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Page 4 in the conversation ";) Taking the plunge ;)" by FashIntern
I'm very late to this interesting and somewhat confusing thread. I am not sure I have much to add to what others have suggested. I thought LisaP's advice was clear and extremely practical. (In fact, I think I gave you similar advice in an earlier thread, and it's certainly consistent with Angie's suggestions).
Someone upthread mused that Angie's suggestions re closet cleanouts being a day long process don't work well for hoarders. Maybe. It's true that most of her clients probably edit their closets regularly. (At least if they work with her regularly, they do!) But there is a first time for everyone and knowing Angie, I know what she would do. She's highly decisive and would not dither. OUT out OUT would be what she'd say to most anything that had been there longer than 3 years or anything that didn't fit, wasn't being worn, etc.
Anyway, as someone who, like you, came to the forum following weight loss and in the midst of a lifestyle change, what I did -- practically speaking -- is what Vix advises.
"I'm advising you pull together 10 or so wear-right-now outfits you like so you have something to wear as you ponder and ideally shop for core wardrobe items.
Then I'd encourage you to pack up the remaining items. If I were your friend I'd try to get you to donate them -- a fresh start given your large weight loss and life changes! But put them out of sight at the least."
In my own case, I did exactly that, and got rid of almost all my old clothes except the bare necessities for a few outfits. I then built from the ground up, focusing on my new weight/ shape and my new needs.
I did try to alter a few favourites, but without much luck.
How did I begin? First, a friend or two donated a few items in my new size. (A little black dress, a top or two. I even got donations from generous forum members!)
I then shopped mainly at consignment and thrift and discount stores for my first year (when my income was very low). I ended up ditching most of those items eventually when my weight stabilized and my income increased, but shopping this way helped me experiment with different styles and cuts and colours.
After my first year, I had developed a slightly more secure sense of what worked for me and I began to stock my closet with new clothes. It took time. I joined the forum in 2011 and it was really not until 2013 until I felt like I was starting to get a handle on my personal style (which I still consider a work-in-progress) or until 2014 or 2015 when I started to feel that my closet was the right size and highly workable for my 4 season climate. That is, until then, I was often caught without an appropriate outfit for regular or semi-regular activities and had to improvise in a way that felt awkward. Developing a personal style and a wardrobe that works is a marathon, not a sprint.
You mention that you are not visual and this, as Rachy said, is going to make defining your style much more difficult. But if you are not visual, perhaps you can base your style on how things feel vs. how they look.
Several long-time forum members here are blind or low-vision. For them, the feel of a garment on their body is especially important and they have refined this to a fine art. Together with friends, forum members, or stylists, they determined a very defined colour palette to work with (since they can't see what colours flatter them). They then figured out a few key silhouettes that work for their figure type/ body type. And from that point in, it's a question of how it feels.
I wonder if focusing on feel might work better for you than collecting images, if you find imagery confusing?
Suz, that sounds like great advice. The way an item feels is indeed very important to me. I've never been able to understand how people wear things that are itchy, tight, floppy, or otherwise irritating. The timetable you laid out sounds much smarter than jumping right in--I'm clearly not ready to do this yet!
I'm back, since this is still going. That was me, Suz, up thread, who said I didn't think Angie's advice would work well for hoarders with a resistance to culling. I was talking about myself there, let me be honest, and I see some similarities in how Fashiontern has been posting. I know for me, it just wouldn't help to be told that most of my stuff was frumpy or tired or didn't fit, or to have someone going "Out out out!". All the same , Fashiontern, over the thread which I've just re-read it did seem like in the end maybe you've decided 5 out of 11 instead of one out of 11 could go, and sound like you are happy with that decision. I think that is better, because you did seem to be drowning in a pile of old clothes. I find when I do let some go, when I realise they don't fit or flatter very well, then I hardly ever miss them and can move on. It is an emotional wrench so be kind to yourself. Suz's advice, and Vix's, is very helpful because they have been there. Cheers.
