New to Me

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Sometimes things are just meant to be.  A couple of weeks ago my mother told me that had some casual clothes – mostly tshirts which were now surplus to her requirements.

In the spirit of my relatively streamlined wardrobe and a lack of need, I refused most of them.  However, this one caught my eye.

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I had no intention of rushing out to buy a pink and white striped rugby top but when I saw this in the pile I simply fell in love with it.  This top is very lightweight and perfect for our generally mild weather for about 6 months of the year.

After wearing  it for a couple of days when I first received the top, I washed and ironed it.  While ironing it, I noticed that there was only one button on the placket.  The button was white and I searched my collection of numerous white buttons but could not find any suitable ones but discovered that I had 2 pink buttons that were the right size.

When I was planning what to pack on our upcoming trip to the UK I decided to include this top.  Even though it is quite light, it is loose enough to wear a thermal top underneath it and with the addition of a warm jacket I would be quite snug when out and about.

Even though this was an unplanned addition to my wardrobe, I am confident that it will  be perfect for my needs and get plenty of wear.

What I Wear – 6 Month Update

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It is now 6 months since I began tracking what I wear.  June signals the beginning of winter in the southern hemisphere and we finally have some weather that can be regarded as appropriate for the season in our area.  Therefore, some of the clothes I wore in the past month are ones that had barely been touched since I began recording what I wear at the beginning of December.

I have had a net increase to my wardrobe as I added 4 new items and discarded 2.  One is not actually new, just new to the list.  I can’t believe that I completely forgot to list my turquoise cardigan.  Anyway, it is now on the list.

New additions:

The dress was actually bought in April but I had not added it to the tally since I was not sure that it would be a long-term addition.  I have now decided that I will keep it.  You can read more about it here.  The trousers are slim-fitting pull-on tailored trousers that will be the mainstay of my work wardrobe during the cooler months.  I like the fact that there are nor buttons, zips or other fastenings to spoil the line of tops worn with them.

Discarded:

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I have now worn 79 of the 93 pieces in my wardrobe.  I expect that there will be less than 5 unworn ones by the end of the month.

This is the selection that have yet to be worn during this experiment.  They are mostly winter clothes with the exception of the cocktail dress and the formal dress.

I will miss half of the southern hemisphere winter this year as we will be in the USA and Canada for the latter part of July and almost all of August.  By the time we return spring will be just around the corner and my small selection of winter clothes will not see the light of day for another 9 months.

What I have discovered is that I can probably streamline my wardrobe further to around 80 items to cover all weather and all occasions and activities.  I also know that it is dynamic – an ever-changing process as pieces are worn, discarded and updated.

Until next month………

What I Wear – 5 Month Update

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I have now completed 5 months of tracking what I wear.

When I tallied up the month and moved across to the new spreadsheet for a new month, I found a couple of interesting insights which I would like to share with you.

See if you can guess what these 7 items have in common?

Dark denim jeans
White 3/4 pants
Checked seersucker skirt

Pink tshirt
Old khaki shorts
Black 3/4 leggings
Old striped rugby top

They are the only pieces that I have worn 10 times or more over the past 5 months.

When I review the pieces that have had more wear it is easy to see why.  I have a small selection of clothes that I wear at home when working in the garden or cleaning, therefore, they end up on high rotation.  The jeans, pants and skirt are probably my favourite ‘bottoms’ and it is interesting that there are no tops in the frequently worn pieces which tells me that I have probably got too many – or at least, that I don’t need any more.

Of the 91 items I have in my wardrobe I have worn 75 of them since I began this project.  Many have been worn just once or twice.  Some of this is due to the weather now starting to become slightly cooler.  However, it is partly because I think I have chosen to wear some things just so that I could say I have worn them.  These are the ones which possibly will not make the cut for next summer.

In any given month I wear around 50% of the clothes in my wardrobe and most of those are only worn once or twice.

The weather is finally starting to become cooler and I am looking forward to wearing some of the clothes that have not seen the light of day since last winter.  More on that next month.

Project 333 – What Went Back

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As promised, I will share a bit more of my wardrobe clean-up.

This is an overview of the bedroom on Saturday morning before I started.

2015-05-19 01It is not looking the best as I have made it to the end of the full-time working week and now it is time to sort things out.

I mentioned in my earlier post that I removed everything from the wardrobe.  I made the bed and hung up the jackets from the end of the bed before I started so that I had a clear working space.

Although one of the basic ideas behind Project 333 is to actually remove all but 33 items of clothing from your closet I had never actually done that.  I believed that most of my clothes were worn year-round due to our relatively temperate climate.  That is still the case and I have not limited myself to a precise number but as we are approaching our coolest months of the year I removed my summer clothes.

2015-05-18 01Here is the small pile of dresses, sleeveless tops and shorts which I will not wear again until the weather is hot.  This is in addition to those items which I have specifically set aside for our trip to Singapore.

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I took the time to critically examine each garment and try on a few different combinations to discover what worked together and how I felt about it.  A few pieces have been taken by the local recycle boutique on consignment and a couple more gone to the op shop.

This is what I was left with.  I will wear these clothes for the next 3 months with 1 or 2 possible purchases.

2015-05-18 02There are 2 pairs of trousers, a pair of jeans, 2 shirts and a jacket not shown as I was wearing them/they were in the wash.  The pile of summer clothes is bagged and on the top shelf along with a couple of bags and 2 sunhats.

