I'm an advocate for having a smaller, curated wardrobe, though what that entails still mystifies me. It feels like my wardrobe's in constant flux: I've been able to accrue a number of garments via thrifting or as hand-me-downs this year, but there's nothing worse than not being able to buy/find what you want and constantly having to look at a closet full of stuff that never gets worn.
So many of the unworn lovelies—either bought, thrifted or handmade—have moved on. I've been pawning off prized pieces on friends, sold some to consignment shops, and have donated bags to the thrift store. Now that my active wardrobe (for the season) is down to about 100 pieces, I tallied them up and got geeky with the data.
But then I looked at just my tried-and-trues, which I define as not just the things that I wear and feel great in (I'm looking at you, thrifted Michael Kors shift dress) but the things I reach for on a regular basis (at least 1-2 times a week). The numbers shrink considerably. In fact, it's the Pareto Principle in action: I wear 20 percent of my wardrobe 80 percent of the time.
- I either need to stop buying layering tanks and tops/blouses or zone in on the ones that I do wear and replicate what I like about them
- Skirts, I think, are the big culprit. I'm still not totally hip to wearing skirts. Too slim and I look like a pencil, too full and I don't know what to pair it with. So I keep thrifting these tops thinking they'll make me into a skirt-wearing woman.
- Lifestyle has a lot to do with it. I often commute to work via bike and pants and tees and flats are the easiest way to get out the door, on the bike, and through the day. Wearing a skirt or dress means wearing bike shorts and pinning the skirt together. Ugh.
- There's no such thing as enough cardigans. Once I'm off the ration, watch out.
- All my TNTs are neutrals: dark denim, black, gray. Outliers: A fuschia knit dress and a striped tee.
- Besides neutrals, I love jewel-tones. Favorite contrast colors: Red and white.
- Most of my color comes from cardigans, shoes, and scarves.
- Jeans or casual pants with at least 2 percent stretch and great recovery in a neutral or jewel-toned color. Straight-leg or skinny, 3/4, 7/8 and full length. Mid-rise.
- Invest in great quality tanks and tees in neutral colors and jewel-toned colors.
- Invest in great quality cardigans. Neutrals covered, so look for contrast colors not in the rest of the wardrobe: mint green, kelly green, seafoam, mustard.
- Recreate the favorite knit dress for the warm months using a thick knit.
- Make skirts that are fitted in the waist and hip and have movement at the knee.
- Buy flats in multiple colors.
What I'm realizing is that I have two modes of operation:
1) Super-organized planner lady who makes pie charts and thinks about things like the Pareto Principle, and
2) Shiny Object! Must. Have. Pretty. Dress.
I suspect, sewing-wise, the cooler months bring out #1 and and warmer months #2, but I likely vacillate back and forth all the time. Nevertheless, it's no surprise that I've got on the cutting table: a pair of navy ankle pants, a gray-ish A-line skirt, a fuschia v-neck tee, and a black blazer. Some TNT shoe-ins, some reaching to expand my style.
What about you? What does your wardrobe and your tried-and-trues have to tell you and could it help your sewing?