I spent about 12 hours on Saturday doing a closet edit, and a significant part of Sunday finishing up. (My closet edit segued into a closet re-organization, so part of Sunday and a significant part of Monday was involved in finishing that.) I’m grateful for the long weekend, but exhausted.

A year ago was my first closet edit. It was extensive and incredibly productive. My goal back then was to clear out the vast amount of chaff in the closet, really considering items that I’d held on to for a long time. My weight was pretty high at the time, too, which really helped me focus. I was asking myself: If this garment doesn’t fit me now, is it something I will want to wear when I do lose the weight? Or will I want to buy something different? There were only a handful of garments that received an affirmative. I ended up donating probably 7-8 large bags of clothing, shoes, and accessories. In contrast, very few items ended up in the holding zone, and some of them for weight reasons. In most cases I left doubtful items in my regular closet, wanting to see if I would wear them now that everything was so much more visible.

Now I’ve had a year to wear what was left. I have lost most of the weight I wanted to, so I could assess a lot of things properly. We had an
unusually warm fall and winter, so once again I used a light hand in assessing cool-weather clothes. Some categories needed less review: My underwear and hosiery is in really good shape, though I cleared out some more bras and passed on socks. Jackets, coats, and scarves/hats/gloves I also left alone. Those were rigorously gone through last year, and also during January when I got fed up with the lack of coordination.

But the one category I had not gone through last year was jewelry. I finally got to that one late Sunday night. I was honestly dreading it, because I knew it would be hard. But it turned out so well! I have a gallon bag of times to donate, all neatly bagged up in sets or categories. And the rest of jewelry is neatly displayed and visible where I store it.

Overall, I had very few items to donate. About 3 bags, including shoes and accessories. The holding zone is about twice as large as last year, though. In all honesty probably half could be donated now, but I need to let them sit. I had so much peace about giving away what was in last year's holding zone.

While I was doing the edit, I made all sorts of notes in a Word document. I listed items in Temporary Hold (and why/what their replacements would be), a Shopping List as I identified holes, a few statistics on what I was giving away, and general notes to document things I realized. Some of the interesting things:

1. I gave away 16 dresses. (I have over 50 left, all lengths and styles). Only 2 were bought in the last year; my recent dress shopping has been on point.

2. It’s hard to wear puffed-cap sleeves right now. Dresses, blouses, tees – they don’t feel like me. They feel too juvenile, at least for who I am in modern life. I still like the look on me, for vintage occasions.

3. I have a lot of short sleeve blouses in excellent fits and colors and styles I love. I wore blouses and skirts a LOT several years ago. Why am I not reaching for them as much now?

- Answer: I am reaching for dresses more. The ease and beauty of a dress makes it my favorite. Several years ago, I did not have the selection of dresses I have now. Blouses and skirts were a quite acceptable substitute. I am keeping the blouses, many of which are that elusive tailored fit, and I will wear them. They are just not staples any more.

4. Cool weather dressing is tricky, aside from my FFBOs: long dress + tights + booties/boots, short dress + leggings + boots/booties. With separates, I'm struggling. Part is the "dress effect" from above. But it's also that many of my separates I used to wear in JFE styles, and I'm not feeling the JFE look anymore. I need to work on outfit creation with my cool weather separates.

- Goal: Outfits that make me feel really good, even when compared to a dress. I can't settle for outfits that are just okay. And okay outfit won't cut it when I can opt for a dress instead. I need to search for combinations that make me very happy.

5. Sweaters in particular are difficult. I love the feel and comfort, and have quite a few in different colors and styles. I only regularly wear a few, and struggle with feeling not fab with many of them. Why?

- The ones I reach for are bodycon, and light or medium weight. They look good tucked into any waisted skirt, they're comfortable under a jumper (sleeveless dress), and they are quite flattering with jeans.

- The ones I struggle with are not bodycon (and usually thicker). A couple were good with skinnies, or a very specific mini skirt the last time I tried, but the rest don't work right that way. I need to experiment with a lot of combinations, in case I'm missing the decoder ring for my style. And I'm going to try some altering. This blog post shows how to alter sweaters; several of mine are too short to wear with jeans, but sloppy with skirts. 2-3" shorter and a little side seam taper, and they will sit neatly over my skirt waistline.

6. I have a large collection of cardigans, but those are mostly for wearing over short sleeves when in A/C. I don't wear jackets much, and I have few of them. Chicken or the egg? I don't tend to feel as fab in jackets, since they are not as fit-and-flare as either my cardigans or my coats.

7. Work on styling my oxfords, both cognac and rose gold. How can I deploy them in transitional weather? Do they both need a place in my wardrobe?

8. I need to research how to keep silver jewelry from tarnishing, without hiding it in boxes. I won't wear jewelry if it's not visible in my jewelry drawer.