We are getting near the end of the year and this is my second to last (penultimate, if you will – great word) “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI) update. At the end of the year or early next year, I will do a full wrap-up of the challenge and what I have learned from it. But today, I am going to do my usual numbers updates, as well as share some thoughts about my summer wardrobe since that season pretty much just wrapped up for me. I will also highlight a few other things I have learned from the challenge and what I plan to do to finish out the year.
An Overview of LIWI
But 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 the year, it’s really something that you can dive into at any time if you feel inspired to do so. 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 posts, and anyone who wishes is welcome to play along and report in on how the challenge is going for them. This update 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 October
Prior to recapping how my closet has shaped up after more than ten months of the LIWI challenge, I want to give you a quick look at what I wore during October:
Here’s a simple breakdown of my October numbers:
- Clothing Items Worn: 42
- Shoes Worn: 9
- Scarves Worn: 0
- Necklaces Worn: 2
- Purses Carried: 2
My October numbers mirror the ones from September pretty closely except I wore six necklaces in September and only two last month. I am still not interested in wearing scarves, but I really think that’s due to the very hot summer we experienced where I live. I used to wear scarves on mild summer days, but the summers have been hotter the past few years and I’ve scarcely needed a topper for my outfits. I think I will be interested in wearing scarves again in the cooler weather, but time will tell.
I’m not sure why I wore fewer necklaces in October than in September, but I think my September number was more of an anomaly. I was challenging myself to wear all of my necklaces to see which ones I liked and if I wanted to keep them all. I actually liked virtually all of them and enjoyed wearing necklaces, but I didn’t keep that up in October for some reason. I think I’m still not used to wearing necklaces regularly and I’ll need to push myself to at least try a necklace with my outfits to see if I like how it looks. It’s just not a habit I currently have, but when I wear them, I do like the look.
Ten Plus Months In – The “Out and About” Clothes
After almost ten and a half months of the “Love It, Wear It” Challenge, I have 107 items in my working closet (non-workout/lounge clothes), which is a decrease of four items since my last update. The number may go down a bit more, as I still plan to do another round of the “KonMari Process” before the end of the year. I’m sure I will find at least a handful of items that no longer “spark joy” for me – or maybe never did. Also, as I’m now starting to wear my cool weather wardrobe, there will likely be some pieces in there that I just don’t love or feel compelled to wear anymore.
The Clothes by Category
Here’s a summary by category of the clothing items I’ve worn so far this year – and have 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 (same)
- 4 pairs of jeans (same)
- 11 skirts (+2)
- 14 dresses (same)
- 6 coats (same)
- 4 short jackets (-1)
- 12 cardigans (same)
- 20 long-sleeved tops (same)
- 16 short-sleeved tops (+1)
- 21 sleeveless tops (-1)
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 my last update:
- 16 short-sleeved tops (+3, I’m going to pare down this category soon)
- 4 long-sleeved tops (same)
- 9 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.
Ten 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:
- 21 pairs of shoes (+4, I think my number last month was off somehow)
- 42 pairs of earrings (same)
- 15 bracelets (+1)
- 18 necklaces (same)
- 4 watches (same – as pictured in my January update)
- 6 scarves (same)
- 8 purses (+1)
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):
This category is exactly the same as it was in my last update. 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
I’m definitely going to pass some of these items on, but I haven’t taken the time to do a closet audit in the past month. I plan to do one before the end of the year, though.
Next, let’s check out the jewelry that I haven’t worn this year. It’s really not that much at this point – just five items (down from six at my last update):
- 3 pairs of earrings (same)
- 1 bracelet (-1)
- 1 necklace (same, doesn’t include new necklace bought in August/September)
Here’s a look at the jewelry I haven’t worn yet this year (not including the few new pieces bought since August, shown in my last accountability update):
I’m going to give these items until the end of the year to see if I wear them. I may feel inspired to wear them now that the seasons have changed, but if I don’t, I will send them on their way. I’ll also use the “KonMari Process” with all of my jewelry, as I only want to keep those pieces around that spark joy. I didn’t include jewelry when I did KonMari back in May, but I definitely will the next time around.
My Summer Wardrobe
In my last update, someone asked how much overlap I have in terms of what I wear each month. I generally wear around 40 items of clothing each month and 7-10 pairs of shoes, but this person was wondering how many of these garments and shoes carried over from month to month. While I didn’t take the time to do exact calculations, I did notice that as the months of the summer season (generally July through October here) went on, there were fewer and fewer new pieces being brought into my working wardrobe. I ended up wearing the same items over and over again, which is really what we want to be doing.
Now that the summer season has virtually ended, I took a look at what my summer wardrobe consists of. These are the items I decided that I still love and believe I will wear next summer:
Here’s a breakdown of my summer wardrobe by category:
- 13 dresses (6 maxi, 7 midi, one additional dress is part of my special occasion capsule)
- 11 skirts (6 maxi, 5 midi)
- 15 tops (14 tanks, 1 short-sleeved)
- 6 cardigans
- 4 jackets
- 1 vest
- 11 pairs of shoes (sandals)
Here’s a closer look at the pieces in my summer wardrobe:
To sum it up, my summer wardrobe includes 50 garments and 11 pairs of shoes, for 61 items total. Yes, I sometimes wore jeans and other items in the summer months, but that was only on rare unseasonably cool days and during my Tahoe trip. For the most part, I wear dresses, skirts, tank tops, and sandals during the summer, with toppers on occasion.
