Tuesday, July 15, 2008

clothing revelation (revolution?).

full disclosure: i am not good at cleaning out my closet. i wish i were one of those people who is all, “buy one thing, donate one thing,” but, alas, i’m not. and come to think of it, i actually don’t know anyone who is. that’s not to say that i don’t accrue a goodwill pile. i do. i just do it more slowly than i should, and it takes me forever to get around to bagging it up and dropping it off, because i’m constantly rewearing items that i (attempt) to toss.

take, for example, a black-and-white empire-waist dress i bought last year. after two or three wears, i took a long look at myself in the mirror and realized that the dress wasn’t nearly as flattering as i originally thought. in fact, it was pretty ugly. sometimes i’ll buy a dress that doesn’t look good with flats but that morphs into something special with heels; this dress was exempt from that. it made me look perilously pregnant, which i am not, and it was an odd length to boot. so i tossed it in my goodwill pile, resolved that my find would go to an someone who looked better in it than me.

until i was scrambling for a work outfit a few weeks later and spied the hem of the dress sticking out from under a heavy, oversized sweater i’d added to the goodwill pile. for some reason, i thought it would look better on me than it had before, and i pulled it on and scurried out the door. needless to say, it didn’t look better, and it was relegated to the pile again as soon as i got home, never to emerge again. but the point is, this is a pattern with me. i am constantly digging from my pile, which is why nothing ever gets taken to goodwill and why there is a gigantic heap of clothing sitting in the far corner of my kitchen area.

but sunday night, i think i had a breakthrough. i arrived home with a freshly laundered basket of clothes (thank you, mom and dad) and realized that i didn’t have enough hangers for everything. so i began to ruthlessly edit my closet, tossing items that i hadn’t worn in over a year or that i just wasn’t thrilled with anymore. it hurt to give some of them up, but i kept reminding myself that there’s a reason i haven’t worn them in eons. i even found myself laughing at some of the stuff i’d kept – i.e., a pair of cute pinstriped pants that fit in the waist but that are far too short. i still have some more stuff to go through, including shoes, but i’m confident that by the end of this week i’ll be lugging a couple of hefty bags to my neighborhood goodwill.

this confidence is bolstered by a great article i read in the current issue of domino. in it, writer cynthia kling hires a pair of stylists to help her pare down her wild wardrobe, and the result is pretty inspiring. kling tosses a lot, then learns how to buy pieces that go with clothes the stylists allowed her to keep and applies the age-old adage “buy a few timeless, high-quality pieces and accessorize instead of accruing tons of cheap crap” to her shopping philosophy. it’s a very french principle, and one that i plan to adopt, starting now. i need new earrings, anyway.

how do you all edit your closets?

(photo above: yes, that's my goodwill pile.)


  1. I constantly have a Goodwill bag going. My closet is so small, it forces me to edit. My rule is, if I don't wear it for one year, it goes to Goodwill!

  2. that is such a good rule -- one i think i'm definitely going to adopt, especially since my closet is teeny, too. :)