Winter Wardrobe Slump

Photo source unknown

Photo source unknown

I am in the midst of my annual Canadian winter wardrobe slump. I’ve been wearing my winter clothes since about the first of December, and I’ll still be wearing pullover sweaters for all of April, and then some. I keep reminding myself to invest more in my winter wardrobe since I’m in it for half the year (it seems). But I never do – I’m always attracted to travel outfits, or spring/summer pick-me-ups.

I’ve been tracking my total clothes inventory, but it doesn’t say much about my work versus non-work clothing needs. I need a wardrobe for work, albeit semi-casual, and I can wear any old clothes at home. I don’t want to overstock on weekend wear, but I don’t want to skimp too much on work wear. So I decided to tabulate them separately.

Winter Work Wardrobe (including casual clothes that are appropriate for work):

  • Pants (Trousers) 8
  • Pullover sweaters 5
  • Cardigans 3
  • Long sleeve layering T-shirts 7
  • Shoes 4 pr

That’s all: 27 items! I have to laugh because I didn’t realize I was already working with a capsule wardrobe.

I think I mentioned I used to do brown as a neutral. Since I no longer have brown hair (!), I’ve decided to phase out brown as a wardrobe colour when my current brown clothes wear out. That will mean moving out 6 mix-and-match items in the next year, bringing me down to 21 items!

Meanwhile my Casual Clothes Collection for winter has:

  • Pants (Trousers) 3
  • Jeans 5
  • Long sleeve T-shirts 3
  • Pullover sweaters 3
  • Pullover hoodies 3
  • Zip hoodies 5
  • Zip fleece vest 1
  • Fashion boots 2 pr

Another 25 items.

To round out my winter wardrobe, I have 5 holiday tops, 1 skirt, 2 pr practical boots, 2 jackets (parkas) and a short wool coat: 11 more items. I didn’t count scarves but since Luna has eaten holes in them, I hardly have any left!

I have never counted by season and now I understand why I tire of my winter clothes – there just isn’t enough variety. Although, I must say everything I have fits well and is very functional, so maybe I’m not doing that badly.

The winter end-of-season sales are over and I didn’t stock up, so it looks like I’ll be wearing more of the same for a good while yet. I could scout a couple of consignment items, but they’ve probably got their spring stock out now (we are dreamers – spring is far away!)

One issue I have is that I don’t really accessorize, except for watches and earrings. I suppose if I were handier with belts and scarves, I would be less bored with my clothes, but the items I own don’t really lend themselves to being dressed up or down. I guess that’s a statement in itself!

The rest of my full clothes inventory hasn’t changed much since I posted it in early December. Since then I received a sweater and a jacket as holiday gifts. I bought a pair of Converse slip-ons, and a pair of Croc-like sandals to keep at the door for all those fun jobs like taking the garbage out!

I recently gave away 2 cardigans, 2 hoodies and a button-down shirt I hadn’t been wearing. I replaced some underwear, threw out some worn-out socks, and that is all the wardrobe fun I’ve had in 3 months!

Do you get wardrobe boredom? Do you accessorize, mix-and-match, go shopping, or just put up with it?


  1. I have too many clothes. More “dressy” work clothes than I need right now as I can wear jeans to work. Going thru my wardrobe is on list of things to do. I am in declutter mode. πŸ™‚

  2. Fiona

    I’m having real wardrobe ennui too at the moment. Can’t wait to get back into some cooler weather clothes.

    I like splitting my clothes counts into seasonal / occasion categories (“winter work” or “summer casual”) because it really helps me track where there are wardrobe gaps that I need to fill.

    What will you replace your “brown” neutral with? (I get teased a lot by friends for having too much “beige”!)

    • Fiona, good to see ennui being used. I’m learning to say it correctly. Yeah, have to agree with your friends, out with the beige.

      Dar, I don’t get wardrobe boredom. But I think we all know I have too many clothes. And the weather here is so variable, and I dress for differen situation. So cold isn’t just one style. There’s cold and hanging around the home, cold and going to work, cold and going out for dinner, cold and casual like going to a barbie, cold and dressing flash. Then there’s the same for warming up a bit, warm and hot. Oh, and then there’s cold as in going to the snow cold, and resort/holiday wear. So many options and choices.

      But like you I don’t accessorise, Dar. Don’t really like scarves or other things hanging around my neck. And not into belts. Love hats, but they don’t suit my face shape, nor are they the thing for indoors wear.

