February “Love It, Wear It” Challenge Update

I just completed the second month of my “Love It, Wear It” Wardrobe Challenge (LIWI), so it’s time for another 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 is uncomfortable, fussy, or no longer my style will be passed on for donation or consignment.

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.

What I Wore During February

Before we look at how my working closet has shaped up after two months of LIWI, I want to briefly touch upon what I wore during February.  The focus of these updates will center more on my overall working wardrobe than on any given month, but I want to at least show a photo of the pieces I wear each month.  Here’s what I wore during February:

February 2015 -items worn

These are the clothes and shoes I wore during February 2015.

I previously did not include workout and lounge wear in these updates, but I want to more accurately reflect what I’m wearing for all aspects of my life.  I do not have photographs of all of my workout and lounge items, but I’ll show the ones I have and mention everything in these reports.   I wore more items during February than in January (more on this below), but I also didn’t count my workout and lounge wear in my January report.   In addition to the 58 items pictured above, I also wore 13 tops exclusively for workouts and 5 pairs of pants to the gym and on walks and while I’m at home.  I also wore my walking shoes (shown here) for all of my exercise activities.

I’ve made a point of wearing “regular” tops more often when I’m working from home, but I still wear yoga-style pants at my desk most of the time for comfort purposes.   I’m fine with this, as I have far more tops than bottoms in my wardrobe and my bottom pieces rarely fall into “benchwarmer” territory.   I feel a lot more put together at home in my “regular” tops, so I’m happy that I’m now reserving workout tops for that purpose only.

Two Months In – The Clothes

After two months of the “Love It, Wear It” Challenge, here’s what my working closet now looks like (the shoes shown are not included – see below for a look at the shoes I’ve worn thus far):

February 2015 Working Closet

These are the clothes in my “working closet” after two months of LIWI. 

As you can see, things have filled in quite a bit since my January update!   You’re now looking at the majority of the cooler weather items that I own.  Where I live, the cooler weather usually encompasses both the winter and spring seasons, although with our temperate climate, we definitely get some seasonal crossover.   My guess is that the closet view above won’t change too much for a while, but time will tell and I plan to let LIWI work its magic and see how things unfold.

In terms of clothing (we’ll get to shoes and accessories later), below is a summary of what I wore during my first two months of the LIWI challenge.  I’m breaking things down a bit more than I did last month, as it’s difficult to see the individual items in the photos.

  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 4 pairs of jeans
  • 1 skirt
  • 5 casual jackets (worn for workouts, walks, and at home)
  • 6 coats
  • 1 short jacket (moto)
  • 5 cardigans
  • 21 long-sleeved tops
  • 9 short-sleeved tops
  • 3 sleeveless tops
  • 23 workout tops
  • 6 pairs of workout/lounge pants

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the garments I have worn during 2015 thus far (most of the workout items are not pictured):

February 2015 working closet view

A view of my “working closet” at the end of February (shoes not included). 

February 2014 working closet - jackets and coats

Jackets and coats worn as of the end of February 2015

The Other Side of the Story – Items Not Yet Worn

While I have worn most of my cool season wardrobe, there are still a number of items that have yet to make it out of my closet:

  • 2 pairs of pants (I may downgrade one of these to lounge wear)
  • 5 pairs of jeans (at least two pairs may be on their way out)
  • 5 long-sleeved tops (mostly because they are dressier)
  • 3 short-sleeved tops (one is dressy, two are new)
  • 5 sleeveless tops (usually worn with long cardigans, but I’m moving away from that style)
  • 1 long cardigan
  • 2 long jackets (one is a formal blazer)
  • 2 casual jackets (will likely be consigned)
  • 1 coat (will likely be sold – wool and too itchy)

I haven’t been as into wearing the open cardigans that were once part of my “uniform,” but I now wear them at home to help keep me warm.   The one that hasn’t been worn is less warm, so it’s possible that I may choose to pass that one on at some point.  As the season moves on (our warm weather usually doesn’t start until June or July), I’m sure that some of the items above will be designated for donation or consignment.  After all, why hang on to things that I don’t feel compelled to wear?  Of course, “dressier” pieces can be the exception and I’m okay with wearing those items less frequently (but I’d still like to wear them at least two or three times per year).

Two Months In – Shoes and Accessories

I’m also tracking of all of the shoes and accessories I’m wearing during my 2015 LIWI Challenge.  I’m keeping a running list of shoes worn and 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 accessory numbers thus far:

  • 7 pairs of shoes (another pair that I wore during January has been passed on)
  • 23 pairs of earrings
  • 12 bracelets
  • 2 necklaces
  • 4 watches (as pictured in my January update)
  • 3 scarves
  • 2 purses (my plan is to switch out my purses at least once per month to make sure I still like the ones I have)

Here’s a look at the shoes and accessories I’ve worn so far this year:

February 2015 working closet - shoes

These are the seven pairs of shoes I’ve worn so far this year (all black and grey!)

