I assessed my orphans based on categories. I started with my biggest unworn category: button down shirts. I discovered that I very much liked wearing them; but I hated ironing them and they fell out of favor. I remedied that by giving myself permission to have them laundered and pressed. No button downs were purged. They are all back in rotation. Yay.

The second category I evaluated was tee shirts. This is a different story from the button downs. It seems every single day I am opting to purge the tee shirt worn that day. Early this morning I realized that I was purging the tee shirts that were most recently purchased (within the last 1 - 1.5 years). The older ones were not orphans.

The older tee shirts are good solid staples. They fit me really well and are as flattering as a tee shirt can be. None of them are so sheer that special bras or camisoles are required to make them work. The necklines don't gap so much that I expose my belly button. They don't have tiny rips along the seams and neckline. There are no tiny holes that just mysteriously appear.

What I seem to be purging are the "fashionable" tee shirts: the oversized, shapeless, fluid ones.

  • I threw out four tee shirts from Banana Republic because there were very tiny tears along shoulder seams, the necklines were ridiculously big, and/or the fabric was so sheer it bordered on obscene.
  • I threw out two tee shirts from Old Navy because there were very tiny tears along shoulder seams. I tried to mend the seams, but the tee shirts were so shapeless, I eventually decided it wasn't worth it.
  • I am getting rid of two Gap tee shirts just because there is some yellowing under the arms and I would like them to look more pristine.
  • I donated one from Everlane because it was shaped exactly like a box (the width equaled the length).
  • I donated one from Nordstroms because it was too sheer (for me) and I needed a special bra to wear it in public. The Nordstroms tee shirt was Caslon. Despite this failure, I still love Caslon and will be buying that brand again.
So the tee shirts bought in the last year or so are slowly, but surely, being purged. I find this enlightening. Was it the quality? Was it the style?

You could say I expect too much of my tee shirts, except I have some Gap tee shirts from 2010 that I still wear and still love.

I was so happy with my button down shirt epiphany and so sad about my tee shirt epiphany. If I learned anything it is to not follow trends when it comes to tee shirts. They are work horses in my wardrobe and have to stand up to a myriad of circumstances.

So I am going to the mall today. I am going to look at tee shirts at Ann Taylor, Landsend, and Gap.