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Forever shopping in my closet

I’ve finally done what I committed to do back in July 2016.  If it weren’t for me rereading my blog post on Closet Shopping, which you can read here, I probably would’ve thought I just recently came up with the idea to take pictures of outfits I assemble with my existing wardrobe. Genius! Yesterday, I spent most of Saturday (7 to 8 hours) getting reacquainted with the clothes in my closet. As I prepare for 2020, I want to let go of feeling like I don’t have enough.  I have plenty!

For clarification purposes, on this recent endeavor, I was focused on my winter wardrobe, which mostly occupies the closet space in my bedroom. My summer clothes reside in my daughter’s closet. With changing seasons, I switch out the clothes.  I grew up in the midwest (Chicago, IL) so changing clothes with the seasons is a habit. 

I didn’t think it would take me 7-8 hours, but time flies when you’re having fun. I had my music playing in the background as I diligently went through my clothes, focusing on the pieces where I tend to have more difficulty assembling outfits.  As the QUEEN of “separates”, I sometimes forget which pieces work well together.  This exercise will help me remember. 

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I enjoyed this outfit at the office earlier in December. I felt extra chic with my black tights and black suede boots. LPC

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At home after church 12-29-19 LPC

Clearly, I’m not a photographer.  After I tried on combinations I liked, I just layed out the pieces on my bed and took pictures with my phone camera.  The lighting in my bedroom is HORRIBLE.  You can see it didn’t capture the vibrant hue of this sparkly blue top. The impetus for assembling my outfits is that I had an epiphany recently.  I spend very little time getting myself dressed because I’m often multitasking, trying to get things done that I think are more important.   

This became apparent to me when I ended up not liking the outfit I put together for Christmas Eve service at church.  My husband and I took a picture together at a display at the church sanctuary, and let’s just say, I didn’t post the picture to my social media.  A complete ensemble consists of not just the clothes, but jewelry, shoes, and a hairstyle.  I have a bad habit of neglecting to spend time on the whole ensemble.  This will change. 

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Golden. LPC

Another epiphany I had is that when I was in my shopping frenzy heyday, I didn’t have a systematic way to shopping.  Unless, there was a special occasion, which was rare, I shopped sales.  This could be another reason why it feels like I don’t have complete outfits, but just a bunch of pieces.  My mom would ask me why I had so many tops, which is still true to this day. I think it’s easier to pick up another pretty shirt.  I didn’t have to put much thought in it.  Over the years, I’ve gotten more strategic about pieces I need (i.e., black dress pants, white shirt, etc.) 

The good thing is as long as my clothes are good quality, I hold onto them for years.  I still  wear some clothes as old as my daughter (she’s 14).  The brown skirt pictured above with the gold shirt is about 13 or 14 years old. I bought the gold shirt and necklace (separate purchases and stores) about 2 years ago.  

My weight has fluctuated over the years, but I’ve lost roughly 25 pounds two years post having my daughter.  I’ve already given away clothes that were too big (except for a few favorite pieces), which is why I probably don’t have any clothes from the time I had my son.  I was heavier then.  Three years ago, I lost more weight and have been maintaining all except 5 pounds. 

In 2020, my goal is to lose 20 pounds.  Although I’m putting shopping on pause now, I will likely need to shop in the future to accommodate my smaller frame.  I need to find a talented tailor for a few pieces I have now and in the future. 

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Pop of color LPC

 

There was a time I had very little black pieces in my wardrobe. I loved bright colors and I still do to this day. Then about 15 years ago, I had a manager who mostly wore black. She used to live in New York City for a period and I noticed she wore black often. She said everyone wears black in New York because it’s chic.  She had me thinking about black, so I added a few black pieces to my wardrobe.

I hope this post encourages someone to stop the madness of constantly buying clothes only to constantly feel like you have nothing to wear.  Why buy things if you don’t take the time to enjoy them.  Spending a whole day in my closet, assembling outfits is a rare treat, but it gave me an appreciation for what I have.  

And what I do have is a whole lot of dresses, especially summer dresses.  I didn’t bother taking pictures of them all.  That will be a future post in the spring.  I’ll have fun pairing them with blazers and dress sandals.  What I’ve learned since living in Texas for 22 years is that you can turn a summer dress into a winter ensemble by simply adding a sweater and some boots. Just like that, I’m able to extend the life of my dresses. 

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Dress is best.  LPC

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Muted hues LPC

I have a small closet filled with clothes and I haven’t even touched the surface.  In my earlier post on Closet Shopping, which you can read here I give insight into how growing up poor contributed to my obsession with clothes. 

