In my last post, I began debriefing my “Love it, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI), which I took on throughout all of last year. Part one covered my clothes and today’s post will look at my shoes and accessories in terms of how the challenge impacted those categories of my wardrobe, as well as my style. I will also share an inventory of my shoes and accessories.
A Reminder of What LIWI Is…
But before I dive into part two of this debrief, 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… the lives that we are actually living in the here and now – not imagined, wished for, or previous lifestyles.
The objective of LIWI is to create a “working closet” by moving all worn items into a specific area of your closet space (or jewelry box). 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.
LIWI Debrief – The Shoes
By the end of 2015, I had 20 pairs of shoes in my “working closet.” There were some other shoes that I had worn earlier in the year but decided to pass on for one reason or another. Here are the shoes that I decided to hold on to, at least for the time being.
Most Worn Shoes
Truth be told, however, only seven pairs of shoes were worn on a regular basis. The remaining 13 pairs were all worn four times or less! The following were my most worn shoes last year:
One thing you’ll probably notice right away is that almost all of these shoes are black! In fact, only one pair – the metallic sandals – is not black. Even if you look at the photo above of the 20 pairs of shoes in my working closet, you’ll notice that half of them are black, while most of the rest are either grey or metallic. Although I have two pairs of leopard print shoes and two bright pairs of sandals (one blue and one red), it’s the black shoes that I wear most often, both because they are versatile and because I really like those particular shoes.
“On the Fence” Shoes
Some of my shoes are more of a match for my previous style than my current aesthetic, others are too dressy to be worn very often in my life, and still others have comfort issues. Here are the shoes in my current working closet that I see myself potentially letting go of this year:
Briefly, these are the reasons why I might purge the shoes above from my closet:
- Black peep-toe wedges: These shoes are not very comfortable, but I still like the style. I would like to find a more comfortable replacement option.
- Grey boots: I like the style of these boots, but the heel is too high for me to walk in comfortably and my jeans are too short with them. I’m going to try to find a lower-heeled boot in either grey or pewter.
- Leopard print ballet flats: These shoes are worn out, plus the warm tone isn’t a good match for my current wardrobe. I can see the value of a printed closed-toe shoe, however, so I’m going to try to find a suitable replacement, perhaps in black and white.
- Leopard print sandals: These sandals have never been very comfortable and I have been moving away from leopard print for a while. I hope to find an alternate printed or bright wedge sandal this year.
- Metallic/snakeskin sandal: I feel that these sandals look too conservative for my current style. They are comfortable, but I didn’t feel called to wear them much last year (I only wore them three times). I would probably choose my grey zipper sandals (purchased in August) over these sandals almost every time.
- Red patent sandals: The heel on these sandals is a bit high and the patent finish makes them too dressy for most of my clothes. I would like to find an alternate bright colored sandal (maybe burgundy or cobalt) this year.
Three pairs of shoes didn’t even make it into my working closet, as I didn’t wear them at all last year! These shoes were covered in my “benchwarmer” update, but I wanted to mention them here, too, for the purpose of being complete.
At this point, I believe that I will retain the two pairs of black shoes in my “dressy” wardrobe capsule (to be revisited shortly) and pass on the metallic pair for consignment or donation. The metallic shoes aren’t all that comfortable, plus they only really go with one of my dresses (a basic black one), so they’re just not versatile enough to keep. The two black shoes are more “wearable.” Even though the cross-strap heels are on the high side, the slight platform in the front offers some good shock absorption for my toes. And the black sling-backs, although quite dressy in appearance, are very comfortable due to the padding throughout the footbed.
Shoe Plans for 2016
Shoes are going to be a major part of my buying focus for this year, as I feel a number of my shoes need to be purged or replaced. I mentioned some of my shoe plans above in terms of replacements, but I would also like to add some non-black shoes to my closet. Here are the shoes I see myself buying over the course of 2016:
- Non-black ankle boots – 2 pairs (grey/pewter and either burgundy or cobalt)
- Black peep-toe wedges – to replace my existing pair (low heel, comfortable)
- Printed flats or low heels – closed toes, perhaps in black/white print or grey-toned leopard print
- Printed sandals – similar style to the leopard print ones I have, perhaps in a black/white print
- Bright colored sandals – casual style (wedge?) in a jewel tone.
