I just completed the third 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.
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 March
Before we look at how my working closet has shaped up after three months of the LIWI challenge, I want to show you a quick look at what I wore during March:
Not all of my workout and lounge wear items are included, as I do not have photos of all of those pieces. In addition to the 54 items pictures above, I also wore 9 tops exclusively for working out (4 fewer than last month) and 5 pairs of pants to the gym, on walks, and while I’m at home. My walking shoes (shown here) were worn for all of my exercise activities. As I mentioned in my last update, I no longer wear my workout tops at home and have been wearing my “regular” tops instead. This has helped me get more wear out of my standard tops and allows me to feel more polished and put together when I’m at home.
Three Months In – The Clothes
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):
The size of my working closet increased by 19 items during March, from 65 garments to 84. There were quite a few unseasonably warm days last month, so I wore more of my summer/fall (the warm season where I live) items than I thought I would. Here’s a summary of the clothing items that I’ve worn so far this year by category (we’ll get to shoes and accessories later), as well as how the numbers have shifted since my last update:
- 4 pairs of pants (+1)
- 5 pairs of jeans (+1)
- 3 skirts (+2)
- 5 casual jackets – worn for workouts, walks, and at home (same)
- 6 coats (same)
- 2 short jackets – motos, blazers (+1)
- 7 cardigans (+2)
- 26 long-sleeved tops (+5)
- 14 short-sleeved tops (+5)
- 7 sleeveless tops (+4)
- 12 workout tops (-9, some were purged and some are now counted above)
- 6 pairs of workout/lounge pants (same)
After three months of the “Love It, Wear It” Challenge, here’s what my working closet looks like now:
The Other Side of the Story – Items Not Yet Worn
While I have worn most of my cool season wardrobe in the past three months (and many pieces multiple times), the following items have yet to make it out of my closet:
- 1 pair of pants
- 3 pairs of jeans
- 3 long-sleeved tops (two are dressy)
- 1 short-sleeved top (also dressy)
- 2 sleeveless tops – usually worn under jackets or cardigans (one is dressy)
- 2 longer jackets (one is a formal blazer)
- 2 casual jackets
- 1 coat (will likely sell – wool and too itchy)
- 3 pairs of shoes (only including closed-toe shoes here)
Here’s a photo of my winter/spring items that have not been worn yet this year:
I still like many of the items above, but time will tell whether or not I will wear them. As you can see, my reason for not wearing roughly half of these pieces is because they are dressy and my lifestyle is very casual. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m okay with keeping a small “dressy” capsule in my closet for those rare occasions when I need those types of clothes (and shoes).
However, if I don’t wear – and love – the less dressy items soon, it may be time for me to pass them on. I will write more about this in my next LIWI update, if not sooner. For now, I’ll just say that there is no room for “benchwarmers” in the LIWI challenge, as the main objective is for us to only hold on to things that suit our needs and that we enjoy wearing.
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:
- 13 pairs of shoes (+6)
- 30 pairs of earrings (+7)
- 12 bracelets (same number but a few pieces are different)
- 6 necklaces (+4)
- 4 watches (same – as pictured in my January update)
- 4 scarves (+1)
- 3 purses (I have been switching my purse at the beginning of each month)
Here’s a look at the shoes and accessories I’ve worn so far this year:
March LIWI Wardrobe Observations
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 two LIWI updates (here and here) have persisted, including the fact that I crave variety the most with my tops, earrings, and bracelets. I have continued to expand my shoe repertoire, but many of my shoes remain unworn (mostly the sandals, of which I have too many), as is also true for my large scarf and necklace collections. More on some of these issues below…
As the time has progressed with this challenge, I have begun to learn more and more about my style preferences and the ways in which my wardrobe is or isn’t suiting my lifestyle needs. Let’s start by looking at my wardrobe composition. Here are some conclusions I’ve reached about what I have too many of or too few of in my closet:
- Too many long-sleeved tops – I have worn most of my long-sleeved tops, but many of them have only been worn once or twice thus far. I see two main reasons for this. First of all, I’m wearing my “regular” tops at home more often and don’t need to be as warm indoors. Also, it has been warmer than usual here and I’ve been wearing short-sleeved tops far more often.
