Love It, Wear It Challenge: One Month In

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.

Love It, Wear It Challenge

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.

Clothes and Shoes Worn - January 2015

I wore these 34 garments and two pairs of shoes during January 2015. 

Working Closet - January 2015

Here’s what my “working closet” looked like at the end of January (sandals not included).

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:

Earrings worn - January 2015

I wore these 10 pairs of earrings last month. 

Bracelets and necklace worn - January 2015

I wore these 6 bracelets and 1 necklace during January 2015. 

Watches worn - January 2015

I wore all 4 of my watches last month. 

Scarf worn - January 2015

This is the only scarf I’ve worn so far this year.

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:

  1. I like a lot of variety in the tops and toppers that I wear.
  2. I also enjoy having variety with the earrings and bracelets I put on.
  3. I don’t need much variety in terms of pants and shoes.
  4. 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.

On Scarves

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.

On Necklaces

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!

Your Thoughts?

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!

66 thoughts on “Love It, Wear It Challenge: One Month In

  1. I too had a lot of scarves that I did not wear. Then it dawned on me. It’s the style of scarf that was the problem. I got rid of all my square and small scarfs and got some silk and cashmere long (oblong) scarves that I coil around my neck. They are much easier to style. They also make my body look more elongated. (As a petite gal, that is useful.) Now I wear them all the time. Consider what kind of scarf you prefer.

    • Good points, Nutrivore. I don’t like the square and small scarves, either, and have gotten rid of most of them. Most of the scarves I have now are the oblong type, but I need to go through them and see which ones I still like. I’m sure I can release a few right away by doing that. With everything else, I’ll just see what I end up wearing as time goes by.

  2. Interesting post, Debbie! I also like a lot of variety in tops, but am content with just a few bottoms — usually skirts on days I teach and pants otherwise. To follow nutrivore’s comment above, I have donated seldom-chosen scarves in the past, only to regret it a season or two later when styles/colors change. I do agree with getting rid of poorer quality scarves, though. Life’s too short!

    • I agree that life’s too short to hold on to lower quality scarves, Tricia. I planned to go through my scarves when I did my January closet purge, but I ran out of time. I will take a look at them all this month and will probably move at least a few of them out.

  3. That is a very cohesive looking capsule wardrobe in terms of colors! I think you have really turned a corner and will find yourself willing to let go of lots of things you thought you needed to keep. The end result will make you much happier with your wardrobe and appearance too I suspect which will help you move on to other aspects of your life with more joy.

    • I was just going to say that! The color palette is so pretty, it reminds me of a vibrant butterfly or mermaid!

    • Thanks, Juhli and Sarah. I love the vibrant butterfly or mermaid comparison! I agree that having a more cohesive wardrobe will help me to be happier with my appearance. It’s already having a positive impact on me. Yes, I do hope to be able to infuse more joy into other aspects of my life this year. My wardrobe is important, but it’s taken up too much of my time for far too long!

  4. I agree with the cohesivenes of your chosen colors. You have come a long way! I also limit myself to yoga pants to my time at the studio and Sunday afternoons. It does make a difference. I am surprised though that you can make do with only two pairs of shoes. I probably wear a different pair each day of the week. Something to ponder. One thing I have learned once I paired down my closet to a cohesive ensemble is how easy it is to pack for travel. I have frequently been asked ‘is this all you take?’ Yep! :))

    • Thanks for saying that I have come a long way, Cornelia. I agree and am happy with the changes that I have made. As for my shoes, I usually wear more over the course of a month (it’s generally more like 6 or 7 pairs). In January, it was pretty cold here and I wanted to be able to wear socks, so my boots fit the bill. Part of why I want to find a pair of grey boots is to have more variety in my footwear on cooler days. Most of my other shoes are ballet flats, pumps, and sandals, which are generally worn with bare feet. But it is really taking me doing this challenge to have these types of realizations! I hope to become as good as you are with packing before too long. I generally take far too many clothes with me on trips!

  5. Loving this challenge so far, Debbie! I think this is going to be so useful to you in this next stage of your wardrobe development. I’m like you in that I prefer a larger variety of tops rather than bottoms and tend to wear the same bottoms over and over…but that could also be because I have a much harder time shopping for bottoms!! I also find that I buy a lot of necklaces that I *want* to wear but ultimately never do…for similar reasons, they always seem to look too busy with my tops.