- Metallic sandals – heels (around 2”), replacement for existing pair in a more modern style
Yes, that is 7 pairs of shoes, but I plan to get rid of at least that many and I haven’t placed much attention on my shoe wardrobe for several years. Through writing in my outfit journal and looking at my outfit photos, I have seen that my shoes are often the weak link in my ensembles. It is difficult for me to find stylish shoes that work for my “fussy” feet, but my efforts will pay off in my being a lot happier with my outfits.
LIWI Debrief – The Purses
Over the course of 2015, I used 8 different purses, but one of them fell apart on me and had to be thrown away. Thus, I was left with the following 7 purses in my “working closet”:
All the purses are either black or metallic (and one is a mix of the two), three of them include some sort of a print, and two include silver embellishments. They are all medium-sized except the second one in the top row, which is relatively small. Only one of these purses (the smaller one) was purchased during 2015. In fact, all of the other bags were from 2013 or earlier.
In contrast, here are the three purses that I did not use last year but have decided to hold on to, at least for now:
The bag on the left is smaller than I like to carry at the moment, but I still like the style. The bag in the center is an evening bag that I had no occasion to use during 2015, and the purse at the right I didn’t feel called to use last year but I still like it enough to keep it.
As I shared in my December accountability update, I was given a black purse by my mom for Christmas. I have been using that bag for most of the past month and really love it. I see myself purchasing one additional purse this year, in a bright color of some sort. My preference would be for either cobalt or burgundy, but I am also open to other jewel tones such as purple or emerald. I would like to inject some more color into my accessory wardrobe, as I mentioned above with the shoes.
LIWI Debrief – The Scarves
I didn’t wear scarves all that often last year and I actually got rid of quite a few when I did my various closet audits (including the “KonMari Process” in May). I go through phases of either being drawn to wearing scarves or not, and last year was in the latter category for the most part. I wore just 8 scarves during 2015:
As you can see, with the exception of the solid green scarf, all of the scarves I wore last year were prints of some sort. In fact, most of the scarves I own are prints. Here’s a look at the 11 scarves I did not wear in 2015 but have opted to hold on to for now (the two at the top are for outdoor wear in cold weather):
The fact that so many of my scarves are prints may have something to do with why I didn’t wear scarves very often last year. A large proportion of my tops are also prints and even though pattern mixing has been a recent trend, I think it might be challenging to mix the prints in many of my scarves. The black and white polka dot scarf and the black scarf with the cream cats are easier to match, especially with the stripes I like to wear. I think I will end up wearing scarves more often this year, as I’m starting to feel more drawn to them again, but time will tell… I purchased one bright blue scarf during January, but I don’t see myself buying many (if any) additional scarves this year.
LIWI Debrief – The Jewelry
Now let’s move on to the jewelry. Here’s a bird’s eye view of the bracelets, earrings, and necklaces that I wore this year.
I know I still have quite a large jewelry collection, but I have culled many pieces over the two years since I first inventoried my jewelry. In fact, looking back, I can’t believe how much jewelry I used to own! Although I may pare down a bit more in the coming year, I think I’m basically at a good “set point” now in terms of the amount of jewelry I own.
There were only a few jewelry items that I didn’t wear at all last year:
The necklace is pretty dressy, which is why I didn’t wear it, but I still like it and am going to try to wear it this year. The multi-color bracelet is relatively new, but I think I will wear it this year. I believe I will pass on the black earrings and black beaded bracelet shortly. The long earrings with the pearls used to be a favorite, so I am keeping them for now. The moon and star post earrings could work well with some of my larger necklaces that call for a smaller earring. I’m going to see if they might be a good option for me in 2016.
