Style Study

Closet Check-In

October 18, 2016


I’ve been feeling inspired to do a little closet check-in with you guys, in the name of being transparent about what my closet is really looking like these days. This summer I shared how I un-capsuled my wardrobe, and what that looked like moving forward. And while I don’t have a lot of hard and fast rules for my closet (besides ethically-made or second-hand items only), I do think it’s important to set goals. And it’s particularly important to reflect on goals and the progress you have or haven’t made.

First, a look at goals I’ve made over the last year:
  • To further hone in on my style.
  • To streamline the getting dressed process.
  • To only add three items per season.

Let’s see how I’ve been doing so far.

GOAL 1: To further hone in on my style.

I would say I am doing pretty well at this goal, best out of the three for sure. I spent almost two full years operating out of capsules, and that was sort of a mirror to show me what I loved when it comes to getting dressed.

Starting a blog has sort of intensified this process. Photographing myself in my outfits has really sharpened my eye for garment shapes and the feel of an outfit. You know the whole saying “the camera doesn’t lie”? Well, in this case, I find that to be very true! It’s much easier for me to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t when I’m looking at a photograph instead of a mirror. If you’re struggling with styling yourself, I highly recommend this practice, in front of a full-length mirror with good lighting. Take pictures everyday for a season, and save them in a folder on your phone. Then go back and study your favorites. You will learn a lot.

GOAL 2: To streamline the getting dressed process.

Well, I am still a hot mess in this department! I was doing a pretty good job in the summer, but the logistics of fall have my panties in a bunch. It’s so much colder, and it rains more days than it doesn’t, so I need to be realistic about what I wear and how I wear it. Also, my heart says heels, but my lifestyle says no.

  > >   I need to focus a bit more on practicality when adding items to my closet. This will help address some of the logistics of getting dressed. For example, I have been pining for some Bryr Clogs for quite awhile now, but even with the closed-toe, it’s just not practical for an Oregon winter.

  > >   I need to be okay with the idea of temporarily setting aside some items in my closet as the weather gets colder and rainier (i.e., cropped jeans, distressed denim with holes, and light/nude colored shoes).

  > >   I need to let go of the notion of perfectionism. The perfect outfit. The perfect palette. The perfect drape. The perfect look. It’s really, really good to aim high and style well, but perfect is well, impossible. It’s also boring.

  > >   I will continue to lay out my clothes the night before. Boy, this one makes me sound like a grade schooler! Pulling a few items to the front of my closet each night really makes getting dressed so much easier! Instead of making choices when I’m half awake (and in a hurry) I can be a little more mindful.


GOAL 3: To only add three items per season.

I set this goal in place last fall after feeling really inspired by a few things I’d read. The idea is to slow down the pace of augmenting your wardrobe and truly evaluate each item you add, ensuring it earns its place in your closet. Essentially it is closet mindfulness. I have failed pretty hard at this over the summer and this fall. It’s due in part to two things: revenue growth from the blog (and Everlane credits) and the opportunity to partner with some amazing brands and designers.

I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity and means to add many carefully made items to my closet over the last two seasons, but it doesn’t negate the quality of the goal. I am trying to be generous-minded with what I have and not hold on too tightly because, after all, clothes are just things and you can’t take things with you when you leave this earth.

  > >   Moving forward I want to keep this goal in mind and try even harder to limit what I add each season. I think it’s better to save, wait and buy better, rather than buy now and only be halfway satisfied. Even if that means paying way more for something than I ever expected. I firmly believe satisfaction is easier to come by when you choose well.

  > >   I really value the opportunity to share ethical brands and designers with you, and it is a lot of fun for me to style new pieces. I will continue to collaborate with select brands as I see fit, which often means gifted clothing. I’ll make sure to have high standards when it comes to choosing these items as well. Just because they are gifted doesn’t mean I shouldn’t work hard to make sure they truly earn a spot in my closet.

  > >   Shopping ban. This is always such a freeing thing to do. It allows me to ‘unplug’ from the retail world, and honestly, it can be a bit of a relief. But I wont lie, it takes discipline! And I think for the winter season it’s a little easier to add very few things because winter is more of the same, weather wise, to fall. Very few new wardrobe ‘holes’ arise. So I’m going to say it out loud, right here: no more clothing purchases till January. (My one caveat: replacing my black pants, if the right ones should come along.)

