Friday, September 3, 2010

Too Many Clothes?

Earlier Drafts:
One day this sheer, short-sleeved number screamed, "Wear me with olive green cargo pants!"  So I did.
I wore this multi-chain necklace with a fedora.  And also with clothes.

white button-down with sleeves (Gap)
sheer button-down with ruffles (thrifted)
multi-chain necklace (Talbots)
pink pearl ring (gifted)
mother of pearl bracelet (gifted)
grey pencil skirt (Talbots, gifted)
nude heels (Guess, a recent eBay score)

Last month my mom gave me this fabulously-fitting grey pencil skirt, and I immediately began scheming up outfits for it.  Thing is, I sort of forgot about it after that.  It's been hanging among the other skirts in my closet, sandwiched between I-wore-this-once-four-years-ago and This-threadbare-thing-has-a-memory-attached.  It got lost among never-wears, I guess.

A shame, right?  Because this stretch-cotton number is a great length, and it fits me well, and it sits at an ideal spot on my hips, and it has a sheen that allows me to dress it up, but it can also be dressed down.  Also, it's basically my favorite color in the world, can you tell?  I'm almost camouflaged against the paint shade on my wall.  (Whaddiyaknow, the walls in my living room are one hue darker.  Practically color-matched to this skirt at Home Depot's Paint Center, I'd say.)  So, yes, it's a crying shame this winner of a garment has been, until yesterday, forgotten among clothing toward which I feel half-heartedly.

Which is why I started thinking, Maybe I own too many clothes.  Actually, this thought did not occur to me independently.  Reader/friend Mackenzie - you might remember her insight from this post - steered my thoughts in this direction when she sent me an email that went like so:

I'm finding such an interesting energy between your blog and some of the more DIY or eco-consciousness-focused clothing blogs I follow. ... One thing I'm always struggling with, and which seems to be in the background of the Scholar Style Guide discussion lately, is -- how many clothes are too many clothes?

Great question!  It's one Liz, Katie, and I ask ourselves regularly, especially because we have limited funding and tight closet spaces.  Before now, we've responded to this issue indirectly.  We feel strongly that the "Earlier Drafts" feature in our posts upholds principles of thrift and creativity by allowing readers to track the ways we recycle our already-have garments.  And recent posts, like Liz's report on her shopping hiatus and Katie's analysis of pieces she already owns, also demonstrate our work-with-what-we've-got mentality.

But we don't want to stop there.  No, we're inspired by posts like this one from Young House Love that take closet editing seriously.  Like Sherry at YHL, we believe it's possible and worthwhile to pare down one's wardrobe to a few well-loved essentials.  That's why we've declared next week Wardrobe Workhorse Week!  We're devoting five days to items without which we'd consider our closets incomplete, and we're hoping to answer Mackenzie's question along the way.  The idea is to trim our sartorial fat: celebrate the items we love and donate/consign/discard the items we don't.

Join us, won't you?  We'd love to hear about the clothes you can't live without.  If you'd like to hop aboard the WWW train, comment on this post by September 5.  See you next week!

  • What do you think: how many clothes are too many?  How do you know you've reached the limit?
  • How do you decide which items to keep and which ones to lose?  Tell us about your methods!  Better yet, join us for WWW!  During September 6-10 (next week!) we're inviting you to celebrate your all-time favorite wardrobe reliables with us.  RSVP here!


Caitlin said...

I am looking forward to this upcoming week of posts. This particular topic reaches me at a time where I am studying my wardrobe and trying to decipher what is needed and what was impulse. I wear probably 4 shirts contantly in my closet and the rest just sit there. Is it just me? Am I the only one that holds on to things whether they are too big, too small, out of date, not the right color for me? I certainly hope not. I feel like a packrat.

Scholar Style Guide said...

I'm the exact same way! Each season, I rotate 5-8 pieces while the rest collect dust. For me, something's gotta give: either I get creative and start wearing more of my clothing OR I pare down majorly. Here's hoping WWW kicks off our closet makeovers in a thoughtful way! Can't wait!


Scholar Style Guide said...

GREAT skirt! Earlier this summer you made the case for more subdued ensembles being a good alternative for bright colors during summer, and I think this demonstrates your point again!

And the skirt would also look perfect with the gray heels I gifted you, if I do say so myself! : )