A Pragmatic, Multi-Phased Approach to a Workable Wardrobe

The following is a guest post from Barb, who agreed to share her “story of recovery” with all of you.  Barb is an active member of my private Facebook group, where she shared her story about downsizing her wardrobe and upping her style quotient via a multi-phase system over the past two-plus years.  I thought Barb’s pragmatic approach would be both educational and inspiring for readers of “Recovering Shopaholic,” so I asked if she would be willing to share her story and some of her lovely outfit photos with us.

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.


A 65% Wardrobe Reduction in 2.5 Years!

I’m so flattered that Debbie asked me to share my story of recovering.  I say “recovering” because although I’ve made great progress, I feel as though I’m not finished yet.  The crux of my story is that I went from 478 clothing items in mid-2013 to just 164 at the end of 2015.  I feel it’s important for me to mention a few things at the outset. This significant closet downsizing didn’t happen overnight; I started paring down in 2013.  In addition, an integral part of the process was defining my style and shopping strategy.  This post describes how I handled reducing my clothing.  Shoes are a different story altogether…  Finally, I don’t have clothes in multiple sizes to address.  I have worn the same size since 2011.

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My Style Evolution: 2000 – 2015

As we close out 2015 and the third year of “Recovering Shopaholic,” I thought it would be fun to reflect on how my personal style has evolved over the past decade plus.   This is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while after I had seen another blogger do it, but now seems like a good time since I feel I’ve made a lot of positive changes to my style this past year.

This will be a very photo-heavy post with not as much writing as usual.  There is an old saying, “A picture speaks a thousand words.” Well, that is definitely true when it comes to what we wear, but I will also add some commentary throughout to shed some light on what you’re seeing.  Some of my older photos are a bit embarrassing for me to post, but I’m sure many of you aren’t exactly thrilled with your outfits from days gone by.  It’s all part of the journey, right?   It’s important to note that I liked a lot of these outfits while I was wearing them, but there were definitely times when I felt insecure and uncomfortable in my ensembles.   Again, that’s probably something most of us could say.

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Successful Alterations – Skirts and Dresses

Last week, I kicked off a new blog series that will include a number of posts on the topic of alterations.   The first installment included thoughts from my private Facebook group on the pros and cons of having our clothes tailored. The group also shared their experiences with altering their own clothes, as well as some tailoring success and failure stories.

Skirt and Dress Alterations

In the upcoming posts in this series, I will highlight some of my own alteration successes and failures.  Since I like to start things out on a high note, today’s installment will feature some of my successful tailoring efforts.  Please note that I don’t do any of my tailoring myself.  About seven or eight years ago, I found a lovely alterations lady not far from when I live who does a great job and charges reasonable prices.  I’ve been taking all of my tailoring projects to her ever since.  She’s very good at what she does, but occasionally I proceed with alterations against her best advice. But that is a topic for the next post in this series…  We’re sticking with the positive today!

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Style Reflections – Summer Outfits Then and Now

Now that summer is well under way, I wanted to reflect on how my warm weather style has changed since I started this blog two and a half years ago.  I took some time to go through my outfit photos from 2013, 2014, and this year.   I selected some ensembles that were fairly representative of what I used to wear, as well as a group of looks that fit my current style quite well.

In today’s post, I share eight looks from the past two years, as well as eight looks from 2015.   I highlight what I no longer like from the previous outfits and what makes me happy about the current ensembles.   I also reflect a bit on what I would change about the older looks to make them work for me today.

Cabrillo National Monument

It’s summer – what have you been wearing?  (photo: Cabrillo National Monument) 

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Lessons from My Outfit Journal – Summer Then and Now

It’s been a little while since I last shared some entries from my outfit journal (see the most recent installment here), so it’s high time for another post in the series.  For those who are new to the blog, I’ve been keeping a journal of my outfits since last summer.  In this journal, I write what I wore, where I wore it, how I felt about my outfit, and what I would change if I had it to do over again.   I also try to take photos of my outfits most days so I have both a visual and written representation of what I’m wearing.   This process takes me just minutes each day and has helped me tremendously in improving my personal style and wardrobe satisfaction.

Summer outfits

What do you like to wear during the summer months? 

I’m going to do a mini “series within a series” beginning with today’s post.   I will share two outfits from last summer as well as two outfits from this summer.   The outfits I’ve selected from last summer are ones that I don’t think work for various reasons.   I will share what I wrote about these outfits last year, as well as anything else I notice today about why the look didn’t work.   I will also comment on how I would change the ensemble if I were wearing it this summer.  The outfits from this summer are ones with which I was quite happy overall.   The reason for sharing the new looks is to highlight what I’ve learned as a result of keeping an outfit journal for over a year.  I have learned so much and I feel that it shows in what I’m wearing now and how my outfit satisfaction has increased.

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Wardrobe Pieces that Stand the Test of Time

Last month, I did a post on wardrobe turnover in which I looked at how old the various items in my closet are.  I learned that roughly half of the pieces in my closet were purchased in 2013 or later, another 34% were bought during 2010 through 2012, and the remaining 17% were from 2009 or earlier. In the comments section, a few readers were curious about some of my older items.  They wanted to know what they had in common and what characteristics led them to remain in my closet for so long.

Longtime Closet Pieces

What do your long-standing closet pieces have in common?

In today’s post, I share photos and information about some of my older closet pieces and I look at what has my favorites remain go-to items for years on end.   The information in this post is very personal to my wardrobe, but I encourage you to take on this exercise with your own clothes, shoes, and accessories.  What pieces do you own that have stood the test of time – and why?   It is my hope that some of the lessons I learned from doing this exercise will also be applicable to you even if our wardrobes and lifestyles are very different.

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Lessons from Closet Favorites – 2015 Cool Weather Items

Way back in the fall of 2013, I wrote a post about lessons from closet favorites, using my summer wardrobe from that year as an example.  In that post, I shared photos of my favorite items from that season and looked for common threads among them that could inform my future shopping.  Today I’d like to do the same with my cool weather wardrobe (the cool weather season spans from December through June where I live – we don’t really get true winters here).

Closet favorites

Do you know what your closet favorites have in common?

For most people in the northern hemisphere, summer has officially begun even if there are a few days left of spring on the calendar.  This is a good time to take stock of last season’s wardrobe and how it did or didn’t meet our needs.  If you’re reading this from Down Under or similar parts of the world, you may want to take a look instead at your fall (autumn) clothing for the purposes of this exercise, since that season is coming to a close for you.

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