Small closet challenge update: and a few lessons I'm learning

Since starting my 'small closet challenge', or whatever I'm calling it today, about a month ago, I've started to notice some trends:

  • I don't want to wear patterns every day- maybe 2-3 times a week, max. Thus I'm dividing wears between my patterned clothes (1 dress and four tops).  I may need to purge a couple of them.
  • I don't want to wear tee shirts.  I have one tee shirt (the BethAnn tee) in regular rotation.  I'm keeping one sentimental one (which I'm questioning too now), and all others have been purged or demoted to painting or lounge wear.
  • There's still a few unworn items in my closet - for over a month now, they've sat there, and I keep thinking that I'll wear them, but I don't. It's probably time for them move down to the basement thrift store.
  • I might be over most bright colors?  My BethAnn tee is bright, and I'm wearing plenty of white, but other than that, my pink capris got worn once, my green shorts not at all, and my raspberry mesh sweater once. I also wore an orangey coral shirt once (and purged it today.  It's too big), and a red dress once (also purged).
  • What I did wear: black, white and blue.  A tiny bit of gray, and cognac belt and sandals.
Today I'm purging 49 items.  It's about 20% of my total wardrobe. 

It's time I started to plan for fall.  I'm thinking that my long-sleeved tees may soon be on the chopping block, but I should save some for layering. I wonder if I'll want to wear prints in winter, or if texture will substitute.   I'm kind of thinking that I want my style to shift a little more polished than it has been lately, and as such, probably don't need more than ten pairs of jeans - time to try on and purge there. 

Any suggestions as I plan for fall?  

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.


  • Elizabeth P replied 6 years ago

    No suggestions... just following :)

    Although I do think you might want to wait just a bit before purging for fall... to see what you REALLY do rather than what you think you might do.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 6 years ago

    Wow Amy - fantastic revelations. It seems like you're simplifying not only from a number of items perspective, but also in color palette and with solids. I suspect this will lead to more focused shopping.

    Has anything about your challenge so far surprised you?

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    So interesting. It seems as if this process is helping you to streamline your style. It's a fairly typical pattern, I think -- the first year on YLF is one of wild experimentation, and then we start to hone in on what really makes us happy. Which we couldn't identify without the experimentation. 

    I'll be curious to see where you go next! And congratulations on the big purge. 

    I think it might be risky to get rid of stuff out of season, but it makes sense to build your fall capsule from things that you imagine yourself wearing -- in other words, leave the tees in the "boutique." 

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Thanks Elizabeth - good suggestion!  I'm planning to try on and purge for fit issues, but save things that I'm not sure whether I'll wear (like colored skinny jeans?  I doubt it, but you never know).

    Shannon, everything has surprised me - that I like not having the variety maybe the most of all.  But also that I prefer solids to patterns, that I like limiting my colors, that I love my summer closet so much now that I don't want the summer to end... (that will be another post, I think).  And I've spent years in tee shirts, only to discover that I prefer woven! (at least at the moment).


  • Elizabeth P replied 6 years ago

    I must add that I love the idea of purging to a boutique - takes all kinds of pressure off.  Wish I had the space!

    Thanks to Lisa's DH!

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Cross-posted with Suz.  I think you're right that my style journey is following a typical one on ylf.  This worries me a little bit as I'm also embarking on a home-decorating style journey, and making mistakes there are a lot more costly :)  

  • columbine(erin) replied 6 years ago

    I'm thinking it's a good idea to send things to a holding zone for awhile. I've done some necessary purging of worn things or things that just didn't get worn, only to realize that I'm really short of tops and constantly have laundry bottleneck. I don't know if you might change your mind about brights or long sleeves when the weather changes, say.

  • replied 6 years ago

    Wow, it sounds like this challenge has been really instrumental in helping you figure out what's working and what isn't. Good job! I think the best time to edit a season's clothes is when you're actually in that season and actively wearing the items. I'm champing at the bit to edit out a couple of F/W things, but I've got them in the holding zone for now, just to make sure. But I'm pretty sure. And I get to where I want them outta here, IYKWIM.

