January 10, 2014

The purge

Lately, I noticed I was always in trouble finding the clothes I wanted to wear. And putting them back in the wardrobe after laundry… The closet was just getting too full.
Of course that could mean two things: Either I had too many clothes or not enough closet space. I decided to take a look at all those clothes before committing to either theory…

The truth is I haven't really cleaned out my closet since we bought this one a couple of years ago. I've removed the occasional thing if it was somehow damaged or if I really didn't like the fabric, but that was about it. And when I selected my things to go into this closet, I had a really hard time letting go of anything I had made myself…
I think I'm over that by now. I've been sewing for long enough to have had some changes in style over that time. There were quite a few boot-cut trousers and above-the-knee skirts in there which I just don't love anymore. And, although I'm lucky not to have to deal with big fluctuations in size and shape, my body has changed a bit over time. Both my hips and bust are a bit bigger than they used to be. 

So far, I've cleaned out the shelves and the dresses section. What's in there now fits and I'm either happy with the look or it's useful for day-to-day wear (which means I'm keeping the well fitting boot-cut trousers because I wear them work). I still need to look at the jackets and some skirts. I know there will be some tough decisions there. Some of those are just not 'me' anymore but are made from fabrics I love…
I've kept some things I never really wear but love. The Watteau pleat dress (which may not even fit over my chest anymore) which was such a sewing adventure back in the day and the strapless leather dress (I will wear that. I just need an occasion) which is just too cool to lose. I just can't let practicality rule everything.

I know there are a lot of posts about wardrobe building around this time of year and cleaning out the closet inevitably makes me think along such lines. I've never been much of a planner. For me, it takes the fun out of creating clothing. Having purged my wardrobe of things I don't or shouldn't wear, I can now see more clearly what I need. Trousers I really like and long-sleeve tops mainly. And I love all my shirtwaists.
However, it also shows how futile planning can be. I've loved separates for a long time and now secretly prefer dresses and jumpsuits. My preferred skirt length has increased by almost 20 cm over the past four years… Even if my shape and size would never, ever change I can't plan for that. And bodies do change, inevitably and if not that, than circumstances will.
This is why I won't follow up on this with a umpteen-step plan for my ideal wardrobe. I will keep in mind what I have and what I like when planning a next project. I will keep following my latest style crushes though, and experimenting with patterns and I will try to make all of that somehow work with everyday reality, whichever way that may develop.


  1. I have a similar problem. The shirts with frayed collars and concert t-shirts from the 90's aren't the problem, it's the vintage shearling coat that the weather is never cold enough to wear, and the hand-tailored tweed riding jacket when I haven't been on a horse for 20 years. My solution is to wrap them up and put them in a special storage space. Inevitably, some occasion comes up and I'm grateful that I kept them.

  2. I empathize with you. My closet is bulging as well and full of clothes I have made or refashioned. I just can't seem to part with my creations. I have already removed stuff that I would never fit into again but that still leaves too much. Who needs 14 summer dresses anyways, even if they all fit fine? But I can't seem to stop creating more clothing/accessories each week. Perhaps I need professional help?! :-)