    Can’t wait to see how this progresses throughout the year!

    • Thanks, Ry. It seems we have a lot in common in terms of our wardrobe preferences, and you know I have a lot of problems with shopping for bottoms, too. It’s not my favorite thing to do by a long shot! With the necklaces, I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to figure it out. I WANT to love necklaces and I do love some of mine. But I don’t need 26 of them at the rate I wear them and I definitely don’t need to add MORE. I’m excited at what this challenge is teaching me and I know there will be lots more!

  6. Debbie,

    It seems like you are making great progress! I think once you identify what you truly love wearing, letting go of the lesser worn items will be much easier. I was wondering if you’d heard of Marie Kondo and her method of tidying/decluttering (her book is called The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up)? You basically purge anything that doesn’t “spark joy” when you look at it/touch it? I’m not suggesting you do this wily-nily as a massive departure from the journey you are currently on, but I would be interested to see what you have that would go in the discard pile based purely on the joy aspect (not specific items, but more like 8 tops, 3 prs of shoes, 17 necklaces, etc). Especially because you seem to know now what you really do enjoy and what’s right for you. I recently did this over the weekend, and found that I was keeping about 40% of my wardrobe due to some form of guilt (financial, gifts from family/friends, no longer fits due to weight gain, felt it was something I should be wearing). All but two of those items went into my car to take to goodwill, or a bag to post on eBay/Soccer Gear Community to sell. One item I need to discuss with a tailor about whether or not it could be properly tailored, and one is a pair of jeans that I am a few salads away from fitting into (I am also medically cleared to begin exercising again after ankle surgery at the beginning of January, so that will also help). If those don’t fit by summer, they are going to goodwill too.

    I think you are doing great, and am looking forward to future updates on this project!

    • That book truly is a “life-changer”. I would highly recommend reading it and trying to apply the method. It gets a bit out there at times – i.e. talking to your belongings, but it really helps to simplify your life (not just your wardrobe).

    • I loved both of your comments, Melissa and Meghan, and have started reading Marie Kondo’s book as a result! I am enjoying it thus far (about 25% finished) and am very intrigued. Like you, Melissa, I have guilt associated with a lot of my wardrobe. I have gradually been letting go of such items, but some are more difficult to part with than others, mostly the things that were expensive or gifts. I can see how I would feel much lighter and happier to pass them on, though, so hopefully the book will help me to do so (but I’m not sure if I want to talk to my clothes – I guess I’ve done stranger things before, though!).

      • I bought the book over the weekend and I love it. I especially like thanking my clothes for the what they have provided or taught me. It does seem strange to talk to inanimate objects, but no more strange than talking to my deaf dog! I also love getting to decide what I keep, because it brings me joy rather than what I throw away. I need that positive vibe very much.

      • I’m enjoying reading it, too, and look forward to giving the KonMari method a try in my home. I do wonder about the “sparks joy” distinction, though. There are some items we own that are necessary but are more utilitarian, things like socks and utensils. I don’t feel joy about such items, but I wouldn’t want to get rid of them, either!

  7. It’s interesting about scarves – I’ve not been wearing mine as much as usual over the last few weeks. I wondered whether it’s because I’m happier with my outfits as they stand, they don’t seem to need a scarf (in the way I might have added one to brighten up or disguise a top I wasn’t keen on). However it simply be a phase. I’ve had phases of wearing/not wearing scarves, watches etc in the past, so generally find its better just to leave them for while, I may suddenly find them enticing once again!

    • I wonder the same thing about the scarves, Alice. I like to wear them, but I don’t want to feel like I HAVE to wear them with certain tops. I’m going to play with them, though, and see how I feel. Sometimes I get into ruts or habits and just need to give myself a gentle nudge to do something different. Often in such instances, I’m very happy that I pushed myself a bit. We’ll see if that’s the case with the scarves.

  8. I love the colors you have chosen, very similar to my color palette 🙂 How you feel about not wearing necklaces is how I am about rings and bracelets. I enjoy wearing them but every time I wash my hands I am working around the bracelet and removing my rings since you are not supposed to be washing jewelry-especially fashion plate items since they will wear out much more quickly. Anyway the LIWI challenge is great and I am following along in my own closet. I am patting myself on the back for letting go of 9 items last night and 1 this morning! Thanks for the detailed posts!

