The minimal closet, week 1 thoughts and pics (long)

You've seen many of these pics before in my initial threads, but I wanted to put them all in one place, so forgive my re-posting them.

Last week I attempted to guess at what a week worth of high-summer clothes would be, and planned to wear them over and over until I was tired of it.

However, the weather decided to be late spring rather than high summer - it got down below 50 degrees F every night!  Consequently, I ended up bringing up about a weeks worth of late spring clothes over all, and wearing them.

This week we do return to high summer - it's currently a "real feel" of 111 F, and not to the hottest part of the day yet.  It's forecast to reach an honest 103 F (39.4 C)

Lessons learned the first week: 

  • I like limited options. I love the idea of remixing the same clothes over and over.  But I'm not sure I want to repeat the same actual combinations very many times.
  • Laundry doesn't always get done in a timely manner.  I wanted to re-wear the tops from the first half of the week later in the week, but they were still in the dirty laundry pile.
  • I liked the very limited color palette of the first few days.  The blue and white that I wore until I ran out of clean laundry are some of my favorite outfits of the summer so far.
  • Outfits made out of my favorite pieces make favorite outfits too.

Now, the week of outfits:  

#1 EF dress from Susie - worn to church.  Cardigan was removed in the heat of the afternoon.  It was very comfy, and I'll be posting a thread of just new clothes from Susie sometime today, I hope.

#2-3 worn to a wedding.  This dress is getting purged - I'm just not comfortable in a neck that low cut.  And I was quite over-dressed, but I liked being overdressed.

#4 worn out with some friends and to bachelorette party on Friday before the wedding.  It was really not warm enough for the weather that day, but I didn't want to bring up even more not-summer clothing :)  I'll wear this again this week, I suspect.

#5 casual for hanging out around the house.  It was still chilly when I wore this, but you know this top, and know I'll likely be wearing it with shorts this week.

#6-7 I think you have seen - worn to visit an old friend.  I liked it, and left the jacket off most of the day (after the morning chill wore off).

#8 navy and white - you saw this last week.  It'll be too warm this week to re-wear this.

#9 blue chambray and white - you saw this last week too.  I can't wait to rewear it - this time without the undershirt. :)

My questions:
The top in #4:  I like it, and it fits me well, but I have very few ideas for styling it - with black shorts or white shorts?  Maybe with blue jean shorts?  Is the top outdated?  Should it just go?

The shorts in #4 are ones that I forgot I had until moving my clothes down to the "thrift store".  Are they worth keeping around?

Any other suggestions for improvement?


Last week I wore 6 tops (one was just for grubbing around, and I didn't get a pic), 4 bottoms, 2 dresses and 2 toppers.  The red dress will be purged, despite its lovely color.  I taped it to myself for the wedding, but still felt very self-conscious in it.

This week I won't be repeating much, because the weather is entirely different.  

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.


  • Aquamarine replied 9 years ago

    I quite like the shorts in 4, from what I can see. Black shorts can be very versatile....dress them up or down. The length is good, too.

    As for the top, I find it a bit dated but if it fills a need now, keep it and purge at the end of the summer. You definitely could pair it with denim or any bright bottom like red, yellow, green, etc.

  • Sadie replied 9 years ago

    So sorry about the red dress- you look quite lovely in it! Maybe with a camisole underneath it would not be so revealing?

  • Sara L. replied 9 years ago

    Too bad the neckline is so low on the red dress.  With your sewing skills could you tack it closed at a level you are more comfortable with?  The black shorts look good to me.  I love the chambray shirt and white shorts outfit. Also I really like the colored top in #5.  I hope your weather cooperates this week so you can continue your experiment.

  • amiable replied 9 years ago

    Sara - that neckline is already tacked up about 2 inches, ha!  I tried tacking it up further, and it messed with the line and looked funny.  I may play with it some more, but I think I'd rather find or make a different dress that's wedding appropriate.

