Wardrobe Reality (Part II)

While the focus on my wardrobe has been primarily on purging I have recognized some needs as well. And there is now room in my closet for a few items. One area in particular is capris. By late September/October I am sick of wearing my shorts, even if the temps are still in the 90’s.  I find myself homesick for autumn. As a compromise I have begun building an autumn wardrobe for warm temperatures.  Just a few shirts in fall colors and capris. In my purging I had gotten rid of all my casual capris except for one pair. I have three pair of dressier ones that I wear to church or when I want to look a little nicer but I wanted a few more pair for around the house  and that seemed more suited to fall than summer. I got lucky at Goodwill and found two pair. Khaki Dockers that fit perfect and a denim pair that I need to get taken in a bit.

And then I looked at the J. Peterman catalog.  J. Peterman Owner’s Manuals are a recently acquired guilty pleasure.  I didn’t even know J. Peterman was a real company when it was on “Seinfeld”!  I love reading all the vignettes and imagine myself in the breezy dresses walking towards a café in Italy or France or Cape Cod. But actually wearing something from there in my real world, not so much.

When I was purging all my sweaters I promised myself that I could buy a light weight red sweater. Something that would look good at Christmas. And there in the catalog was a red summer sweater, made for cool nights on the beach. The reviews were good, it was on sale and I decided to buy it. And then, dark blue capris, perfect, exactly the addition I needed. How about a pair of rust colored hanging out pants?  I hadn’t sorted out my sweatpants yet but I thought a pair of new, less frumpy ones would be a good asset. And then there was the hooded sweatshirt. It was actually for men but reviews said it was cut small. It was like nothing I owned, striped and color blocked and on sale. Into the cart it went.

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Christmas in August!

When the package came it was like Christmas. The sweater was heavier than I expected, more like a medium weight, but that could be because it was 100 degrees when I was trying it on. I loved the fit, color and style and into the closet it went. Everything else fit as well and felt really good. I confess I have no  need for another hooded sweatshirt but I love the uniqueness and there is nothing even remotely like it in my closet.

I have to admit it feels really good to only wear clothes I love and that fit well.  I no longer dread getting dressed in the morning and I feel like my days are more productive now that I am not slouching around in sloppy workout clothes or humongous tee shirts.  For me at least my clothes affect my attitude.  Better clothes choices = better outlook.

Wardrobe Reality (Part I)

The focus of my purging this summer has been my wardrobe. The purpose of going through all my clothes has been threefold:

The first and primary purpose was closet size. This is the smallest closet I have had in decades, coupled with the fact that I have no attic or basement to store totes of off season clothes in.

A second purpose emerged as I realized how much stuff I have and how old most of it is.  It is not that I am a huge clothes shopper but over the last 10 to 20 years items accumulated.

Thirdly, I have come to accept that my wardrobe is set up for the wrong season. Until I moved to the desert southwest five years ago I had always lived in the northern tier of the nation. I had nine months of winter clothes.  Even in the summer one needed fleeces and jeans for at night. Now I barely need 3 months of slightly cooler weather clothes.  Actual cold weather clothes?  Maybe two or three days.

I have for the most part accomplished goal one.  All of my clothes except for one tote box  are in my bedroom closet or dresser.  This tote box is full of winter pajamas and is in my half of the playroom closet.  Goal two is done for my summer wardrobe.  I admit I am loving my pared down choices and I have not missed anything I’ve gotten rid of.  I am still a pretty casual dresser but no longer crossing the line into slobville.  (I can’t see the casual changing, after all I am a stay at home mom of a seven year old where it is going to be over 100 degrees everyday for the foreseeable forecast.)

And now we come to goal three.  I was going to wait until winter to go through my cold weather items but since I was on a roll I decided to give it a go.  I have a lot of sweaters.  Some heavy, some lightweight.  Cardigans and pullovers.  I  read a blog post about a woman who had a huge walk in closet and actually counted her clothes.  I thought about doing that but, nah I was happy with my summer outfits.  They fit neatly in the closet, I loved and was wearing everything I had.  Good enough,  I didn’t care about a number.

But sweaters?  I stopped and thought.  How many really cold days a year did we have here?  Not just cold but gray and rainy because even in winter the sun here is warm.  How many days could I wear a heavy pullover sweater?  Realistically only two or three plus my December trip to Flagstaff which adds another two to four days.  I looked at my pile of sweaters.  Hmmm.  I finally paired it down to five and it wasn’t easy.  I hated getting rid of sweaters I would wear if we had the weather for them.  I went back to the “would I buy it today” mentality and that did the trick.

I also  kept five heavy cardigans because I use them as my winter coats for walking my son to school in the morning and then walking the dog.    I also have nine lighter weight pullover and cardigan sweaters.  These get more wear as we seldom turn the heat on so I frequently wear a layer over my shirt in the mornings around the house until the sun warms things up.

It still seems like a ridiculous amount of sweaters for this climate.  I will see what happens this winter.  What I wear and what I love.  I will try and keep in mind how happy I am with fewer summer clothes.  Of course the forecast is for an El Nino winter, cooler and wetter so maybe this year I will need my sweaters.  It is a very comforting thought.