Day 267 – 271 – The Wardrobe Issue

8 Nov

I’ve made 2 failed attempts at writing this post. I thought maybe I’d dust it off and give it another go. Three times a charm and all that, right?

Hi.  This is me.

Hello Poser! I said this in my head in a maniacal tone. I think a fabulous drag queen tone would work too. You choose.

This is what I am wearing today. It’s forecasted to reach 79 here. That would be 26.1 for my centigrade  friends. I am from a fairly warm climate, and that, of course, influences my wardrobe. ‘Cept that was two weeks ago now. This post has proven longer to write that expected.

This is me today.

A little cooler out today

Why am I so dressed up?  I need to do laundry…ya’ know, because I have a small wardrobe.

“Cept that was like a week ago.

A few of you had some good questions about my closet after reading this,  Let the Guilt Go Already and this A Case for Less Clothing. So I thought I’d do a post all about it today. A lot of what people say about small wardrobes (buy basics… quality…last for ever…mix and match…yada yada yada) are exactly the things I do not do when considering mine.

Wardrobes not your thing?  Just scroll down to the bottom to see what I tossed. Hint: It’s smaller than a bear, and bigger than a can of spray-cheese. Any guesses?

There are several ways to create a good, small wardrobe. Most people cite buying a few quality classics and maintaining them forever. I think they are right . That is probably a fab. place to start …for them.

For me.  I envision classics as polos and khaki pants, of which I have neither, nor have any plans of ever owning.

So, this is how I do it:  this is not the most frugal way, this is not the most conscientious way, it just a way, my way.

* I keep only things that are absolutely fabulous, fit, have a mate, are in good condition, and that I wear…nothing else.

That’s it. There aren’t too many things out there like that. Hence, small wardrobe in which I can always find something nice to wear.

This is how I make it fab. and small.

* I don’t worry about if something will last for the next 15 years, I buy stuff I think is super cute and I don’t worry if its’ gone in two years, or even next, because there will be something new I want anyway. See that skirt up there with the ruffle swirls? It quite possibly could be out of style in 2 years, but it was $7.00, so who gives a flip? It’s from Marshall’s in case you were wondering.

* I toss old things that are worn out. You’re doing yourself a favor if you do this. You don’t need to be wearing that stuff out in public…or at home. (And don’t give me a bunch of junk  about it being comfy. That dress up there is one big sweater, it doesn’t get more comfy that that. 😉 ) Just sayin.Oh, but keep one crappy outfit for mowing the lawn and painting. One!

* I mostly buy inexpensive, but I can throw one or two extravagant things in there too. I usually try to go with something that will last a little longer if I pay a lot.  It’s not that I have a ton of money to shop. I don’t. But,  I don’t buy much, I add and delete a little every year. It’s not too pricey when you only have 2 pairs of jeans.

* I don’t shop all at once. When I see something I know I’ll love, I buy it. I never go out at the beginning of a season and think “oh I need fall clothes”. When I’ve done that I’ve ended up with one thing I like and a bunch of stuff that is just o.k.

* I shop everywhere. EVERYWHERE! I have currently have things in my closet that have come from the Kate Spade shop on Newbury Street  down to things from Thrift Store City.  One of my favorite pairs of pants is from Wal-Mart, and I wear it with one of my favorite tops from Banana Republic. Labels mean very little to me, I shop for what I like and what I think looks good. I figure if you have some expensive and some cheap it all works itself out somewhere in the middle in the end, budget-wise. And truth be told, most of my stuff leans toward the inexpensive end of the spectrum-big surprise there. I shop a lot at Marshall’s.

* Quality is a good thing, but good quality can be found in a variety of place. The mall doesn’t have sole-ownership of that.  Most of  the basics sold a large box stores are made in the exact same factories, on the exact same machines as the label ones. They are only short the little pony and fifty bucks. I buy a long sleeved white t-shirt every year and I would never think if paying more than $12.00 for it, because you know someone is going to puke on me, or flick paint on me during a project, or drop a piece of buttered toast, butter-side down on me. Those just don’t last, buy replaceable .

