First, the synopsis: For the first time ever, I counted actual wears of each item during the past season. I learned that:

  • my wardrobe is about the right size for me, but...
  • it still needs some tweaking in specific capsules.

I also arrived at some tentative conclusions about how I want to evolve my style next fall/ winter. If you hate long blocks of text you can stop right there.

For those who may be interested in my musings, the longer version:

The context: Fall-winter lasts for about 6 to 7 months where I live. Snow lingers on the ground here now, and it is too cold to do well outside without a hat or mitts. (Next week is supposed to be better). Most of the winter, quite honestly, I look like photo #1 when I am outdoors. And I am often outdoors.

The numbers: I had between 85 and 88 clothing items in my winter closet, including coats, toppers, knits, shirts/ blouses, dresses/ skirts, pants, etc. Not including gear, underwear, footwear, scarves, or bags. For footwear, I had 12 options, but realistically, outdoors, only 3 or 4 were viable for much of the season. My beloved booties become "indoor footwear" in winter.

Most worn items:

  • puffer coat (55 wears)
  • oversized cashmere pullover (photo 2) (46)
  • navy cardigan (photo 3) (36).

Note that the latter two were most often worn as what most people would call "lounge wear." Just around the house, not outdoors. As part of what I am beginning to call my "cozy capsule."

In footwear, my snow boots got 45 wears. And -- the joke's on me. Remember the Aquatalia Sweeties that I said I would probably never wear? Well? I wore them 43 times!! And I came to understand the appeal of a mid-calf boot. Thanks to those who urged me to persevere with that.

I own a lot of jeans compared to most people. 14 pair that I use in F/W. But I wear denim almost every day in winter (which may or may not be a good thing...more on that later). My most worn jeans were my CoH Patina Racers (30 wears). But my Rag and Bone Dres got 20 wears as did my GAP original fit selvedge jeans (inherited from my daughter's donate pile!) And altogether I wore jeans more than 200 times this fall/winter.

The good news: I wore almost everything at least once. The exceptions were a few special occasion items (dressy and mostly on the conservative side) and some of my dressier trousers. I had enough variety to satisfy me for the most part. I liked many of my outfits, especially those that I wore outside the house. (The rest of the photos show a few that I enjoyed.) And I was comfortable in my at home wear (a huge need).

The bad news: In reviewing my winter's outfits, I'm still less happy with my winter style than with my spring/ summer style.

The question is, WHY?

Last year, I thought it might have to do with a lack of variety in my winter silhouettes as compared with my summer silhouettes. I tried to address that this year with the purchase of a couple of casual skirts/ dresses, some cardigans, and some cozier shirts (so I wouldn't have to rely on a constant diet of knits for my tops). These were all helpful changes and I enjoyed wearing my new cardigans and shirts for my at home capsule.

BUT....(you knew that was coming, right?) I still felt less than 100% fab. And there were a few occasions when I didn't feel like I had the "right" stuff to wear -- mostly outings with writing friends, when I wanted outfits with a bit more edge or...something...(not sure "edge" is the right word....). Anyway, something a bit more interesting than I could create from my current closet.

I think I have boiled this down to two issues:

1. My lifestyle is more casual than I might wish. We have talked about this as a group many times. I know some people say, "There is no reason you can't "dress up" at home -- but, well, frankly -- there IS. It's just not practical, and I am a practical person. When I stray from that into my fantasy life (I am looking at you, super expensive dressy La Canadienne boots that I only managed to wear twice this winter, photo 9 ) I tend to rue it. Even when I try to "dress dressy down" I just don't wear my inherently dressy items as often.

2. My winter style is perhaps not feminine enough for me. I feel too boyish and preppy in this endless parade of jeans and, jeans and, jeans and.

So why the heck do I wear jeans so often, then? Partly because it is practical, of course. But also, when I am able to dress it up (with a great turtleneck or shirt, a fantastic jacket, and a fabulous pair of shoes/ boots) it is the perfect combination of dressy/casual/edgy/androgynous for my style persona.

Outfits #6 and #9 illustrate this.

My ideal outfit in any decade consists of just that: great fitting and current cut of jeans, great booties, great jacket, with a simple top underneath.

The problem comes when I'm just wearing jeans and a sweater or jeans and a shirt. I feel a little bit childish, frumpy, unfinished, unfab. But indoors in winter, I am not going to be wearing my jackets, booties, or any of the elements that can give a canvas of jeans/ shirt the kind of "oomph" that I crave. And outdoors, I'm going to be wearing clumpy snow boots, a gear-like puffer coat, mittens, and a hair-squishing hat!!

What's a girl to do?

I do have a few thoughts on this but would love to hear yours as well.

My challenges for next year:

1. My lifestyle may be changing a little bit again, as I may be returning to school. (I will still be writing creatively and as a freelancer but going out into the world a bit more often.) On the plus side, this would allow me to wear more of my beloved toppers. (I love a structured topper when I am out in the world; prefer a soft pullover or cardigan at home). At the same time, it would still mean a very casual way of dressing.

2. I absolutely want to add a bit of "edge" (for want of a better term) to my out of the home outfits. To me, this can't be in the form of hard-edge black stuff or in the form of avant-garde drape. Neither of these work for me. I have to find another way.

Thanks for reading if you have read this far, and thanks especially to Caro in Oz and Mo, who consistently talked about the value of counting, and to Ingunn, and Suzie, who did a very thorough count and review of their wardrobes last year, which helped me quite a lot.

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