  • carter replied 9 years ago

    What if you stitch a small piece of red lace (or white/ivory) into the V? The color is just so pretty on you!

    So, are you bringing more clothes up for this week or sticking to this batch?

  • amiable replied 9 years ago

    This week I'm planning to wear the clothes that I brought up with the intent to wear last week.  I'm hoping that I don't end up needing to bring up more - I guess I'll find out :)

  • E replied 9 years ago

    I don't think the top in 4 is dated, but then something has to be obviously from the 80s/90s to look dated to me. ;) It's a print all in neutrals, right: couldn't you pair it with any colour bottom you wish? It seems like it'd be pretty easy to remix, but I don't know your closet inventory well enough to suggest specifics.

    Re: laundry: do you have to wash your tops after you wear them the first time? I understand it's high summer, so you might need to. But a lot of my blouses & dresses have sleeves low enough that they're not really in the armpit fold danger zone (lol) & if I hang them inside out over night to air out (I keep a little hook on my closet door for the purpose), they don't have any smell the next morning. That might help you avoid laundry bottlenecks.

    It seems like you've learned a lot of lessons, so this project is definitely a success for you! I wear a lot of blue and white in the summer too. :)

    (And I agree that the red dress is gorgeous on you, but if it makes you feel psychologically uncomfortable, it's not worth it. I like Carter's idea to salvage it though!)

  • Alana in Canada replied 9 years ago

    Love to hear about your experiment. What is your goal?

  • shiny replied 9 years ago

    I don't think the top is outdated at all. Have you tried it with the white bottoms in  8 and 9? Also what about red shorts or a red skirt? Try popping it over dress #3. 

    I think you look amazing in that red dress, and it'd be a shame to purge it!!  I'd try a cami - could make all the difference. If you still are tempted to purge, assuming it is cotton, another option is to adopt it as a beach cover up. Depending on the neckline and color of your bathing suit, it could work rather well for that purpose. Would make a rather classy cover up, in fact! 

    I don't think I've seen top 5 before - nice! 

    #7 - you look so fresh faced in white. LOVE this outfit. Love that you paired it with a white bag. I think #7 is my favorite, but it's a tough call.

  • pil replied 9 years ago

    Shiny commented on your white top in 7, two of my favorite outfits are the white bottoms in 8 and 9. That red dress is lovely on you, I hope you can find a way to salvage it - or maybe another one will turn up.

  • replied 9 years ago

    Haha. Now you know better than to post a dress that has been condemned to the donation pile when it looks this good! IKWYM about the neckline though. Nothing like being paranoid the whole time you have it on! I'm enjoying your series Amy. It's so interesting to read your analysis too. :)

  • amiable replied 9 years ago

    You're right Claire - and it looks a lot better in pictures than it felt in real life, let me tell you.  When I uploaded the pics, I thought "If this is what everyone else saw, I was feeling all awkward for no reason".  Still, I'm hoping to replace the dress with something equally fabulous but not so low.  I'll just make it a shopping goal.

    And thanks for all the comments!

    Alana - my goal is to have only clothes that I love and wear in my closet, and that all fit nicely.  And to wear them frequently (maybe even to death).

  • Lisa replied 9 years ago

    Great analysis, some of your observations are like mine when I first started the DH Closet Challenge.  I also like a smaller number of clothes worn more often, but are able to remix easily with my pieces (instead of a handful of stand alone outfits).  I don't mind the fit of #4's outfit but if you are questioning it, it may be time to pass this outfit along.  When I start questioning pieces it's often because my style is on the verge of shifting or I just never 100% loved the piece to begin with.  With a smaller sized wardrobe, things that are only ok stand out more often.

  • rachylou replied 9 years ago

    You're just looking really great. It hasn't effected your ability to be stylish at all, that's for sure.

    Oh, but isn't that true about laundry. That's why I have 30 pairs of socks!

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