* Wear it out-  I wear my jeans and t-shirts so often they usually need replacing by the next year or two. Some of my shoes do too (sneakers and flip-flops).  I don’t worry about saving certain things for special occasions or for specific places.  I know a lot of people that do this, and end up with something terrific that they hardly ever wear in their closet. If I own it, I wear it. Example:  the black dress up there  (Dillards)

* I don’t buy things that need ironing, because I know that I won’t iron them. Well, I try not to, sometimes I do.

* I don’t buy things that need dry cleaning.

* I really don’t buy anything that needs special treatment, unless I jut LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I still usually don’t end up wearing that much if I do.

* I take care of my clothes. I blot out stains when they happen, I pretreat. I turn my jeans inside out before I wash them. I clip little threads. I hang things up.  Some little things extend the life of clothing and make them look better.

* I only buy and keep stuff that fits. Period. Period.

* If I buy something that isn’t a basic, like jeans or t-shirts, I usually buy a whole outfit. Like if I buy an unusual skirt, I will buy a top to go with it then and there. That way, I don’t end up with things in my closet that are great, but I can’t wear, because I don’t have a mate for them.

* I try everything on. I’ve got to know how it is going to look on me and if it’s uncomfortable, it’s got to go back to the rack.

* I take a friend. Some of my best clothes are things I wouldn’t have thought to try on. Trust your friends (Unless you have bad friends, in that case, do not trust them, get some new ones.)

* I do laundry every few days. *Don’t dress like a slouch at home, toss the ugly stuff.

*Limit yourself to one small box or area in your clostet for stuff that doesnt fit.

* You don’t need nostalgia clothing. It interferes with you finding what you need. At the very least, pack it away in the attic.

* Get your closet down to about 2 weeks worth of clothing then follow my mantra.

 The Mantra-

Toss something old, every time something new comes in.

It is amazing how much this tip alone will keep you out of stores.

I find I don’t run out of clothing any more than I did with a stuffed wardrobe. Exaclty the opposite, I don’t have to wade through tons of stuff to find something I like. When I do run out of my favorites, I try something like I did today. I go for something I don’t regularly wear. With my closet full of clothes that fit, it really isn’t a problem and it  gets me on that laundry.

Getting rid of what you have now?

Read this: Donating Clothes.

So, here is whats is in my closet and dresser, which is always a work in progress.

I’ll tell you where everything is from so you can get an idea of where I shop.

FIrst up, my Anne of Green Gables long sleeve t-shirt. I like to wear this to bookgroup.

Etsy Shop: DearLillie

It makes me feel like an intellectual and stuff. Yeah right.

fringy, heart t-shirt, Old Navy


2 pairs of jeans and some blue capris (Thrift Store City aka T.S.C., JC Pennys and WalMart)

Workout tops ( Finisher Shirt- Shamrock 8k, T.S.C, T.S.C)

Fav. Yellow Spring Jacket (Ann Taylor Loft)

Side note: I’ve had this “trendy” yellow coat for 5 years.

Beautiful Summer tops (Marshalls-both)

Here is one of me cheesing it up in that tan one up there.

"Megan, Look Natural" Uh... oh... ya' mean like this?

Peace Sign Shirt: I'll do anything to impress my daughter ( Old Navy)

"Yoga" Sweat pants (TSC and Lands End)

Saucy Little White T and Scarf ( JC Pennys and WalMart) I realize those stores make me sound like a grandma

I often like to wear that with this.

Ruched Skirt -It's Awesome! (Ashley Stewart)

A few fab new things for Cancun ( TSC and Marshalls)

Yet Another White Shirt (J. Jill)

My Lord, Why Do I Have So Many White Shirts? TSC, Can't Remember , TSC

Cute Red Coat (B.J.s)

Lane Bryant, Wild Hare Consignment, Target

That shirt on the left may look “trendy”, but I had it before Elliot, so it is, at very least, 6 years old. Not too bad for something “trendy”. Oh, and it is beautiful on. Trust me….or not, here’s a picture.

My "Wear it inside out to meet Iris Shirt" (Marshalls), My Birthday Shirt, (Pennys) My black dress as seen at the top of this post (Dillards)

Recognize the first one?

