Before I delve into my April update on the “Love It, Wear It” Wardrobe Challenge (LIWI), I would like to say a few things in reference to my last post. I actually considered dedicating an entire post to this topic, but I decided to just write about it it here instead. Judging from some of the comments I received, it seems that perhaps I wasn’t clear in the way I wrote about my April overshopping, so I’d like to clarify the situation now.
Explaining Isn’t the Same as Excusing
While I wrote about the reasons why I ended up shopping too much last month, it was not my intention to excuse it in any way. I take full responsibility for buying too many items and spending too much time, energy, and money on clothes during April. I acknowledge that my behavior was not in line with my goals for having a smaller, more cohesive, and more functional wardrobe, as well as my desire to trade my full closet for a full life. I know that using shopping to try to deal with my emotional issues is a dead end and will never make me happy or lead to long-term fulfillment. I have definitely learned that much in the almost two and a half years of writing this blog.
The truth is that I had a setback, which is a normal and expected occurrence on the path toward recovery. I know that many who are reading this now have also experienced peaks and valleys along the way, and may even feel tempted to give up in the face of those down times. Such discouragement is also normal. Part of what I want to show with this blog is that while recovery is possible, it’s not always neat, perfect, and linear. It can be messy sometimes and there can be a lot of shame associated with the setbacks we encounter. It’s my hope that by being open and honest about my path – while using my real name and photos, I can help to banish some of the shame associated with compulsive shopping.
Criticism, Judgment, and Getting Back on Track
I know some of the readers of this blog (perhaps many) are not actually shopaholics. While I’m very pleased to have a wider audience than I initially expected, I also know that there will be those who won’t understand my behavior and will be critical and judgmental towards me. Those who have never struggled with compulsive shopping often think, “Well, just buy less.” Although in some respects it is that simple, it’s also not. We often know the right things to do but find ourselves unable to do them when faced with temptation, stress, and all sorts of other feeling and situations. When we falter, we have to pick ourselves up, forgive our failings, and recommit to our recovery.
That is exactly what I have done. I am now back on track and have taken some positive steps toward moving closer to my goals. I will share more about that in future posts, but now it’s time to talk about my LIWI project and where I am with it.
An Overview of LIWI
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 April
Before we look at how my working closet has shaped up after four months of the LIWI challenge, I want to show you a quick look at what I wore during April:
In all, I wore 52 items of clothing last month (a few pairs of workout/lounge pants are not pictured) and 10 pairs of shoes. I also wore two necklaces and one scarf. Accessories will be discussed in the sections below.
Four Months In – The Clothes
After four months of the “Love It, Wear It” Challenge, here’s what my working closet looks like now:
The size of my working closet increased by 16 items during April, from 84 garments to 100. The reason for the increase was that there were quite a few warm days and I started to wear more of my summer clothing items. Here’s a summary of the clothing items 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 (same)
- 7 pairs of jeans (+2)
- 6 skirts (+3)
- 5 casual jackets – worn for workouts, walks, and at home (same)
- 6 coats (same)
- 3 short jackets – motos, blazers (+1)
- 8 cardigans (+1)
- 27 long-sleeved tops (+1)
- 17 short-sleeved tops (+3)
- 11 sleeveless tops (+4)
- 13 workout tops (+1)
- 6 pairs of workout/lounge pants (same)
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 – you can see the coats in my last update):
I have recently done another closet purge and will be sharing that process soon (hint – I used the “KonMari Method”). However, the numbers above reflect what was in my closet at the end of April.