Earrings worn Jan-Feb 2015

Earrings worn – January and February 2015 (mostly silver, black, blue, and green)

Bracelets worn - January and February 2015

Bracelets worn – January and February 2015 (lots of silver and black with a bit of color)

Necklaces worn January and February 2015

These are the only two necklaces I’ve worn so far this year!

Scarves worn January and February 2015

I’ve worn these three scarves so far this year. 

Purses carried January and February 2015

These are my January and February 2015 purses.

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.   The patterns that I noted in my first LIWI update have persisted, including the fact that I crave variety the most with my tops, earrings, and bracelets.   I did expand my shoe repertoire beyond the two pairs of boots that I wore in January, but many of my shoes remain unworn, as is also true for my large scarf and necklace collections.   More on both of those issues below…

My Desire for Variety Increased

Like when I took on Project 333 back in 2013 and early 2014, I was more comfortable with fewer options early in the LIWI challenge.   As February moved on, I felt increasingly compelled to add new items to my working wardrobe, particularly in terms of tops.   I see a few reasons for this:

  1. I wanted to wear my tops to make sure I still liked them and that they still fit my body and sense of style.
  2. I got into the habit of wearing my “regular” tops at home and enjoyed the mood boost it gave me to do so (I felt more attractive and put together).

I haven’t culled many of my tops as of yet, but a few of them may be passed on at the end of the season or reserved for at-home wear only due to their showing signs of wear.

Although I enjoyed wearing various earrings and bracelets, many of them still haven’t been worn, which shows that my collection is probably still too large.  I will likely do some more culling later this month as I see which pieces I’m not that interested in wearing.   There are some items that I wear most often with skirts and dresses, so I’ll hang on to those until the warmer weather comes around.

Too Many Open-Toed Shoes

A reader recently pointed out that I have far more open-toe than closed-toe shoes.   Surprisingly, I hadn’t really noticed that before, but she was definitely right!   While I do live in a warmer climate than most, I rarely wear open-toe shoes during the winter and spring months, so it seems logical that there should be an even distribution of shoe types in my closet.

I currently own 26 pairs of shoes (not including workout shoes and slippers), down from 56 when I started this blog in January 2013.   Here’s a snapshot of the shoes in my closet:

Shoes I Own - March 2015

These are the 26 pairs of shoes I own as of March 2015.

Of these shoes, only 10 pairs are closed-toe, while the remaining 16 are either peep-toes or sandals of some type.   The proportion was even more askew before I purchased my grey boots and pewter ballet flats last month (larger view of both here).

I’m not sure if all of my current shoes will make the cut, as I’ve only worn 7 pairs so far this year, but it’s been helpful to take a closer look at the type of shoes in my closet.   A fellow blogger recently messaged me to ask how many shoes I feel a typical woman needs.   I told him 15 to 20, but I also mentioned that there are many variables that impact this number.   A few years ago, I’m sure I would have said at least 25 to 30, but like with our clothes, most of us have quite a few pairs of shoes that are gathering dust and rarely get worn.  I’d love to get your thoughts on the “how many shoes” question, though!

Unloved Scarves and Necklaces

Speaking of gathering dust, that’s pretty much what’s been happening with my scarf and necklace collections since LIWI got under way.    While I’ve seen a recent uptick in how often I wear my scarves (I’ve worn three during the past two weeks), I’m finding that I just don’t feel like wearing necklaces most of the time.   They also don’t work well with the majority of my long-sleeved tops, as many of them are prints or Henley style.  However, we’ll see if things shift as the weather warms up and I start wearing more short-sleeved and sleeveless tops.

I’m not going to try to force anything.  That goes against the spirit of LIWI, which is to only wear what we most love.   If it turns out that I don’t really love scarves and necklaces much anymore, I will likely pare down further.  But I do think it’s a bit too early to tell, especially since weather is a factor.  Neither my scarves nor my necklaces take up too much space, so I’m okay with keeping them around until I really see what strikes my fancy during the various seasons.   I’m sure I could be perfectly happy with far fewer of both types of items, though, which will likely be the end result later this year.

On the Subject of Pants

I used to lament how few pants I had and how difficult it was for me to find new options.   While the latter is still the case, I’ve made peace with mostly wearing a few pairs of pants and jeans and sticking to dark neutrals in both cases.   While I think it would be wonderful to have a bit more variety with my pants, it’s not a necessity in order for me to be happy with my wardrobe.   I haven’t even worn all of the pants I own at this point!

I think that I’ll probably be ready to let go of more pants and jeans later this month.   I’ve always been so afraid to cull pants from my closet because it’s so hard for me to find new options that work.  But seeing how easy it is for me to get by with just a few pairs (only 7 total for January and February, and some of those were rarely worn) is helping me to be able to let go.   I really do have enough, even if there’s not much variety in the mix.   At this point, new pants and jeans are more of a “nice to have” than a wardrobe necessity for me.  I’d rather focus on wearing the more modern fits I picked up last year (skinny-ish and boyfriend styles) and aim to buy a few shorter and narrower skirts during my spring/summer shopping.

