clothes statistics

It’s end of the month time,  those of you with a mathematical bent will be longing for this post.  This is the sequel to the statistic in the wardrobe,  today you are getting another rip-roaring romp through my wardrobe.

This is the basis of my wardrobe for the next three months.  I can, and no doubt will add and subtract here and there.  But after two months of clothes analysis I think this is the core.

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This is how they look hanging up.

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Including what I am wearing today that makes 27 items.  I have not included shoes because for the most part I wear the same fit flops or Toms all summer.

This is how I got there.

This month I have worn more of my wardrobe, a total of 48 items compared to 40 last  month, but blue has been toppled by gray.

I wore:

  • 11 tops 18 times
  • 8 bottoms 20 times
  • 8 dresses 12 times
  • 6 cardigans 13 times
  • 5 scarves 9 times
  • 10 pairs of shoes 23 times

I must have forgotten to record some shoes because though I do spend most of my day barefoot, I do usually put something on my feet when I walk out of the house!

The colour analysis is dominated by gray, but I have managed to inject a little more colour this month

  • Gray 22
  • Blue 18
  • Red 11
  • Green 5
  • Purple 4
  • White 4
  • Cream 1
  • Pink 1
  • Brown 1

But by far the most interesting figures are the comparison between one month and the next.  As the weather has been pretty consistent they should be fairly comparable

I wore 5 tops, 5 bottoms, 5 dresses and 3 cardigans both months.  Those items were worn a whopping 84 times over the past two months with the highest wearage going to an ancient pale blue jersey wrap which was worn 12 times during April and May.

So isolating the clothes I wore most and adding in those I know go with the core items and I love (no good if I don’t love them, I won’t wear them and they should be on the way out anyway)  I have my reverse approach to Project 333.

 

the arrival of the capsule wardrobe

The minimalism is being put to the test.  At the end of the week the Boss and I are going to Australia for a month.  He is working, I am going along for the ride.  And if you are planning on popping over to relieve us of the few things I haven’t already got rid of  you might like to know that all three dogs and all three daughters are remaining at home.  I am  not sure which are more frightening.

I digress, back to the travel planning.  There are some things that I have to take:

  • Paperwork (passports, visas etc.)
  • Guidebooks (can’t be doing with them on kindle, I need an actual book)
  • Camera, pocket lumix and DSLR
  • Kindle
  • Knitting
  • Laptop
  • Telephone
  • Toiletries
  • Swimwear
  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Hearing aids

After that I have to move on to clothes, and clothes for a climate that is quite different to the one I am experiencing right now and to last me a month.  Silly though it sounds it really is quite hard to select thick jumpers when the temperature is in the thirties and jolly difficult to select light tops when it is minus two (as it was this morning).

But all this wardrobe weeding and recording of what I wear has paid off.  I have a capsule wardrobe that incorporates several evening receptions, casual day time and beach!  Colours are white, cream and navy and comprise:

  • White linen trousers
  • Navy linen trousers
  • Pink capri pants
  • Short navy shirt
  • Maxi grey jersey skirt
  • Blue & navy dress
  • Cream and navy dress
  • White long sleeved t shirt
  • White short sleeved t shirt
  • Navy & white spotty t shirt
  • Navy strapless t shirt
  • White strapless t shirt
  • Navy cotton shirt
  • Navy & white chiffon top
  • Bronze metallic evening top
  • White jersey jacket
  • Navy cotton cardigan
  • Red smart shoes
  • Navy wedges
  • Black fitflops
  • Orange scarf

 

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I know that for a true  minimalist this is far from ideal, it isn’t carry on luggage.  But for me this is a huge step and I am dead chuffed 🙂

 

colours and shapes and things that go bump around the hips

I was due to have my “colours done” on Monday, for a variety of reasons Monday turned out not to be good for Alana or I so we have rescheduled for next week.  A few days is not a long time to wait since I first made contact with Alana way back in June.  I spent some time researching who I wanted to see and Alana hit all the boxes.  Unfortunately she was in Nova Scotia until September.  Aagh.  After all my research I wanted them done now.  But I wanted Alana to do them more so I waited.