      • Fiona

        I am having a chuckle at all these descriptions of cold. From a Sydney-sider πŸ˜‰

      • In my life, there are 3 kinds of cold: walking to work in sub-zero temperatures cold, shivering in the drafty office cold, and wrapping up in layers of fleece at home cold! Nothing much in between. It would be nice to have more gradation! I suppose the winter weather here is not that variable. Spring is a whole other story but it’s only a few short weeks!

    • I have a few beige/khaki items for the summer – 3, I think! I like to wear them with the few pastels I have (apricot, pink, mint). For winter, I have black and shades of grey as well as dark denim, so I wear them all with bright colours, and might not need another neutral. The catch with keeping some brown is that I always need shoes to match.

      • Fiona

        I bought some beige/khaki pants this summer and so by accident, it has cone to pass that I end up wearing beige + pastel shirts. I feel conspicuously like someone out of Australia Zoo! Not enough contrast. Looking forward to returning to Melbourne’s default of ‘black on black’ in winter.

      • I have never been drawn to spring colours and have spent most of my life in black-on-black!

    • OK, maybe all my variations on cold may just be variations on settings (and excuses for more clothes) and the cold is definitely not sub-zero. More like around 15Β°C. But when it gets down to around 5Β° at night, I always wonder why so many Aussies don’t heat their houses and persist in holding outdoor BBQs in winter.

      So maybe as a Sydneysider, I don’t really know much about cold. (Is that what you’re implying, Fiona?)

      Dar, I think wardrobe boredom is why I like having so many clothes. If I get bored even looking at one item, I can stash it at the back of my wardrobe and leave I there for a few months or years. Then pull it out and rediscover it and why I liked it the first time. And I can rotate through different clothes. I don’t think I’ll ever be a minimalist when it comes to clothing.

      • Fiona

        Sorry L I probably haven’t explained: we lived in Sydney for 2 years and were constantly asked how we could stand “the terrible cold” of Melbourne. It became a bit of a running joke, as we didn’t think Melb really was all that much colder. Now we just enjoy teasing Sydney friends about their “balmy” winters!

      • There are people who don’t heat their houses when it is only 5? This week we are finally seeing some outdoor temperatures above 0.

        I used to have lots of clothes, and I wish I felt like you do – being able to pull something out and enjoy it again, or create a new outfit. Instead, I usually kept things that were mismatched, worn out, or no longer fit! Now that all my clothes are one size, maybe I’ll eventually amass enough to prevent boredom.

  3. I’m an unrepentant black with black wearing person, but my flip side personality is completely bohemian and colourful. I wear variations on a theme of black with black all through the cold weather months, but it just takes a bit of sunshine to have me optimistically thinking of summer sandals and floaty sarongs. And, of course, it’s completely impractical since we rarely have much of a summer. Still, it didn’t stop me from buying a vintage kaftan on ebay recently despite being on a clothing fast and still being cold enough to be clad in fleece.

    • I know the feeling! I am planning a spring trip, and I know the weather will be just as cold as it is here, but I still can’t resist looking at “spring travel clothes”!

  4. I can see why you’re getting sick of your clothes! I’m guilty of having tons of casual items and not enough work appropriate attire as well. And usually I can wear the work stuff out and about, so it gets used in more situations than some of my casual gear. It’s too bad you haven’t had much luck in stores, maybe you could look online? My local clothing store still has a lot of winter stuff left over on sale for 80% off (I was just there last week and bought a $6 sweater – yay!).

    Black is my preferred neutral – love it! I wear it most days, either as black pants, black flats or sneakers, or a black top. Brown is another favorite though, because I adore corduroys and can get away with wearing them to work. πŸ™‚

  5. Oh man, I feel like I’ve been in a wardrobe slump for at least a year! I really need to do something about it!

    • A year is a bit long! Sometimes I don’t like the colours or styles that are in the stores, and I avoid shopping so I don’t have to push too far outside my comfort zone.

  6. I don’t feel like I’m in too much of a wardrobe slump (but am more than ready for spring weather!), but that’s probably because most of my wardrobe is new (to me). Since we moved to Austin in the winter of last year, I didn’t really prepare. I think I bought one cotton jacket and that was it. Now that I know what to expect, I was able to prepare a bit more. I bought 4 pairs of jeans (needed as all of my others had holes!), 1 thick sweater, 1 light jacket, 1 wool pea coat, 1 pair of hi-top sneakers, and 1 pair of almost knee high boots. I also bought a couple tee-type shirts earlier in the year that I just layered underneath. Ooh, and I also bought a pair of black leggings and two long shirts/short dresses to wear together. Those feel like my most fashionable winter clothes. The best part about most of my new clothing is that they can be worn a lot during the rest of the year too. Only a few pieces will stay in the closet until winter hits again.

