I am continuing with my year-end wrap-up posts for 2015. Today is part one in a two-part series debriefing my “Love it, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI), which I took on throughout all of last year. Part one will cover my clothes and part two, which I will publish early next week, will look at my shoes and accessories. In addition to writing about how the challenge impacted my wardrobe and style, I will also share an inventory of my wardrobe in these two posts.
An Overview of LIWI
But before I dive into my debrief, here’s a quick reminder of what LIWI was about (read more here). The objectives for the “Love It, Wear It” challenge, which some readers also took on, 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 goal of LIWI is to create a “working closet” by moving all worn items 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 have concluded my year of LIWI, it’s still something that you can take on at any time if you feel inspired to do so. A lot of readers decided to take on the challenge after reading about how it helped me with my wardrobe, shopping, and style. Some of those readers have shared their updates in the comments section of my LIWI updates, and I hope that at least a few of them will opt to recap their experiences following either this or my next post.
What I Wore During December
Before I debrief my entire year of the LIWI challenge, I want to give you a quick look at what I wore during December:
Here’s a simple breakdown of my December numbers (please note that my November numbers were covered in my accountability update for that month):
- Clothing Items Worn: 41
- Shoes Worn: 5
- Scarves Worn: 1
- Necklaces Worn: 2
- Purses Carried: 1
My December numbers are higher than the ones for November, but closely mirror my numbers for both October and September. I only wore 30 items of “out and about” clothing during November, as opposed to 42 and 44 in October and September, respectively. This was mostly due to illness and not having as many occasions for leaving the house in November. My shoe numbers declined in December over previous months (I wore 8 pairs in November and 9 in both October and September). This can be attributed to my having far fewer cold weather shoes than those that are worn during the warmer months. My scarf and necklace numbers for November and December are identical, whereas I carried one more purse in November than I did last month.
Here’s a look at the scarf, necklaces, and purse I used during December 2015:
My Year-End “Working Closet”
Now that we got the December numbers out of the way, it’s time to dive into the year-end debrief of my LIWI Challenge. Let’s start by looking at how my closet appeared as of December 31, 2015. Here’s what my “working closet” looked like after a year of LIWI (NOTE: there are a few pairs of shoes in there that either were not worn last year or have since been passed on):
The above represents my year-round wardrobe. The only clothes that are not in my main closet are my casual jackets and coats, which reside in our entryway closet and can be seen below:
The Clothes by Category – “Out and About” Clothes
Here’s a summary by category of the clothing items I wore last year – and opted to keep in my “working closet” (we’ll get to shoes and accessories in my next post), as well as how the numbers have shifted since my last LIWI update:
- 2 pairs of pants (-2, one moved to closet staging area, one to my workout/lounge wardrobe)
- 5 pairs of jeans (+2)
- 11 skirts (same)
- 15 dresses (+1)
- 6 coats (same)
- 5 short jackets (+1)
- 2 vests (+2, one of these should have been included in my last update but wasn’t)
- 16 cardigans (+4)
- 21 long-sleeved tops (+1)
- 18 short-sleeved tops (+2)
- 21 sleeveless tops (same)
Now let’s look at some totals and compare them to my last closet inventory back in May 2015 (photos of each wardrobe category are shown as well):
- Tops: 60 (+8)
- Toppers (coats, jackets, cardigans): 29 (same)
- Bottoms (skirts, pants, jeans): 18 (-2)
- Dresses: 15 (+5)
- Total Number of “Out and About” Garments: 122 (+11)
My total went up because I added 8 more tops and 5 more dresses to my wardrobe since May. I think my “out and about” number is still a little too high. It actually stayed fairly stable across the year, as my total was 124 back in January 2015. What changed was the composition of my wardrobe in that I now have fewer toppers (-7) and bottoms (-5) and more tops (+4) and dresses (+6) than I had at the beginning of 2015. The actual items within each category have also shifted, as I let go of pieces that didn’t work for me and brought in new ones that better matched my evolving style. More on that topic later in this post…
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:
- 14 short-sleeved tops (-2)
- 4 long-sleeved tops (same)
- 9 pairs of workout/lounge pants (same)
- 5 casual jackets – worn for workouts, walks, and at home (same)
Most of these items are worn fairly regularly, but I could probably let go of a few of the short-sleeved tops and perhaps one or two of the pants as well. I also wear a lot of my “out and about” tops while I am at home and pair them with the workout/lounge pants referenced above. Many of the tops included in the above counts, especially the short-sleeved ones, are worn only for walks and workouts. I plan to replace some of the items in this capsule with higher quality pieces this year as part of my efforts to place more attention on my at-home wardrobe.
Here’s a look at a portion of my dedicated workout/lounge wardrobe (I do not have photographs of all of the pieces):
Clothes Not Worn in 2015
In my previous LIWI updates, I also highlighted what had yet to be worn in my closet. I finished out the year with six unworn garments that I have decided to keep as of the beginning of 2016. These items were all discussed in my recent wardrobe “benchwarmers” recap and may not all stay in my closet long-term for various reasons. Here’s a look at the clothes that I didn’t wear at all in 2015:
At this point, I’m leaning toward keeping the three jackets in the top row, but I am less certain about the shorts and cardigans in the bottom row. I’m going to try some alternate styling options for the cardigans soon (with pants instead of skirts) and try on the shorts again to see if I want to keep them. I can see the value in having a pair of shorts in my wardrobe, but I’m not sure that those are the right ones for me.
