Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Simple Wardrobe, Part 3 - A Sort-of-Tutorial

On Thursday, I had some time and so I did a quick sweep through my closet and drawers, pulling out what I absolutely know I don't need.  Since I'd been thinking about it for a few days, I had a few pieces in mind and I tried to not look at or think about them much as I threw them in the bag for the goodwill.

When going through your wardrobe, a lot of people seem to use the "throw out what you haven't worn in the last 3-6 months" trick.  I love this and I would totally use it, except that I've always been someone who does wear all of her clothes.  That is not my problem.  I  naturally gravitate toward having a large wardrobe because I love having a wide selection of things to choose from.  I'm creative and putting together colorful and exciting outfits is really fun for me.  Sometimes I'm feeling vintage, sometimes I'm feeling bohemian, or modern.. sometimes my outfits end up looking a little like a hobo in a box of melting crayons...  but I have a lot of fun with it.

Because the problem isn't that I don't wear all my clothes, but that I don't need all the clothes that I wear, I have to weed out even some of the clothes I might wear on a semi-regular basis.  Does this feel wasteful?  Yes, but if you're giving them to charity, it isn't actually wasteful, it just feels that way.  And anyway, doesn't it make my life feel more manageable by cutting down on laundry, creating a cleaner closet, and freeing up drawer space?  Yes, it does, and that is the best thing in the world.

My other problem is: What to do with that creative streak?  One problem I had during the 3 jumpers experience was that sometimes I didn't feel like I had a wide enough selection to choose from (perhaps because I didn't!).  Sometimes I just wanted to wear something crazy and fun!  That's one reason I'm trying to come up with a wardrobe that has a little more variety than just 3 jumpers.  Because, while most of the time I just want to get up in the morning and not have to think about what to wear, for a small portion of the time, I really want something fun to wear.  And that small portion of the time is part of what drove me off the rails the last time.

I need variety, so with that in mind, I'm going to keep a few of my favorite fun and crazy outfits.  Complete with vintage suspenders and bobby socks.  I'm hoping that having a couple of my favorite
"fun" outfits will keep sane.

However, I really am happy to wear one of three or four dresses most days of the week.  Like with the 3 jumpers experience, I like dresses.  If they're long enough (and they are when I make them myself), I can move in them, I can get housework done, they don't cling and they're cool and airy in the summer.  I also found that, with jumpers, it was nice because the T-shirt underneath was the part that sat right against my body, so even if I was kind of sweaty and gross by the end of the day, I could usually still wear the jumper again without having to wash it, because it hadn't been up against my skin.

Is that gross?  Oh, well.

I also know that we don't attend church, as such, on a regular basis which means that I don't need a lot of dressy clothes.  For the most part, it's me and the mister at home, or I'm at school (did you know kids are going to school in their pajamas now?), or just hanging out with family.  None of these, for me, requires super fancy clothing.  That is not to say that I want to look grungy all the time, because I like to look clean and well kept, I just don't need fancy clothes to do that.

Anyway, with all of this in mind, I've come up with the following list:

Main Wardrobe:
  • wool coat
  • wool hat, scarf, mittens
  • wool cardigan
  • cotton cardigan
  • 3-4 short sleeved dresses
  • 1-2 dressy dresses (for special occasions, like weddings)
  • 1 pair of nice jeans
  • 1 pair of junk jeans + 1 junk T-shirt (for dirty around-the-house projects)
  • 1 blouse (to go with the nice jeans)
  • 1 black turtleneck
  • underwear (10-14 pairs)
  • 7 pairs wool socks
  • 2-3 pairs cotton ankle socks
  • 1 half slip
  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • 2 pairs of pajama pants
  • 2 pajama tops (T-shirts)
  • 1 pair of every day shoes
  • 1 pair of dressy shoes
  • 1 pair of slip-on sandals

Fun and crazy clothes:

  • 2 long skirts
  • 2 cotton cardigans
  • 2 blouses
  • suspenders
  • 1 leather belt
  • 1 pair tights

Possible additions:
  • 1 long sleeved dress in place of one of the short sleeved ones
  • another black turtleneck
  • 1 pair of every day jeans
  • summer pajama bottoms

I know, I know. It doesn't look like a very small wardrobe. But to me, it does! I'm going to keep my fun/crazy clothes in the spare room closet, along with anything from the "possible additions" list that I decide to keep around. This way, if I want or need something, it's still there, but I'm also getting used to working with a smaller selection again and, better yet, getting used to the feeling of owning less. Because that is a good feeling!

From those lists above, this is the list of things I need to make or buy:

  • 3-4 short sleeved wrap dresses
  • 3-5 tank tops/camisoles
  • underwear
  • 2 leggings
  • 3-4 wool socks

To me, that seems like a fairly small list of things to make and buy. I'll make the dresses, but in my experience, a simple dress doesn't take long: 3-4 hours at most.  I'm going to share with you some of the patterns I've been looking at tomorrow. I'm also going to experiment with making my own tank tops (I usually wear a camisole under any dress I wear) and see how that goes. Wool socks I make whenever I get around to them. And I'll probably buy the underwear and leggings, although I may try to make leggings as well.

Because I've carefully planned this out, none of these purchases or "to make" items are urgent, so I can take my time and build my wardrobe slowly, once I've cleaned out everything else that I don't need. For now, that's all. Tomorrow, I'm going to post the color scheme I've come up with, as well as some fabric choices and patterns I've been looking at for the dresses.

I hope your week is going very well!

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