Meh Jammies (K-Mart, Hanna Andersson, Target)

Lots of Shirts (Sears and Dunno)

My Wedding Dress ( Back View) and Veil


Another Yellow Jacket from Ann Taylor, Ruffled Denim Jacket (This picture doesn't do it justice) from Marshalls

O.K. there is very little left, but if I don’t quit now I’ll never get this posted. Maybe I’ll share some more later.  Here’s whats left: 2 denim skirts 1 pair of shorts 3 bathing suits A few sweaters and long sleeve t-s. What I am still on the lookout for: Some long sleeve tops and a pair of black pants.

So that’s it, closet, drawers, shelves, stuffed under the bed. That is all of it. It really seems like a lot to me. I never feel at a loss for something to wear.

Here is what I donated in the process of going through all of this.

Ugly Jeans - I had 3 pairs, now I'm down to 2

My two favorite shirts. The one on the right is too big. I held on to it as long as I could. Oh well.

I kept the one on the left (C0ldwater Creek). I also got rid of a red striped shirt that became too big, not the worst problem to have. I did have some nice clothes that I had to get rid if though, oh well. Beyond clothing, this went:

from "07" Why?


Horsey- gone, Pink chair-in shed (but I got rid of a froggy one just like it) shopping cart- still waffling about it

O.K. so that is that. Done and done.

Maybe I’ll show you my shoes next time…Oy!

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21 Responses to “Day 267 – 271 – The Wardrobe Issue”

  1. Julie November 8, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Sigh. Why can’t we wear our wedding dresses again? Mine’s great.

    I love that you said you only have 2 pairs of jeans. I have way too many, and if I got rid of all of them for 2 well-made, perfectly fitting ones, I’d be much better off.
    Julie recently posted..Braces and a big butt do not a #BITB makeMy Profile

    • Megan November 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

      There should be some sort of annual ball or something we could wear them too. Mine is so old now though, I would fall it would fall into the entertainment category along with all those 80’s pork-chop sleeved numbers.
      Megan recently posted..Day 267 – 271 – The Wardrobe IssueMy Profile

  2. beckyp November 8, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Don’t you have to turn your old plates back into the dmv? i need to get some new jeans the ones i bought after ryker was born are too big and all have a hole in the left knee (I know odd right?)
    beckyp recently posted..Find Of The YearMy Profile

  3. pamela November 8, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I have been trying to do the same thing. being plus size though, I feel like when I have something that fits I hold onto it because sometimes stuff in my size is so hard to find. Another good way I found to make me get rid of stuff was to see it in a picture. SOme things I thought looked good , really weren’t once I saw them in a pic!I have even had a friend who started a clothing swap group. Nice things, and accessories. You know how sometimes you have those friends who have stuff you love, she said it works out great! You just have to make sure people bring the same # of items or accessories. Great post! Inspiration for me to dig back in!

    • Megan November 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

      I wear plus too and you are right it is difficult to find nice things. I would suggest having things altered and using your best judgement. You know how it goes.

      I have never had a swap like that for my clothes, but I live by them for my childrens’ clothing.
      Megan recently posted..Day 267 – 271 – The Wardrobe IssueMy Profile

    • Megan November 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      Hey, You’re in Va. How close are you? I may have to self-invite myself to one of those swap parties! 😉
      Megan recently posted..Day 267 – 271 – The Wardrobe IssueMy Profile

  4. Danielle@sixtasteschef November 8, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    You look fabulous in that black dress.

    Wow, you do have a lot of clothing. It didn’t sound like much but when I saw the pictures, it is. Hey, that is probably a great motivator for someone (me) if they’re trying to whittle down their closet, take EVERYTHING out of the closet and take pictures of it, then try to justify each piece!
    Danielle@sixtasteschef recently posted..How To Make Jap Chae/Chap Chae Korean NoodlesMy Profile

    • Megan November 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

      Yeah, that 24 before was just what was in my closet. After I hit drawers, and hall closets etc. it’s more, but it’s all seasons, so it’s about 1/2 used at a time.

      I wear all of it, and love it.

      Taking all those pictures sure was a pain though, and you find stuff EVERYWHERE that you don’t think about.
      Megan recently posted..Day 267 – 271 – The Wardrobe IssueMy Profile

  5. Sabine November 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Hi Megan,
    i found your blog yesterday and am looking forward to a fun week going through your archives. I’ve been decluttering for about half a year now, and love seeing how others are doing. Scariest for me is realizing that with all that stuff that has left my life, there are only a few places so far where I can tell the difference: clothes closet, kitchen cupboards, and garage. I’m looking forward to the day when every area of my house gives me the same pleasure that my closet does. Do you have any areas in your home that are completely satisfying (in the sense of no clutter)?

