I’m glad my last post on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and marketing messages was so well received. I have been very impressed by the wonderful comments that have been written in response to that post by many of you. I deeply appreciate everyone who has taken the time to share her thoughts. Due to the sheer volume of comments, I may not be able to respond to each comment individually, but I am grateful to each and every one of you who has taken the time to contribute to the discussion. Clearly, many of us are frustrated with the tactics that stores are engaging in to get us to buy more. I will likely write more on that topic in the future…
But now it’s time for another “Love It, Wear It” Wardrobe Challenge (LIWI) update. I usually post my accountability updates first, but I decided to mix it up a bit this time since I’m still deciding on a few of my July purchases. As I mentioned in last month’s LIWI update, I’m not going to go into as much detail in these updates until I do my wrap-up at the end of the year. As my “working closet” is coming together, not as much is changing every month, so I don’t need to get into as much granular detail as I did in the early months of the challenge. However, I still have things I want to share as I continue to build a more workable wardrobe for myself, so I will persist in doing monthly LIWI updates until the end of 2015. Then I will likely figure out a new challenge for 2016 so I can keep growing and learning…
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 (or a separate closet altogether). 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 2015, 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 July
Prior to writing about how my working closet has shaped up after seven months of the LIWI challenge, I want to give you a quick look at what I wore during July:
In all, I wore 39 items of clothing last month and 9 pairs of shoes. This doesn’t include dedicated workout/lounge wear – I generally wear “regular” shirts with lounge pants at home. Ten of the garments shown above were worn multiple times and four pairs of shoes were donned more than once (two pairs of sandals were worn five times each).
My July numbers represent seven fewer items of clothing and one less pair of shoes than I wore during June. The weather was consistently warm, so I was primarily drawing from my warm weather garments and shoes, which is why the numbers decreased to some degree. I suspect that my August numbers will be even lower, as I have added almost all of my summer pieces to my working closet at this point. I do still have some jackets and shoes that have yet to be worn (to be highlighted below), as well as a few new pieces that were purchased during July and early August. My goal is to either wear the long-standing items this month or pass them on for consignment or donation (with the exception of a small formal wear capsule that I will retain).
In regards to accessories, I wore two necklaces (one of which I hadn’t worn previously in 2015) and two scarves (both repeats) during July. I continue to be surprised by how infrequently I wear these types of items. I wear earrings, watches, and bracelets almost daily, but I’m not as inclined to wear my necklaces and scarves. I used to wear them far more regularly, so I’m not sure if I’m going through a phase or what. But since the objective of LIWI is to wear what I want, I’m not going to over-analyze it. I’ll just see how things go as the year progresses. Neither my scarves nor my necklaces take up much space, so I’m not in a huge hurry to pass those items on. Perhaps I will start feeling inspired to wear them again soon. I did wear a short necklace earlier this week with a tank top and really loved it, so that may be a sign of things to come…
Seven Months In – The “Out and About” Clothes
After seven 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 July was 106 items. My June number was 94, so the number has gone up by 12 items (I actually added more items than that, but I have also done a bit of culling – to be reported in my upcoming accountability update). All of the new items are summer pieces that I added as the weather warmed up.
I suspect that my working closet number will remain around 100. Yes, I still have items that have yet to be worn this year and some of those will be added to the working side of my closet, but I also see myself letting go of some of my clothes as well. I plan on doing another round of the “KonMari Process” before the end of the year and I’m sure I will find at least a handful of items that no longer “spark joy” for me – or maybe never did.
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 (same)
- 10 dresses (+3)
- 6 coats (same)
- 6 short jackets – motos, blazers (+3)
- 11 cardigans (+1)
- 21 long-sleeved tops (same)
- 15 short-sleeved tops (+2)
- 17 sleeveless tops (+2)
What I Added During July
Instead of showing you all of the items in my current working closet, below is a look at the clothes and shoes that I added during July (you can see all of the other items in my June LIWI update):
Here’s a quick breakdown of the above 19 items by category:
- 1 pair of pants
- 1 skirt
- 3 dresses
- 3 short jackets
- 1 cardigan
- 2 short-sleeved tops
- 6 sleeveless tops (this number doesn’t match up with the above because I did some purging in this category – to be reported in my upcoming accountability update)
- 2 pairs of shoes
The Dedicated Workout/Lounge Clothes
My dedicated workout/lounge clothes were not included in my working closet number above, but the numbers haven’t changed since June:
- 17 workout tops
- 11 pairs of workout/lounge pants
- 5 casual jackets – worn for workouts, walks, and at home
I need to pare down this area of my wardrobe, as I have quite a few pieces that I’m not really wearing. I plan to do some culling during August, so expect to see some changes in my next update.