Moving Forward with LIWI

My working closet is now relatively large, with 87 garments (including workout and lounge wear) and 53 accessories (including shoes).   But as I mentioned last month, just because something makes its way into my working closet, it doesn’t mean it will get to stay there.   If I notice that I’m not reaching for something or if I put it on and don’t like how it looks or feels, I’ll have no problem letting it go.   After all, the objective is to love everything that’s in my closet, not just tolerate it or think it’s “okay.”  I want everything to be at least an “8” on a scale of 1-10 and if I’m really honest with myself, I know that there are some “7”s and below in there today.

As we move into spring, I know there will be more unseasonably warm days on which I’ll break out some of my warm weather items.   That will fill my working closet in even more, but I don’t think my overall numbers will increase too much this month.   I suspect I will do more re-wearing of pieces, as well as more culling, coupled with less shopping both in my closet and at the stores.   Not only have I reached my quarterly budget, I’ve also purchased too many pieces so far this year and I’d like to slow things down and wear more of what I have.

I’ve been enjoying shopping in my closet and looking at my clothes in a new light.  While I have been tracking what I wear for years (see my method here), there’s something almost “magical” about physically moving items into my working closet.   It’s like I’m consciously choosing my clothes and accessories the second time around by doing this.   I’m basically telling myself that I would buy these pieces again if I had it to do over again today.   This isn’t 100% true for everything in my working closet at this point, but I’m going to use this criterion as my benchmark as I re-look at things this month.   I look forward to seeing what I learn and to sharing the outcome with you next month!

Your Thoughts?

So there you have it, my second “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 the results of a fun “deliberate” project I recently took on and more content related to shopping, wardrobe management, personal style, and more.  Have a wonderful weekend!

31 thoughts on “February “Love It, Wear It” Challenge Update

  1. Hi Debbie, I notice that a lot of your clothes are similar. Perhaps you could take one item and wear it differently than you normally would. For example, wear one shirt out, tucked in, or belted. Try a white shirt in Linen. You can do a million things with one. Or do something creative and pick 5 pieces that go together and see how many different outfits you can make from from just a few clothes. Try different, new patterns, and buy some fun, inexpensive JEWELLERY (at Forever 21) just to see what you look like with something that is “not you”. I think you should push yourself out of your comfort zone!! I read your posts religiously and find that you are too cautious!! Hope this helps.

  2. Aah, shoes! I own about 30 pairs with about one third being open toed that I will wear in the summer months to the office. Another third is pumps also for office wear, the rest are weekend or very casual shoes. I am very picky about my shoes, I want my feet to be happy for the ten hours that I wear them. A few pairs will have a higher heel that are perfectly fine for a quiet day at the office, but I would not wear them when I have lots of errands to run or a plane to catch. All my shoes are classic styles with almond toes, so they are very hard to date. That is my justification for spending a lot of money on shoes. :))
    I like this challenge — all of us should only wear what makes us feel good. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I hit the mark every day, but most days I feel pretty good when I leave the house. And we owe it to ourselves to make a bit of an effort before we take on the world. That being said, we have a snow day here, and I look like something the cat dragged in. And it feels pretty good, too!

  3. I love the colors and pieces in your jewelry collection especially as they all seem to share common themes and many would work well together. I can’t wait to see where LIWI with accessories leads me as my collection spans the last four years of my life and is hard to decipher common ground or themes among elements. I’m five days in and have already identified four pieces to keep-3 black bead necklaces I like wearing as a set and one studded choker I bought in November as well as one to donate- a cuff bracelet. Thanks for the idea of LIWI and the continued inspiration.

    • Ps: I meant the comment about similar themes as a good thing. I did not mean to insinuate that everything was the exact same, just that you seem to have found your style in accessories and it will be interesting to see how you build from there. That’s more of where I want to be with mine: Having my own distinct style and not a Hodge podge of different items that don’t convey my personality or aesthetic preferences. Sorry if it seemed that I was saying too much sameness. 😦

  4. I’d encourage you to get rid of the 7s now, while you remember that they are 7s. If you wait until later in the year, you might forget which things felt like 7s, because they look nice on a hanger. I think in the long term you’ll be happier with a working closet filled only with clothes that make you smile.