Too Many Summer Items
I think I probably have too many summer items, as the warm weather really only lasts for about a third of the year. I do sometimes wear my summer pieces during other months when we experience warm fronts, but we’re talking about a few days per month max. For the months of November (sometimes just the second half of the month – it varies) through June, I typically wear my cool weather wardrobe, which consists primarily of jeans, knit tops, long cardigans, and mid-weight coats.
I think because I like summer so much, I tend to forget that it doesn’t last as long as I think (or would like it to). Even though I live in Southern California, it’s not warm all the time here like a lot of people believe, at least not in the coastal communities. While it doesn’t exactly get cold here, it’s often too cool for wearing my lightweight skirts, dresses, and tank tops. I wear them pretty much every chance I get, but I think I probably have too many of them, especially if I want to be wearing all of my clothes eight or more times per year like I’ve mentioned I’d like to do.
My wear numbers this year are a lot lower than that, but that also has to do with my being sick a lot and only “getting dressed” about half the time (I do get dressed most days but often in lounge wear). But even if I were putting on “out and about” clothes every day, I don’t think I would reach my goal with my summer clothes given the current size of that wardrobe area. I really need to concentrate on buying less and wearing what I have more. Easier said than done for a recovering shopaholic, but realizing the issues is an important part of the equation.
Neglecting My At-Home Wardrobe
I still feel that I give too much attention to my out and about wardrobe while my at-home wardrobe gets neglected. I would like to change this in 2016, as I don’t see my lifestyle changing much in the near future. I want to up-level my at-home wardrobe so that I feel comfortable wearing those pieces for walks, running errands, and other casual activities. I don’t want to have to completely change my outfit in order to leave the house. I’m definitely doing better with this than I was a year ago when I only wore workout clothes at home, but I still have room for improvement in this area.
My life is very casual. I like to dress up, but I just don’t have many occasions for it. That leaves a lot of my clothes gathering dust in my closet, and I’m not necessarily talking about traditionally dressy clothes, either. I don’t have many of those, fortunately, but a lot of my out and about clothes are just not ideal for some of my activities, like walks, going out to take photos, and running errands. I plan to concentrate the bulk of my 2016 purchases on comfortable casual clothing for these types of events. I’m thinking of clothes like what one might find at Athleta, Eddie Bauer, and the active wear department at Nordstrom. Not necessarily workout clothes, but maybe what has been termed “athleisure” wear as of late. Those are the types of clothes that I believe will better serve my needs, in addition to the jeans and knit tops that I often wear.
About the Shoes…
I feel like my shoe wardrobe could use some attention, especially when it comes to the cool weather season. Here are the shoes I have for the cooler months:
Yes, there are a couple of open-toed shoes in the mix, but it doesn’t get all that cold here and I do sometimes wear peep-toes. The caged sandals are a bit of a wild card, as they may be too summery for the cooler weather, but I’m going to try to see if I can extend their wear. I’m going to try wearing them with jeans to see if I might like that look, as it will help me to mix things up a bit.
What do you see as the common denominator with my shoes above? Yes, it’s a lot of black! I know I love black, but this is too much black even for me. There are eight pairs of black shoes above and three of them are boots that are very similar (in my defense, one pair used to be brown). What I would like to do with the boots is replace all three pairs (which are all wearing out) with one fabulous pair that I really love.
I could also use a bit of color and excitement with my cool weather shoes. The only printed pair is my leopard print flats, which are quite worn out and in need of replacement. I can see replacing those and adding a pair of black and white print flats as well. I can also see adding at least one pair of colored shoes (probably flats or low heels) to my wardrobe. My cool weather shoe wardrobe can get a lot more exciting than it is currently! I don’t need to add much; just a few strategic additions could make a big difference.
As you can see, I am learning a lot from my LIWI challenge, and the year isn’t over yet. Now that we are down to the home stretch of 2015, I’m going to be taking a close look at all areas of my wardrobe. Just because pieces made their way into my working closet, it doesn’t mean they will get to stay there. I only want to have those items in my closet that I really love and feel good in. Anything that is uncomfortable or fussy will have to go.
I have plenty of clothes and shoes, so there’s no need to keep anything around that doesn’t serve me. I have pared down quite a bit and replaced ho-hum pieces with things that make me smile, but now I just need to remove those final “dead weight” garments and shoes. There aren’t many, but they need to go!
LIWI has been working its magic and there is just a month and a half to go. I won’t be doing LIWI again next year, as I will move on to another challenge. I’m not sure yet what it will be, but I will be sure to make it fun and interesting so that maybe some of you will follow along. Yes, wardrobe management can be difficult at times, but if we make a game out of it, it’s easier to do and we tend to resist the process less. I’m all for making things fun whenever I can. Life’s too short for everything to feel like a struggle.
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.