Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wardrobe revision

I realize my long post about Sofia Coppola may have come off a bit obsessive or fangirly. But I was determined to crack the code. While I concede that some of her elegance may come from carriage and confidence, I felt a lot of her style might be approximated.

It's helped in my wardrobe-editing process because it's given me a touchstone, an end result to measure my progress. And I realized from studying her clothes that I don't have to get rid of every distinctive, non-neutral piece, but I should get rid of all my gimmicky clothes, the one-note pieces that can only be worn a single way.

I've tried to see if I could streamline my wardrobe from the other end--by acquiring more selectively--but I realized that my closet was too far gone. If I wanted to change my wardrobe and my entire approach to dressing, I had to clean it out. I had to cull the many lackluster pieces from my closet. So the last few weeks, that's what I've done. It was painful at first, but as I got rid of more and more, I felt a burden lifting and, as others have noted, it becomes addictive. I'm not nearly finished, but at least I've started.

Stuff that has made the edit pile & what I've learned:
- Winter scarves and hats. I realized that I have favorites that I wear again and again, and I don't need or like big accessories to change up my look. Rather, I like to wear signature accessories: my polka dot wool scarf, my tiffany diamond earrings, and my Birkenstocks.

- Different experiments with workout clothes. I have two brands that look good and hold up well: Patagonia and Lululemon. Everything else gets cut.

- Many, many clothes from a sad period in my life a few years ago, when I was married. I was beginning to experiment with how to upgrade my wardrobe, but I was also feeling angsty and unmoored. I tried to use shopping and clothes as a way to project a presence that I didn't feel.

- Lots of clothes that are visually appealing but somehow slightly wrong in cut, color, or material. Lots of clothes made with thin or itchy cheap-o fabrics. Stuff that gives no pleasure in the wearing.

- Clothes bought at the wrong price point. Items worn often should be acquired at the upper end of my price limit, and not on impulse or for a narrow range of ocassions. I'm not sure if this is pointless snobbery, though.

- Stuff appropriate to an earlier age. I find myself transitioning to more demure pieces. I could maybe still get away with them, but I feel less desire to be on display.

- Clothes that don't quite fit the way I like. I've gained 5 pounds, and I have no desire to diet back down to 95 lbs to fit into my old clothes. I also don't want to squeeze into my clothes and be reminded that I'm older and fatter. It's time to give up the ghost! No shame in growing older.


  1. I didn't think you were being all fangirl at all! The article was fantastic in exploring an aesthetic style with precision, and it lead me to gobble up your whole blog in one sitting. (mmmm. Maybe I show myself to be the obsessive person that I am.)

    But I'm glad for your follow-up piece. Something in particular caught my eye: That you didn't have to give up everything that's not neutral, just the one-note wonders. *That* bit of wisdom helps me. Over the past weeks, I've been editing the wardrobe and finding new basic pieces. I started a blog to chart my aesthetic alterations. I even photographed everything in my closet and drawers. The latter step, however, made me panic. Looking at the pictures recalls that game: What Here Does Not Belong? This tip eases the panic. Some things do not fit, but not as many as I think.

    I just came out of an unhappy marriage--but I'm so happy now, no worries. The strange thing is that nearly ALL the clothes from the period just had to go. I have maybe five pieces left, most thrift-store finds, and they should really go, too.


    Now, to find those beautiful black low heels Sophia is wearing.... Any idea?

  2. wardrobe editing is so great, because even though it's a gradual process to edit/sell/donate the excess and rebuild the 'core elements' of a great, personalized collection, it's so so worth it! i just spent this past year doing some major editing of my clothes and accessories and shoes, and whew! i am so glad i managed to trim down the items that were lingering and gathering dust. very therapeutic and it's a great feeling when you look into your closet and things are more cohesively 'dialoguing' with one another.

    btw, glad i found your blog! :)

  3. Miss Cat, I'm sorry I haven't replied earlier! I'm in the end-of-quarter school flurry, and I'm moving soon. So...

    Those shoes she wears (I know exactly the ones you mean) are ones designed by her for Louis Vuitton. I'm pretty sure they're astronomically priced, just like her handbags.

    It's so weird that you too have culled most of the items from your unhappy married life too. I wonder if it's because they remind us of an unhappy time? I'm inclined to think it's because they are items that just don't fit, like the marriage. It reminds me of a line from Sex and the City, spoken by the ex-wife of the Russian Carrie dates: "I believe a marriage is like couture. If it doesn't fit perfectly, it's a disaster." Anyway, I'm glad that you're happy now. Me too.

    Miss Sophie. It's helpful to hear that it took you a year to edit your wardrobe. I feel so undisciplined because I can't quite make myself do it all in one fell swoop.

  4. Mouse, I'm tagging you to do a post on what's inside your bag! Looking forward to reading your answers!

    xx Fleurette

  5. I have started this exact same process. Yesterday I finally piled up clothes that don't fit, that are worn and outdated or the opposite and never get used. I also cut out items that can only be worn with one other item or are just difficult to mix in general. I am in the process of evolving my style to something that I will enjoy, that works for my body type(I have wanted a bandage dress for a long time but I am pear shaped and all the dresses just look hideous so I've decided to more loose cut dresses that flatter my body type more) and I want my closet to be coherent and them to mix and match easily with each other.

    It will be a long process, especially since want to buy good quality clothes and as a student my budget is rather limited so it will take some time. I want clothes that will last for years and won't go out of fashion.

    I have just found your blog and I have been so happy to read your posts, very inspiring so thank you for that :)