  7. Pingback: Whether the weather be good. | lucinda sans

  8. I hear you – for this reason I pledge to buy a new wool or cashmere (ie warm, not synthetic) cardigan each year, at great expense (as in planned, not a ‘that’s cheap’ sort of price point). I love a snuggly cardigan! And because winter is all about layers, it really isn’t that interesting. Nor is the palette – there’s so little in vibrant colours!!

    That being said, I’ve found this summer, like many, I don’t have enough ‘casual’ tops. I have one with bling on the front, but a small hole in the back. OK, but not passable for ‘nice’. I have another teal top with a ruffle on the front, but honestly, the back fabric is thinning, and it’s looking worn. But replacing it with a $5 Kmart top of the same colour is questionable (for me). I do have more ‘formal’ summer tops, but most occasions (ie grocery shopping) hardly warrant that level of ‘nice’.

    You seem to have WAY less hoodies? What happened?

    • I am ready to start slowly building a collection of good-quality sweaters, too! I do have fewer hoodies, believe it or not! Some were looking worn. Others I no longer liked the silhouette. I still plan to keep buying hoodies but with restraint, I hope! Or maybe warm-up jackets that are not hoodies (like Bench).

  9. I am in desparate need of an overhaul. I have too many bottoms and not enough tops but cannot find exactly what I am looking for. The shops here are full of spring clothes too but they look far too cold at the moment to contemplate buying.

    • I definitely won’t be spring shopping for a while; not much point! I get discouraged going to the stores because I am looking for clothes designed for the not-young and the not-old, and I rarely like the latest colours and lines, so it is a big effort!

  10. I don’t really get bored with my wardrobe, I just get fed up with the winter and look forward to just wearing a t-shirt. I don’t really accessorize either – I have two scarves, but that’s it. I’m so boring when it comes to clothes lol, but I am looking forward to adding a couple of items in the next few weeks.

    • Being tired of the season rather than the wardrobe – that is a more positive way of looking at it! I like my clothes well enough and I will be happy to wear them next winter; it’s just that the season is so long.

  11. Lane

    I think the cold is getting to Northerners this year; so relentless rather than in the more usual short spells. I have a lot of gray basics, too, mixed with black and royal blue, mostly. I never wore scarves or necklaces as they would tangle with my stethoscope, but now I find them more interesting; have you tried one of the infinity non-massive scarves? Local knitters make them– nice to support them–and keeping the neck warm is key this winter.

    I agree with you that’s it’s hard to find clothes that fit the right not too young nor too old niche; length is always an issue for me, although it helps that having one’s ankles stick out is a trend in pants!

    • Hi Lane, I do have an infinity scarf and it is a nice update – plus, my cat hasn’t eaten that one yet! Clothing length is an issue for me – I don’t like short tops of any kind! I hate it when they ride up. But I don’t want to be in tunics all the time either. Funny, I bought a long white cardigan recently and gave it away because I thought it looked too much like a lab coat πŸ™‚

  12. I’ve given up wearing any decent clothes, jeans and a jumper with a body warmer or is the trendy word “Gillet” I’m always covered in cat and dog hair or sometimes even worse!! Most of my clothes are 30p each from the jumble so it doesn’t matter if they are heavily treated. I hate that riding up as well, I don’t like hipster jeans as the leave my back cold. Old age lol

  13. I am obsessed with books! I can’t have too many books, if I don’t have books around me something doesn’t feel “right”. I always carry reading material. I love magazines from around the world as well. Not crappy gossip magazines, but women’s magazines and home magazines, I like to see how other cultures do things and write.
    I enjoyed your art about reading as well!! Good fun πŸ™‚
    I hope you have a great weekend,
    Much love,
    Tammy xx

    • Hi Tammy, I hope all is well! I am never without a book either. I have cut down on buying magazines because I can read the latest at work (during my lunch hours, not on the job!)

  14. I have no winter clothes. They seem to get more ruined more quickly than my summer clothes. I am unsure why? I have even less crossover clothes. I think I need to do a major clothes shop before the next cold season.

    • You should! We need the cold weather clothes so many months each year, they have to be better quality to last. I find I get dirt and salt on my winter clothes when I clear off the car, walk to work etc so they get washed more. And I replace my shoes and boots more for the same reason.

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