Why was Alana different?  Have a look at her website and tell me what you think.  Dress Up Cycle.  Quite apart from the name, read the first sentance…. slow fashion. Not throw away high volume fashion.  Not quick make me feel better purchases that hide in the wardrobe.  Slow fashion like slow food appeals.  Fashion magazines have banged on about capsule wardrobes for decades, but they still promote the latest trends and must have items for your wardrobe several times a year.  Apparently one must have item is a pink coat.  Were I in the market for a coat I might consider pink, I have always preferred coats to be, like my handbags, a little distinctive and different.  The only black coat I have ever owned was ankle length, double breasted, fitted at the waist with a HUGE fake astrakan collar.  I wore it to death.  However, I am not in the market for a coat so why would I want to buy a pink one just because it is pretty and on trend.

SInce I did Project 333 I have been much more conscious about my clothes and what I wear.  I had always thought I was relatively discerning but as I filled bag after bag I realised that I had accumulated a load of clothes from skirts and dresses to shirts and cardigans that I liked the look of, but crucially, not on me.  By the time I had pared down my wardrobe I discovered that I wore a few types of clothes a lot, not only that they went together well, fitted my lifestyle were relatively multipurpose and were a capsule wardrobe.

Bottoms:

  • Linen trousers in white, black and navy
  • leggings in black, navy and dark grey
  • Full circle skirts
  • straight skirts that come just above or just on the knee

Tops:

  • plain cashmere jumpers (I have a bit of a thing for cashmere)
  • button back cardigan tops
  • plain white t shirts
  • matelot tee shirts
  • long white shirts
  • tunic tops
  • Long cardigans

Accessories:

  • Silk squares
  • wool (or preferably cashmere!) wraps/big scarves
  • Broaches
  • Big necklaces/pendants
  • Statement ring (one plus my wedding/engagement ring)

Dresses:

  • Shift, from cocktail to beach

 

I have plenty of jackets but apart from a few occasions I just don’t wear them, likewise jeans are worn only for gardening.  Fitted shirts, however smart never make it out of my wardrobe.  I went through a jersey wrap dress phase but I never felt comfortable so out they went too.

Even if you don’t stick to something like Project 333 forever, just trying it out for three or even six months gives you a valuable lesson in wardrobe and body awareness.  I have a much better idea of the kind of clothes I feel comfortable in.  I have some idea of the colours that suit me and now I can’t wait for Alana to give me her advice and then perhaps if Father Christmas is looking kindly upo me she may be able to come back next year and look at my wardrobe as well.

 

 

 

wardrobe challenge

Yesterday was the first challenge for the capsule wardrobe.  We were invited to a reception by the County Durham Foundation.  Dress (for women at least) “cocktail dress”.  As the reception was to be held in the garden and the weather is famously inclement up here I would also need some form of cover up and shoes without heels.

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No problem.  Blue spotty dress, white cardigan and blue wedge sandals.  It was SO EASY.  None of that staring at the wardrobe and trying on different things (and discovering they no longer fit) and then agonising over whether a cardigan or jacket would be better.  Thanks to the vagaries of Air France I arrived home from the airport with only 15 minutes to get ready.  It was a breeze.

Getting dressed generally is so much easier and more fun.  I have to think laterally, to be imaginative with less is fun.  I don’t have to wander around the bedroom from wardrobe to chest of drawers. It’s all hanging up in one place.

I still only have 30 items so there are 3 more to be added.  As we are going on holiday during this period I am going to hold off until I have decided what I want to take on holiday.  Packing is going to be a lot easier too!

cull to 33

Head first.  That’s the way I usually go.  I did that recently when the lovely4 year old daughter of a friend of mine encouraged me to do a forward roll.  I am fairly sure that I didn’t break my neck but it was, I feel touch and go.  You would have thought I had learned my lesson.

Yesterday I worked through the first day of the Project333 programme.  What makes this appeal to me is that is isn’t just about creating a capsule wardrobe, but about making you think about what you actually need as opposed to what you thought you wanted.