    • I’m glad you’re doing LIWI, Laura, and congrats on letting go of 10 items in the first month! I think it’s great that we are having the realizations that we are. I look forward to all of our continued updates through the year!

  9. Good progress Debbie, and already it is clear this will take you where you want to go. I did something similar a few years ago, back when I was (ruthlessly) editing my closet after I made the transition to working from home. But it was a bit easier for me since I knew exactly which office wear pieces I never wanted to wear again, and I could easily identify the clothes I loved because those were the pieces that were frequently in the laundry or sent to the dry cleaners.

  10. Great work Debbie! Like you I prefer variety in my tops. I could wear the same pair of jeans/pants everyday and be ok with that. I only wear dresses late spring through early fall because when it’s cold I like my legs to be warm. I’ve discovered through this LIWI challenge that I really don’t like bracelets and I only wear my wedding band. I do like variety in necklaces though only rotate between 8-10 of them. Usually I wear scarves as accessories to my winter coat. I’d love to wear them indoors when I’m cold but many of them are delicate and I don’t want them damaged by my cat when I hold him. I’m liking this LIWI challenge and learning a lot. 🙂

    • Sounds like we have similar clothing preferences, Kim, but we are different when it comes to jewelry. I did wear a necklace today, though, and really liked it. I don’t wear scarves at home, either, for the same reason as you. Cats come first and I’m sending love to you and your kitty! I’m glad you’re enjoying LIWI – thanks again for the great name!

  11. This looks like a great start to your challenge! It sounds like you’re putting together a good reference point to re-evaluate your progress throughout the year.

    Specifically on skirts & dresses you should be able to feel comfortable wearing many skirts year-round if you wear them with tall boots and thick tights or leggings. Fleece-lined tights are very comfortable on cold days! This is from someone who lives in Western NY 🙂

    • Thanks, Avila. I probably could wear some of my skirts and dresses with tall boots and tights, but others are very summery in style. I also don’t have tall boots at present, as I got rid of the pair I had because they didn’t fit well. I do hope to get to the point where I can wear skirts and dresses year round, but need to purchase a few things to do so. If you can do it in Western NY, then of course I can do it in San Diego!

  12. I wore 31 items of apparel/footwear, 1 belt, 2 purses, and 15 items of jewelry for the first month of LIWI. Like you and several others, I like to have variety with tops and I’m fine to wear bottoms and footwear over and over. I figured out that I could wear a different top every time I went out for a month and still only need 16-18. That really opened my eyes on how much I need and how much variety I have with a smaller number of things.

    • How cool that your numbers are so similar to mine, Tonya! I think I would only need about the same number of tops as you mentioned, but I like to have more variety. My need for variety is decreasing, though, and I’m enjoying wearing some of my “out and about” tops at home, too. We really don’t need as much as we think we do and it’s nice to finally be realizing that!

  13. I just did a quick tally for January. I wore 35 different pieces of clothing (I work full-time in an office and also attend church on Sundays). I wore 3 pieces of lounge-at-home clothing. Three purses were carried during the month, although one was just used once. I wore 9 pairs of shoes (two pairs were only worn one time each). I also wore 32 different pieces of jewelry, although 13 pieces were only worn one time each.

    Since I list my outfit (including jewelry, purse and shoes) each day, it’s pretty apparent what I’ve been reaching for. Some of my current favorites are black cashmere sweaters (I have three different styles), colored cashmere sweaters (I have several colors), and my beloved black tropical wool Banana Republic Jackson-fit pants (which get worn at least twice a week).

    As for footwear, I regularly reach for these three pairs: black suede wedges, black suede pumps, and tall black leather boots. I have the same wedges and pumps in brown suede as well.

    I own a lot of jewelry, and only about 1% is costume. When my mother died, I inherited her very large jewelry collection and enjoy incorporating her pieces into my outfits. Sometimes I even choose a piece of jewelry and work the day’s outfit around it!

    • Thanks for sharing your numbers, Maddie. It seems like you’re learning some useful things from the challenge. Your jewelry collection sounds beautiful. How wonderful that you are able to enjoy your mother’s jewelry and create outfits around your favorite pieces. I’ve always loved jewelry and will likely always have a decent-sized collection. It’s a great way to express creativity in an outfit and switch things up a bit.

