I took these pictures a week or so ago when I was playing around in/purging my closet. I kept everything you see here, but the “will I wear it” question is one I am still struggling with.
As you know, I’ve been exploring a more minimalist lifestyle/closet lately, and have read a lot on the subject. I’m still learning, and feeling my way through it, with the understanding that there IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO DO THIS, nor is one person’s minimal lifestyle the same as another’s. Starting next week, I’m going to publish an “essay” a week on things I’ve learned, and what I’ve done as part of my “The Minimal Closet” series, but first, I want to explore some questions I’ve been asking myself. Maybe you have some thoughts on them?
1. Will I Wear it?
As I mentioned above, the “will I wear it” question haunts me. I decided to keep the plaid CP Shades shirt I wore in the first outfit, even though I haven’t worn it often. If it was white, I know I would wear it MUCH more often. But it’s not. I do love that it’s lightweight, and longer, and easy to wear, but generally it’s not something I wear often (I got it because it was on sale for about $30, which is a STEAL).
I like the outfit above, with the top over a gray cami and with black sweatpants, but it’s definitely not something I’d wear or put on without thinking (I’d default to a white cami and gray cardigan instead). But I took it with us to the beach last weekend and wore it tied at the waist over my strapless James Perse dress when we went to dinner, and then again in the morning over my bathing suit as I sat near the water drinking my coffee. In both situations it was perfect, because it gave me a little coverage without being too warm, and since it’s so lightweight, it dealt with the wind very well. The cotton holds up nicely, and it doesn’t matter how wrinkled it gets, because it’s supposed to look a little disheveled.
Also, I’m not overly concerned about it because I didn’t spend a lot of money on it. Not that I don’t take care of ALL of my clothes, but I don’t feel the need to baby it either.
So…I’m very glad I kept it, and have it for such situations; I just need to remember that I have it, and that it will come in handy on occasion. That’s a little easier to do now that my closet has been pared down, but still, something I know I will struggle with.
With regard to the second outfit, I really like the jeans, but don’t wear them because they’re too long. In the picture I have them rolled under so the hem comes JUST above my ankle, which I think is the most flattering length for me. I would wear them more often if they were hemmed shorter, instead of rolled under, just because I wouldn’t have to THINK about it so much. So, off to the tailor I go.
2. If it was only…
I said above that if that shirt was only white, I know I’d wear it much more often, not just at the beach. My strategy with regard to this now is to use that knowledge to seek out a white shirt that will be a good replacement for this one, AND THEN REPLACE IT – I do not need to keep both shirts if I find a similar one that is white. (I’m actually thinking this new Everlane shirt will fit the bill. Has anyone tried this?)
3. Why am I NOT wearing this?
I definitely have to “get over” my idea that I need to baby my clothes, or not wear them because I’m concerned about ruining them, or having them to wear later. I do this ALL the time, and this is something I desperately want to get over. For example, the OAK dress that I love? I’ve only worn it one other time since I got it. I reach for it, but then I think I’m “wasting” a wear if I’m only going to run errands; I should save it for a more interesting occasion. I also don’t wear it if I’m just going to be at home working, because I hate to wear stuff at home that I also wear out – as I may have mentioned before, I have two pretty distinct wardrobes, even though I have an extremely casual lifestyle!
Ultimately, this is what I want to work on the most; this idea that even if I’m sitting in my own office at home, I can’t wear “real” clothes, or something that I would wear outside of the house if I was traveling to an office. (I do actually wear real clothes, dresses mostly, or “home” leggings – never my James Perse leggings!!). This, I think, is a more deeply seated emotional issue that stems from I don’t know what, but something I need to deal with.
If there’s one thing that disturbs me the most about my closet is that I have things in it that I don’t wear. I WANT to wear the things I have; I didn’t spend money on things and acquire things I truly love to just have them sit around not being worn. So as I see it, I either need to create situations every day where I do wear the things I love (even if I’m just sitting in my own office at home), or get rid of even more things so I really do only have things in my closet that I TRULY WEAR.
4. Is it really about quantity?
Jen made a comment the other day that the minimalist police weren’t going to come after me if I kept two nearly identical long black dresses instead of choose one to keep and getting rid of the other one, which REALLY Made me think.
I know there’s not one right way to be a minimalist, and honestly, I know that I can’t be a minimalist in the same way that other women are. I am a true fashion/style/shopping lover, and appreciate different silhouettes, shapes, textures, etc., which is why I will keep two nearly identical long black dresses. Because they ARE DIFFERENT enough.
This is where I differ strongly with many minimalist ideologues; you do not only need ONE BLACK DRESS. If you are a person who wants simple without regard to “fashion” or expressing your personal style, then yes, one black dress will probably suit you fine. Otherwise, you will need a long black sleeveless maxi dress with no embellishment at all, a long black sleeveless maxi dress with a tie-waist or at least a defined waist, a knee-length black t-shirt dress, a black sweatshirt dress, a knee-length sleeveless shift dress, a black oversized mid-length shirt dress…
See what I mean? I still think that’s minimal.
Having more than one black dress in exactly the same style is probably not necessary, but two won’t hurt you. Which gets me back to the Minimalist police.
First, they don’t exist 😉
Second, you will have reached your ideal minimal closet when you feel at peace with the items you have – not overwhelmed by them every time you open your closet doors. I am not there yet, but I desperately want to be…
I have many more thoughts, and as I mentioned above, I’ll do a post a week in this series exploring The Minimal Closet. However that looks.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What questions do you ask yourself when you decide what to keep? or what to buy? What are the issues you struggle with in terms of wearing/buying/keeping your clothes?