One of the first exercises was to list the items in your wardrobe that you know you will never wear and why you haven’t got rid of them before.  In every case my answer was guilt.  Guilt that I had spent money on something I haven’t worn and probably will only wear a few times.  Guilt because they were presents and I can’t bring myself to get rid of them.  The source of the guilt was immaterial.  Guilt was the reason.  Just writing that down was freeing.  I don’t have to feel guilty.  I have forgiven myself for much greater sins than the rash purchase of a dress in the East sale.  I have regifted or rehomed any number of presents, why should clothes be different?

Another very illuminating question.  If you could start over, what would be in your ideal wardrobe?  As I listed the items I realised I already owned that wardrobe.  Those things were all there but I couldn’t see them for all the other stuff getting in the way.

So here is draft one of my capsule wardrobe.  Thirty three items not including underwear , gymwear (in my case yoga kit) lounge at home wear (identical to the yoga kit), nightwear (dressing gown and slippers), jewellery worn 24/7 (wedding, eternity and engagement rings, pearl earrings,  silver cross, watch and glass bead bracelets) glasses and prescription sunglasses and yardboots for dog walking/gardening/working outside.

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One leather tote, one cotton scarf, one pair flat sandals, one pair suede wedge sandals, one pair fitflops one necklace one bracelet (7).

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Two strappy vest tops, 1 cotton loose knit top, 1 turquoise and 1 matelot 3/4 sleeve tee shirts (5)

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One pair white linen trousers, 1 pair navy linen trousers, 1 pair black linen trousers, 1 pair grey jeans. (4)

IMG_1032  One long white skirt, one short blue and green skirt and I am wearing a green and white skirt (3)

floaty tops

One sleeveless floaty top, 1 chiffon kaftan top and I am wearing a 3/4 sleeve white floaty top (3)

dresses

Two cotton Boden dresses, 1 silk and cotton floaty white dress, 1 smart blue & white silk spotty dress, 1 long jersey dress (5)

cardigans

One 3/4 sleeve white cardigan, 1 3/4 sleeve green and blue cardigan, 1 long black cardigan with silk chiffon “skirt”. (3)

That comes to 30 – which gives me three more things I can add if and when I need.  It was surprisingly easy.  Now to see how well I can stick to it!

going public

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Scarves looking pretty

One of the first areas I decluttered was the wardrobe.  I was so proud of myself.  I was vicious.  Clothes I had hung onto which I knew even if I could still get into would be as uncomfortable as hell.  Clothes which fitted a lifestyle I have long since left.  They all went.  I moved things around I could see things.

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Shirts hanging neatly in colour order

Actually it was rather uncomfortable because even though I had got rid of a whole load of stuff I wasn’t sure how happy I was with what was left.  With one or two exceptions I wasn’t sure how much I liked them, in one or two cases I wasn’t sure why I had bought them in the first place (or worse I knew precisely why I had bought them and the rationale was rubbish).

But a girl has to have clothes and while it might be fine for the Singers and the Dancer to run around in micro shorts and cute little tops.  I have a responsibility not to shock the neighbours into an early grave, I have to cover up with something a little more substantial.

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Or so I thought.  No not the size of my clothes,  that will remain more or less the same and on the conservative side of decent in the interests of my neighbours’ health.  But the amount of them.  Despite the recent cull there is still far, far too much in there.

Many years ago I was a Weekender’s Clothing Rep.  The concept was based around a capsule wardrobe of clothes that could be worn in totally different ways.  We did a “show” with a volunteer taking them through a whole luxury weekend from dinner to walking in the country to lying by the pool with only a tiny bag of about 4 jersey items.  The bag turned into a waterproof jacket.

It was fun but I wasn’t sure I could really go away for a weekend with just that bag. The company has gone out of business now and I regret not keeping that kit.  It was the epitome of versatility.

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Then I came across Project333.  Live for three months with only 33 items in your wardrobe (there are some exceptions).  No way, I thought.  Why not, I thought.  Go for it, I thought.  There I have said it, in public.  I am going to cut down my wardrobe to 33 items and live with just them for July, August and September.  Two weeks ago I would never have even dreamed of taking up this challenge, but that’s what happens when your mindset goes off on a wander.  It takes you to the weirdest places.

In all honesty I am not going to be able to cull quite as drastically as this in 24 hours, but the programme starts today and I’ll keep you updated.