  14. This is so inspiring!!
    It’s incredible to see how much the LIWI challenge already brought you! Your working wardrobe is cohesive and when I see it I immediately think that it seems to be really “you”. There’re stripes, jewel colors, black and everything has a casual vibe and a bit of edginess to it.
    I hadn’t planned on following you into the LIWI challenge but I’m starting to rethink that decision…

    • I’m happy that the LIWI challenge is inspiring you, Cedrique, and you’re welcome to join in anytime! Thanks for your kind words about my working wardrobe. I’m pretty happy with it and look forward to seeing how it evolves moving forward. I think this challenge will make it easier for me to let go of what I don’t love, which is one of my main objectives. Seeing what I actually wear and what I enjoy wearing is revealing lots of useful information, that’s for sure.

  15. Debbie , I agree that your color palette is very pretty and flattering on you. I noticed that several of your jewelry pieces are very similar and achieve the same” look”. Wondering if you plan on paring down to the pieces you love in each category? Perhaps you may want to try on new styles of earrings to have different “looks”. I worked in fine jewelry for years helping women build jewelry wardrobes that worked with their lifestyle, wardrobe, coloring, hairstyle , face shape etc. We encouraged women to “play dress up” just learn with no pressure to purchase. In the long run they had jewelry collections they loved, better suited for them with less mistakes & duplicating. I think you would really enjoy trying this for yourself. I hope this was helpful. Now I need to get motivated to purge my closet! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your insights on jewelry, Jan. What a fun job you had for years! I like the idea of trying on different types of jewelry. I’m happy with what I have but am open to new styles. I know I have quite a few similar pieces, but I love many of them and plan to keep what I love. I’m sure I will pare down some more, though, as I see what rises to the top. There is still a lot of room for downsizing, but I’m okay with taking my time and seeing where LIWI leads me.

  16. Debbie, congrats on your month one of the LIWI challenge. I love the color palette and the fact that it is so in line with many of the themes you have written about in the past year: Colors, black as neutral and adding a bit of edge to your casual wardrobe. I think that the experiment is working really well in teaching you a lot and i find that inspiring. I know this echoes what others have said, just wanted to add my congratulations.
    I don’t think I have enough in my closet to participate in LIWI completely as I’ve pared down a lot last year (your post on helping to pare down a large closet really helped me) and I’m doing a capsule wardrobe project this year, but I am following certain aspects: Tracking what is worn, letting go of pieces that sit unworn in my closet, wearing what I feel called to wear, and buying only what i feel is missing from my closet. I will need to do a total overhaul in September but for now these are principles I’m following.
    Again, I just wanted to say congrats on your progress this far!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Angel. I’m glad that my post on paring down a large closet helped you. It sounds like you’re in a really good place with your wardrobe now. I think a capsule wardrobe project can be very useful. I’d love to hear how your LIWI challenge with accessories goes. Please check back in about that later. Best of luck to you!

  17. Love your new challenge this year! I also like that you are trying to wear more ‘out and about’ clothing at home.
    I was wondering, do you know *why* you tend to wear a different type of clothing when you are at home? Is it comfort? Or perhaps old habits? [changing out of ‘school’ clothes when you were a kid]. An old job that had a uniform you would never wear in ‘real life’? Or some totally different reason? 🙂
    I realize that I tend to wear the same things at work or hanging out at home perhaps because I love my outfits!

    • I wanted to add that I don’t think there is anything wrong with have different home-wear! My two closest friends both change when they get home but for different reasons, one because she wears a uniform at work and one because she loves ultra-comfortable clothing that she can’t wear as a professor… so I am curious about how others make their clothing work for them.

    • You ask some very thought-provoking questions, Mary. I think that both habit and comfort come into play with my at-home wardrobe. Most of my pants aren’t very comfortable compared to my yoga pants and I have some nerve problems in my legs that act up in tight pants when sitting. A lot of pants that are comfortable when standing feel too tight and constraining when I’m seated. However, I can wear many of my out and about tops at home and they are quite comfortable. I just had gotten into the habit of wearing my workout tops at home. Now I mostly just wear those for working out and I’m happy to be getting more wear out of my tops. I don’t think there are any rights or wrongs in terms of at-home wear and we all have to do what feels right for us. I know that many people who work from home feel more productive when wearing business clothes and that’s great. That has never been the case for me, but I definitely have to shower and get changed before I start working at my computer. That seems to switch on the productivity switch for me even if I’m wearing workout clothes at my desk.

