goals for 2015 and other content related to shopping, wardrobe management, personal style, and more. Have a wonderful weekend!