Thanks for reading along. I’d love to hear what goals you have for your closet, and what you’re doing to meet them.

I’ll probably do another check-in this January, with some updated progress and some fresh goals. For some more closet check-in inspiration, hop over to Style Bee. Lee is the one who inspired this pensive post, and check out Her Waise Choice.

[ photo one: Oxfords, Nisolo | Striped Top, Everlane | Madelyn Wool Coat, Only Child | Wide Pants, Lauren Winter ]

[ photo two: Wool Wrap, Aritzia | Booties, Frye | Alpaca Cardigan, Zady (s/o) | 501’s, thrifted ]


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  • Lyn October 18, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Wow I really appreciate this post, especially numero 3! I have loved capsule blogs like yours but struggle to keep contentedness when I see lots of new/gifted items on the blog all the time – being a “normal” person who doesn’t get free clothing for my [hard] work. I love your commitment to add less – I think it ups the quality of the blog and the contentedness factor for us reading along!

    • Andrea October 19, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      Hi Lyn! Thanks so much for responding to this post. These are the kind of comments that keep me motivated and committed to my principles! So thank you.

      I agree, I fall into the same struggle even as I watch other bloggers. As I am starting to realize it’s definitely impossible to ‘keep up’ with bloggers, I am realizing it’s kind of their ‘job’ to showcase to me new styles and pieces, and they are more like a catalog, not an example to follow, if that makes sense. I am trying to figure out how I fall in place in this blogging world – do I want to be a ‘catalog’ of sorts, or a person with a ‘real’ closet? I want the latter of course, but it’s all about finding the balance. A work in progress right now!

  • Erin October 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I love posts like these! It comes at an especially appropriate time for me as I’ve recently decided to pull back the reins big time on closet stuff, for three main reasons:
    – Slow Fashion October has been a fantastic catalyst for thought change about my own personal style and what I value in clothing. I value a story, and I value long-worn items that embody those stories.
    – The past few months have been full of purchasing and returning items, which has slowly but surely driven me INSANE.
    – I’ve come to the realization that my mindset with thrifting is all wrong. Because the cost of a thrifted garment is so low (and sometimes, the quality too), my sense of risk evaporates. I purchase something that isn’t quite right in the first place and remove it from my closet a few weeks (ouch!) later after it proves it’s un-worth. That doesn’t sound like slow fashion to me…

    So, where I am at now: I leaned out my closet big time, with a few things put away into the “work clothes” category and another big pile going up on Poshmark to sell. I am wearing the same few things over and over, and meanwhile I am taking a long time to think about potential purchases, with the hope of making fewer, wiser choices. I am also raising the stakes by committing to spending a little bit more on a garment, therefore making my choice weightier and hopefully more lasting. (Think ES Clyde pants you and I love so much!)

    I could write forever about this but, anyway, thanks for a thought-provoking post and a forum in which to spill my guts! xo

    • Andrea October 19, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      Erin, I love that you’re into Slow Fashion October, it’s such a great concept! I am 100% with you on story. I think that’s my top deciding factor most of the time. And I am coming to value long-worn, it’s such an amazing feeling! I can relate to so much of what you’ve shared here, the purchasing and returning (I’m sure more will be coming on that topic on the blog) and thrifting. I love your self-reflections, I think they are incredibly valuable, and will net you success as you move forward. Keep me posted on the pants!

  • Lo October 18, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    I usually end up adding way more items to my closet than I had intended to each season, so your 3-item limit seems like it might be a good idea for me to adopt. It might be quite a creative challenge, though, to try to make myself pick only the best options. It sounds brutal though!

    I also love picking out outfits the night before. It lets me fall asleep with one less thing to think about.

    • Andrea October 19, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      The brutality is part of the appeal! ;) It really forces the hand of only picking the best. I think winter would be an easy time to do it because bigger additions always seem to come in the fall, and we might not need a lot more.