Jewelry Thoughts and Plans
Here are some thoughts on my current jewelry collection and my plans for potential future purchases:
- I have a lot of pairs of light blue and green earrings and shouldn’t buy any more.
- If I purchase any additional colored earrings, they should be dark blue, purple, red, or burgundy.
- I have more than enough black, silver, and grey earrings.
- I have plenty of long silver necklaces and don’t need any more.
- If I purchase any additional long necklaces, they should either be in another metal (I like gunmetal) or include some stones or beads in the colors within my palette (cobalt, burgundy, turquoise, purple, or green).
- I have more than enough short necklaces and shouldn’t buy more unless they are different in style from what I currently have and include color (cobalt, burgundy, or purple).
- I wear my two black bracelets all the time (they are by far my greatest “all-stars” in that category) and can see buying one additional black bracelet in an alternate style.
- If I buy any other bracelets, they should be modern in style (not too “delicate”) and include color.
I don’t see myself buying much jewelry at all this year. Any purchases that I do make should be very strategic and well thought out, not impulse buys! I really need to make sure that if I do buy any jewelry pieces, they are different from what I already have.
My Shoe and Accessory Inventory
Now that I have discussed my shoes and accessories, let’s look at my inventory as of the end of 2015 and compare it to the last time I counted back in May:
- Shoes: 23 (-3)
- Scarves: 19 (+1)
- Purses: 10 (same)
- Watches: 5 (same) – includes 1 sentimental watch that I don’t wear
- Rings: 9 (-1) – includes 2 sentimental rings that are never worn
- Brooches: 5 (same)
- Pendants: 6 (+1, found another one I had forgotten about)
- Necklaces: 21 (-1)
- Bracelets: 17 (same)
- Single Stud Earrings (for second piercing): 4 (same)
- Standard Earrings: 47 (+2)
- TOTAL JEWELRY PIECES: 114 (+1)
I see these numbers going down a bit, but I think they will basically stay pretty stable through this year. I don’t intend to bring too much jewelry in and I think whatever new pieces are added will be offset by some culling over time. My shoe number will likely stay around the same, although I see more “churn” happening there in line with what I wrote about earlier in this post in terms of replacement purchases to improve that area of my wardrobe.
I think 20-25 pairs of shoes is a reasonable number and somewhere in the ballpark of 100-125 jewelry pieces is workable for me as well. The important thing, however, is that I love and wear what I have. I do go through some phases for what I like to wear, but as long as I still like the items in question, I will keep them around for a while until I see how my preferences shift. If I find that I cease to like a particular style of shoe or accessory, I will pass it along for donation or consignment so that someone else can enjoy it.
As with my clothes, I feel that LIWI helped me to refine my shoe and accessory wardrobe. By focusing on wearing what I like instead of pushing myself to try to wear everything, I got a better handle on my style aesthetics and preferences. I especially noticed my shoe predilections shifting over the course of the year. I don’t think I would have been able to hone things as closely as I have had I not taken on LIWI. It really was a powerful challenge, although it was quite simple to execute. I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking to pare down their wardrobe and get a better handle on their personal style.
I’m going to continue to focus on wearing the clothes, shoes, and accessories I love most this year. While I may challenge myself to try to wear my “benchwarmers,” if I find that I’m not happy with them once I put them on, I will get them out of my closet (unless they are part of my “dressy” capsule, which I may designate to a certain area of the closet). I would rather have fewer pieces that I love and feel fabulous in than a packed closet that includes a lot of sub-standard items. I believe that I will continue to improve both my wardrobe and my style this year and that my purchases and my outfits will have a greater success rate.
Some of those who did LIWI reported in on their progress in response to my last post, but those who didn’t comment are welcome to do so here, about your clothes or your accessories – or both. I’d love to hear about how LIWI helped you to improve your wardrobe and your style. I also welcome any questions or comments you have for me on what I have reported in these two debrief posts.