Wardrobe Audit – January

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At the beginning of January I turned all of the coathangers in my wardrobe around.  The idea behind this is that once an item has been worn you replace the hanger in the correct manner.  This provides an easy way to identify those items which have not been worn.

Since the past month has been recorded as the hottest ever start to the year in Australia, it is no surprise to find that jackets, cardigans, jeans and trousers were not worn in January.  Of the seasonally appropriate items, there are a couple of tops and 3 skirts which have not yet been worn.  I am sure their time will come.

The other thing I decided to do was not to buy any new clothes in January.  This was not entirely successful depending on your definition of ‘new’.  I bought 3 items that are new to me during the month.  We have a local recycle boutique which I check out from time to time.  I am fairly selective and only choose pieces that are absolutely perfect for me and I could not go past these.

Patterned cropped jeans

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Sleeveless cowl neck top

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Long sleeve white linen shirt

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Although none of them had tags attached, I am pretty sure that they are all unworn.

Finally, I moved three items out of my wardrobe.  The first was a pair of jeans I bought in 2012.  They have had a lot of wear and are getting pretty thin as well as somewhat faded and stained.  They are are now in the pile of clothes to be worn around the house and when gardening.  Similarly a sleeveless tshirt top has seen better days so met the same fate.  A pair of white shorts went in the bin as the elastane had all given way and they were not in a fit state to be used or donated.

All of this wardrobe activity takes place on a background of the knowledge that my clothes needs will evolve with my upcoming retirement in a few months along with plenty of travelling planned.

As always, I will only be making carefully considered purchases.

I will continue to monitor and report on my progress during the year.

A Matter of Priorities

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At the end of my last blog post I said I would show you more of what I had been sewing the next day.

Well, that did not happen.  Not only did I not write the post, I did not do the intended sewing.  There were other things that rated as more important and demanded my attention.  In fact, if I am honest, that is why there are often significant gaps between blog posts.  The blog has a relatively low priority in my life as the full-time job and running a household definitely come first.

Anyway, in the absence of any sewing, I want to share some of the recent additions to my wardrobe.

I am not keen on buying clothes online but towards the end of last year I bought 3 tops from Covered Perfectly.  This was on the recommendation of Susan from Susan After 60 blog.  The tops are made in the USA and with a buy 2, get the 3rd one free deal they were very reasonably priced, even with the overseas shipping.

Here are the three that I bought.

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Since it is the middle of summer here, these will not be worn in the near future.  I am looking forward to wearing them in the cooler weather and also including them in the packing for our Europe trip later in the year.

Yesterday, I had some free time between appointments in Maleny so I took the opportunity to check out the recycle boutique.  I do have a browse there from time to time and have bought a few things previously.  I was definitely in luck as I found this cute pair of cropped Sportscraft jeans which appeared to have never been worn.  They were my size and fitted like a glove.

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I also found a pretty sleeveless top with a cowl neckline.

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Here are a few styling possibilities that I have identified for my new pieces.

Cropped jeans with teal 3/4 sleeve top.

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Cropped jeans with navy tshirt.

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Cropped jeans with white collared shirt.

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The sleeveless top will be paired with white cropped pants, black trousers or even these green jeans.

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A few years ago my wardrobe consisted mostly of black, white and red items.

More recently I have included a bit more navy in lieu of some black pieces and the addition of some more blue and green is great, too.  I am still sticking to my theory that every piece in my wardrobe must be able to be worn in at least 3 different ways or combinations.

A Capsule Wardrobe

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Over the past 10 years I have flirted with various versions of a minimalist wardrobe.  There seem to be as many versions of how to tackle an over-abundance of clothes as there are people on the planet.

After looking into Project 333 some years ago, I decided that the best option for me was to continue to keep a streamlined, mix-n-match selection that I wear most of the year round.  This works for me because I am fortunate to live in a fairly temperate climate.

However, I have recently joined a Facebook group focused on capsule wardrobes.  Someone posted about creating a Spring capsule based on the principle enunciated in The Vivienne Files.

One of the things that bothers me about many of the pieces chosen in limited collections tend to be pale/soft/neutral colours which are definitely not my style.  It would not matter how many pieces I had to choose from, I would still not be able to find anything to wear!  For those who follow the principle of colour analysis, I am a ‘winter’ which means I can wear black and other strong, clear blue-based colours.  When I had this analysis done back in the early 80s it really just confirmed what I already knew and I very rarely deviate from my preferred palette.

Based on this knowledge and the selection in my wardrobe, I chose the following 16 pieces for my capsule for the next 3 months.