  5. Just enjoying from the sidelines. I’m knee deep in uniform wear and lucky to don ‘real’ clothes 1 or 2 days a week right now.
    I like the color palette that shines through with the thumbnail pics. Yes, some things are similar, as a commenter above remarked, but if YOU like it, nothing wrong with that! I see some bloggers that only wear neutrals. I’d be bored stiff. But they are not me, and I am not them 😉
    Shoes . . . well, I might have more than I would if I never moved back and forth to FL. I am over 30 by a couple, if I count work sneakers or flip flops for the pool. I have about 10 boots (perfect for Tahoe) and probably about 12 sandals and heels (great for FL but they only get worn for a couple months here at home honestly). That leaves less than 10 closed toe transitional shoes like flats and fashion sneakers. These are what should make up the bulk of my shoe wardrobe probably. Ideally I’d have 10 of each and distribute the amount evenly? This only works if I continue my FL forays though. For now, I’m planning on only 4 new pair a year, with one of each category (flats, boots, sandal/heel) and a wildcard.

  6. I love your LIWI-system! I was wondering: Do you shop the non-worn closet and then move into the worn to add to your outfit? Or are your closets right next to each other and you just pick from both?

    As for shoes, I have four pair of boots, two pairs of sneakers, eight pairs of closed-toes, nine pairs of open-toes.

    I wear the boots and sneakers during the three coldest months. Then for spring/fall I add closed-toe shoes and remove one pair of boots that is only fit for cold months. During summer I wear both the closed and the open toes as well as sneakers.

    Total number of options:
    6 for winter (boots and sneakers)
    13 for spring/fall (boots, sneakers and closed-toe)
    19 for summer (sneakers, closed-toe and open-toe)

    I have a total number of 23 pairs of footwear. I do have a large number of options for summer, but our summers in DK tend to have four seasons all by themselves.

  7. It is so interesting to read about how this project is unfolding for you, Debbie! It really seems like you are learning a lot about what you like, what you need, and what you actually wear. I am glad to see you fold in information about your workout/lounge clothes as I think our observations are more accurate when everything “counts.” Also great to hear that you are finding ways to feel more put together while working at home by wearing your “regular” tops. I think we deserve to feel good about what we’re wearing even if no one sees us! (And I know I, at least, get a productivity boost when I feel put together.)

    What we use and need in different categories is so individual, isn’t it? I have to admit I was surprised to see such a high number of workout tops in your working wardrobe. But, my workout is swimming — I wear the same swimsuit every time, and the same pair of pants and top to and from the gym. I only spend an hour or so in “workout clothes” at a time so I don’t need many of them. But if you are actually getting sweaty in those clothes, and wearing them for longer than just your workout, I can see how you would want more options!

    Which brings me to the shoe question. Again I think this is so individual. I can say that my daughter never has more than about 3-4 pair of footwear at a time (e.g.: rain boots, everyday shoes, dress-up shoes) and I doubt that an adult woman truly “needs” much more than that. I know there are women who easily get by with 6 or so pairs of shoes — I think most folks like that tend to have a very utilitarian attitude when it comes to clothing and probably aren’t particularly interested in personal style. Which is totally fine! What is a “typical woman” anyway? 🙂

    As it happens, like you I also have 26 pairs of shoes! Sure, this is more than I need. But, I am a “shoe girl” and often use footwear to add variety or color to an outfit. By contrast I have only a few handbags and just one everyday winter coat. So what I mean is that different women will choose to build variety in different areas of their wardrobes. I think that many of us in wealthier countries have more than we need, even those of us with “minimalist” wardrobes. The question is whether we are making good use of what we have. (I’m certainly not perfect on that, but it’s what I’m working towards! 🙂 )

  8. Ah, your LIWI system is helping you find your style, and to discover the amount of clothing that is right for you. Since I’ve become minimal(ish) I sometimes hesitate to comment. But since you asked, currently I have 12 pair of shoes, but I need another pair of sandals (which I plan to buy) so let’s say I have 13 pair of shoes. It doesn’t sound like much, especially since five years ago I had 25+ pair of shoes. Now, I wear all of the shoes I have, and it covers my needs nicely, and adds enough variety. I’ve work hard for the past few years to get rid of the unnecessary excess in my wardrobe. And I’m so much happier with my current moderately minimal lifestyle. These days I don’t shop very often, yet when I do it’s because there is a true gap or something needs to be replaced. And once in a while (not often but just enough to add spice) I indulge myself with a fun emotional purchase item of clothing. I’ve finally found “my rhythm” and what’s right for me. And that’s really what it is all about, finding what is right for each of us.

    There was one slippery slope, however, that tripped me up time and time again when I first discovered that I wanted to down size my wardrobe. It’s tempting to want to constantly upgrade and replace items with better quality or something that hopefully might just be better in some way or other. Wanting to upgrade and replace can become addictive. That’s when I figured out that I was getting too “into” my clothes, and that I needed to expand in other areas of my life, and get out of my closet! 🙂

  9. The image of the clothes you’ve worn the last two months is so pretty! It’s a gorgeous rainbow of colors that compliment each other and you. It’s so cohesive and definitely appeals to me (my closet is similar but with black, blues, and some grey and white sprinkled in). 🙂
    Like others have commented, I think that if your closet is working for you then that’s what is important. I have enjoyed seeing your style evolve and appreciate that you know what you like and feel comfortable in. It can be fun to try some new things here and there but I think we know deep down if something is going to work for us. I have fallen too many times into the trap of pushing myself to buy or wear something outside of my style (too high of shoes, tight clothes, etc.) but I never feel like “me” and there’s nothing wrong with feeling like me.