It is now easy for me to see what is ‘missing’ so that I can make considered choices when I go shopping.

One of the things that is obvious from my selection of clothes is that I love prints – florals, stripes, spots, checks – I have them all.  I can now see that this is what has held me back from pursuing a ‘capsule wardrobe’ as many like to describe it.  So many blogs and discussions seem to revolve around plain colours, neutrals and mix’n’match themes.  In general terms, they also lean to what I regard as ‘wishy-washy’ colours – cream, sand, khaki, pale denim which do not inspire me.  I love (and look best in) black and white as neutrals with strong, clear colour accents – red, emerald green, purple and fuschia and my clothes mostly reflect that.

I feel like my wardrobe works for me.

Project 333 – Wardrobe Additions

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Adding to my wardrobe may seem to be contrary to the essence of Project 333 but it is not about denial but having a small collection of clothes that you love and wear.  The more I work with what I have the more clarity I have about the direction I want to take.

Last week I bought a new pair of shoes but they do not really count as they as for walking (exercise).

2015-03-21 01I did consider actually selecting 33 items to participate in Project 333  this autumn (fall) as I am in the southern hemisphere.  However, I am constantly drawn to the idea of a modest selection of clothes which can be worn year-round (with modifications) as we live in a warm temperate climate.  I work in an air-conditioned office during the week and live on a small, semi-rural acreage.

I tend to wear separates – skirts/trousers and shirts to the office and a few years ago I only owned one dress.  I have since realised that it was not really my choice – I love dresses – but dresses that I found suitable and flattering were difficult to find.  I now have 5 dresses plus a dress suitable for wedding/special occasions.  Additionally, I have fabric to make another dress and am seriously contemplating buying this one.

2015-03-21 02It is identical to these two dresses I already have in my wardrobe.

2013-02-11 02 2013-02-11 03Along with a plain black and two black/white dresses these could form the basis of a year-round office wardrobe.  I have a red jacket that can be worn with the two existing dresses and I would make or buy a navy jacket which could go with the new dress as well as the pink/red one.

My other proposed purchase is this bag.

2015-03-21 03I found it on Friday and plan to go back and buy it on Monday.  I have been looking for a bigger bag for some months as I want to be able to put my laptop in it and still have space for a few personal items – purse, sunglasses, phone, car keys.  My plan is to make this the one bag that I take to work so that I am not carrying a laptop case as well as a handbag.  My small black handbag will still be used on all other occasions.

By judiciously choosing the additions to my wardrobe and removing those items that do not make the grade, I am gradually creating a collection of clothes that I love and which work together in a variety of ways.

Unlike the earrings, my clothes are definitely a work in progress and that will continue to be the case.  What was perfect 3 years ago is now worn out, looking a bit jaded, no longer a perfect fit or just not a favourite.  I can see my wardrobe evolving to match my changing style.

Project 333 – Black & White

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From time to time I set myself mini challenges to force me to push the boundaries of my streamlined wardrobe.  I decided that this week would be entirely monochromatic – a black and white theme.

The forecast for Monday was hot so I reached for this old faithful which I have owned for 4 years.  There is so much to love about it – 100% cotton with a collar and cut away armholes AND made in Australia.

Black dress with white spotsTuesday was nearly as hot so another 100% cotton dress was a good option.  This is the one I bought a month ago.

2014-10-26 01On Wednesday the temperature was more reasonable so I opted for black 3/4 pants with this blouse from the recycle boutique.  I have worn it several times since I bought it a few weeks ago.  It is destined to become a firm favourite.

2014-10-26 02Today I tried a previously untested combination.  The black 3/4 pants got another airing but this time I teamed them with a black sleeveless fitted top and this blouse worn unbuttoned over it.  The blouse is a very fine fabric and needs an appropriate coloured bra underneath it and as I only had a black bra clean I decided to be a little creative.  While the outfit looked perfectly acceptable, it just did not feel right to me.  I will keep the blouse to be worn as it was designed in future.  I also think that I prefer this particular blouse teamed with my straight black skirt rather than trousers.

BlouseTomorrow it is going to be quite warm so I plan to wear white 3/4 trousers and this shirt.

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I have plenty of other black and white options but I will save them for another time.  Here is a selection.

2013-02-27 01Dress and jacketSleeveless top2013-02-27 02

Project 333 – Changing Colours

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Over the past couple of years I have streamlined my wardrobe quite a bit.  The neutrals I use are black and white with predominantly red accents.  There has been a touch of blue and fuschia pink.

When I was planning what I would take on our overseas trip, I decided that the 3 fitted tshirts that I am taking would go in the charity bin before we come home.  These tops are at least 3 years old and are definitely past their best.

It was an oppotunity to start planning my wardrobe for spring and summer as it will be well into September by the time we arrive home.  I am thinking of a change of accent colours to purple and jade green.  Coincidentally, a work colleague and The Duke both commented on how good the purple tshirt looked when I wore it last week with white trousers and a black/white patterned jacket.  I already have a couple of pieces to get me started.

Purple and jade

I bought a lightweight travel shirt last week which is also purple (although the colour is not true in the photo).

Purple shirt
Now that I have made a decision about what colours I want for my wardrobe it will be easier to go looking just for those rather than aimlessly hoping to find something I might like.