  • Aziraphale replied 6 years ago

    Hehehe, Amiable, you should see the colours in my closet. Black, white, grey, blue (denim). Bit of army green, bit of red and cognac leather. The reason it's that way is because I went through a phase like you're going through now -- a streamlining process -- and came to the realization, like you, that those are the colours that get worn. So one by one my brights got purged. I don't miss them. :-)

  • texstyle replied 6 years ago

    Amiable - I remember feeling that I was over tees too. And I am over my old tees -- the ones that are a little clingy on the midsection, or a little too thin, or even a little too thick in some cases - also the brights that I rarely wore anyway or the pale light gray heathered tees that weren't doing my complexion any favors (I still love a deeper charcoal gray tee). But I haven't ended my love for the *right* tees. The ones that have good drape and fabrication are still flattering and comfortable and I love them. The floral printed Loft tee in my Finds is a recent favorite (sized up to a L from my usual M). In fact, sizing up on tees (some brands) has been a big factor for me.

    I think (fingers crossed) I've learned my lesson about buying inexpensive tees in duplicate before I actually wear them several times. I used to buy multiple all the time thinking I'd love them and want backups. Most of them I do love to wear - to bed, not in the day! At least I'm well stocked for quite some time to come. ;-)

    The "holding zone" aka "boutique" is such a great concept. I've been "shopping" my H zone on/off lately just to re-try a few things I thought I'd given up on. For the most part I am satisfied. But just today I decided to bring out a forest green long sleeved tee and a forest green button down after reading Angie's fringe trend post and they both seem to fit fine. I think one or both will be a good layering piece for fall/winter - maybe under my lightweight navy utility jacket. A year ago I was troubled with hot flashes and I sort of purged to the H zone anything that made me feel remotely warm. Now I seem to be over that so some items are up for reconsideration.

  • CocoLion replied 6 years ago

    Amiable, our journeys are very similar!  My own 34 day capsule test is teaching me similar things about myself.  There are things I still haven't worn, 20 days into my test.  But I DO like wearing tees and feel I could have included more in my capsule for everyday, casual wear (due to laundry bottlenecks and for variety).  I'm VERY impressed that you are purging 49 items today.  You are doing great and are a real inspiration to my own process.

  • Angie replied 6 years ago


    These are brilliant epiphanies, Amy. My only suggestion is to realize that everything is a stage - a leg of your style journey. You might be off patterns now but want to wear them again in a year or two. Same with brights. Purge the stuff and allow Fall to work with these current style preferences. 

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Good point Angie- I'm really not thinking of these preferences as 'for all time' - more just 'for now'.  So we're on the same page :)  I certainly don't expect to stay the same.

  • Sal replied 6 years ago

    Yay, it sounds like you are on the right track!!

  • Alana in Canada replied 6 years ago

    So interesting and instructive. Actually, it makes me want to hurry up and make some returns of my own (my version, right now, of purging.) 

  • E replied 6 years ago

    Wow! You're learning so much: how exciting. :) I love reading about your journey too & can't wait to see a pic of your closet at the end.

    I don't wear tees much at all in the hot months, but come fall, I love my long sleeve tees with skirts. For some reason, long sleeve tees are a wardrobe staple for me but short sleeve tees aren't. No clue why!

  • Caro in Oz replied 6 years ago

    Late responder here :) I love where you are going with this, it sounds like the fit of your clothes is very important too. Can you take what you love about your summer capsule & translate that into cooler weather clothes? Do you want to wear the same silhouettes or different ones? Deeper or lighter colours? 

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Great questions Caro - 
    At the moment I think I want to wear similar silhouettes in winter - perhaps adding in a skinnier bottom, and chunkier tops, but still basically a roomy top and a slouchy bottom type silhouettes.  I expect to want to wear deeper/darker colors (they suit me well), and I'm hoping to be exceedingly picky about shape and fit and feel of an item.  I want to pare down my wardrobe by a lot!  

  • Caro in Oz replied 6 years ago

    Sounds good :) :)

  • AJ replied 6 years ago

    Your making great progress and in only a month!

    Maybe you should just approach the next season in the same way. Before you start purging any fall items, give it a month and see if you're using them. It will be interesting to see if you will enjoy color/patterns when the weather and environment get bleaker. :)

  • abc replied 6 years ago

    Fun! Cool to see the change happening. I'm headed home soon and can't wait to go through my closet and really pare down. I know what I've had with me and what worked and didn't. Now if I can just put it into practice and really purge like I need to.

    I'm feeling similarly about t-shirts and patterns as well.

    Funny how we change while we transform. Keep these analytical posts coming. I really like them and identify.

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