I have now completed the first half of my 2015 “Love It, Wear It” Wardrobe Challenge (LIWI). I feel this project has been instrumental in helping me to feel better about my clothes, shop smarter, and cultivate a more workable wardrobe. I continue to learn new things about myself along the way, as well as what types of clothes, shoes, and accessories work best for my life and my evolving style aesthetic.
As with last month, I am splitting this update into two parts. In today’s post, I will share what I wore during June and give you a glimpse into my “working closet” halfway through the challenge. In part two, which will go live early next week, I do some analysis into what has yet to be worn and why. In both posts, I will include lots of numbers and photos to help illustrate my points.
I hope you will find this update interesting regardless of whether or not you are following along with LIWI yourself. Those whose eyes glaze over with numbers will have many photos to look at, while those who like data and statistics will likely embrace those parts of the posts. I encourage you all to see if you can draw parallels between my situation and your own and glean some pearls of wisdom from my mistakes and the lessons I’ve learned.
I don’t think I will go into this much detail again until the end of the year when I’m wrapping up the challenge. I don’t expect things to change all that dramatically over the next few months, as I have worn the bulk of my items at this point. I would prefer to do my LIWI updates in a single post if at all possible, so I will have to dial back my analytical nature a bit next time… But when it comes time to wrap up the challenge, it will probably be back to full tilt numbers and data once again.
An Overview of LIWI
Before I dive into my update, here’s a quick reminder of what LIWI is about (read more here). The objectives for the “Love It, Wear It” challenge are to wear what we love and to have the right types of clothing, shoes, and accessories for our lives… our real lives. By this, I mean the lives that we are actually living in the here and now – not imagined, wished for, or previous lifestyles.
The process for doing LIWI is as follows… The idea is to create a “working closet” by moving everything you wear into a specific area of your closet space. As much as possible (uniforms and dress codes aside…), you should only wear what you really want to wear. Anything that is uncomfortable, fussy, or no longer in line with your personal style should be passed on for donation or consignment.
Although I started LIWI at the beginning of the year, you can dive in at any time. A lot of readers have decided to take on the challenge after reading about how it’s helped me with my wardrobe, shopping, and style. Some of those readers share their updates in the comments section of my monthly posts, and anyone who wishes to do so is welcome to play along and report in on how LIWI is going for them. This post will be all about my experience, but if you want to see how others are navigating the challenge, I invite you to read the comments. Questions are also welcomed!
What I Wore During June
Prior to showing you how my working closet has shaped up after six months of the LIWI challenge, I want to give you a quick look at what I wore during June:
In all, I wore 46 items of clothing last month and 10 pairs of shoes. This doesn’t include dedicated workout/lounge wear – I generally wear “regular” shirts with lounge pants at home. Nine of the garments were worn multiple times (the largest number of wears was seven, for my boyfriend style jeans) and three pairs of shoes were donned more than once (one pair of black boots was worn ten times).
My June numbers represent four more items of clothing and twice as many pairs of shoes as I wore during May. The main reason for the differences is that summer finally arrived on the scene towards the end of the month and I happily started wearing more of my warm weather wardrobe. I wore three necklaces during June and didn’t wear any scarves at all (although I’ve started to wear scarves more this month). Accessories will be discussed in the sections below.
I know the images above are pretty tiny (more images of my clothes and closet are included below), but you can see that I’ve mostly narrowed my color palette down to a few primary tones:
- Black (and prints including black)
- Blue (mostly cobalt and some denim)
There are a few outliers in the mix, including a light green/grey striped tee and a white cardigan, but the colors above are my main players. My predominant print is stripes (no big surprise there…), but a few other prints feature as well. My shoes are mostly black or metallic and fairly minimalist in style (I do have one pair of leopard print sandals that I still love to wear).
It’s much easier for me to get dressed since I’ve narrowed down my color palette. Most of what I have coordinates well with my other pieces in terms of color, which simplifies things quite a bit. Shopping is also easier, as I’m able to pass over a lot of pieces that are in colors which don’t appear in my palette. I’m still honing in on the styles and silhouettes that I prefer and the clearer I become on these specifications, the easier it is to navigate both the brick-and-mortar and online stores. Of course, I am still open to new styles and “wild card” items, but it’s helpful to have a consistent color, style, and silhouette story that guides both our getting dressed and shopping processes.
Six Months In – The “Out and About” Clothes
After six months of the “Love It, Wear It” Challenge, here’s what my working closet looks like now:
The size of my working closet (for non-workout/lounge clothes) as of the end of June was 94 items. My May number was 93, so the number has only gone up by 1 item. However, this number is a bit misleading, as I have decided to separate my dedicated workout/lounge items into their own section for two reasons:
- I was finding it confusing to have some of my workout/lounge clothes (e.g. the casual jackets and some of my tops) included in my standard wardrobe while others (e.g. workout/lounge pants and other tops) were not.
- I want to give adequate attention to this area of my wardrobe, as I had previously neglected it in favor of my “out and about” clothes.
