I've been enjoying the year-end flurry of wardrobe-analysis themed posts--both analysis of the past year and resolutions for the next. As fairly new forum participant, I've tried to keep my eyes and ears open to all the wisdom from Angie and from the entirety of the YLF community. Thank you, Angie, for creating this nurturing environment and thank you to all the YLF-ers who make the forum such a friendly and interesting place!
Here is the state of my wardrobe at year end! (With wardrobe numbers, because I know that my situation is a bit ...uuummmmm....different...) As others have commented re: their own analyses, I'm putting this out here, in part, for the opportunity for clarity that comes with having to wrangle one's raggedy, incomplete ideas into complete sentences!
Wardrobe Numbers (Everything) -- 123 Items
Tops: 22 (Knit--17 including duplicates; Woven—5)
Sweaters: 6 (including both pullover and cardigan)
Coats and Jackets: 5
Gear-ish Coats: 3
Clothing Total: 49
Accessories: Hats—3, Bags–10, Belts—10, Scarves—5, Jewelry—21
Accessories Total: 49
Shoes: Gear—2, Everything Else—23
Shoes Total: 25
Grand Total of all items in all categories and across all seasons – 123
(Exclusive of underthings and my “Swim & Sport” capsule. Also, a few über-casual or seldom-worn items are not logged--like muck boots (which are often worn but not worth writing about—below even the category of “gear”) and inherited jewelry that I will probably never wear but cannot discard.)
Does anyone else think it's odd (or significant) the I have EXACTLY as many clothing items as I do accessory items? Or that the number of shoes is almost exactly half of that number. Funny coincidence, I'm sure
I’ve got my entire wardrobe in capsules in “Finds”: https://youlookfab.com/finds/c.....pe=capsule (I love using Finds and creating ensembles is like playing with paper dolls.)
This is a small/tiny wardrobe, I know. It is workable because I am a uniform dresser and have a casual life. In addition, I have lived all my life with fewer clothes than I have now, so I feel like I have an adequate amount of options.
With the exception of just four or five items, all these clothes and accessories were purchased within the last 14 months or so. Having purchased my entire wardrobe so recently has given me a somewhat unique perspective on wardrobe crafting and the successes and failures of my process.
First of all, I purchased many things as place-holders (because I had no clothes!) I chose many mix-n-match, wardrobe staples in navy, denim, black, charcoal, and white and bought shoes in natural/nude and black. Without strictly following any set of rules (e.g., every wardrobe needs…) I still purchased rather formulaically—adding items that, theoretically, would yield a useful range of outfits. Many of my wardrobing ideas
were untested and I had little or no experience to guide me in shopping for the best pieces for me. These are some of my successes, failures, and musings about the previous year:
1) I was pleased with my color palette and want to move forward with the same colors next year. I’m still looking for the right light neutral—I think it is a cool, chalky white or palest ecru (and difficult to find). One of my purchasing mistakes is a shirt that arrived looking much more warm/cream than I’d hoped and I think it’s not very flattering (destined for donation when I can find a replacement). I have another shirt in optic white that I suspected would be difficult—and it is. I really need to get the right white for me. I've also narrowed-down the range of acceptable grays to only dark, heathered charcoal--lighter gray is not my friend.
2) I learned that mix-n-match does not mean that everything will go together. There will be optimal combinations. I think this was just mental laziness on my part. Recently, Chris987 wrote about discovering that she doesn’t like to combine a navy top with blue denim jeans. This rings true with me, too, and caused me to realize that I need to be a lot more strategic with my purchases even if they are essentially mix-n-match.
For example, if I like navy tops, and the pants cannot be blue denim,
then I need to ensure that I have pants in another fabrication. (D’oh!)
Sterling’s 2017 30X30 Challenge also served to highlight this dynamic (I failed, then as well, to use more than the most basic mix-n-match logic when formulating my limited capsule) as I found that it was easy to make lots of acceptable mix-n-match outfits from my limited wardrobe--but I did not always have the most ideal combination available to me and did feel super-fab in most outfits. I’m finding it kind of weird to realize that the items that make my wardrobe work as a whole may not be the items I really think I want to buy or to wear—like black or charcoal pants. I think I’ll move forward by purchasing a pair of black jeans, maybe an updated pair of gray jeans, and a pair of charcoal pants—the charcoal and grays will possibly be a happier match with both blue and black tops.
3) In a related matter--I need to be much more thoughtful about the wash when choosing denim. I have mistakenly gotten too many pairs of mid-wash denim and I really prefer a dark but not overdyed look--I need to take more time to assess color during the fitting and decision-making process.
4) A mistake: I tend to fall in love with the idea or catalog photo of a certain item and I want that EXACT thing instead of evaluating a category of similar items for the fit that is best for me. One wardrobe example is my Jack Purcell black leather Converse, which are probably not the most flattering to my feet and legs even though I wanted them badly. I should have tried multiple pairs of edgy black sneakers instead of becoming infatuated with the look of this one exact pair. This is going to be a hard sell because I tend to do a lot of on-line perusing and the item that I order is the one that I have already become quite wedded to, in my mind.
5) I need to ensure better fit. Always trying recently wrote about
expecting more from fit and I can definitely improve in this area—no more peeping bra straps or pants that need a tug when I sit down or stand up. A crucial element of this is seeing and knowing how something should fit. My ballet flats are an example of this—they are comfortable but quite floppy and unstructured and I thought that was the best fit as could be expected from the style of shoe. Now, I think I can improve on my purchase by looking for a replacement pair that is more structured and made of thicker leather.
6) I still hoard my “better” clothes and also tend to devolve to the most casual outfit possible. I’m trying to give myself permission to wear
my nicer items of clothing and to wear slightly dressier outfits but there is a lot of inertia against that idea and dressier outfits seem inauthentic to me. I’m not sure quite what to do about this. I hope that I will get used to having enough clothes and to giving myself permission to replace items more often. Shoes are the item I “save” the
most and several pairs went unworn this year (when I had abundant occasions on which I could have chosen to wear them.) Let me share the following anecdote so you can see how this dynamic plays out in my wardrobe. This summer, I wanted a pair of Vince slides but I knew myself and knew that I probably wold not wear them for fear of wear-damage. Instead, I deliberately down-scaled to an inexpensive pair of black sandals, which I did wear several times. On one hand, I counted it as a win that I knew myself enough to down-scale from shoes that I would hoard to shoes that I did actually wear. On the other hand, I felt a bit sorry for myself each time I wore the sandals because I knew that they represented a loss of style. I sure wish I could have bought the Vince slides and WORN THEM! What is my problem??!! I wish I could fix it.
7) I didn't lose the last bit of weight that I'd hoped to lose this year. Because of that, I have not yet made several significant purchases that I'd hoped to have completed by now. I have yet to buy a dress coat, a nice blazer, a wrap dress, and some upgraded jeans. These would be "investment pieces" for me and I'm not willing to size out of them quickly.
8) I need to work on my style descriptors. I think I have more desire for polish than I’d realized. At the same time, I fear that some of my outfits become too uptight, fussy, or “lady” for my taste. This makes me think that I should focus more on ease and casualness. Is there a happy
place that is both more “easy” and more polished, do you think?
And...that's the lot! Thanks for reading
(Editing to correct spacing etc.)