The suggested configuration was:

Neutral – 2 bottoms and 2 tops, 1 of which should be a cardigan or jacket.

Naturally, I chose black.

Shorts and jeans.

A cardigan and short sleeve top, both in cashmere/merino.

Choose another neutral with the same configuration of 2 tops and 2 bottoms.

I am not sure that red is a neutral but it is definitely a base colour in my wardrobe.

capri pants and shorts.

A long sleeve knit top and a ‘denim’ jacket.

The next suggested category is 4 more tops which obviously need to mix and match as well as meet the vagaries of the local weather.

The final 4 items are open to personal preference and any categories you feel need an extra.

As the weather warms up I will definitely need these white cropped pants.

15 White cropped pants

A couple of patterned tops to add interest.

And a dress.

16 Multi-colour dress

While I followed the guidelines as suggested, I also know that there are dozens of outfits that can be created with this selection because I regularly do it.  Almost all of these pieces are several years old and are well-established in my wardrobe.

I am not entirely convinced that these will cover a couple of short holidays and special events that fall in the next 3 months but they will definitely account for 95% of my day-to-day outfits.

I will do a follow-up post in the next few days about a couple of accessories and the shoes that I will add to this collection.

Project 333 – A Capsule?

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Since I first tried the idea of Project 333 back in 2012, I have used “Project 333” as the preface for the title of all my blog posts about my streamlined wardrobe.  I would like a similarly short, snappy preface that is unique to my blog posts so I will give it some thought but in the meantime I will use “Project 333”.

Tonight I want to address a question which vexes me and that is, “What is a capsule wardrobe?”

I read and hear of a capsule wardrobe, winter/spring/summer/autumn capsules as well as formal capsules and gym capsules to name but a few.  Confused yet?  I certainly am. Here is the Wikipedia definition.

My wardrobe has never been bulging at the seams but I have had the same issues that many other women have identified and that is the feeling of looking at a collection of clothes and feeling that you have nothing to wear.  This seems to lead to random purchases which only further compound the problem.  Therefore, I have chosen to carefully select clothes which truly fit my lifestyle and reflect my personality.

I live in a fairly temperate climate so have very little need for heavy coats.  We do not have clearly defined seasons and generally have more warm weather than cool.

It is currently winter and the weather is as cold as it gets with overnight temperatures as low as 5C and some days when the maximum is only around 15C, however, on Sunday the daytime temperature reached 25C.  You can begin to see the folly of packing all warm weather clothes away for a 3 month period.

2015-05-18 01Nevertheless, I did remove some of my true summer clothes from my wardrobe a few months ago and it is easier to see exactly what season-appropriate clothes are available.

2012-05-28 01As I have continued to define and refine my style over the past few years, I have found that I tend to purchase multiple items of the same style.  For example:  I have 3 identical pairs of shorts – black, white and khaki as well as a very similar pair of red ones.  When I find a style that fits well and suits me, why not buy multiples?  4 dresses, 2 cardigans, 2 pairs of jeans and 2 skirts are other examples of where I have more than 1 colour of the same style.  I guess it is a matter of ‘when you are on a good thing, stick to it’.

What do understand by the term ‘capsule wardrobe’?  Have you tried to pare down the selection of clothes?  What tips do you have?

Project 333 – How Many Can You Make?

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While I don’t adhere precisely to the concept of 33 items for 3 months, I have been working on streamlining my wardrobe.  I make sure that everything in there is something that I truly love and wear.  It also needs to be capable of being worn in several different ways.

Today I want to show you how versatile a few pieces can be so I selected a total of 13 items.

2013-02-27 012 skirts

2013-02-27 02A pair of 3/4 trousers

2013-02-27 03Dark blue jeans

2013-02-27 04That is a total of 4 ‘bottoms’.  Then I added 4 tops.

2013-02-27 05Three are the same style and the white one is slightly different.

A jacket with 3/4 sleeves which is very practical for our climate and also air-conditioned offices.

2013-02-27 06A cardigan

2013-02-27 07Finally, some footwear.

2013-02-27 08Look carefully and you will see that almost any combination will work.

In reality there are a few things I would not do.

Wear sandals with jeans
Wear sandals when wearing jacket or cardigan
Wear white top with spotted skirt (cream) or with the white trousers (too much white)
Wear red top and red jacket together
Wear black top and black cardigan together
Wear blue top and black cardigan with checked skirt or jeans (too many different dark colours together)

By applying the ‘rules’ I set above I have calculated that I could create 72 different outfits by adding/deleting a jacket/cardigan or changing the shoes.

How versatile are the clothes in your wardrobe?