    In a comment in a previous post I mentioned that, for the heck of it, I was choosing as many clothes as there are days in a month to put in the “active” part of my closet (e.g., 28 days in February, 28 items of clothes). This was my way of doing a mini Project 333 as I was always too hesitant about that few clothing for that long. Well, I’m glad I never ended up doing Project 333 because I was very bored by the third week of the last couple of months!
    I’ve ended up adding back the rest of my closet which totals about 70 “wear outside of the house” clothes (doesn’t include accessories, shoes, or workout wear). It did teach me that I need a little bit of variety (more than 30) but 70 items overwhelms me unless I use a random number generator to pick out clothes like Mette has talked about on her blog. I just hate picking out outfits so I need a little help.
    I’m really glad the LIWI project is working so well for you and many others. 🙂 I’m not sure if I’ll do another project in the near future but I’ll continue to track my wears using an app and probably go back to “the Mette Method”. 😉

      • I agree about being on the same wavelength and I’m glad the comment made you smile! Thank you for sharing the Method with others, Mette. 🙂
        I should admit though that sometimes I use my husband as my number generator even though his number choices wouldn’t exactly be considered statistically random. 😉

  10. I actually need to buy some shoes. I take very good care of them and buy the best I can afford. Here’s the inventory of 15:

    rubber boots (need to replace)
    sandals (1)
    sneakers (2)(replace)
    flats (3, one pair culled for discomfort)
    low heeled loafer (1)
    oxfords (1)
    slippers (1)
    wedges (2, one culled for wear)
    heels (3)

    The boots have holes. By the time I get the replacements, spring will arrive. So I’ll get busy. 😉

    The sandals are ok and the color works with my warm weather clothes. But they may need replacing this year.

    Both pair of sneakers need replacing. Considering a perforated slip-on style.

    Two remaining pair of flats are not a color that works with my warm weather clothes.

    Well-loved wedges could use an update. One pair wore out: the salt from all the snow broke down the sole.

    Heels are the least worn among my shoes. But I like these very much and I’m considering work where they may be a necessity.

    Just writing this comment made me realize how much I need to shoe shop!

  11. Love these posts Debbie 🙂

    As for shoes- I have 16 pairs, but have plans to purge and NOT replace at least 1 pair, and to purge and replace all 3 pairs of my flats (change one to sandles, replace the light colored and dark colored). In addition I have sneakers that are only worn when working out, which unfortunately is very seldom (I don’t count lounge/wardrobe in my regular wardrobe). None of my footwear are ‘duplicates’ of one another in terms of style and color, which helps. I know you Debbie have a few similar pairs that could possibly be narrowed down if you felt the need to, but I think the issue was heel height correct?

    • I’ve come back to say, I think I’m down with this challenge now that I’m no longer tracking wears and reporting on them. I’m ready to let go of the time spent and the worry/obsession. This challenge is simple and will take no time- maybe 15 minutes for a blog post each month! I have non-stock pictures now of nearly all of my items- and hanging things back up in a different section would be simple. I already think critically in terms of if I loved wearing an item or if I should purge it. I’ll start LIWI now (but add things I’ve worn in the past week and loved to be more accurate for this month). Thanks Debbie!

  12. I bought a portable clothes rack to hold my pieces once I have worn them if they passed my LIWI test. (If they didn’t they went into the laundry, then the donation bin.) I have also been tracking my outfits, including how I felt that day (I need to fine-tune that; I’ve fallen into either “Great” “Okay” or “meh” far too often). My problem is I’m still not re-wearing many pieces. I have a couple of things that I wore 10-12 times over the two months, but the vast majority of items were one-timers. And yet, I “loved” them enough to keep them and put them on the LIWI rack.

    I’m beginning to work on my spring/summer wardrobe, and I think I’m going to do a combo of LIWI and Project 333 (I’ll do 456 – 45 pieces for 6 months). I’ve narrowed my color palette down to 10 colors (yes, 10. I love color!) – three “primary”, two “neutral”, and five “accent” colors.

    I like your rating system better than “How I felt”. Going forward, I am going to concentrate on your two categories (look/feel) and seriously think long and hard before I keep any 7s or less. I *may* keep a 7 if I think styling it differently would make a difference.

    I love your updates! Thank you for showing us, through your examples, how to be “recovering shopaholics” and love our smaller wardrobes.

