Dressing my small closet, day 1 thoughts (long)

Yesterday I started my own version of Lisa's "DH closet challenge", by moving all of my clothes into my own personal thrift store (in my basement), and keeping about a week worth of clothes in my closet.

I was excited last night going to bed because my closet was so clean, and because I could imagine all sorts of ways to remix the few pieces that I chose to allow in my closet.

But this morning when I woke up, it was 30 degrees cooler than yesterday when I chose those clothes.  (Our windows are all open, so I felt those 30 degrees distinctly).  I had chosen clothes for high summer - nothing warmer than a cotton shirt and shorts.  My first thought was "oh, no problem - I'll just run down and grab my white boyfriend jeans".  

So by the time I was out of bed this morning, I had already encountered two problems with my thrift store in the basement approach.  

  • Variance in weather
  • Accessibility of further options.

I decided that if indeed this was going to be a successful experiment, I was going to have to WEAR what was in my closet, and figure out a way to make it work.  It's not like it was frigid - just more pants than shorts weather for me.

After mentally arguing with myself over a trip downstairs for a few minutes, I decided to wear the warmest shirt I brought up with a tank layered underneath, and shorts.  

And it worked - I was warm enough!  (In fact I removed the undershirt once it warmed up).

The whole process made me realize that for this to work I have to view the thrift store NOT as just an extension to my closet.  It's not just an out-of-the-way storage spot.  I also should have planned for a variety of weather when I brought up my favorites, I know.  I thought I was by including something with sleeves :)

Finally, I also realized that for me, the main thrill of shopping at a thrift store is that I don't know what I'll find - maybe nothing, maybe a true treasure.  My thrift store in the basement won't have this benefit - or at least, it doesn't now.  I just did inventory - I KNOW what's down there.  This morning, I was thinking of it as an extension of my closet - "I should go grab my white boyfriend jeans", not "I wonder if I can find a pair of boyfriend jeans or at least something warmer down at the thrift store..."  That will most likely make shopping my thrift store much less thrilling than shopping for real - at least until I forget what I have down there....

I guess that's at least part of what this challenge is about - living without the thrill of the find until my closet is a workable size.  I hope that the thrill of making new combinations of what I already have and love will replace it :)

Anyway, I'm pleased with the combination from today - a chambray Henley (with yellowish buttons, that I think I'll replace to white), and white shorts.  Black birks and belt. 

Comments and suggestions always welcome :)
(apologies for the weird expression on my face - we were running out the door, and I must have been talking to my kids behind me)

PS My shirt is only semi-tucked, and hanging weird in the pic.  It actually fits me fine, I think, and the back is untucked.  I should probably just take another pic.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • replied 9 years ago

    Oh no! I hate that you were cold, but at least you cobbled together something warm that looks really good. I love the long shorts and your Birks. You can do no wrong with a tabbed sleeve button front for Summer-- you get two, two, two sleeve lengths in one! 
    I get what you mean about your basement thrift store not having the same excitement and thrill as The Thrift Store IRL. That's not as fun as I originally imagined. I think you're brave for sticking with your experiment for now. It's like you're on a trip and you're having to make it work out of what you've packed. Hopefully you'll allow yourself a sweater or long pants if you really need them though (I won't tell). 

  • Sara L. replied 9 years ago

    Interesting experiment!  I'm glad you were able to find something that worked and you weren't cold all day.  I hate being cold!  Your outfit is cute and I like the black details with the belt and shoes.

  • Lyn D. replied 9 years ago

    This must be a bit like packing for a trip- when you arrive you are stuck with what you thought you might need. Making do is an option and you looked great!
    I imagine this will be an enlightening exercise- you have already learnt that the BF jeans are essential :) Are you going to add them to your 'working closet' ?

  • lyn* replied 9 years ago

    I like the premise of your experiment! I have always wanted to try this - is there an "escape clause" that you can "borrow" things back from the Thrift Store in the Basement as needed? 

    I think I'd have to have a buy in clause somewhere - and I could add or subtract two pieces a week or something.

  • amiable replied 9 years ago

    I will add bf jeans soon, definitely.  But I really wanted to wear everything in my closet at least once before I added to it.  I'm not sure I'll make it there, but I at least made it through one day :) 

  • Mona replied 9 years ago

    I am impressed by your project, amiable. Happy to know that you actually found something warm enough.

  • shedev replied 9 years ago

    Great job not shopping the thrift store. The more adversity you can work thru, the more you will learn from this experiment.

