wardrobe architect: february


You know about Colette’s Wardrobe Challenge, right? Right. January’s challenge was satisfying, but easy. The real work begins now.

February’s challenge: Inventory and clean out your closet.

I didn’t exactly follow the challenge — there’s a worksheet that I didn’t use — but I followed along with the spirit of the thing: Get rid of things you don’t love to wear. Not things you don’t love. There’s a difference.

This was only a partial process; my most-worn summer clothes are packed away for the winter, and I’m not about to drag them out now. It would just make me SAD. (I’ll take care of those things as I unpack them this spring.)

I’m pretty good about purging my closet, but I still managed to get rid of some stuff that just doesn’t work for me. Some examples:


A gray sweater dress that is simultaneously stretched out over the bodice and tight/too thin over the bum;

A black shirtdress with a circle skirt (too much for me) that takes 20 minutes to iron and immediately wrinkles when you sit down;


A J.Crew bridesmaid dress which I picked up  for $15 at Buffalo Exchange (Silk! Blue! $15!) only to realize that it’s not really that great (Lined with poly! Surprisingly unflattering and too revealing! Still looks like a bridesmaid dress!);

A one-shouldered (which I never wear) silver silk charmeuse cocktail dress (terrible color for me) with a pencil skirt (doesn’t fit my pear shape, and the shine picks up all lumps);


Various beloved items with pills and holes. Actual holes;

A whole bunch of not-quite-right tops, with something amiss in the style, fit or color of each;

Socks with no elastic left, so they slide off your feet. I tell myself I can wear them around the house. I don’t.

The real skeleton in my closet, though, was this:


That’s scraps. Just scraps. My scrap collection has now exceeded my actual stash in volume, mainly because I can’t bear to throw away bits of fabric, especially my favorites.

I’ve been putting off this chore for far too long, because I’ve assumed that everything in there is junk to which I’m irrationally attached. But I gritted my teeth and sat down to it on my day off.

So how did I do? Wellllll, that box is still full — but it’s no longer overflowing. I threw out a big grocery bag filled with scraps, but I also discovered a number of usable chunks of fabric that I’d forgotten about. I also took a bunch of leftover lawn/voile and tore it up to squares, to be turned into handkerchiefs later.

What I learned:

  • I’m probably not going to use tiny strips of fabric left over from projects, so I really need to stop saving them. But every now and then I end up with almost a yard leftover — or some other usable amount. I need to remember to shop my scrap bin now and then.
  • I am very good at coming up with dumb excuses to keep clothes I don’t wear. Examples: It’s a nice garment (that doesn’t fit). It’s a nice color (in a style I don’t like). I might need it to match an outfit one day (probably not). It has holes, but I’m just wearing it to do laundry. It was on MAJOR SALE and I don’t want to give it up!

The major lesson, thought, is what I said earlier: There’s a difference between clothes you love and clothes you love to wear. It’s hard to remember — but after a painful purge, I’m ready for March’s Wardrobe Architect challenge, which is bound to be more pleasant.




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