  13. Great update, Debbie! Your items that have been worn look so cohesive together – love it!!

    As for me, well, I am doing LIWI. I have always had a problem in the past in letting go of items that are still “good” or which cost a lot of money or which I still liked the look of. So my purging has been really more of a slow leakage as it’d take a looong time for me to persuade myself to give up an item. Well, I currently have 19 tops in my unworn section. So I went and looked them all over and for each item, I asked myself WHY I haven’t worn it. I would say 15/19 were due to fit issues. There were two tops that were a bit more formal than I need day-to-day (but which I’d generally like to keep) and one where I was “splitting my wears” with THREE other similar tops that are more comfortable. Plus there’s one top that I am (and have always been) meh about the look of that was a supposed sale bargain. I now find myself in the strange position of being emotionally ready to release 16 or 17 of these tops at once. I haven’t done it yet, but I feel it’s coming soon. This feels like a huge breakthrough to me. I guess I couldn’t admit to myself before WHY I wasn’t wearing some things, until they were all grouped together. I’m also feeling ready to let a bunch of unworn shoes go too. Cardigans and jackets are a bit harder, but hey, I can work on those slower.

    • I encourage you to let the tops go. Even if you put them out of the closet and into a box to take to charity shop/consignment. You will breath easier and it will spur you on to tackle shoes and eventually toppers and outerwear. If you don’t want to do it all at once, put each top on and really access how you feel in it and then slowly put them in the box. Some people need this slower pace. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. But I will tell you once these pieces are out of your closet you will love to get dressed in the morning.

  14. Unlike other commenters who suggest you should try more variety, I applaud your ability to narrow the focus of your wardrobe to the styles and c0lors you are most likely to love and WEAR. I share your fondness for stripes and noticed quite a few in your chosen items. Seeing the items that have made the LIWI cut so far is fascinating, both in small photo format and the closet shot – so cohesive and coordinated, which is an ongoing quest of mine. I’m amazed that you only needed the two necklaces so far this year. They’re both great pieces, but I usually love your jewelry and enjoy seeing all your different items. This post has helped me decide to do a major jewelry purge when the closet project is finished. Our recent snow days finally gave me the impetus I needed to get “unstuck” on my ongoing closet overhaul, and I’m proud to report that I should be able to put clothes in my walk-in closet for the first time since last June by the end of this weekend. I’ve been doing a modified version of LIWI using opposite ends of the very crowded rolling rack in my main hallway to segregate my 10’s from the herd, but now I’ll be able to take it to the next level. Part of the closet overhaul includes adding a shoe storage cabinet with 24 slots – it will be fun to see how many I decide to keep. This past year I focused on buying better brands (VanEli, Geoxx, Trotters) and styles that truly pampered my fussy feet, but I haven’t yet managed to cull all the old, less comfortable styles. I am feeling very unsure about culling shoes (what if I need them later for a certain outfit???) so I’ll probably move them to a storage bin in the guest room first, and then see how many I can live without. Your posts always give me so much to ponder, and I am loving LIWI, which works better for me than trying to hit some arbitrary number of pieces I can wear.

  15. I love your closet! I can see a colour scheme and you seem to have found your style. Everything is really organised 🙂
    As for shoes, I did not think I had that many but I do.
    2 pairs of tall boots (have not worn them this season, I prefer ankle boots)
    4 pairs of ankle boots
    2 pairs of heels (trying to sell one pair)
    1 pair of brogues
    6 pairs of sandals
    1 pair of flats (almost worn out, will not be replaced)
    I am not sure if fitness shoes, running shoes, sneakers, walking shoes, snow boots and rain boots count….
    If so than I probably have 30 pairs, which is far more than I want and need. I plan on not buying any summer sandals (My soft spot, they’re way cheaper than boots).

  16. Thanks for all of the wonderful comments on this post! I appreciate all of them very much, but I got quite behind on responding to email and comments, so I’m going to do a “batch response” here and do my best to cover the key points.

    I loved reading about the shoe collections of those who chimed in. I don’t think there is a “right” number of shoes for a woman to own and reading what each of you wrote confirmed that. Some of you had more shoes than I do and didn’t feel it was too much, while others have smaller numbers and still feel the need to pare down. One comment that resonated is that we all vary in terms of where we like to build variety into our wardrobes. Some like to switch out their shoes often, while others prefer to vary their purses, coats, or jewelry (or a combination thereof). I definitely think I could pare down more with my shoes, as some are similar in nature and I end up “splitting my wears.” But as Meli mentioned, heel height is one of my issues, which I’m trying to mitigate moving forward. I want to mostly stick to two heel heights instead of the 4 or 5 that I had for a number of years. That’s what I’m working towards.

    In regards to similarity in general, that’s also an individual thing. Some need a wide degree of variation in what they wear, while others are fine with more subtle differences. I know that I could vary things up more, but many of the clothes I got rid of over the past two plus years were things I bought when I was trying to think outside of the box and be different. At this point, I am happy to have found a style that I’m comfortable with and to be spending less time and energy on shopping and clothes in general. I really DO want to trade my full closet for a full life and an important step in that process is to stop obsessing so much about my clothes and what I wear. I will always care about clothes and want to dress well, but it used to be my primary preoccupation and I’m happy to be putting more energy in other areas of my life these days.

