Friday, September 2nd, 2016
When I originally started this blog two years ago, my closet was a mess. Work had recently instituted a dress code, and getting dressed to meet that code was more difficult than it should have been. After years of working in various office and non-office environments, my wardrobe was a hodgepodge. Add in a couple years of restricted spending, and my wardrobe basics were either in need of replacement or straight up missing.
For the last two years I’ve done a closet inventory and analyzed the colours of the items in my wardrobe to determine where my holes were, where I was bloated, what I actually wore, and to give me an idea of what I need to work on. From where I started two years ago, it definitely helped.
To a point.
I’ve cleared out a fair bit of dead weight from my wardrobe, and added some nice pieces. Have I been entirely successful in building a polished wardrobe that makes it easy to get dressed in the morning though? Not really. Part of the issue is that I’m adding pieces solely because I think they’ll make my wardrobe more interesting, which will then make it easier to get dressed in the morning. It doesn’t work that way! The only thing that actually makes getting dressed in the morning easier is when my laundry is clean and put away so that I can access my go to base pieces over and over again.
When I close my eyes and visualize how I want to look, it’s been the same for years. I want my clothes to be classic, polished and unfussy. I want them to fit me perfectly. I picture myself in black, white, tan and navy. It doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult, should it? Yet here we are two years later, and I don’t feel like I’ve made as much progress as I should have. Why do I keep experimenting with different styles when they don’t match the image of myself that I have in my mind?
I found a lot of these questions bubbling to the surface last month. A lot of items entered my closet, and yet standing there looking at it, it didn’t feel like “me”. Part of the issue is that I’m slow to hang up my clothes after washing them, so my most worn items are rarely actually in the closet. But if that’s the case, what are the rest of the items doing in there? Why don’t I reach for them? Why do I have so many items taking up valuable space if I don’t want to wear them?
The idea of a capsule wardrobe has been so heavily done by the blogging community that it’s pretty much a cliche. That being said, I realized that being sized between my maternity clothes and my regular clothes has effectively turned my wardrobe into exactly that – a capsule. It’s much smaller than usual, and items are being moved in and out of it as I change sizes instead of as the seasons change. It turns out I can live with a much smaller wardrobe than I’m used to as long as everything fits properly.
I don’t want to be mindlessly buying clothes month after month because it’s a form of entertainment. Fashion is entertaining to me, but that’s not a blanket excuse to consume, especially if it’s not getting me to where I ultimately want to go. I feel a little better about it when my purchases are secondhand, but not great. If I was closer to a functional wardrobe that represented my personal style, I might feel differently. Currently I don’t.
The last few weeks I’ve spent a fair bit of time on the website Into Mind, especially on her 10 Step Wardrobe Revamp. I’ve gone through a year’s worth of magazines, tearing out outfits and items that speak to me (and recycling the rest of the magazine – long overdue).
I want my wardrobe to reflect me. I want it to be easy to throw together an outfit in the morning so I can look put together without taking time away from my son. I want the clothing to fit me, and I want it to last a long time. I’d like to support local designers, and companies that treat their people fairly. Just as importantly, I’d like to do it on a budget.
One of the items that has been on my list for years is a spring/fall coat that hits me above the knees. Rather than distracting myself with the fashion offerings this month, a solid chunk of my remaining quarterly budget will be going towards this coat. Anything left over will likely go towards a neutral sweater. It doesn’t make for a flashy budget recap, but that’s not why I’m here.
I foresee a rather large wardrobe culling in my future. And a trip to the tailor.