      Great point about the sleeping! BTW, I’ve been wearing my Zady cardigan tons! It’s so damn warm!

  • Jaana October 18, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Great goals! Good inspo for us all. I’m ready to set some new goals myself, now that the weather is KINDA normalizing (except for another heat wave this week… haha)

    • Andrea October 19, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      I want to know more about your goals! Should I watch for a blog post? ;)

  • Leah Wise October 18, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I’m so bad about spending revenue from blogging on more clothes. I need to stop seeing it as extra money and start seeing it as normal income.

    Oh, by the way, how are the Nisolo oxfords holding up? I’m thinking of getting some.

    • Andrea October 19, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      I feel ya Leah!!

      The oxfords are holding up nicely, but I don’t wear them a ton. I always get so panicky about the rain. Looking back I should have ordered a darker color, cognac would have ben great, but they don’t offer that. I am hoping these will just keep darkening up with time. They are beautiful shoes! My husband has a pair of the chukka boots and wears them several times a week and they still look great. We’ve both had toppy soles put on the bottom of our shoes to extend the life of the leather and give a little bit more tread.

  • Savannah October 18, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I like the idea of putting a limit on how many items you add per season instead of just making a typical wishlist. I have always felt like your posts are very genuine and honest, and I love this one in particular for those reasons! Sometimes it’s nice to know that not everyone is perfect and I’m not the only one who struggles with some goals!

    • Andrea October 19, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Thanks Savannah! I am glad I’m the only one too! ;)

  • Johanne October 18, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for checking in with us, it was really inspiring. And I feel like doing the same thing with my readers.
    I’ve recently seen an increase in gifted clothing, and this has also been a struggle when wanting to limit my clothing intake. But I truly see value in reviewing items for the readers, so it is okay.
    Finding my style is something I am also struggling with, but trying to hone in and be more simple, and more okay with being simple…

    • Andrea October 19, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      Johanne, I would love to read a closet check-in from you. Yes, I think we walk a fine line of show casing and informing our readers of brands and new designs and being overly indulgent. I mentioned in another comment, I think there’s a spectrum of blogging styles, from being a catalog (of showcasing brands and designs) to being a person with a ‘real closet.’ Still trying to figure out where I want to fall, but leaning more towards ‘real closet.’
      I’ll keep an eye on your blog!

  • Tawny October 19, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I really like the three items per season idea. I think that might also help me be willing to shell out the extra money to buy higher quality and ethically made pieces. I actually only have one thing in mind for winter (thanks to my too heavy Fall buying), a gray cashmere wrap!

    • Andrea October 19, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Yes, Tawny! That’s exactly why I love the rule of three, because it forces our hand to choose really well, and we’re often more willing to invest because our quantity is limited.

  • Rebecca N October 19, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I haven’t been good about adding less this year (as was my original goal) because of weight gain from all my new meds. That being said, since recommitting myself in the spring to buy secondhand and ethical I have done fairly well! For having to revamp almost my entire summer and fall wardrobe I am pleased with how I have stuck to my convictions and have only made one un-ethical purchase since then. (Of course, bought on a whim while on a trip.) Otherwise, half of my clothes have been thrifted and the other half from Everlane. I just scored a pair of Paige skinny jeans that had been worn once for $50 on eBay! They look brand new and fit like a glove! I am still working on honing in on my style. Since my body has changed with the weight gain, styles that looked good on me 15-20 pounds ago do not look so good now, so I’m still trying to figure it out. I have held on to some classic pieces that looked good but no longer fit; eventually my meds will regulate and hopefully my pain will decrease so I can work out more and lose the pounds!

    • Andrea October 19, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Rebecca! How are you? What’s going on? I mean obv you don’t have to go into here if you don’t want too (shoot me an email! I love how you’ve stuck to your ethical convictions, well done! But boy, I couldn’t imagine sourcing a whole new wardrobe, that sounds intense. Do you shop Poshmark too? I have had really good luck on there. Okay girl, give me an update! Hope you’re doing okay!

  • Rebecca N October 20, 2016 at 11:13 am

    I have not bought from Poshmark yet, but have been browsing or a few things. I sent an update to your email!