Jenni, I hear you -- it can hurt to hear our favourite things reduced to the word "frumpy." To be fair to Angie, I am sure she's be far more diplomatic than I was! She'd be decisive and determined in such an upbeat way that her hypothetical client would probably feel blessed -- and she would make a place for some sentimental favourites, or suggest a holding zone for items that could potentially be workable. I'll bet she'd find uses for certain unexpected items, too! But I do know her overall impulse would be to simplify a bit by clearing the decks.
I hesitate to comment, because this thread got really long and I only read half, and what I have to say is probably simple and shallow by comparison, but I need to say it anyway...
#6 stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Jenn NZ, you get me! I had to let it roll around in my skull for a while, but did eventually realize that there are some of these I am unlikely to ever wear. There are 1 or2 that are winners, and a vast in-between that a hoarder who's trying to save money for a move might want to spend time--months--deciding about, and that a stylist could say to clear out because it's not a sure hit.
The stylist, of course, may well be right. When I saw the stylist in 2010 and she said a particular matching top and skirt outfit was frumpy, I accepted her advice because in my gut I could feel that was right. I loved the colours of that outfit and it had been inexpensive which was helpful at the time when there had been weight gain( not loss as in your case) and I was trying to build a wardrobe. But I think it has taken until this year, 7 years later, to begin to really understand WHY it looked wrong. It is all the learning I have done by reading mags, books and this forum. Probably good I did go with a gut reaction at that time or I would still have that outfit! But I do get emotionally attached to the things I have bought- I liked them at the time or I wouldn't have bought them. I think you have said the same, and you've never done a closet clear- out. If you do have a gut reaction that something is wrong, I would try to go with that to help clear the decks a bit, as Suz says.
Jenn NZ, "sometimes the stylist is right". Well, yes! I'm clearing out way more than I would have without the forum. And I'm changing my approach, to give myself more time to grow & learn, and to give all of you less aggrevation in exchange for your sound advice.
My style journey is similar to Suz's. It wasn't something that I could just figure out. I started by shopping at cheaper retailers and checking the sales/clearance racks, buying things that I felt attracted to in my heart; I didn't use my mind so much other than to assess fit.
As I shopped, I became more and more aware of what proper fit was. Different retailers cut their clothing differently, and when you find clothing that really works on your body shape, you will start to get an idea of what is possible for fit off the rack. So your idea of what constitutes good fit will be honed over time.
I liked Vix's idea of finding out what your flattering colors are. At the beginning of my style journey, I started with only colors that I knew looked good on me. After a while I became bored with those colors and began adding in others that were less flattering. But by then, I had a closet with lots of flattering colors, so I could pair a more-flattering item with a less-flattering one, making the overall effect more pleasing than just wearing all unflattering colors.
The most important thing I would like to give you for advice is that as you go along and try things out, your style will likely change. My style has taken many twists and turns over the six (?) years that I have been doing this. I started being able to see certain patterns recur as I explored different styles, and I now have a pretty good sense of my overall styles (I would say that I have two main styles). So it's important to be patient with yourself as you try different things and see what works and doesn't work. It really is a journey rather than a project that can be completed in several months. A style is something that grows and develops over time, like a plant grows.
Buying cheaper items early on can help give yourself permission to mess up. I ended up donating almost all of my early purchases because of either poor fit or changing style. As I started feeling more confident about my style, I started purchasing more expensive items.
It's a lot of trial and error and listening to your heart: How do I feel when I wear this item? What do I like about this item? What don't I like about this item? Don't be afraid to try new things and have fun! I know that I have been very surprised to see where my style was taking me. I can say that out of my pre-YLF wardrobe, there are only a couple of items that I would buy again. And anyone who saw me before YLF and could see me now would probably wonder if this is the same person.
Gigi, what a lovely description. Smiling at your process. It really was similar to mine, yes. And you are so right that we need to give it time and let ourselves follow our hearts while asking ourselves smart questions.
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