Seven 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 July:
- 22 pairs of shoes (+2)
- 39 pairs of earrings (+2)
- 15 bracelets (+1)
- 10 necklaces (+1)
- 4 watches (same – as pictured in my January update)
- 5 scarves (same)
- 5 purses (same)
The two additional pairs of shoes are pictured above under “What I Added During July.” Here’s a look at the jewelry items that were added to my working closet last month:
The bracelet is a brand new piece that I’ve already worn several times, while the two pairs of earrings and the necklace are all from several years ago. The necklace didn’t photograph well. The colors are actually cooler in tone and the pendant looks shinier. I wore this piece with my leopard print dress and it was a good pairing. I had previously worn another warmer-toned necklace with the dress, but I can now pass that other necklace on (it is very warm-toned and not really to my liking anymore).
What Hasn’t Been Worn – Clothes and Shoes
In my monthly LIWI updates, I also like to highlight what has yet to be worn in my closet. Here’s a look at the items that I have yet to wear this year (July acquisitions are not included in this photo):
Let’s take a closer look at these items by category:
- 1 pair of jeans (new black jeans bought in May)
- 2 cardigans
- 1 casual jacket (for workouts, walks, etc.)
- 5 blazers / short jackets
- 1 long-sleeved top (pictured here – I really like it, but it’s fancy and my life is not…)
- 4 pairs of shoes
I wrote a lot about why I have yet to wear these items in my June LIWI update, but I will say a bit about each item individually now that that aren’t that many of them:
- Black sling-back pumps: These shoes skew very dressy and don’t work well with my casual outfits. They were a gift and were expensive, so I’ve been saving them as part of my dressy capsule.
- Black knit moto jacket: This jacket is a bit too big for me and doesn’t look good worn open. I like it, but I may have found a better option at the NAS last month, so it’s possible that I will pass this jacket on soon.
- Black blazer: This blazer looks best worn with pants, but I just don’t have much occasion to wear blazers with my casual lifestyle. I’m saving it as part of my dressy capsule.
- Black mixed media jacket: I love this jacket and recently took some time to figure out how best to wear it. I believe I will wear it soon when I go out in the evening. It’s too hot out now to wear it during the day.
- Black sheer-striped top: I really love this top, but it’s pretty dressy and also isn’t very warm due to the sheer sleeves. The perfect time to wear it is for going out in the evening, but I rarely do that these days. I’m keeping it and hope to wear it soon.
- Black straight-leg jeans: Shortly after I bought these jeans and had them hemmed (the talls were too long), the weather turned very warm. I know I will wear them when things cool off, as they are a great fit and very comfortable.
- Grey casual jacket with black trim: This jacket looks better than it feels. It’s very cute on, but the sleeves aren’t all that comfortable. I will likely pass it on soon.
- Black cross-strap sandals: Cute shoes, but the heel is too high to be very “walkable.” I used to wear them a lot, but usually choose other options these days. They do look good with slim-fit jeans, though, so I will keep them for times when I don’t have to walk much. Luckily, I don’t have many such shoes any longer.
- Cobalt cardigan: This cardigan was a bit too long to wear with skirts and dresses and didn’t look quite right with pants, either. So I just had it hemmed by about an inch and a half. I think I will wear it with skirts and dresses now. I love the color (it’s my favorite, other than black of course).
- Coral knit blazer: I’m not sure I like this color anymore and I’m not as into knit blazers, either. It’s likely that I will opt to pass it along, unless I wear and love it sometime during August.
- Grey knit blazer: This jacket is in better shape than the coral one and I like it more. I just haven’t had much occasion to wear blazers as of late. I don’t want to look too dressy, so I usually opt for cardigans or other jacket styles. We’ll see if I wear this later in the summer.
- Pewter sandals: I like these sandals and am not sure why I haven’t worn them yet. I think I’ve just been reaching for my other metallic sandals by default. I believe I will wear these sandals soon and I will see if I love them.
