Confession time: I dread getting dressed in the morning. I didn’t always feel that way, though. In fact, for years my favorite part of the day was diving into my closet and choosing who I’d become that day. My clothing was as varied as my moods, which made dressing in my 20s so fun—and makes getting ready at age 30 so frustrating.
After months of bypassing piles of clothing every morning and whining that “I have nothing to wear,” I finally had enough. I spent the better part of Sunday pulling out stacks of sweaters, racks of skirts and boxes of shoes and getting rid of the pieces I hadn’t worn in years. It got the boot if it didn’t meet the following criteria:
- It fits and it’s flattering.
- I like wearing it.
- I’ve worn it in the past year. (This didn’t apply to special occasion items.)
- I’d honestly be upset if it wasn’t in my closet.
- It meets my current style aesthetic.
- It’s in good repair.
My resolve weakened four hours into the project. I started to talk myself into keeping various items for sentimentality’s sake or “maybe someday” I’ll wear it again. That was fine for my mom’s maxi dress from the ’70s, but not okay for a polyester top I received as gift or purchased in college.
I only made it through a third of my wardrobe on Sunday, but I got rid of 30 pounds of clothes. Isn’t that absurd? Here’s what 30 pounds of clothing gets you:
- 14 sweaters
- 7 pairs of shoes
- 7 tops
- 4 dresses
- 4 pairs of shorts
- 4 handbags
- 2 pairs of pants
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 1 skirt
It’s humbling to think of how much money I spent on these items. And even though some were well-loved and threadbare, others simply weren’t worn often enough to have warranted the purchase in the first place. It was an eye-opening experiment that reinforced the principles of the French Wardrobe Challenge:
- Quality is paramount. As years pass, the well-made items are those that still look beautiful. Plenty of sweaters from Gap and Old Navy faded substantially after just a few washes.
- Those high quality items continue to be the most worn and most loved pieces in my wardrobe. I’d love to have a closet full of pieces I’m truly excited to wear—and that’s precisely what I’m working toward.
- Impulse purchases are seldom a smart buy. Many of those “great deals” went off to Goodwill. They’ve only worked in two instances: it’s a basic item that I wear frequently (J.Crew Tippi sweaters, anyone?) or it’s an item I already coveted at full price.
- Shopping on a budget doesn’t work for me. I get wrapped up in the idea of quantity over quality. That’s not to say I have the luxury of ignoring the price tag; I just need to be picky about what I’m spending money on.
- The amount of waste generated from purchasing—and eventually getting rid of—these low quality items is embarrassing. I know style blogs don’t really talk about that side of consumerism, but it’s something to keep in mind.
- I feel happier with less stuff in my closet. If it’s not being worn and enjoyed, it shouldn’t be taking up space.