Posts tagged with wardrobe:
Hi Jaclyn! I am returning to work full time after 3 years off of traveling, freelancing and maternity leave. I'm sure you can imagine the state of my wardrobe. I need some great quality basics to get me back into the 9-5 groove. The office dress code allows for jeans and more casual wear. I am 5'11 and have always struggled finding blouses and bottoms that work for me. I also really struggle with building a versatile wardrobe with pieces that can be recombined effectively. Any pointers?
Last year I did a Spring Closet Makeover post and followed that up with a post about how to wear your entire closet. In addition to my spring cleanout last year, I did one pre-fall/winter and I just tackled my closet again yesterday. After several hours of sorting and re-sorting, I ended up with five large trash bags full of things to donate. It felt so good. I used to go through my closet and end up with maybe one small bag, choosing instead to hoard things or keep them JUST IN CASE. But I’ve gotten more ruthless and I like it. I really like it.
I’m doing a Part II to last year’s post because I feel like I’m finally following my own advice. I did okay during last year’s cleanouts—I was finally able to part with a lot of things I was keeping around for sentimental reasons—but yesterday’s sort-and-toss was the first time I really edited with intention and desire. I wanted those things gone. It wasn’t a painful extraction and it didn’t feel like I was having to part with old friends. It was GIRL BYE.
So, here are a few more tips to put into context how I changed this process from one I dreaded and avoided to one that I approach with glee and anticipation. Clean all the things!
- Make it a habit. Seasonal cleanouts are easiest for me. By the time spring rolls around, I’m pretty sick of winter clothes anyway. This makes it easier for me to toss a sweater I haven’t worn in the past six months because SERIOUSLY HOW MUCH LONGER DO I HAVE TO WEAR SWEATERS IN GENERAL. I’ve been doing twice yearly cleanouts now (one right before spring, one right before fall/winter) and that seems to work great for me. Some people like to do the one in, one out thing: Buy something, donate something. That’s too much fuss for me but I like the idea. Anyway, now that I’ve gotten into the habit of regular cleanouts, I really look forward to them.
- Forget the money. I used to hold on to stuff that I spent $$ on but I’ve learned that money should be my last consideration if I want to do a really effective cleaning effort. Besides, most items I donate are ones that I bought because money was barely a consideration at the time of purchase. They were usually on sale or a good deal (or inexpensive and trendy). They were something I had to have until I didn’t. It’s disingenuous to worry about the money at the point at which said item is simply languishing, sitting. Someone else could be wearing that and they might love it. The transaction is done. Time to let it go.
- Keeping sentimental items can be okay. But keeping sentimental items that don’t fit is not okay. What does that pair of jeans from 6 years ago that won’t go over my hips remind me of? Nothing useful except that I used to have narrower hips. (-_____-) Getting rid of maternity items or nursing clothes/bras has been hard for me, but I realized that I could keep a few things—like my favorite robe or one nursing tank—and let the rest go without feeling guilty or sad. They don’t fit. Why keep them? This rule is tough when it comes to shoes too. I had several pairs of shoes that I loved but either didn’t fit quite right or weren’t comfortable. I would have kept them a few years ago but not now. I don’t care how much I love a pair of shoes. If they eat my feet, they’re gone.
- I want my closet to feel like a boutique and not a ROSS. Price point is not a factor when I say that. It’s JUST about presentation. If everything is crammed together with no thought or pattern or meaning, it’s just chaos all around. There MIGHT be a gem somewhere in the clutter, but who has time for that? Who has the energy for that? If things are spaced out, everything becomes valuable. I trust that what’s left is something that I have worn, do wear and feel comfortable in.
- Some closet organization advice sucks balls (maybe including this post), so do what works for you. I’ve read so many articles that say to organize by color or by function (work dresses here, sundresses there) but that does not—DOES NOT—work for me. Organize by color. OKAY. Half the closet is black. I cannot find a damn thing. Organize by function. SURE. Most of my clothes are casual now. Almost everything is the SAME FUNCTION. Either of these organization styles (or a combo of both) might work great for you, but I prefer to organize things straight down the line. Jeans, cardigans, maxi dresses, jackets, blouses. The casual jackets and activewear jackets are in the same area. Horrors! But at least I KNOW where all the damn jackets are. Tshirts and casual shirts get their own space. Hoodies another. The exception to this general labeling is that some of my activewear/slug stuff/leggings are organized separately: long leggings, cropped leggings, tanks, long-sleeved tops, etc.
- Undergarments matter. I don’t care how nice the rest of the closet looks: If my bras are losing their elasticity and shape or don’t fit correctly, I get LEVEL 10 annoyed. My most recent problem was that any and all bras I wore from 2010-2013-ish no longer fit. I had mercifully kept a few randoms around from my college days (sentimentality hoarding at its worst) and they fit. I wore these until I could get my hands on some new ones. My go-to spot for bras/underwear is Aerie because the quality is good, the fit is outstanding and the prices are best of all. Recent bra picks included this one ($20, so comfy), this one ($20, love the longline style) and this one ($35, another longline option). These Aerie seamless thongs (4 for $26.50) are the best, full-stop, for wearing with leggings. They’re so damn comfortable. I know you don’t believe me, but just try them. You’ll see.
- Don’t overlook accessories. The last few cleanouts I’ve forgotten to go through my scarves and tights and hats/gloves/socks and such. Yesterday I made a special note to finally go through that stuff properly and whoooooo boy. Lots of it had to go.
- The best part of a really quality cleaning job is seeing what spaces need to be filled. Based on what I kept and set aside for donation yesterday, I can see that I’m good on shorts and tees/casual tanks for summer, but I want to get a few more neutral casual dresses—shorter ones and maxi dresses. I used to buy a lot of print dresses for the warmer months (stupid), so I’ll focus on finding some great black and white ones this year.
Good luck and happy donating!
P.S. Would love to hear your tips for closet organization. ?