Although assembling outfits from my existing wardrobe was a useful and fun experience for me, I want to acknowledge I also felt overwhelmed.  I only touched about 40-50% of the clothes in my closet.  I assembled approximately 25 outfits (not all pictured). 

Earlier in the year, I purged a decent amount of clothes after I watched Marie Kondo on Netflix.  I did the exercise of purging the clothes that no longer served me and I kept the ones which brought me joy.  I think purging should be reevaluated periodically.  It’s not a “one and done” activity.  What brought me joy 9 months ago, may not be bringing me any joy today.  You can apply this to other aspects of your life. 

One light lesson as we close 2019 is I need to purge some “things” from my closet. 

Namely, I want to let go of these false truths:

  1. I don’t have enough
  2. I have to be constantly acquiring stuff to satisfy me
  3. External things define me

The truths I plan to embody are:

  1. I am enough
  2. I have enough
  3. External and materials things don’t define me

How much time do you spend coordinating your outfits? What’s in your closet that you might need to purge? What are you looking forward to in 2020? 

 

 

 

 

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Closet shopping

Last night, I spent hours “shopping” in my closets because in just 2 weeks, I’ll be traveling to Jamaica for my 25 year high school reunion. My passport finally arrived yesterday and the realization hit that I need to work on a wardrobe game plan. I did type “closets” and not “closet” because at one point, I had clothes in everyone’s closet, but my son took a stand one day and moved my clothes to the garage.  By the way, he gets his feisty-ness from me. Since we downsized some years ago from a house to a duplex, the space has been limited, especially the closet space.  My excuse has been that I went from a walk-in closet to one that is about a quarter of that. Yes, that’s a big difference.

As much as I would love shopping for new clothes, it just isn’t feasible at this time although I did buy one new dress a few weeks ago. We’re paying for my daughter’s summer camp and my husband just went back to work this week after being off for nearly 2 months since his surgery.  The thing that I battle against is the sense of entitlement that I work hard, I take care of my family, and I’ve earned it; therefore, I deserve to splurge. Now, I do believe that I should treat myself, but at what point does acquiring new clothes, new shoes, new gadgets, and new stuff become enough. About 10 years ago, I thought that maybe I did have a problem when my oldest sister was perusing through my closet and referred to me as having a “sickness” due to my shoe collection. Ouch. That was a bit harsh and an exaggeration considering the source, but I’ve never forgotten that. 

I think that in my case, some of it is compulsion, some of it habit, and dare I suggest, some of it may be filling a void. My family was poor, so I didn’t have a lot growing up. I vowed to make sure I had more than I needed when I got older. When I was a preteen,  I owned this one white bra, which had to be hand washed every night.  One night my mom yelled at me because I didn’t feel like washing it and she saw it was dingy with a capital “D”.

The fear of scarcity definitely motivates some of my behaviors and this extends beyond clothes. However, outside of my personal realm, society does put on the pressure in the messaging that we aren’t enough.  People buy things to look and feel successful and happy. Social media causes people to make constant comparisons.  I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I didn’t acknowledge that I’m prone to internalizing some of these messages.

Interestingly, there are aspects to living a minimalist lifestyle that really appeal to me such as living against the mold, freedom from being physically and mentally bogged down, and making room for more spiritual connection and enjoying experiences with people rather than things. The truth is that I want to embody some minimalist principles.  I need to reassess to see if I’m living in a way that will get me there.

Years ago, we downsized our home due to the economy and my husband’s multiple layoffs. Despite the circumstances, I found it to be a blessing because since then I’ve learned that I could make any place a cozy, home. I’ve learned that as long as my family is together, nothing else matters. I’ve learned that the type of home I have isn’t a measure of my success or failure. I also learned about the positives of living in a small space such as there being a smaller cap on how much stuff can be brought and stored in your home. This has, for the most part, forced me to re-evaluate old things as I bring in new things. I purge more frequently than I have in the past, which is a bonus. 

I actually enjoyed shopping in my closets last night. I’m a little embarrassed to write that I have so many clothes that I sometimes forget what I have. Maybe someone else can relate. I have mostly separates, and every now and then, I’ll put an outfit together that I really like, but I’m unable to replicate it on a different occasion because I forgot what I put together.  This all prompted the idea to coordinate my outfits and take a picture of each outfit including the accessories. I have a work trip scheduled the same week as my trip to Jamaica, so I didn’t want to wait until the last minute.

That exercise allowed me to not only coordinate some great options, I gained a greater appreciation for what I have. This message extends well beyond clothes. I encourage others to take the time to take a look at what you have, purge what no longer serves you, make room for meaningful experiences, and be grateful.