It’s been a long time since my last LIWI update, but I have continued to do the challenge in the interim. As the months have gone on, I keep learning more and more about my wardrobe, my personal style, and myself. Today’s update is going to be less picture heavy than previous installments, but there will still be quite a few statistics for those who like that sort of thing.
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 don’t need to wait until January to begin. 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 LIWI updates, and anyone who wishes to do so is welcome to play along and report in on how the challenge 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 August and September
Since this update covers two months instead of one, I won’t be quite as detailed about what I wore as I usually am. However, I will provide some overall numbers here before I dive into the “meat” of this update.
- Clothing Items Worn: 39
- Shoes Worn: 7
- Scarves Worn: 1
- Necklaces Worn: 7
- Purses Carried: 2
- Clothing Items Worn: 44
- Shoes Worn: 9
- Scarves Worn: 0
- Necklaces Worn: 6
- Purses Carried: 2
So you see that my numbers are pretty similar. I wear about 40-45 pieces of “out and about” clothing each month on average (I wore 39 items in July and 46 in June) and 7-10 pairs of shoes (I wore 9 in July and 10 in June). These numbers were all higher earlier in the year, but have leveled off as I have continued with the challenge.
Since the weather has been very warm, I haven’t been interested in wearing scarves, but I have renewed my love of necklaces after challenging myself to wear them more often. Time will tell if I get back into wearing scarves once the weather cools down next month.
I haven’t been tracking how often I wear my jewelry pieces, but I have noticed that I tend to reach for the same ones over and over again. I think I may be able to let go of some more before the end of the year. Jewelry doesn’t take up a lot of space, but other than sentimental pieces (and I don’t have that many of those), I only want to hold on to things that I love and wear on a regular basis.
Nine Plus Months In – The “Out and About” Clothes
After almost nine and a half 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 today is 111 items, which is an increase of 5 items over my last update. This number may be a bit on the high side (I guessed that 100 might be my “magic number”), but I’m going to let the challenge do its magic and not second-guess it too much. I did pull some items out of my working closet recently, which I will discuss below. I also 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 in my “working closet” (we’ll get to shoes and accessories later), as well as how the numbers have shifted since my last LIWI update:
- 4 pairs of pants (+1)
- 4 pairs of jeans (-3)
- 9 skirts (-1)
- 14 dresses (+4)
- 6 coats (same)
- 5 short jackets – motos, blazers (-1)
- 12 cardigans (+1)
- 20 long-sleeved tops (-1)
- 15 short-sleeved tops (same)
- 22 sleeveless tops (+5)
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 much since July, although some of the workout tops have been switched out for new ones over the course of the last two months:
- 17 workout tops (same)
- 10 pairs of workout/lounge pants (-1)
- 5 casual jackets – worn for workouts, walks, and at home (same)
I wear many of these items regularly, but I think I could probably pass on at least a few tops and pants that either don’t fit well or are worn out. I will include my workout/lounge clothes in my next “KonMari” round.
Nine Plus 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 one shelf in my closet to another. Here are my accessory numbers as of today:
- 17 pairs of shoes (-5)
- 42 pairs of earrings (+3)
- 14 bracelets (-1)
- 18 necklaces (+8)
- 4 watches (same – as pictured in my January update)
- 6 scarves (+1)
- 7 purses (+2)
What Hasn’t Been Worn – Clothes and Shoes
In my 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 (acquisitions since July 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 – I haven’t worn jeans much since then)
- 2 cardigans
- 5 blazers / short jackets
- 1 long-sleeved top (pictured here – I really like it, but it’s fancy and my life is not…)
- 3 pairs of shoes
These are mostly the same items I covered in my July LIWI update, but I have since worn one pair of shoes mentioned there (the pewter sandals – have now worn them three times and wondered why I hadn’t been wearing them before) and decided to pass on one of the jackets (grey casual jacket with black trim). I definitely think I will pass on more of the unworn items soon, but I haven’t taken the time to do any culling over the past few months.
Next, let’s check out the jewelry that I haven’t worn this year. It’s really not that much at this point – just six items (down from 15 at my last update):
- 3 pairs of earrings
- 2 bracelets
- 1 necklace
Here’s a look at the jewelry I haven’t worn yet this year (not including some new pieces which I recently acquired and will show in my next accountability update):
Not too many jewelry “benchwarmers,” so I think I am doing pretty well. Yes, it would be great to have no benchwarmers in any area, but I am happy to just keep going with this challenge and release things when I feel ready to do so. I am not in a huge hurry or aiming for perfection. I just want to be making good progress and I feel that I am in most areas.
