Wardrobe Experiment

August 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is that time of year again, when women are supposed to begin shopping for Fall and Winter. Yes, I know it is a zillion degrees outside, and we are all just finishing up our summer steals with everything on Final, Super-Duper Discount sale. But still, it is time.

In fact, in some stores, we are already late. Case in point: The fantastic brocade pants at Céline that I suddenly very much needed last month were no longer available in my size. Gone. Forever. (Did I mention that they were from the Fall collection? They were.) And just the other day I was invited to a Resort trunk show later this month, which essentially clothes for the beginning of NEXT SPRING.

Such is the cycle of fashion.

To be truthful, I like the idea of getting my wardrobe in order well before the season hits. So I play ball and am quite close to being “done” for this one. However, this time around I am doing things a little differently.

As you may know, in general one wears 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. And while I suspect my percentages are a little better than that, I am attempting to significantly improve that ratio using a three-pronged approach:

1. Inventory
I am currently going through every item in my wardrobe — every one — and putting it into one spreadsheet that can be sorted by garment type, color, season, label, year made, and size. I already had a running start on this document, as I have been keeping these kinds of spreadsheets for years, but a new and completely up-to-date one is in order. It will keep me from over-buying (especially at sale time) and remind me of when things might need to go.

2. Ruthless Edit
While taking the inventory, I am trying everything on to decide if it stays in the picture. So far, the editing has been fierce. Anything that I no longer completely love is in a Donate bag. For the record, there is more than one bag and I am not done with the Inventory and Ruthless Edit Process. I tell you: I mean business here and I will have a smaller but better functioning wardrobe.

3. Precision Purchasing
This part is not going to be what you think, as I am not a fan of “basics”. Sure, we all need a pair of great black pants and a few perfect white t-shirts, so those are purchased as needed. But when thinking about what is going to make it into my closet, I first decide if we have chemistry. Without that, there is no point. Then, assuming we do, I decide if I have anything else too much like it, and if not, whether it goes with my life and the other things in my closet. And, in the hopes of improving my ratio, I now ask myself the hardest question of all: Will I wear this frequently? If the answer to this and all the other questions are “yes”, the piece is in.

And so, in the last few weeks I have added several items that met the above criteria, including a cool pair of black wedge booties with a rubber sole for wet days, a skirt that reminds me of Charlie Brown’s T-Shirt in a good way, a black down coat that actually looks good on me (a small miracle) and a fantastically simple short sleeved top done in pin-striped wool flannel.

And while my list of purchases for the season is far from short, many more things are leaving the closet than are being brought in, so I think I am off to a good start with my little experiment. Wish me luck — and don’t be afraid to try it yourself on the next rainy weekend.


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