  6. Anne @ Domesblissity November 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Well this was certainly worth waiting for! What great advice Megan. I have been culling those bleach stained sweats and only keeping a few favourites. It just means I have to wash more often. You look so fantastic in all those photos and outfits. Can’t wait to see all the photos from Cancun. Bet you can’t wait?

    Anne xx
    Anne @ Domesblissity recently posted..Listography: Top 5 Famous Folk I Used to FancyMy Profile

  7. Chrissie November 9, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    I love this! I do much the same thing with my wardrobe, although I’m still fine tuning. I was complimented on an outfit recently that was an op shop dress, Kmart shoes and a Jacquie-E cardigan (one of the high end, expensive stores – their cardigans are so comfy and stay nice for a lot longer). I shop anywhere and everywhere and only buy what I love.
    Chrissie recently posted..I’m a poet and I knew it!My Profile

  8. The Bearded Iris November 9, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    I totally recognize the inside out shirt and it looks equally fabulous right side out. Two tops in one! Brilliant!

    Love the sweater dress/boots look. If I wore that at home someone would definitely drop their bagel cream cheese side down on me. But I know you’re right…I should not dress like such a schlub at home. Target, here I come!
    The Bearded Iris recently posted..And that’s why I’m joining a gym.My Profile

  9. Mimms November 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    “Trust your friends (Unless you have bad friends, in that case, do not trust them, get some new ones.)” <–that would have made me spew coffee out of my nose, had I been drinking some. OMG you make me giggle 🙂

  10. Margo November 11, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    So fun to peek inside someone’s closet. I love the less is more approach, I just need to apply it to my children’s toys. I do pretty well elsewhere but toys ARE TAKING OVER my house!
    Margo recently posted..Little Girl’s Lamp RedoMy Profile

  11. t November 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    Thanks for your post; I was inspired to go through all of my pants and I wasn’t going to, but I tried on each and every pair. It really helped me to see what needed to be mended; things that I thought didn’t fit well, but actually fit well; and, of course things, what I wore that didn’t fit well and I should just get rid of already! Also, I didn’t feel as overwhelmed by choosing just my pants to go through and I can tackle something another evening.

    • Megan November 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

      Oh, I am a big fan of going little bit by bit. i don’t think I’ll ever try to tackle any large project all at once anymore. Picking just the pants was a good call, and when you feel like it, you can do the next thing.
      Megan recently posted..Day 267 – 271 – The Wardrobe IssueMy Profile

  12. Becky L. November 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    I find it hard to get rid of clothes. Some are a definite give away others not so. My wedding dress is still in it’s box from years ago when I had it cleaned. Am about ready to pull it out and look at it and maybe give it away? Doubt it will ever be used again. It’s been 34 years ago and not sure what to do! Thanks for sharing and keep up the work of purging stuff from your house. I am too!
    Becky L. recently posted..Cleaning UpMy Profile

    • Megan November 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

      I have mixed feelings about my wedding dress. At the beginning of all this, I def. wanted to sell it. I thought that it would be nice for someone to get a deal and I know I won’t be wearing it again. Now, I have so much extra room, I kind of like the idea of keeping it. I don’t hope my girls wear it, but it would be fun for dress up and maybe some day they could use buttons or details from it for something meaningful. My friend Iris liked to a post (sorry I can’t find it) about a grandmother who made a christening dress and some part of her daughters bouquet from her dress. If I had gotten rid of it, I wouldn’t regret it, but now that i have a lot of spare room, it doesn’t bother me anymore.
      Megan recently posted..Day 267 – 271 – The Wardrobe IssueMy Profile

  13. Elizabeth K. November 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    I like what you said about quality and not worrying too much about wearing things out–I’m the same way. And your point about where things are made is really important–it’s easy to get caught up in price tags when certain items really are exactly the same as their pricier counterparts.
    Elizabeth K. recently posted..Abigail’s Alcove: Emergency Prayer RequestMy Profile