The Other Side of the Story – Items Not Yet Worn
While I have worn most of my cool season wardrobe during the past four months (and many pieces multiple times), the following items have yet to make it out of my closet:
- 1 pair of pants
- 1 pair of jeans
- 2 long-sleeved tops
- 1 short-sleeved top
- 1 sleeveless top
- 2 longer jackets (one is a formal blazer)
- 2 casual jackets
- 1 coat
- 1 pair of shoes (not including open-toed shoes / sandals here)
Here’s a photo of my winter/spring items that have not been worn yet this year:
Many of my unworn items did not make it through the closet audit I did this past Sunday, but since this post is about what I wore through the end of April, those pieces are still pictured above. I won’t comment here on what made it through the cut and what did not, as that will be part of my next post. Stay tuned…
Four 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:
- 17 pairs of shoes (+4)
- 34 pairs of earrings (+4)
- 13 bracelets (+1)
- 7 necklaces (+1)
- 4 watches (same – as pictured in my January update)
- 5 scarves (+1)
- 4 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:
April LIWI Wardrobe Observations
That’s it for the numbers and photos, but there are still a few things I’d like to share before I close this post. Most of the issues I noticed with my wardrobe were the same as what I mentioned last month:
- Too many long-sleeved tops – Note to self – don’t buy any more long-sleeved tops! Now that I am wearing more of my “regular clothes” at home, I find that I wear my short-sleeved tops far more often. The temperature is often higher indoors, plus we’ve just had warmer weather overall this year. When I do buy more tops in the future, I should place emphasis on acquiring short-sleeved tops that are suitable for wearing at home (e.g. comfortable, casual knits).
- Too many necklaces and scarves – I don’t wear these items often enough to justify owning as many as I do. I definitely should not buy more necklaces or scarves and I’d like to also pare down to only my favorite pieces in these categories.
- Too many blazers/short jackets – Many of these pieces were what made my skirt outfits look “churchy,” especially when coupled with the lengths and shapes of some of my skirts. I definitely do not need to buy more such jackets, especially the blazer style, and I would benefit from doing some culling in this category soon.
- Need more focus and attention on at-home and outdoor activity wardrobes – A very large percentage of my time is spent at home and doing things like going on walks, taking photos, and other outdoor activities. For these areas of my life, I prefer casual, comfortable clothes and easily walkable shoes. Many of my clothes and shoes are too dressy and/or uncomfortable for my activities. I am definitely drawn to dressier clothes, but I really don’t need any additional items in that wardrobe category. When I do shop (which I’m planning to do much less of), I need to focus on buying pieces that I can wear for the activities I do most often.
I’m now at the point where I’ve worn far more pieces in my closet than I haven’t worn. Most of the unworn items are part of my summer/fall (warm season) wardrobe, so I haven’t had much of an opportunity to wear them so far this year. Here’s a peak at the “not yet worn” section of my closet:
In addition, let’s take look at the shoes that I have not worn thus far in 2015, many of which are either sandals of dressy shoes:
In the next couple of months, my plan is to either wear or cull everything shown in the photos above. The only possible exceptions are dressy items, but there will likely only be a few unworn pieces within that category.
I’m really seeing my closet shape up nicely as a result of LIWI. I’ve gotten to much better understand what I actually wear and what I like wearing, which is really the main point of the challenge. As I mentioned earlier in this update, I just did another closet culling session this past weekend. In contrast to previous such sessions, this one didn’t take me very long and I didn’t agonize much over “to keep or not” decisions. It was much easier for me to let go of items because LIWI has helped me to become more keenly aware of what I like and what best suits my lifestyle.
LIWI is working its magic with my wardrobe. It feels tighter and more cohesive and I’m happier with a greater percentage of my outfits. I feel confident that my wardrobe and style satisfaction will continue to increase as I proceed with the challenge. I don’t know what my eventual wardrobe size will be or should be at this point. Time will tell… I’m not attached to any particular outcome other than learning and growth, and those things are definitely happening.
Now that the winter/spring season is drawing to a close, I plan to share some of the favorite pieces in my cool weather wardrobe. I mentioned this last month, but I think now is really a better time for such an update, as I can feel the seasons changing. I know I’ll still be wearing my cool season pieces in the weeks to come, but I also see myself drawing more and more from my summer/fall wardrobe moving forward.
I know some of you have opted to take on the LIWI challenge. I’d love to learn how it’s going for you, as well as 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 a report on my latest closet culling adventure. I will also post another closet inventory soon, as well as more lessons from my outfit journal. And stay tuned for my reports on Imogen Lamport’s “Evolve Your Style” course – coming soon…