In one of those synchronous-moments that I often experience here, I did a sweeping closet edit two days before Angie issued her challenge (Angie is a magician!)

My motivation was less about fall wardrobe planning, or dissatisfaction with my closet, and more about making sweeping lifestyle changes. I'm trying to really get rid of everything I don't use or don't need, because it's distracting.

I've been very pleased with my wardrobe and my outfits for the past six months, and I want to keep that happiness going into cooler temps. I went through my closet and tried EVERYTHING on, including beloved favorites, and stuff in the holding zone. I made sure everything had a couple of ways it could be worn or styled, and I was a bit of a snob about fit and quality this time.

I was specific about what I wanted to keep, and what no longer has a place in my closet:

1) COLOR: It has to fit my mermaid and ocean color palette. I started with David Zyla's book, nearly two years ago, and eventually I've come up with "mermaid" as a descriptor.

What's in: glowing or saturated colors in peacock green, kelly green, jade, turquoise, pale aqua blues, seashell pinks, blush pinks. Corals and warm peachy-pinks. Also, wine reds that are 'dry', and pops of clear bright red. Metalllic pale golds, nudes, and pale silvers.

My neutrals are black, creamy white, pale camel/gold, and navy blue.

What's out: Any 'dusty' colors - olive, taupe, gray, brown, anything heathered, and any navy that looks dusty. This was hard, as I wound up listing a Roberto Cavalli skirt with an amazing celestial print, that's been somewhat of an orphan.

2) FIT/SILHOUETTE/STYLE: My clothing has to be very fitted, and with a femme-fatale 30's-40's-inspired look.

What's in: tapered and ruched pencil skirts, fitted sleeves, high-cut armholes, slim jackets and zip cardigans. Nothing cut too low. Everything has to have ease of movement. I've gathered a nice collection of Wolford pieces, which is is the backbone of my wardrobe.

What's out: Anything RATE or JFE. Everything that doesn't fit right now, or requires heavy-duty shapewear to wear. Anything oversized, baggy, or boho. Anything fussy with too much embellishment or details. Anything that doesn't look 'sharp'.

I have three skirts and two of dresses left in the holding area, because they're very close to fitting the way I want. They have until December 1st, and if they don't fit then, they're out the door.

4) That Elusive Quality of "Not Quite" That I Can't Put My Finger On: Je ne sais quoi.... these were items that fit the first two criteria of color and fit/silhouette/style. In a few cases, I got rid of things because I had better versions already in my closet. But mostly, there were things that didn't quite measure up somehow; an 'it' factor that was missing.

5) Some interesting things I've noticed about this purge:

  • Mainstream mall brands are out for me. I have removed nearly every new Ann Taylor, Loft, Banana Republic, J. Crew, and WHBM item I had in my closet, because of the missing elusive "it" factor. I have maybe 15 pieces left across these five brands, and nearly all of them are 4+ years old. My favorite summer shorts are older J. Crew, side-zip, linen blend, in shades of white and cream, so I'm going to keep hunting these down on eBay. And J. Crew long-sleeve artist tees in black or navy are still on my list to buy, if they stil make these.
  • I almost never wear belts, but when I do, they're wider, corset-style, and I wear them with skirts. Note to self, don't buy skinny belts.
  • I don't like things wrapped around my neck unless I'm outside in the cold. Silk scarves and turtleneck sweaters are a waste of my time, space, and money.
  • I dislike wearing heavy statement necklaces. So those are out.
  • I still have a lot of black pieces, but I've really narrowed down the amount, compared to what I previously had. But I am always going to reach for a basic black fitted tee, so I will keep buying those.
  • When I look back on what I wore from about April through right now, it's been mostly pencil or tube skirts. I mostly wear pants to and from yoga and dance classes, and I don't really have a need for more jeans right now. I want to work out a way to continue wearing my skirts when the temperatures drop. Warm hosiery is going to figure heavily into my shopping this fall.

My shopping list is basic fitted neutral tees, ocean-color camis, higher denier hosiery, and possibly another pair of boots, in a non-black neutral, to wear with skirts and skinny jeans.