Once again I have taken stock of all my clothes. Four years ago, I started paring back my wardrobe in an attempt to cut it back by 50%. I am within two items of that goal!
I have long since done the earlier phases of the job, moving out things that were worn out, non-repairable, irredeemably out of fashion, unused for several years, not my current size, or unflattering. Since then, I have been weeding out things that were buying mistakes or haven’t been worn much in the past 2 years. I would say my main tasks now are to keep up with replacements, do some upgrades, and do some updates.
I can’t say I have a well-selected core wardrobe that meets all my needs, because it has grown and shrunk haphazardly (assisted by my cat who eats holes in my sweaters whenever they are unattended). But it really is functional. I don’t have a job interview suit or a summer wedding outfit lying in wait, but I have everything for my daily life.
A lot of readers have told me they dress like I do, which is very comforting! In my world, the way I present myself isn’t typical: practical, modest, and not very ornamented. I do try to stretch my tastes with clothes purchases that are different for me: prints and patterns, new styles or vintage. I keep reverting to my usual look. I can’t say I dislike change, or that I have a narrow comfort zone or I’m stuck in a rut, although I’m sure others think so. When I wear my usual style, I feel confident and I feel like I am being true to myself. I suppose I could “fake it to make it,” but I don’t want to be a different person!
I work as a library manager and do a combination of managing and hands-on work such as customer service. Most days call for informal clothing; neat and presentable. Off work, I like to dress more in tune with my interests (such as music and fitness). I think my only real clothing eccentricity is that all my vacationing is done in big cities, so I like to bring a stuffed suitcase and dress up more than I do in my hometown. Unless I go on a guided tour someday, I never want to look like a tourist!
Now that I’m down to 136 “significant” items, I’ll list them for you.
Top layers (15):
- Navy blazer, teal jean jacket, coral “dressy” jacket, 5 heavy weight (winter) cardigans, 6 light weight (all season) cardigans, 1 short-sleeve cardigan (summer)
- 2 heavy weight winter pullovers (1 turtleneck, 1 boat neck), 1 wool pullover (V-neck), 1 wool “Ellen” vest, 3 light weight pullovers
- 4 short sleeve tops (3 new girly ones last month – see photos above)
- 5 long-sleeve T-shirts (two are striped), 1 tunic, 8 short-sleeve T-shirts (6 plain, 1 striped, 1 print), 1 Library logo T-shirt, 2 polo/golf T-shirts
- 6 long-sleeve button-up shirts (3 single colour, 1 striped and 2 prints)
- 13 pairs of pants/trousers including 3 black (pinstripe, skinny, leggings), 3 grey (twill, tech, and checked) 2 brown, 1 navy, 1 beige and 3 pairs of dark-wash jeans
- 1 skort
- 5 pair shoes (3 black, 1 brown, 1 burgundy) and 1 pair short boots
TOTAL 69 items
Top Layers (11):
- 6 zip hoodies, 3 pullover hoodies, 2 warm-up jackets
- 2 long-sleeve T-shirts (prints/logos), 1 turtleneck, 1 polo/golf shirt, 2 tops, 4 rock band T-shirts, 10 other T-shirts (prints, logos, cartoons)
- 2 faded/distressed jeans (1 blue, 1 black), 1 cargo pants, 2 yoga pants, 2 workout shorts, 1 shorts, 1 sweat pants (lounge wear for house only), 2 short skirts (1 velour, 1 corduroy)
- Boots (short winter boots, hiking boots and rubber boots), sneakers (2 athletic and 1 pair slip-on Converse), sandals (black, brown), flip-flops, garden clogs and 1 pair flats (shoes)
Coats and jackets (6):
- Parka, light weight puffer jacket, wool coat, pleather jacket, snakeskin print coat, rain jacket
Special Occasion (6):
- Sun dress, red sequin cardigan, black sparkly pullover, black semi-sheer button-up shirt, and 2 Christmas sweaters
TOTAL 67 items
I am very slowly coming to terms with changes in the way I dress because of body issues and ageing. The following is not a statement of self-loathing – rather an acceptance of how I look and the choices I make. I haven’t written about these things before because I am really not that obsessed with my looks or ageing, but it might help readers understand some of my wardrobe decisions.
I have always had a pear-shaped figure, 1 to 2 full sizes larger on bottom than on top. No matter how much weight I gain or lose, the proportions stay the same. I don’t wear short or cropped tops or jackets because they emphasize the weight below. I have a long neck and torso and a minimal bust, which has the advantage of giving people the first impression that I am quite slender when that is not always the case. I have shorter, curvy legs, which I always keep covered because of vein problems I’ve had since my 20s (I have had the “procedures” but not been able to maintain because of the necessity of wearing horrible surgical stockings year-round). I also have big feet which I am OK with because at 5’7″ I would feel silly with little feet.
I’m 52 now and I have noticed age-related changes accumulate in the last 3 years. I stopped colouring my hair and embraced the grey over 5 years ago and have no regrets about that. I haven’t deliberately suntanned in over 20 years, and when you add the skin tone changes that come with age, I am pale, and I don’t spray tan (wrong climate here) or wear make-up. I am still OK showing my arms (I will achieve Sarah “Terminator” Connor arms yet!) but my neck and shoulders are getting that stringy, scrawny look. Yes, I could gain weight, but I would need to put 20+ pounds onto my lower half before any would gravitate upwards! I have not been swaddling myself in scarves or covering myself up yet, but I understand the temptation. My hands and feet are not so youthful looking but I am willing to concede on those since they have served me well!
With those observations as “background noise,” I expect I will cover up even more in the years ahead, at least until I stop caring (which I suppose could happen at any time!) And I will be buying more tunics and longer jackets. It’s too bad I am not the right age for this trend which would have served me well a few years back!
I have done a round-up of outfit photos that have appeared here on the blog, which will give a consistent picture of how I present myself.
If you have any suggestions for adding new looks or modifying what I already own, I am all ears!
Do you have a consistent look? Has it changed in the past couple of years?