As my previous hints (and the “Shop My Closet post) probably tipped you off, I’m slowly working my way through a massive wardrobe overhaul that, if all goes well, should leave my closet looking quite different by this time next year. A variety of factors have contributed to my tackling this project now. In recent months, I’ve become much more conscious about the wider impacts of my personal shopping habits, and have started to look for ways to not continue contributing to the “fast fashion” phenomenon, with all its attendant social and economic consequences. I’ve also started to feel a need to take a more critical look at my current style and refine it so that it better reflects my current life, self-image, and aspirations. At 33, I’m undeniably a “grown-up”; time to start dressing like a grown-up – my version of one, anyway. My existing wardrobe is fine, but it’s still replete with purely sentimental items, style missteps, and less-than-great purchases made in a past when quantity rather than quality was my guiding principle.

A complete wardrobe overhaul is an intimidating prospect if you don’t have a concrete plan. Although I’m an obsessive planner (and list-maker) generally, when it comes to clothing, I tend to be more impulsive than meticulous. If I see a blouse I love, I’m going to buy it – even if what I really need is a coat. My closet has always grown organically rather than in a planned fashion; thus, putting together a plan for my wardrobe overhaul has proven almost impossible. Every time I start to try, I just give up and log into eBay to look up random things instead. Of course, this is no way to go about a wardrobe overhaul successfully (or economically). So I’ve drawn up some general guidelines for myself to stay on track.

Upgrade Quality

I’m slowly going through my existing closet and weeding out pieces that are starting to wear out, or are of dubious quality. Polyester is one of my main targets here, as are pieces from “fast fashion” retailers like H&M, Joe Fresh, Zara, and the like. I don’t necessarily plan on replacing all of the pieces I end up discarding (selling or donating). If some happen to be true wardrobe “staples” (like, say, a black cardigan), I will start looking for a replacement – of the best quality I can afford. In doing so, I will be paying close attention not only to the “made of” tag (looking for natural fibers or blends), but also the “made in” one too. As I wrote before, I’m not sure it’s feasible for me to commit to buying only “made in the USA” or “made in Europe” items, but I will try to do so whenever possible.

Reduce Volume

I love variety. Especially when it comes to clothes. I will never be one of those wardrobe minimalists who can count the items in her closet on two hands (or even 10). With that said, the sight of an overstuffed closet does make me anxious; I hate clutter in all its forms. Going forward, I want to edit down my wardrobe exclusively  to pieces I absolutely adore and forgo the rest, even if it’s “okay”. I want to love every outfit I put on, even if it means wearing the same outfit more than (gasp!) once or twice a month. This goal will surely spell the end of any plans for a future Remix Challenge, at least in the weekly format previously featured on the blog. And that’s fine – there is a limit to how many Adina selfies y’all can stomach, after all.

Re-think Style

This will be the hardest part. As I get older, I am increasingly drawn to simple, classic – indeed, minimalist – looks. But my heart still cries out for fripperies – loud prints, bright colours, bling everything. I’ve been having a hell of a time reconciling my “Jekyll and Hyde” style persona lately, but I’m determined to do it … and leave behind as many of my magpie instincts as possible. Still, I’m keeping my expectations realistic. I will never have a closet consisting solely of neutral colours; there will always be a “statement” or two in there. I’m simply aiming for statements that are more akin to a whisper than a poke in the eye.

Ultimately, I want to look as “grown-up” as I feel (or would like to feel) without going full-on “old lady”. (To paraphrase a modern classic, “you never go full-on old lady” – especially not after 30.) It’s going to be a fine balancing act, and I fully expect to stumble more than once. That is one of the reasons why I’m giving myself a whole year (or more, if necessary) to complete this wardrobe overhaul. Another, equally important one, is my budget. As tempting as it is to go on a mad shopping binge – well, a madder one than I’ve currently been on – it’s not something I’m in any position to undertake at this time. Taking it slow and steady will hopefully give me enough time to carefully re-think my style, and avoid any shopping blunders in the process.

There you have it: my wardrobe overhaul manifesto. I hope you’ll join me on my “journey” over the next year, all the better to witness the good, the bad, and the possibly baffling. Hey, I will never not have a soft spot for “grandma’s couch” florals!

4 Comments on My Wardrobe Overhaul: a Sort-of Manifesto

  1. This is a very topical post for me. I’ve been feeling recently like my wardrobe needs to change as my life is changing – I feel like my style is evolving and my wardrobe needs to evolve along with it. So I’ll be doing a lot of the same things that you are doing – watching the labels in particular. I’m beginning to realize how much others give up so I can have a cheap sweater. 🙁 I will try my best! That said, don’t lose the magpie entirely – I love my glitter, patterns and ruffles! I just have to work it in to my wardrobe somehow….

  2. How about another 10/10 challenge? When we last did that, I found that it was a great way to figure out which pieces I really value, and which ones that I could (surprisingly) do without. It was also the perfect way to figure out the “holes” in my wardrobe, and where I needed to invest my style and money. You could build your 10/10 around one or two pieces that fit the new personal style you have in mind for yourself.

    • That’s a great idea! I would have to wait till next year, though, because my wardrobe needs right now are pretty limited. I pretty much live in my leggings and nursing tanks. Not much of a fashion challenge – though you could say its fashion challenged, lol!

      If you do it, let me know – we’ll do another feature post!