Of course, there are bound to be ups and down and that has been the case for me with overshopping (as I wrote about here). I could beat myself up about it and sometimes I do, but that never helps me to improve. When I falter, I try to forgive myself, recommit, and move forward. Sometimes it feels like I am on a treadmill and aren’t getting anywhere, but if I look objectively at how I’m doing overall, I can see a lot of positive changes. The fact that I am wearing more and more of what I have is definitely a step in the right direction.
What Left My “Working Closet”
I recently decided to take another look at my “working closet” to see if everything in there really belongs. What I found was a number of items that had been worn only once, as well as some things that I am not all that excited about for various reasons. I opted to move all of those garments and shoes back over to the other side of my closet (what I’m now terming the “staging area”), in essence putting them on a sort of “probation.” This way, I will need to see if I feel “called” to wear them again – and if I love them when I do – before they can come back into my working closet.
Here’s a look at my closet “staging area,” which includes both not yet worn garments and items that I’ve placed on probation:
In all, I removed 14 garments and 7 pairs of shoes from my working closet due to lack of wear or an uncertain status (I’m not sure I really love them and want to wear them). These items are shown below and I share a bit about why I have opted to place them on “probation” status.
Why These Items are on Probation – Clothes
Here’s a look at the 14 garments that I moved back over to the “staging area” of my closet:
In brief, here’s why I have placed the clothes shown above on “probation”:
- Black knit blazer: looks too formal / “churchy”, don’t like this style as much anymore, have other black jackets I like better
- Black Not Your Daughter’s jeans: too baggy, have new black jeans I will probably like better (when the weather is cool enough to wear them)
- Black dress: have only worn once this year (will probably keep it because it comes in handy for dressier occasions)
- Black skirt with piping details: too long, am going to see if it can be shortened
- Black and white chevron stripe top: have only worn once this year, have other striped tops I like better
- Black and white print short-sleeved blouse: have only worn once this year, not sure why I don’t wear it much
- Black flared skirt with white diagonal stripes: too baggy and flared
- White tee with black stripes: have worn a lot, may be too stretched out now, have other striped tops that probably work better for me
- Green striped knit blazer: have only worn once this year, love the color but am not sure about the style
- Red faux-belt cardigan: have only worn once this year, I think I will likely keep it because I like the color and style (not sure why I haven’t worn it more often)
- Grey maxi-skirt: too baggy, recently got another one that works better
- Medium wash boot-cut jeans: don’t like the lighter color, there is no stretch in the fabric so they are less comfortable than my other jeans
- Dark wash boot-cut jeans: too baggy after weight loss, have another pair that works better for me
- Pink print tee: fit isn’t great, fussy to wear (I ordered it after a tee in another color worked well for me)
Why on Probation? – Shoes
These are the seven pairs of shoes that I moved out of my working closet today:
Here are my reasons for placing the seven pairs of shoes pictured above on “probation”:
- Black Clark’s t-strap sandals: have only worn once this year, bought another pair a few months ago that works better for me
- Pewter bow front flats: have only worn once this year, style is too “sweet” for me, I think
- Leopard print flats: have only worn once this year, these shoes are worn out and really need to be replaced (I’m not wearing them because they don’t look very good anymore)
- Metallic Raffini sandals: don’t love the style so much anymore, worry that they look “old lady” or dated
- Red Sofft sandals: have only worn once this year, the heel is a bit too high and they don’t “go” with a lot of my clothes
- Silver Kelly & Katie sandals: a bit too shiny and flimsy, I have hurt myself wearing them a few times (they will probably be gone soon)
- Black White Mountain peep-toe wedges: have only worn once this year, will likely keep and wear with jeans, as they are comfortable
I think my decision to re-evaluate the items in my working closet was a good one. There is no use keeping things in my closet if they aren’t serving me well. I would guess that most of my “probation” items won’t be making their way back into my working closet, but I think a few of them will. I will see how things go the rest of the year. If I opt to do the “KonMari Process” soon, I will probably find that most of them won’t “spark joy” and I will send them on their way to new homes.
I really have a much better sense of my style now than at the beginning of the year and I love a much higher percentage of what is in my closet. I rate the majority of my outfits as “8”s or higher and it’s very rare that I am unhappy with what I am wearing. When I am, I am usually able to quickly identify why and what to change the next time around.
There are just two and half months left in the year. I plan to do at least one more LIWI update before the year is over, as well as a wrap-up post at the end of the year. In that post, I will share year-end statistics, as well as encapsulate everything I have learned from doing the challenge. In case you’re wondering, I plan to do another wardrobe challenge next year. I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I’m thinking about it and I’m open to suggestions as well. While I can do something that has been done before, I also think it would be great to come up with something else like LIWI that is my own. I think I will know what’s best to do when I either think of it or it is suggested to me. 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. For those who haven’t yet adopted the challenge but are interested in doing so, it’s never too late, even after I move on to next year’s wardrobe experiment. 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.