August 30, 2011

Ruthless Curation of Clothing

While I've always been good at purging clothing at the end of each season, this summer and spring I have been completely ruthless in clearing out my closet. The only things that have stayed are the pieces I really love and wear. Its been the easiest summer to get dressed ever.

The biggest change I've made to my culling process is to ditch anything that doesn't fit perfectly and can't be tailored to do so.

This floral shirt above was a sweet find from the Gap Outlet in Estero, Florida. I love everything about it, except for the fact that its one size too small and the arms always ride up around the shoulders. I wore it one last time last week, then added it to the Salvation Army pile when my suspicions were reconfirmed.

These are the Gap City Flats. They look kind of weird, right? They are in the test phase. I love how small they fold up and the relative comfort for travel, but they look funny.

Part two of my new culling process is to make a plan to replace any of the items I got rid of with new versions that fit or look better. For example, I got rid of this chambray shirt because it was too big and couldn't be tailored not to ride up. I just need to find a replacement. I still want a pair of cognac/taupe/neutral flats, but the ones above may not be it for the long-term.

Here are the rules I've been following to clean house:

1) If conditions apply to the piece (can only wear with this shirt underneath or with that cardigan), get rid of it
2) If the fit isn't perfect, pitch it. Find someone else it flatters or give it away
3) If you don't reach for it on a regular basis during the season, sayonara
4) Forget about what you paid, the great deal you got or how you were convinced this was the perfect piece for you. Learn and move the Salvation Army
5) Be 100% honest
6) Get rid of duplicates or anything remotely similar, especially more novelty/specialty pieces

I've found that by getting rid of the excess, I can see all the pieces I really like, unconditionally.

Getting dressed has become sooooo much easier because:
  • Most pieces go together now that I've eliminated some of the redundant/flop pieces
  • Everything fits
  • I've identified the key categories that really work for me: colorful accessories, cardigans (most specifically the Jackie from J. Crew because it works with everything--I have four of them), fun and flowy tops, straight skirts, cropped and slim pants, somewhat intricate sandals and dresses. Easy!
  • Having a monthly clothing budget forces me to be smart and choosy since my funds are limited

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