- Not enough short-sleeved tops – These are the tops I’ve been wearing most regularly and I’ve been craving more variety than what I have. Many of my short-sleeved tops have been worn quite a few times so far this year. The frequency of wear probably wouldn’t bother many of you, but I am used to wearing things less often (but getting accustomed to a smaller wardrobe with more rotation). I would like to add a few new casual short-sleeved tops to my wardrobe soon, preferably in prints.
- Too many necklaces, especially short ones – I have only worn 6 necklaces thus far and only one has been a short necklace. I would have never realized this without LIWI, as I think most of us underestimate how often we wear things. I may wear more of the shorter necklaces in the summer, but I still think I have too many necklaces overall. Thankfully, I have dramatically cut back on my jewelry purchases, but I will likely still pare things down further.
- Too many scarves – I haven’t felt compelled to wear my scarves very often. I have only worn 4 scarves so far this year. Luckily, I haven’t been adding new items to this area of my wardrobe and the scarves I have don’t take up much space. But I will likely pare down later in the year if the trend of not reaching for my scarves continues.
- Too many blazers / short jackets – I wear these most often in the warm weather with my skirts and dresses, but I can already see that I have too many. In addition, I have too many knit blazers and I’m moving away from that style (in favor of motos and other more casual styles) because it skews too dressy or “churchy.” I tried to pair these blazers with jeans, but most of them don’t look right because the proportions are off due to my height. I know that I will be paring this area of my wardrobe down in the coming months. I bought too many similar pieces at once a few years back, which was a bad habit of mine for a long time.
- No clothes for certain activities – My husband wanted to go hiking the other day and I realized that I don’t really have the right clothes for that activity. I don’t usually feel physically well enough to do that type of thing anyway, but I’d like to be prepared in case the opportunity arises and I’m up to it. I don’t need to buy much to turn this around. Even just one pair of shorts or capri pants would be good. I have tops that I could wear for hiking or similar activities, but bottoms are a bit of a problem.
On a Positive Note…
Other than the issues mentioned above, I think my working wardrobe is shaping up quite nicely. I’m finding it easier and easier to get dressed each day and I’m happy with my outfits most of the time. I’m getting more and more in touch with what I like to wear and what works best for my lifestyle. I am enjoying wearing nicer clothes at home and having less of a transition between at-home wear and “out and about” clothing (read more of my thoughts about at-home clothing here).
My cool weather wardrobe is in pretty good shape overall. I really can’t think of much that I need at this point. Any new items that I purchase will either be for my warm weather needs or for transitional items for between the two seasons. As an example, I would like a few short-sleeved tops to wear with skirts (I usually just wear tank tops with skirts, but then I can only wear them when it’s really warm), as well as an additional tunic or two to wear with my slimmer jeans (since I like my new black, white, and yellow tunic so much).
I need to think more in terms of outfits when I buy new things. In the past, I mostly just bought new pieces because I liked them and didn’t give much thought to how they would pair with my existing items. That left me with quite a few closet orphans, as well as too many similar pieces that didn’t add any real variety to my ensembles. While having a few “uniforms” can be useful in terms of streamlining getting dressed, it’s also nice to shake things up a bit from time to time to avoid wardrobe ennui.
That’s about all I have to say for this LIWI update. I’m sure I will reach some new conclusions and experience more “aha moments” as I dip more into my warm weather wardrobe and see what does and doesn’t excite me there. I see myself moving away from some of the styles I embraced in the past, including the knit blazers I mentioned above, as well as the A-line skirts that were my mainstay for years. I now prefer more casual styles, such as maxi-length skirts and dresses and moto style jackets. But the proof will be in the pudding, as the saying goes. We’ll see what I actually wear and love.
In a future post, I will share some of the favorite pieces in my cool weather wardrobe. This idea was suggested by a reader and I think it could be an interesting post to do, especially at a time of seasonal transition. Looking at our favorites can help to inform our future shopping and stop us from making mistakes. It can also help us to hone our personal style.
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 later this week with some more lessons from my outfit journal (you can check out the first two installments here and here).