  • carter replied 9 years ago

    Good for you! love the long shorts in a big way. On my two week trip to Europe last month, I loved the clothes I took, but I didn't have enough options for seriously hot and humid Paris. I was washing and hanging to dry my two appropriate tops every night, but after several days of those two tops and one pair of cropped pants, I couldn't stand it any longer. I ended up at the Gap (of all places) to pick up a couple tees to get me through. Other than my surprise weather issue, I LOVED dressing each day from a small selection of my favorites.

    The other thing I will add is that this Spring (2 months here) was the first time I did a "capsule". Mine was fairly large to handle both work and play, so it was about 30 items that I loved. My planning must have been spot on for that one, because not only did I never have to venture outside my capsule, I had no desire to grab something else. For Summer (5 months for me), I did the same thing, but for work only. However, it was not as well-planned. I was seriously short on Summer work tops to accommodate the extended market this year. I have not added tops yet, but I plan to. Hoping to achieve my "Spring Nirvana" this Fall (about 6-8 weeks for me).

    Looking forward to following your progress and lessons learned!

  • E replied 9 years ago

    I really love your bob Amy! :) And that chambray shirt is so nice; I have yet to thrift a chambray shirt after years of looking. The only ones I come across have giant kindergarten teacher-esque embroidery/appliques, lol.

    Good luck with your project. I considered doing a 333 once, but I love my clothes too much to box up most of them. I pack v light when I travel, so I consider my trips my minimalist experiments, and I'm always so thrilled to get home to my full wardrobe. Hence my conclusion that I am not a minimalist, even if I don't want to be a typical 21st century Western consumer either. ;) I just revisited your other thread, and I see you're only going a week at a time, which does sound like a good way to figure out your ideal closet numbers! Go you, resisting temptation this am.

  • trendin1234 replied 9 years ago

    Interesting thought you got there..!!! and good luck with that..!!!

  • Jaime replied 9 years ago

    Well your thrift store outfit looks great and the whole point is to learn what you both need to wear and love to wear, so weather lesson learned and onward!

  • Suz replied 9 years ago

    I am impressed! First of all, that you pulled a great outfit together despite the challenges, and secondly, that you forced yourself to stick with your plan and learn what you could learn from it. I think this way it will have a much greater long term impact. Brilliant! 

  • Mary Beth (formerly LBD) replied 9 years ago

    First of all.. What a great picture of you and your family. Everyone can be seen clearly and you can see the thoughts on your kids' faces. You rarely see such unguarded moments in adults. It is a beautiful photo.

    Second... This is a terrific outfit! Your choices look polished and deliberate, and not at all like you had to cobble something together or are lacking anything. You look great!

    I think that is the challenge I would have - to view an experiment like this as a way to force creation, not as a punitive or deprivation measure. I really look forward to seeing what you do with this!

  • amiable replied 9 years ago

    Good thoughts LBD - I'm actually loving the creative exercise.  :)
    I had a bit of a problem this morning because it became apparent that I needed a warmer bottom piece upstairs (55 degrees this morning - in mid-July!)  White bf jeans are the obvious choice - they go with everything I have upstairs already.  But I already have white shorts, so styling the white bf jeans feels like a bit of a duplication.  After all, where's the challenge?  I took them anyway in the end, and suspect that another pair of bf jeans will come up tomorrow, considering the forecast for the rest of the week.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 9 years ago

    First of all, the outfit turned out brilliantly Amy. Love this look on you.

    And secondly, well done on not shopping the thrift store. I agree in that you don't want to think of downstairs as just another closet. For me, that's kind of why I didn't pursue the "boutique" idea. It will definitely work for others but I'm not that disciplined. It would just turn into an extra closet for me.

    I'm really interested in seeing where this experiment goes for you.

  • Lisa replied 9 years ago

    Great job sticking with the plan.  As I've moved through the seasons during The DH Closet Challenge, I've tried to remix items into outfits for the latest change in weather BEFORE I start pulling from the boutique.  I figure if I always say I want a super versatile wardrobe, I should start trying out one to see how it works.  I've learned that cross seasonal tops need to be able to layer for me but still look nice enough on their own.  For example, I like a ribbed turtleneck vs a solid one, the ribbing gives it interest (and better covers up a bulge) than a solid does when worn alone with a long necklace and it still layers well with a blazer/jacket when the temperatures drop.

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