      • that all makes complete sense, especially how everyone’s comfort needs are different! 🙂 It’s great that you honor your comfort needs.

      • I haven’t always honored those needs, especially in what I wear when I’m NOT at home. But I believe that comfort and style can co-exist, so I’m not willing to settle anymore.

  18. Hello Debbie! I am so happy for your progress! I scrolled down to your photo of your current “working closet” and took a quick breath! Oh my! These were the thoughts that quickly came to me:
    -What a wonderful array of colors!
    -What a perfect number of pieces to peruse.
    -How easy to make a selection of what to wear each day.
    -That would fit in my closet!
    -What a great way to begin the day…an uncluttered closet!!!
    As always…thank you for sharing!!!

    • Wonderful thoughts, Charlene. Thank you for sharing them! I feel much the same way about my working closet, but I still have all the rest of my stuff to the left and right of that area which doesn’t feel as good. I’m learning so much, though, and I think I will have an easier time paring down and living with less as a result of LIWI.

  19. I too have scaled down my clothing quite a bit. I am retired and dress very casual. I never wear skirts or dresses, since my body has changed and frankly I do not look good in them. I also like just a few pair of simple pants and change out the tops and shoes, etc. I wear dark wash denim jeans that are very stretchy, and two pairs of jeggings that look like jeans, one in navy and one in black. One pair of black yoga pants. That’s it. I have about 16 t-shirts in various colors, all v-neck because that looks best on me. I also have about 10 button down cotton shirts. 5 pair shoes (3 ballet flats, 2 loafers) 2 pair sandals, 2 pair boots, 1 pair sneakers. 8 cardigan sweaters. This is my year-round wardrobe, I do not separate by season. I live in Florida so if it gets chilly I just throw a sweater over my t-shirt and I’m done. I go up to NY once a year for a week and have a very small winter wardrobe and coat that I wear then, it all fits in my carry-on and when I get back home it gets put away until the following year. As much as I would love to downsize even more and have one of those wardrobes in all neutrals, I am afraid I just love color and variety more. I always wore a uniform when I worked so I never had to have executive clothing. Your posts are inspirational and I enjoy reading them so much. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for sharing your wardrobe with us, Lana. It sounds so cohesive and very workable for your life. Congrats on getting it all to work together so well. I love that you have a capsule wardrobe for your yearly New York trips and that you put everything away in between. I don’t think I’ll ever have an all-neutral wardrobe, either, because I also love color. But I’m happy to have pared down my color palette to only those that I truly love. I’m glad you like my posts are are inspired by them!

    • Yes, I wondered about jeans all the time in Florida. I’ve been there twice – once in April and once in December – and it was pretty warm in April. I can see how jeans would be too hot much of the time there. The same is true of San Diego, although it’s cooler here than in Florida (except for late summer when I swore I had somehow been transported to your state!).

  20. Maybe it’s just me, but I found myself compelled to choose a wider variety of items while doing this challenge. Now that I am separating what I have already worn, I tend to reach into the unworn part more often. Which has resulted in some combinations I have not tried before. I should say that my choices were more limited than normal as I am recovering from surgery on my neck and favoring tops that cover the scar. So some of my clothes were neglected while my turtlenecks were in heavy rotation. I made some other observations from tracking what I wear. You may find this odd, but I realized I don’t accessorize. I wear my wedding band and the same steel watch every day. No other jewelry, my ears aren’t pierced. I don’t belong to a restrictive religious community, I just don’t care for accessories. I do have 3 belts I wear only if I need to hold my pants up. I have a scarf to keep my neck warm when I go outside, a pair of winter gloves and a warm hat. I wear them every day in the winter, regardless of what else I am wearing. I am not sure any of these rise to the level of accessorizing. (I won’t even mention my giant mombag). I also found I rarely wear prints. I create interest with textures, form and pops of beautiful color. This will be guiding my wardrobe planning. I did not anticipate learning so much about my tastes by doing the LIWI challenge.

    • It’s not just you, Misty. I’ve also felt compelled to reach into the unworn area of my closet more often. I think that I will do that less and less over time, though, after all of my favorites have been worn. I think that once it’s down to the benchwarmers and I see that I never want to wear them, it will be easier for me to let them go. I hope the same will be true for you and others who are doing the challenge. I don’t think it’s odd that you don’t accessorize. We all have our preferences and it’s important that we know them so we can gear our wardrobes and shopping to them accordingly. I’m glad you’re learning so much from LIWI and I thank you for sharing your insights here!