My Cool Weather Wardrobe
In my last LIWI update, I shared a basic look at my summer wardrobe, which consisted of 50 garments and 11 pairs of shoes, for 61 items total. I mostly wear those pieces during the months of July through November, roughly 4.5 to 5 months out of the year. For the remainder of the year, excepting some unseasonably warm days in other months, I wear what I refer to as my “cool weather wardrobe.”
Traditionally, there has been virtually no overlap between my two wardrobe capsules, but this is something I would like to change moving forward. Up until this year, I generally wore skirts and dresses in the summer and pants and jeans the rest of the year, and the tops and toppers I wore with each were different. I am not one to tuck in my tops (because I’m short-waisted), so I have found that I need shorter tops to wear with skirts and longer tops for my pants and jeans. I think I can start to mix and match some of my toppers, however, as the short over long look can be quite stylish when done right (that’s the tricky part…). In addition, if I belt some of my longer tops, I may be able to pair them with my skirts, and I may be able to find a way to make tucking work for me.
Although there are still a number of months left in the cool weather season, I feel that I have a pretty good handle on that portion of my wardrobe as a result of my LIWI challenge during the early and latter parts of 2015. Here are my cool weather wardrobe items as of the close of last year:
Here’s a breakdown of my cool weather wardrobe by category:
- 6 pairs of pants (1 knit pant, 5 pairs of jeans)
- 45 tops (21 long-sleeved, 17 short-sleeved, 7 sleeveless – worn under cardigans)
- 10 cardigans
- 6 coats
- 1 vest
- 9 pairs of shoes (3 pairs of boots, 1 pair of sneakers, 5 pairs of flats/low heels)
Here’s a closer look at the pieces in my cool weather wardrobe:
To sum it up, my cool weather wardrobe includes 68 garments and 9 pairs of shoes, for 77 items total. I think that I have too many tops in this capsule for most of them to be worn as often as I’d like. I need to keep this in mind with any future shopping that I do. I have already come up with a plan for enhancing my cool weather wardrobe, but I’d like to revisit my shopping priorities list to make sure it is still in line with my true needs (and even my wants). I think the number of shoes I have in my cool weather capsule is good, but I would like to replace a few of the more worn out pairs with non-black shoes to enhance the variety in my outfits.
Lessons from LIWI
In my previous LIWI updates, I have shared some of the lessons I’ve learned from the challenge, but I would like to summarize them in this debrief post. I will focus just on my clothes today and comment on my shoes and accessories in the second half of this debrief, to be published early next week.
Over the course of 2015, I learned that these are the types of clothes/outfits I prefer to wear (you can see some examples toward the end of this post):
- Slimmer fitting pants/jeans (usually straight-leg styles)
- Maxi-length skirts and dresses (worn with flat or low-heeled shoes)
- Shorter, narrower skirts (I have shortened a few of my midi skirts and dresses for this reason)
- I now prefer dresses over skirts for the most part
- Non-blazer style short jackets (such as moto styles)
- Tie-waist cardigans (especially with dresses)
- Bright-colored ¾ length coats
- Black and jewel-toned clothing
- Long open cardigans with slim-fitting jeans
- Slim-fitting jeans with boots
- Fitted tank tops with maxi-skirts
- Long-sleeved fitted or semi-fitted tops (often waffle weave) with jeans
Through LIWI, I have seen that I am moving away from wearing these types of garments and ensembles:
- Fuller midi-length skirts
- Boot-cut jeans and wider-leg trousers
- Grey and muted-color clothing
- Jeans/pants worn with flat shoes
- Open cardigans with boot-cut jeans
- Knit blazers
- Standard button-down cardigans
- Dresses and skirts worn with blazers/jackets
- Sleeveless tops worn with jeans/pants
I would like to add more of the following types of clothing to my wardrobe in the coming year (in small quantities):
- Pants other than black and denim
- Shorter, slimmer skirts (hitting no longer than mid-knee)
- A few bright colored and/or printed bottoms (skirts, pants)
- Tops with special details (tops that stand alone and don’t need too many accessories or a topper to look “finished”)
- Dresses and skirts to wear in cooler weather
- Sleeved tops to wear with skirts, as well as some less fitted tops
- Alternate toppers for pants/jeans beyond open cardigans and long coats
- Higher quality, more polished lounge/workout wear (including pants that can also be worn for other activities – “athleisure” wear)
I definitely feel that LIWI was a worthwhile pursuit for me. It helped me to better refine my style, edit my wardrobe, improve my outfits, and plan for the future of my closet. I love a much great proportion of my ensembles now and it’s a lot easier for me to get dressed. Even when I only have a few minutes to put together an outfit, I am generally quite happy with how I look when I leave the house. For all of these reasons, I consider “Love it, Wear It” to have been a success!
While I don’t plan to specifically do the challenge again this year, I will continue to carry the spirit of LIWI forward into 2016 and beyond. As I have been getting dressed this year, I have focused on wearing what I most feel called to wear and putting together outfits that suit my style and my life. Moving forward, if I find that I don’t love one of my ensembles, I’m going to either figure out an alternate way to wear the included pieces or I will designate them for consignment or donation. I believe that through doing this, I will continue to improve my wardrobe and style.
I know that some of you also took on the LIWI challenge last year. I’d love to hear about how it went for you, as well as what you discovered 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 though I will be moving on to new wardrobe experiments this year (more likely multiple short ones rather than one big year-long challenge). If you have any questions or concerns before you get started, I would be happy to address them. For everyone else, I hope you found this post interesting and I welcome your insights, too.
I will be back next week with the second half of my “Love it, Wear it” Challenge debrief, which will focus on shoes and accessories. I will also share a year-end inventory for that section of my wardrobe and summarize my overall wardrobe totals and how they compare with my last closet inventory. Have a wonderful weekend!