    For clothing variety, I would much rather focus on re-mixing what I already have and wearing things that mostly sit in my closet instead of doing more shopping. I love the method that Mette uses to inject creativity into her wardrobe, her random outfit generator (read about it here: http://theyogasticshoppingplanner.blogspot.com/2014/04/how-to-find-gems-in-your-closet-alreay.html). I also like the idea of style challenges like “Evolve Your Style” from Imogen Lamport (http://www.insideoutstyleblog.com/evolve-your-style) because it focuses a lot on using what you have to define and express your style. I may opt to take on this type of challenge and blog about it in the future.

    Speaking of Mette, she asked about how I’m handling the logistics of LIWI, so I will clarify. Other than my coats and casual jackets (shown in one of the photos above), which are in the closet near our front door, all of my other clothes are in one closet. What I did was cordon off a section for the items I wear by using two colored hangers. Over time, that section has grown and it’s now the entire left side of my closet. I originally wanted to move everything into another closet and then move it into my main closet as I wore it, but we don’t have space for that in our apartment. I now like the way I’m doing it, as I’m still able to see everything at a glance. The danger, though, is that I may try too hard to wear what hasn’t already been worn instead of re-wearing pieces. I’ve already noticed this happening but I don’t think it’s too bad as long as I’m honest with myself about whether or not I love a particular item.

    On that note, Heather recommended that I get rid of the “7”s and below now instead of later. I agree that is a better way to go and I’m going to push myself to re-visit things I’m on the fence about this month. I will either re-wear them or at least try them on to evaluate how I rate them. I may do that with some of my summer items, too, even though they are off-season. I’d rather get rid of sub-par things now rather than later for sure.

    Sarah mentioned that 23 workout tops is a lot and that is definitely true. I still need to pare down there and I probably should have mentioned that. I need to be more ruthless in that area because even though I wear those items a lot, I don’t need quite that many and I don’t want to keep tops that I don’t feel good in. Workout and lounge clothes are part of LIWI, too.

    I love that some of you are doing LIWI, too (and welcome, Meli, to LIWI – I look forward to reading about your experience on your blog)! I was so happy to read that it’s helping some of you to let go of items you don’t love and wear, as that’s really the objective of the challenge. Someone (I don’t remember who – sorry) mentioned that she hasn’t been re-wearing many of her LIWI items and I’ve had some challenges with that, too. During February, my focus was more on seeing what items I love, so I wore a lot of things just once. As my wardrobe is no longer super large, I’ve now worn most of my cooler weather items, so I’m re-wearing things more now. If that’s not the case for you, perhaps a good approach (and one I’m doing, too) is to think about what you feel like wearing BEFORE you open your closet. That way, your choices will be based more on emotions and the “love factor” rather than logic and a desire to wear everything to get it out of the way. If that’s hard to do for an entire outfit, pick one piece before opening your closet and then work from there. I sometimes select my top first and other times, it’s my pants or shoes, but I’m thinking about what I most want to wear before I start getting all analytical about it, if that makes sense.

    Whew, that was a long response, but I hope I covered most of the key points. If you have a question for me that I didn’t answer, please pose it below this comment and I’ll come back and address it. Again, I really appreciate everyone’s comments! I’m glad you’re enjoying my LIWI posts. I know I will continue to learn more and more as the months go by, and I hope you do, too.

  17. I wanted to say something about LIWI that has nothing to do with shoes, which seems to be a hot topic. Due to our weather, I’ve spent the last month wearing Uggs, so I can’t remember what its like to wear real shoes, lol!

    When you first talked about LIWI, I thought it was kind of an interesting way to go about evaluating your clothing. I decided to do the same thing. After 2 years (on April 1) of whittling down my wardrobe, I wasn’t sure I could come up with much that I didn’t really like.

    Anyway, the process of evaluation gave me a new perspective. First, I could only identify a handful of garments I didn’t truly love, and I was actually surprised at what I chose–pieces that I always thought I loved ended up being not so lovely. I set them aside to go to consignment.

    Once I got through this process, I felt quite happy and at peace surveying my closet, knowing that everything has survived multiple purge sessions (13 in all since the start of the season).

    Last year I decided to implement my own version of Project 333, which I call Project 198. Because we have 4 distinct seasons here which overlap when the weather transitions between hot and cold regardless of the month, I decided I needed to limit my wardrobe to 2 seasonal (Spring/Summer and Fall/winter) groups of 99 pieces each maximum. At the time I wasn’t sure I could do it. (I started from a burgeoning closet of 572 garments in April 2013).

    To my surprise, at the end of fall/winter 2014, I had a grand total of 90 garments for the season (including specific garments I wear for certain work events), and this 90 amount also included 12 pieces that could cross over into spring/summer.