  21. I have been doing my own version of LIWI. I wore whatever I wanted in January. Then I went into my winter clothing inventory list and highlighted all the things I’d worn that I loved. By the end of January, I was already feeling kind of bored with my closet. I felt a strong urge to shop. I did some looking last weekend but then decided to try a different approach.

    I got out my inventory list and made a list of just the things I loved. Then I tried to come up with new outfits using one or more of my loved items. Several outfit ideas incorporated two or more loved items. It has felt great this week to be wearing “new” outfits that I truly love. I have enough outfits to make it through the whole month of February, without repeating any outfits (important to me as I love variety).

    I love scarves and often use them as the basis of designing an outfit. Of the 19 “loved” items for winter, 6 are scarves. I found that only one necklace made the loved list so I am a lot like you. Necklaces are good in theory. Scarves actually get worn.

    Thanks for inspiring me to think about the clothes I really love. I may not be doing exactly what you are doing, but you helped me find a great alternative to buying more!

    • I love your new method, Anne, and I appreciate your sharing it here. I think there are multiple ways that we can gain useful information about our wardrobes and it sounds like you’re learning a great deal from your new method. How great that you found 19 loved items for winter so far and that 6 of them are scarves. I’m glad I helped inspire you to find an alternative to shopping. Shopping our closets can actually be a lot of fun!

  22. Just an observation but I’ve noticed I never wear a scarf when I’m wearing a printed top. I’ve no objections to it but I don’t feel I’d do it well. You’ve got a lot of patterned shirts so maybe you don’t feel the need. Thanks for all you do. I eagerly look forward to your updates.

    • You made a very good point, Suzanne. I very rarely wear scarves with printed tops and I DO have a lot of prints in my closet. I think I used to wear more solids and still do sometimes, but not as much as the prints. I’m glad you like my blog and I appreciate your letting me know.

  23. I’ve been doing LIWI – I don’t know that I’ve had any major realizations yet, except that I notice that I’m not wearing printed tops as much as a couple of years ago. I tend to think that printed items are fairly memorable so that I don’t feel I can repeat them as often as some of the plainer items. I have been trying to do laundry a bit more often just so I can wear my favorite pants more. This is also a function of really starting to dislike a couple of pairs of pants I have (too high waisted, too wide leg), and not wanting to move them to my working closet, plus not (yet) buying replacements. I am going to have to find a bigger area for my “working closet” though, as I’m already filling up the space I set aside. Still, the “not worn” sections are getting smaller so I can bunch some of those up.

    I think this challenge is really going to get interesting by the end of each season. Can we really justify keeping things for another year that have not been worn all season? Is that when I’ll finally be able to let some of the not worn items go? I don’t want to have any not worn items left taking up closet real estate, except dresses, where I’m fine keeping a couple of more formal pieces even if they are not worn regularly.

    • I see that we share pants woes, Sarah. I hope you find some good replacements soon. I agree that printed tops are more memorable, which is part of why I feel the need to have more tops (since I wear a lot of prints). I love the questions you pose in your last paragraph and agree that the challenge will be especially interesting as seasons end. I think it will be difficult to justify keeping unworn items, unless they are more formal or if there were some extenuating circumstances (like the extremely hot summer in my area last year which led to my not wearing the summer toppers that I usually wear). If conditions are fairly typical and thing didn’t get worn, they would likely be prime candidates to pass on. I’m sure I will be writing about this in the coming months. Lots to think – and write – about!

  24. Great post, Debbie — I’ve been curious about how this project was going for you and I look forward to hearing future updates. I agree with others that your color palette looks really cohesive and “you.” You sound really happy about how the experiment has gone so far and I’m glad.

    I notice that you’ve learned some really subtle but useful lessons about how you like to dress — why you like necklaces better in theory than in practice, etc. I think that is SO important and so individual — but really necessary to figure out how to build a collection of clothing and accessories that you will truly wear.