I have definitely been wearing more of my “regular” clothes while I’m at home, particularly my tops, and that’s a good thing. I don’t need to keep everything completely separate. However, I have some pieces that I only wear for working out, going on walks, or at home, and I want to keep track of how many such items I have. Thus, I have opted to track my workout/lounge clothing separately for the purposes of both LIWI and my closet inventories (see my most recent one here).
The image above shows quite a few items that were not included in last month’s update, as I started wearing more of my summer clothes and moved them over to the “working” side of my closet. I expect to add even more pieces to my working closet before my next update, as I figure out which of my warm weather items I love to wear and want to keep. I’m sure some of my summer clothes won’t make the cut and I will do at least a bit more downsizing as the season evolves. I also plan to do another round of the “KonMari Process” later in the year, which should help me pare things down further.
I don’t have a target number of clothes for my working closet. I just want my wardrobe to be cohesive and work well for my life, and I would like to be wearing my clothes on a regular basis. I know I’ve written about wanting to wear everything I own eight or more times per year, and that is still my ultimate goal, at least for most categories of my wardrobe. However, I don’t want to get rid of pieces I love just because I’m not wearing everything as often as I’d ideally like. I believe that in time, my wear numbers will go up and reach a level that I’m happy with. I have already seen quite a bit of progress since I started this blog, and I’m willing to be patient as long as I’m moving in the right direction.
The Clothes By Category
Here’s a summary by category of the clothing items I’ve worn so far this year – and opted to keep (we’ll get to shoes and accessories later), as well as how the numbers have shifted since my last update:
- 3 pairs of pants (same)
- 7 pairs of jeans (+1)
- 10 skirts (+2)
- 7 dresses (+4)
- 6 coats (same)
- 3 short jackets – motos, blazers (same)
- 10 cardigans (+2)
- 21 long-sleeved tops (-2, moved 4 tops to workout/lounge category – see below)
- 13 short-sleeved tops (-1, moved 2 tops to workout/lounge category)
- 15 sleeveless tops (+1)
Here’s a bird’s eye view of the out-and-about garments I’ve worn so far during 2015:
Since it’s almost impossible to see the individual items in the tiny images above, here’s a closer look, broken down into tops, toppers, and bottoms/dresses.
The Dedicated Workout/Lounge Clothes
My dedicated workout/lounge clothes were not included in my working closet number above, for the reasons I outlined earlier. In this and future updates, I will list my workout/lounge numbers in their own section. Here are those numbers:
- 17 workout tops (+3, moved 6 tops from above into this category)
- 11 pairs of workout/lounge pants (+3, moved 3 pants from above into this category)
- 5 casual jackets – worn for workouts, walks, and at home (same)
Here’s a look at some of those pieces (I don’t have photographs of all of them):
I think I probably have too many pairs of pants in this category, as I don’t really need 11 pairs. Some of these pants were downgraded from “out and about” garments, while others are getting worn out and will likely be passed on soon. However, I’m in no rush to downsize this category of my wardrobe, especially since pants are so hard for me to find. As I see that I’m not wearing certain items (within this category and my wardrobe at large), or if I’m unhappy with how things look or feel, I will opt to donate or consign them at that time. That’s the beauty of LIWI… KonMari will also probably come into play later in the year, especially since I found it so helpful back in May.
Six Months In – Shoes and Accessories
I’m also tracking all of the shoes and accessories I’m wearing during my 2015 LIWI Challenge. I keep a running list of shoes worn and I track my jewelry by moving the pieces that I wear to separate areas of my jewelry box. With my scarves, I move them from being folded up on a shelf to hanging them on a hanger in my working closet. Here are my accessory numbers as of the end of June:
- 20 pairs of shoes (+4)
- 37 pairs of earrings (+2)
- 14 bracelets (+2)
- 9 necklaces (+1)
- 4 watches (same – as pictured in my January update)
- 5 scarves (same)
- 5 purses (+1)
Here’s a look at the shoes and accessories I’ve worn so far this year:
Conclusion and a Glimpse at Part Two
Since this LIWI update has already gotten quite long and I wrote a lot about what I’m noticing about my wardrobe above and last month, I won’t do much more sharing here. Overall, I feel that my wardrobe is coming together quite nicely. I have a much greater awareness of what I love and what I actually wear, which is the whole point of the challenge. I’m still buying a fair amount (though less than in previous years), but I’m making fewer mistakes and my new items are better serving my life. I know I will have a lot more to share as I get deeper into the summer season and notice how my warm weather wardrobe is shaping up…
Part Two of my June LIWI Update will be centered on what has yet to be worn this year and will go live early next week. There will be lots of photos and numbers there, too, as well as some analysis about the other side of my wardrobe. In addition to looking at unworn clothing, I will also address the shoes and accessories that have yet to make their way out on the town this year and identify some of the reasons for that. Stay tuned…
I know some of you have opted to take on the LIWI challenge this year. 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 (or part two). For those who haven’t yet adopted the challenge but are interested in doing so, it’s not too late! If you have any 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. Have a wonderful weekend!