Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wardrobe Evaluation

We did every speck of laundry in our house over the holiday weekend, save a few sheets and other household-y things. We also finalized the seasonal switch-over, finally removing (much to our chagrin) the linen skirts and gauzy dresses from the garment rack (our house was built in 1860 and has nary a decent closet of which to speak). We also folded and organized all of our tops and pants, and banished the too-smalls and really-haven't worn-in-ages (more on that later) to the basement and the just-not-flattering to the Goodwill pile. Phew!

Some conclusions have been drawn from this venture.

Epiphany One:

We own too many clothes.

Not that there is ever really such a thing, in our opinion (OK, maybe our cousin, who had something on the order of 60-- or was it 90?-- pairs of jeans, might have been a bit ezcessive), but for the confines of both our meager space and our tiny clothing allowance, it's really quite obscene what we've amassed. And the bigger problem (although all of these clothes are indeed a sizeable problem) is that we have too many of the exact same clothes. The most egregious offender in our case is the multiples of an item in one color (see: three teal sweaters, four or five pink long-sleeves, etc.), seconded closely by the many of a single item in different colors (see: shaggy tiered skirt from Target in black, lavender and peach, for example). We also own far too much black, and not nearly enough of any color except for our (obvious) favorites of purple, hot pink, turquoise and teal. And truly, we've only begun to delve into any sort of pattern situation since leaving the Indian-print tops and batik patchwork skirts for festival time... We are firmly entrenched in a narrow array of solids with embellishment and the occasional floral in a skirt. We bought patterned tops (2!) recently, and it was a triumph of sorts, if you recall.

Don't get us wrong- we love our clothes and our style sense (lest why would we be blathering on at you about it?) but we just feel that we have exceeded the reasonable limitations of "oooh, it's on sale," and we buy too many of the same things, both wasting money (of which we have quite little, hence the thriftiness, right?) and limiting our wardrobe's potential.

Exhibit A: Short-Sleeved tops and tanks (these are the winter layering ones only, mind you; a good 30+ are stored)

Exhibit B:

Long-Sleeved Tops (tried this photo so many times, sorry about this):

Exhibit C: Sweaters

And finally Exhibits D & E: the Garment Rack (try not to giggle about those letters and "rack," now). Have a look at our Flickr if you want specifics on items-- we'll try put notes on anything of remote interest, or just ask!).

This is Winter items only, and a good five skirts, two party dresses and a few other tops and items are missing because they are at the man's house. It will be a relief to have them all in one place someday...

Lastly, we have the pants division, which is the only non-offender in the bunch (let's just not talk about the entire Rubbermaid full of a different size...) at six pairs (five pictured; black corduroys worn yesterday). Mona decided she needed to be in on this picture. Please note the beer case is holding books! Not beer. It's salvaged. Thank you. We don't advocate taking beer to bed.

These pics do not include other drawers with, obviously, underthings and also workout wear. Lots of that going on... a short bureau + one drawer combined, plus a bit of the closet and a drawer at the man's house. Perhaps that needs some examination also. Later.

Epiphany Two:

We need to stop buying the same stuff repeatedly, and possibly stop shopping altogether.

Yes, yes, we already had the temporary financial shopping embargo going on, but we're talking about really not buying much of anything at all... for possibly... a long time. Let's say, for starters, up until "the big move-in" (with the fiance) in the Spring. So, like, six months. And probably beyond. Possibly forever. We have most of the staples we need, realistically speaking... We will permit ourselves a few seasonal and "needed" (to round out the clearly one-note wardrobe) additions, with the caveat that they must be vintage and/or thrifted (yes, we're staying out of the chain discount stores. It will hurt us, but we will try), and with these rules:

PATTERN ONLY (No Solids unless at least Textured)
NO MORE TEES (Enough!)

...and only these pieces:

Really amazing blazers in colors or patterns (brocade??)
Warm skirts
Cardigans or blouses (this blouse you speak of, where does one find such things? We have always bought tees)
From our eternal wish list, cobalt shoes or a faux-leopard coat
Day dresses
A couple of inexpensive things if we can't throw together enough for our Halloween costume (we're thinking Madonna c. Like a Virgin- thoughts?)
Tights (caveat to vintage here)

And that is it! Nothing more! No shoes (shoe post coming soon- last count was 36 pairs but it's probably off), no lovely little cardigans or scarves or black skirts because everyone needs just one more nor super-cheap sweaters in colors we already have. Nary a triplicate of something on the clearance rack because we kind of, sort of, like all of the colors. Begone, sale addiction and unnecessary clutter-collecting!

Speaking of which, the purge and this decision, however, have brought up a question for us.

At what age do you give up all of your butterfly-and-fairy-and-glitter-and-Muppet-and-sparkly-flower-front tee shirts?

'Cuz we have, like, 100, and they are in a bin in the basement-- we found them from last season when we realized we really oughtn't be wearing them to work, and we just put them back again-- but we don't really want to give them up. Perhaps we could pare them down for a festival wardrobe to keep in the wings... we don't ever want anyone else wearing the naughty little fairy who says "eat my dust," after all... What are your opinions? Save a few for nostalgia and never wear them again, donate the whole lot, or keep them all for weekend wear (and say "so what" if people continually ask if we're the sister, not the mom)?

Just askin'. Stacy and Clinton would probably tell us to frame our favorites and pitch the rest. Sigh.

Have you re-examined your wardrobe lately? If you do, we hope it's enjoyable and enlightening.


  1. Wow-what a project. I'm impressed! This is something I should really do, but I'm way too lazy.

    As far as muppets and fairies go, I'd probably go the "so what" route. If you love them, keep them. But then, I'm probably not the person to ask. All my drawers and closets are a bit of a mess due to too much stuff.

  2. two thoughts on the muppets fairies stuff. how much can you chooses to wear as pjs? Keep some for that. And for cleaning clothes. If you won't wear them out in public anyway, then why no wear it to clean the bathroom? Also, consider finding someone to quilt them together. There are multiple ways to quilt a series of favorite t-shirts together. It can get tricky because well loved cotton t's aren't the bestest fabric to quilt with, but it CAN be done. Let me know if you need/want help with this suggestion, I know myriad of quilters. Good luck!!

  3. i was going to suggest the t-shirt quilt as well.

    but i agree - you need more colors and patterns! sweetheart, you will not die if you wear yellow, i promise!

    myself, i have imposed a No More Tight Green Shirts rule. i swear i couldn't have bought all the ones i have. they're having babies in my closet or somethin'.

  4. Love, love this post. It's so great to see I'm not the only one with problems of same-iness, too few patterns, repeated items, etc etc.

    I too was surprised when I did a bit of stock-taking and found that I really do have enough clothes and that my boredom is probably due to the similarity rather than overall number of items.

    If you have many duplicates, would you consider selling some on Ebay? That would give you 'permission' to buy some new options.

  5. you weren't kidding when you said you buy a lot of multiples...LOL...Also, unless I needed the money, then I would sell my duplicates. Otherwise I would try very hard to use what I have and make sure the buy was worth it.

    I like to think I use my stuff ;)


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