    As some commenters have said I also noticed that some of the items that you’ve worn look very similar to each other — for example several of those silver bracelets, and many of your earrings are silver dangle earrings with a dark stone of some sort. But you know what? Maybe you just like your variety to revolve around a relatively narrow aesthetic. If that’s the case I say embrace it! I think sometimes we buy a thing because “it’s different from what I already own” but then it just sits in our closets, you know? If you like all these items, and rotating through them feels like variety to you, and the things you own are getting used, then it doesn’t matter if the differences are subtle to other people’s eyes. (For the record, I have a similar relationship to shawl-collar cardigans. 🙂 )

    I guess my seasonal capsule wardrobe challenge is sort of the opposite of your LIWI challenge but I’m finding it very useful! I wore 50 items (44 clothing, 6 shoes) in January, which is all but a small handful of items in my capsule. That’s less variety than I was wearing previous months that I’ve been tracking, but not by terribly much (most months those total numbers have been in the 50s-low 60s). I am enjoying having that variety focused around a more defined aesthetic/color palette, however. My wardrobe variety is spread more evenly among clothing categories than yours is (comparison made just to note a point of interest, not with any judgement in either direction) and in fact the surprise for me has been to find that I don’t actually need all that much variety in tops. Surprising because that’s where lots of people tend to put most of their variety. But I wear a topper/sweater almost every day and it seems like that outer layer is where I want the feeling of variety. No wonder I chafe at all those capsule wardrobe formulas that finish with “and you’re allowed to have a blazer and two cardis”! I’m just going to have to ignore those formulas once and for all; I can have a sensible, workable wardrobe that’s built on a very different formula that works better for me. (Not that I quite know what that formula is yet — just that I have faith it is possible!)

    • What you wrote about my jewelry was spot on, Sarah. I do see the variation between my items even if it is a relatively narrow range of difference. I have a particular aesthetic that I like and I don’t venture outside of it too often. But I do think I will let go of some of the duplication if I find myself only wearing certain pieces out of guilt. I don’t want to do that anymore – I just want to keep things around that bring me joy, even if they are similar in many ways.

      Your capsule challenge seems to be teaching you a lot. You made some great points about the capsule wardrobe formulas. People like variety in different areas and that’s totally fine. If toppers are your thing (I like them a lot, too) and you’re not that into variety with tops, there’s nothing wrong with that! I agree that you should ignore the formulas and find what works for you. I’m trying to do the same and I look forward to what we both continue to discover as the year goes on.

  25. Nice looking closet!

    I’ve worn pants almost the entire last month, the day I wore a dress I worn my wool long under ware with it for my mostly outdoor commute. Rather than buy winter skirts, which means wool tights or leather boot$, I’d just say that in winter months pants are your preferred item and avoid acquiring winter skirts/dresses that likely will hang unworn. Thinking I need a whole different wardrobe item is one way that I fall into a big shopping binge; sometimes it’s better just to make a fixed decision and stick to it.

    I really like the scarf you did wear. I wear scarves frequently not only with my winter coat, but also to give me a removable layer for my chilly workplace, which manages to be chilly year round. I agree with the poster who notes that she’s given away scarves and regretted it when those color come back into style. I think you might purge anything that isn’t high quality or isn’t one that you automatically wear with an active outfit in your closet. Scarves you bought at Target, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and are synthetic can be relegated to your workout bin for holding your hair back.

    • Good points, Ginger! I’ve pretty much come to the same conclusion about skirts and dresses in the cooler months, at least for this year. I don’t have tall boots or warm tights and many of my skirts and dresses are more for the summer anyway. I may evolve that part of my wardrobe in the future, but I’m happy wearing pants now, especially now that I have some that work better for me. I think what you wrote about the scarves is good advice. In my previous desire for more, more, more, I bought some lower quality scarves. Many of those are already gone, but the others will likely be purged before too long. I will see about the rest, but don’t plan to do any major culling of scarves until I see how LIWI evolves this year.

      • You know what discarded scarves are great for? If you or your husband use garment bags for suits, etc., tie a scarf on top of the hanger outside the bag to keep the dust out.

      • You have a lot of great ideas, Nutrivore. I never would have thought of this one, but it makes sense!

  26. This reminds me of The DH Closet Challenge I did last year. I found it very helpful for understanding and managing my wardrobe. You have a nice selection of colors and items in your closet so far.

    • Yes, it’s very much along the same lines, Lisa. I know that the DH Closet Challenge was really revolutionary for you, and I hope my LIWI Challenge will be the same for me. It is very promising thus far. Thanks for your kind words on my first month items and colors.

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