    This year, fall/winter 2015, I changed my style a bit, sent some things to consignment and acquired some new things. I updated my palette to include lighter neutrals instead of so much black. Today I did the end of season tally, and to my surprise I am still at a grand total of 90 garments for the season, but I feel those 90 garments now totally express who I am and cover me for widely differing weather conditions over 6 months!

    Now I’m about to tackle spring/summer and are already identifying some styles I no longer resonate with. I think it will be fun!

    • Deby, I am so encouraged by your comment and in awe of your current wardrobe numbers in contrast to where you were less than two years ago! I wish I had done a count before starting my fledgling pruning process, but even now I am in the multi-hundred item range. Finally getting unstuck on the last steps of cleaning out my closet so that I can actually put clothes inside of it (instead of on all doorknobs, chair backs and exercise machines in my house) is almost scary, but I’m off for spring break this week and determined to have a functional closet with clothes INSIDE of it by the end of the end of the week. I’d love to know what criteria you found most helpful during your previous 13 purges. What helped you find the “right” 90 garments for this season in your life? Best wishes for your continued success, and I hope you’ll continue to share your journey with us!

    • I agree with TexasAggieMom that your story is inspiring, Deby. You have come a very long way in a short time! I think it’s interesting that your numbers have stayed so consistent since you pared down. You seem to have found your wardrobe number “sweet spot.” I’m still working on mine. There is some cross-over with my seasonal wardrobes, as we don’t have real seasons where I live. I think my wardrobe is more Winter/Spring and Summer/Fall. I’ll have to count the numbers and see what I come up with. I think about 60 items in each, but I don’t need as many clothes as you and others who have more diverse seasons and activities. Please report back on your spring/summer wardrobe. I love that you approach paring down with such a positive attitude!

      TexasAggieMom, I hope your purging process is going well. You will feel SO good once you get rid of the excess items! Everyone needs to proceed at her own rate, so do what feels right for you, but I know you will be happier and feel freer once you have less. Keep us posted!

  18. Hi Debbie, just catching up with this post. I know this blog is not meant to encourage shopping but can I ask where you got the green and black popover blouse? I’ve been looking for something just like this for almost a year!
    p.s. every time you post this your color palette looks even more cohesive! Love it!

    • Hi Sarah, Thanks for the compliment about my color palette. I love how it’s coming together, too! No problem about asking about my top. I don’t mind answering questions here and there. It’s not like I’m promoting shopping like a lot of other blogs do. I have two tops that have green and black stripes. One has more of a teal color and is more visible in the closet photo above. I’m guessing that’s the one you’re talking about, but both tops came from Nordstrom. The teal and black striped top is from Vince Camuto. I bought it about two years ago, but have seen similar styles on and off, so they might still be available. I didn’t see it just now when I looked, but they could come around again. I remember seeing the style in stores not too long ago.

      • If you meant the top that is more green than teal, it’s by Sandra Ingrish and was also from about two years ago. I don’t see that one now, either, but Nordstrom regularly carries quite a few tops from that brand and the striped one might come around again, too.

      • It wasn’t the striped one – it was the green-teal one with the black border around the lapel. Is that the Sandra Ingrish one? Sorry I can’t really read the caption on it… and I’m even wearing my glasses!

      • Yes, that’s the Sandra Ingrish one, but it is striped. It’s just hard to see in the small photo. There are lots of non-striped options within that brand, too, so maybe there will be one that will work for you!

  19. As of right now, all of my cold weather clothes have been worn except the one coat I have. I think I’m going to sell and and next winter will buy something in black or charcoal that will get worn more often. Since I went on vacation somewhere warmer and it’s warmed up about 40 deg here in the last week, I’ve also worn several things that are short sleeve. I feel pretty good about the number of items of apparel I have. It seems like it’s all getting worn.
    The area that isn’t getting much wear is my jewelry. I don’t have a ton of it, but it seems like maybe 4-5 items get worn over and over and I haven’t even worn half of it this year. It has stopped me from buying anything new since I do have many unworn pieces.
    I agree with everyone that your color palette is really pretty. I’m actually doing much better with less variety too. I buy less and am content with less. So if stripes are your thing and you’re happy with it, go for it 🙂

    • How wonderful that you have no worn ALL of your cold weather clothes, Tonya! I haven’t yet, which makes me think I probably have TOO many cold weather clothes. Of course, we HAVE had quite a few unseasonably warm days this year, so I’m going to reserve judgment for a bit longer. We usually have cool weather into June, as it’s generally grey and overcast by the coast here in May and June (note to those who want to visit San Diego, those are NOT the months to come!).

      I have a lot of jewelry that hasn’t been worn yet, too, and it’s helping me to feel more ready to let go of additional pieces (and I haven’t been buying new jewelry, either). LIWI is helping me MUCH more than other projects or challenges I have done. It’s really helping me to see what I like and what I actually wear. I’m so glad it’s been helpful for you, too. You stick with your neutrals and I’ll continue to embrace my stripes! 🙂

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