Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Polka Dot Wardrobe Domination: Week #1 (A Little Help from Lucky)

"If you're anything like me, deep down all you really want is a closet filled with your favorite things. These are the clothes that make you happy to put on, that make you feel like yourself. Instead, many of us feel that we have a closet stuffed with clothes and nothing we want to wear."
--Sarai Mitnick, The Colette Sewing Handbook (Chapter Two: A Thoughtful Plan)

"So it's strapless and you can't wear strapless bras... and it doesn't quite fit... and the zipper's busted... and it's kind of a bad color for you, but what if someday you wear it with some really cute cardigan or you sew some straps on it... and it was such a find... and you dont have another one like it, so, well... um..."
--The Voices in the Back of My Head When I am Decluttering, Mikhaela's Brain (Chapter 3: Just Shove it In the Back of the Sock Drawer)

So I realized that before plowing headfirst into a ton of random on-a-whim sewing projects, I should step back and evaluate my existing wardrobe and ruthlessly eliminate anything that doesn't fill a need, suit my style/life/lifestyle or make me ridiculously happy, and ask deep probing questions like "Why the hell is my sweater drawer stuffed with 20 pairs of threadbare high-waisted maternity panties?"

THEN I can really start adding new, fun and exciting yet totally wearable stuff, right?

I used to do this every six months--I'd try a ton of stuff on, prance back in forth in front of the full-length, listen to Peter Walsh's "It's All Too Much" audiobook, and be really, truly ruthless. My last great purge was during my pregnancy (shoes gone by here) in order to make room for baby.

Since then, things have gotten out of hand. My husband does most (er, all) of the laundry and just shoves things away in random drawers when I don't get around to it myself in reasonable time (thank you honey!). I've barely done any shopping, but since I only have 8 small drawers and half a small closet for ALL my clothes and shoes (including off-season and special occasion), everything is squished, squashed, wrinkled and unreachable.

With a little elbow grease, I can extract about five or six tops, a few sweaters and a single pair of jeans, so I wear them over and over and over again. Repeatedly.

So I'm going to attempt one drawer per night and then the closet until I'm done. I have some helpers, too (ignore the spelling error on the binder, please!):

  1. The Lucky Shopping Manual: Building and Improving Your Wardrobe Piece by Piece. I don't even read Lucky anymore, but I read this book over and over. It really helps me think about what's in my wardrobe in a smart, fun and inspirational way. There's a section for each general item--skirts, pants, suits, lingerie, shoes, coats, bag, etc--with suggestions on basic wardrobe needs, different types of the item, when to save, when to splurge... It's nearly ten years old but doesn't feel at all dated. (Just ignore the advice about which clothing styles are best suited for which figure type--I certainly do).

  2. My binders of inspirational style clippings from assorted fashion magazines and clothing catalogs. What with the advent of Polyvore (and now Pinterest, and the dilemma over what to capture where...?!) I don't update these anymore, but it's more fun to page through than the digital versions.

So, yes: all systems go! And then to the fun sewing planning stuff.

How about you all--how's your New Year's wardrobe planning going?

P.S. I don't really recommend Lucky's newer book, by the way: The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style. It was a total disappointment--the only style I related to at all was "Bombshell", but it was a really pigeonholed and by-the-book version of bombshell--I didn't need a book to lay it out for me:

P.P.S. After your excellent comments and some Deep Introspection, I've decided to throw all caution to the wind and sew up my wide-legged corduroy trousers WITHOUT A SINGLE COMPLEX ALTERATION to the pattern. I never do this so it scares me, but if I cut wide enough seam allowances (1") I think I'll be able to force myself.


  1. I actually really enjoy purging things from my wardrobe, it feels good to get rid of the things that you don't like or might have been making you feel guilty for not wearing.

  2. I totally love that Lucky book. I (who never bother to read style books twice) keep it by my bed and refer to it often. Come to think of it, I need to have another look today.

  3. Good luck with the purging. The hardest part is getting started. Love the idea of listening to Walsh's audio book while doing it!

  4. I'll have to see if the library has the Lucky guide. That's looks like a super helpful book. I had the same crazy anti-maternity panty purge last week. I swear they multiply. Ick. Good luck with your culling.


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