- Pewter sling-back pumps: These shoes are too dressy for most of my outfits. I’m saving them as part of my dressy capsule, as they are in good condition and are reasonably comfortable.
- Polka-dot cardigan: I still like this cardigan. I just haven’t needed a topper all that often because I usually go out only during the day and it’s been very warm as of late. I think I will wear this later in the summer, but we’ll see.
There you have it… the 14 items in my wardrobe that have yet to be worn (other than very recent additions). While I had hoped to have worn everything in my closet by this point in the year, I feel pretty good about where I am with things today. I probably still have too many toppers and dressy pairs of shoes, but I’m willing to give it a bit more time for LIWI to work its magic.
I’m really learning a lot about my actual wardrobe likes and needs through doing this process. In the past, I didn’t give things nearly as much thought and consideration. I just bought things because I liked them and they checked many of the boxes. But the most important facet of our wardrobe pieces is that they meet our lifestyle needs (and of course we should like them, too). I’m discovering what does and what does not through the process of doing the LIWI challenge.
Next, let’s check out the jewelry that I haven’t worn this year. It’s really not that much at this point:
- 5 pairs of earrings
- 2 bracelets
- 8 necklaces
There are also the pins and pendants I featured during last month’s update, but some of those are sentimental pieces and I’ve decided to pass some others on. My main focus in terms of jewelry is on my as yet unworn earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, which are all pictured below:
I’m sure I will decide to cull some of these pieces, but I’m not in any huge hurry to do so. The summer has only been under way for a little over a month and I’m going to see if I reach for any of my unworn jewelry pieces during the course of this season. I just wore the fourth necklace two days ago and loved it, so we’ll see if the same ends up being true of the other necklaces.
In previous years, I used to buy a lot of jewelry, but LIWI has really gone a long way toward slowing down my purchases in that wardrobe category. I have only purchased a few jewelry pieces all year, whereas I previously added at least a few new items each month. This is one of the greatest successes of LIWI thus far. I’m wearing more of the jewelry I have and am discovering what I like and don’t like in the process. I’m looking within instead of without and I have been quite happy shopping my jewelry box instead of the stores.
I’m so happy that I decided to do the LIWI challenge this year. It really has done more to help me with my wardrobe than almost anything else I’ve done thus far (the other things that have been equally beneficial are Project 333 and my outfit journal). I’m wearing more of what I have and am happier with a much greater percentage of my outfits. I also feel less guilt in letting things go, as I have a far greater awareness of what actually works for my life and what does not. I have been honing my personal style and discovering new “uniforms” (see my previous ones here – I still like some of those looks but not all) that I like wearing and which make it easier for me to get dressed each day. I will likely feature my new favorite formulas in a future post in the near future.
As the summer season progresses, I’m coming full circle with LIWI and am gradually refining my entire wardrobe. I see myself tightening up my wardrobe within the next month or two, as I see what warm weather pieces I’m reaching for and which I continually pass by. I also plan to revisit my cool weather pieces to see what sparks joy for me and what feels ho-hum. I need to take a closer look at my shoes as well, as I know I have some pairs that aren’t really serving me any longer. A few will need to be replaced, whereas others can simply be passed on.
I’m not in a big hurry to reach any particular wardrobe benchmark. I used to think I wanted to have a certain number of items in my closet, but that is no longer as important to me. There really is no optimal wardrobe number. It’s about what works best for a given person for that time in her life. If you want to get a better sense of what that number is for you, give LIWI a try – or even Project 333 for that matter (learn more here or check out the reasonably priced “microcourse”). Alternatively, you can find some guidelines on that topic in these previous “Recovering Shopaholic” posts:
- “What Is Your Ideal Wardrobe Size?”
- “What is a Normal-Sized Wardrobe?”
- “Do You Have a Closet Set Point?”
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. 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.
One More Thing…
I will be celebrating my 49th birthday on Saturday. It’s hard to believe I am that old… It really seems like just yesterday that I turned 40. Just for fun, here’s a photo of me on my 40th birthday next to another photo of me from this week.
Just one more year of my 40’s left before the big 5-0. I want to make it count! I will be sharing some birthday reflections with you all next week (if you’re interested, check out my 2013 post on that topic). Until then, be well and lots of love to you all. Have a wonderful weekend!