If I had my preference, I’d drape myself in fine designed linen, cotton, and wool, accessorized with leather loafers and booties each day. But alas, my day job’s salary doesn’t meet such requirements.
Therefore, my wardrobe in the end is something quite different than I hoped. It’s a scrambled mess of dated styles, worn yet loved articles, and the ho hum.
But don’t get me wrong. It’s very much true that I thank the Lord our God for the blessings of clothing and shelter that I do have! It’s that there is something in and about my wardrobe that is overwhelming me and it’s time I take the effort to fix it.
We have to think about clothing ourselves, am I right?! We can’t go living our life all naked for a few reasons – the most important being warmth.
So here’s what I’ve figured:
How I came to be overwhelmed…
- Clothes galore, yet nothing to wear! Riley and I have so many clothes that we both fill up two separate closets, yet we feel like we have little we like to wear. uggghhhhh – probably the most frustrating!
- Why does this never get worn?! We like the idea of a lot of the articles of clothing but when we put them on there is some small but significant reason why we immediately take them off and put them back in the closet. They are either too baggy, the seam is crooked, too short, see through, neck line is too deep, etc.
- It never changes…When we look at clothes we would like to buy and probably should buy, we often don’t because we have too many already.
- A little bit of everything. It seems I’m pretty confused about my style. I have a section of hipster articles, then in another I have work professional, farmer, edgy, and simple. Who am I?!
- Holding on for later. Kansas has seasons and I definitely don’t wear the same clothes in the summer as I do in the winter. Yet, for some odd reason, I keep it all, each season of clothing, in my closet ready for the weird chance it snows in July or it hits 90 in January.
I feel that in the end, it costs me much because of these things. It costs time, money, efficiency, space, peace, and most valuable contentment.
Like many things in life, if I don’t think through the purpose, strategy, and guidelines ahead of time, I end up making a mess by scrabbling to have a fraction of those thoughts and choices made in the moment.
I was going to just journal all these thoughts out and set up a process by myself, then I thought why not blog about it. Maybe someone else has this problem and would like thinking it through with me!
So here is what I’d do in my journal…
I have decided over and over again that my appearance doesn’t define me, despite that I just responded above, “Who am I?!” to my abundance of styles in my closet, I do know who I am.
When my “style” becomes my identity, things like comparison, obsession, time and money loss, defining others by their appearance, and many other manifestations take place. None of which I think are good or uplifting to others.
I’ve settled that the only definition of who I am is by the one who created me.
But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:17
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
So, therefore, again, I must retract my words and say, this isn’t really a “crisis”. I’m not in any intense trouble or difficulty. I’m just ready to have thoughts on the matter and a simple process established.
I am not striving for ideal or perfection as I feel I would in a time where I was struggling with appearance as my identity. I don’t want my closet to outshine others, or be my joy, I just want it to be exactly what it is : clothes.
That said, my goal is this :
- To have a clean, minimal, thought-through wardrobe,
- in which I know my “style”,
- to take only a few minutes in the morning to choose an outfit,
- and when shopping I can easily say, “YES – I need this!” or “Nope – don’t need it. Pass.”
I came up with a few questions to ask myself so that I can set some guidelines to meet these goals.
What do I not like about my wardrobe?
This question can really help me determine the type of clothes I like and potentially my “style” (because what exactly is the definition of my style). So, I’ll go through and take out all of the clothes I don’t like; anything I’ve ever put on then taken off.
Then I’ll make a bullet-ed list of why I don’t like each item of clothing.
What words describe my ideal style?
After making, what I thought, was an exhaustive list of what I DO want from each item of clothing and what I DON’T want I chose four words that were most important to me.
Important note: Like I said above, this list of words doesn’t define ME, the words simply describe what I would like most from my clothes.
multipurpose, neutral in color, timeless (minimal design), and handmade (perfect fitting)
How much am I willing to spend on clothes?
Riley and I’s life/income changes from season to season. It’s best that I make a budget for each season.
Like always when spending money, I find it’s better to spend the money on paper first before spending it in real life. Budgeting is good, they tell me. Budgeting is good…
Clean out (without waste) the clothes that aren’t in alignment with my four Ideal Style Descriptors.
I made a big pile! I threw all the clothes out of my closet and onto my bed that weren’t multipurpose, neutral in color, timeless (minimal design), and handmade (perfect fitting).
Disclaimer : “perfect fitting” will be the descriptor for cleaning out my closet and “handmade” will be a descriptor for planning ahead as I have only about 15% of clothes that are handmade currently in my closet. It’d be unreasonable to rid of 85% of my current closet.
Sell, give away, or re-purpose.
One conviction Riley and I choose to have in our lives is to steward our possessions well. That means when I’m cleaning out my closet, I’m want to avoid throwing things away in the name of organizing.
It’s been a slow process but Riley and I have been selling stuff on Craigslist, at Plato’s Closet, Ditto, and Arizona Trading CO. We also have been giving things away or donating them.
My favorite way to go about this task is to take old clothes and refashion them. Let’s just say my sewing pile is HUGE!
Sort clothes by seasons.
Riley and I purchased some tubs to store seasonal clothes under our bed.
If it does happen, which in Kansas it can, that in July we have snow or in January it’s 70 degrees, we’ll give the effort of pulling out the tubs from under the bed.
Rethink what I need.
This is where I currently am. Now that I’ve eliminated what I don’t like about my closet, I’m going to pause, take a week, a month, or whatever and see if I can live with what I have.
Taking it one season at a time, I’ll ask myself : Do these clothes describe what I want my style to be? Am I willing to live with only what I have left over? What do I feel I need for this season?
Find what I need.
Ooooh the fun part!
…yet, following a budget…
I want to make, as in draft and sew, most of my clothes. I like the way I can custom fit, choose the fabric, and have minimal stitches. Another important thing I will value is my shoe priorities. With the right shoes, many outfits can work well. I have a feeling the majority of my budget will go to shoes. To me, they complete, or some cases make, the style of my attire.
So, for those of you that made it this far in the post, I hope you found my thinking process helpful and find resolve in your closet chaos, well that’s if you have any.
I found it was helpful for myself! Give me some time and I plan to post more about my progress and show you some of my me-made garments.
I’d be really interested to hear how you feel about your closet and the words you’d choose for your ideal style descriptors. Do tell?