Thursday, September 01, 2011

A reassessment, and a New Year's resolution

Maybe in your world it is NOT the first of the year, but for those of us who grew up in homes where it was all about education, September first is indeed the beginning of the year, at least in our hearts.

As you all well know, I'm not working.  Therefore, my whole "turning the hangers backwards" experiment with summer clothes has been a dismal failure; the only time my "work" clothes get out for an airing is if I have an interview.  Therefore, the vast majority of my (perfectly nice, wearable, "keepable") clothing is still hanging "hanger forward".  What to do...

A resolution: no new clothes for a year.

I have a LOT of clothing.  Really nice things.  Tons of stuff for the cooler weather that's in a storage locker in the sub-sub basement (those of you who live in a high-rise know what I mean!).  I can get dressed in my wardrobe for 366 days without flinching. Much.

1. I reserve the right to replace one unwearable garment per quarter.  Unwearable through natural causes; leaving the iron setting on something for 15 minutes is NOT permissible.

2. If I go to work in retail stock for the holidays, I reserve the right to buy a pair of work boots.

3. Any alterations, shoe repairs, laundry and dry cleaning are acceptable.  (should go without saying but I'm putting it out there).

4. If I'm invited to a royal wedding, I get to buy a gown.  Don't hold your breath....

So starting October 1, I'll report back in on what I've worn in the last month (visuals!) and what I've learned, if anything, from the whole experiment.


  1. I'm will really enjoy these forthcoming posts with pics of your clothes, as much as I have the rest of your tasteful blog discovered only in recent weeks, as I am now too at home on an imposed career break.

    Will you wear your 'work wardrobe' on a daily basis, I wonder? I have a wide wardrobe of smart clothes and not much in the way of casual (having been drilled by family values never to mix the two). My first purchase was two pairs of dark denim jeans which I wear to death - it seems somehow sacrilegious to wear tailored charcoal trousers and a Hermes scarf to do the housework - but I'm at risk of becoming a casual dowd. Much easier to dress smart than chic casual, particularly if you want to have a pared down wardrobe that can be washed/maintained in an out of office environment without worry.

    Help?! My fingers are crossed that your next chapter in your New Year will assist my sartorial predicament. Good luck in every sense!

  2. I feel this could have been written by me; I have too many clothes and I don't even want to guess what percentage of them I wear. Hurricane Irene hit us, and if one big tree branch had hit my room...tons of clothes and shoes, some never worn and way too much excess.

    So I'll join you on this journey and hope it helps me and you!

    I am so glad your mother is better; I hope she continues to make good progress.

    Good luck!

  3. I've been on this journey since June 21, although mine is only a 3 month resolution. Although I was never much of a shopper, I have realized I often end up purchasing clothes for a fantasy life. I will see an item and think it would be perfect in a scenario that will never take place. When I do go back to shopping, I will make sure it is for clothes that I actually need and clothes that I will actually wear.

    Good luck with your resolution and looking forward to seeing your creativity with the visuals!

  4. The guidelines you set for yourself made me smile. I too am not buying any new clothes this "year" unless something wears out. Since you made such a lovely wardrobe guide for me I'll follow it when I do shop. I know I have to get a new pair of walking shoes and new everyday shoes for winter but that may be it. Today always starts a new year for me for a different reason - it's my birthday.

  5. I admire your challenge. A whole year! Yikes. I have gotten rid of so many items over the last year that my wardrobe needs some replenishing. Had I been a savvy shopper in years past, I would have a workable wardrobe to carry me through twelve months as you do.

    On the bright side, I have learned so much from you, other bloggers and books that I may finally be on the right track to having a proper selection of clothing from which to chose.

    I am excited to see what you'll wear in September!

  6. Many happy returns, Juhli! I would love to know which wardrobe Vivienne styled for you.

    I have totally omitted shoes from the equation! For my stay-at-home-life, I wear Birkenstocks in summer, black biker boots in winter which look fab with jeans. Indoors, I am never without my suede, sheepskin lined Haflinger clogs. The cork soles act as shock absorber par excellence plus my toes are kept deliciously warm.

    Cherie - you are so right about that fantasy lifestyle. I kept wanting to purchase pencil skirts which would only really earn their keep in a work scenario (Vivienne, that blue/green DvF skirt you picked for the abalone wardrobe is so temptingly lovely...........but no, its another work-orientated piece rather than the sartorial casing for domestic bliss).

  7. Wow, a year! I admire your courage,and I will be cheering for you. I don't think I can do it, but I am trying to be more selective and careful in my buying.

    I'll be following your journey with interest!

  8. Bravo! I agree wholeheartedly with you. I will be making the journey with you.

  9. I would like to join in too. I have enough clothes to last me a year as well. I should be able to fit ALL my clothes now I have slimmed down a little. It will be exciting to approach summer (here in New Zealand) with 'what shall I wear that looks chic' rather than 'what do I fit/what flatters my middle'. I like your caveats. Mine might be if I find something at an op shop. I don't often buy clothing second hand but a few weeks ago for $5 bought a Levis Engineered denim skirt in new condition that I am going to chop off to above the knee for t-shirts and jandals (flipflops) wearing on the weekend. I think that's the only good thing I've ever found in an op shop so probably the caveat won't be needed!


  10. I’m in the middle of a similar journey. I have been tracking what I wear in a spreadsheet for almost a year now, and (while it certainly isn’t for everyone) it’s been amazing figuring out what I actually wear and what I simply don’t wear and don’t need. I’ve found that there are certain types items that I really play favorites with (shoes) and only need a tiny yet versatile capsule to be happy (anything more doesn’t get worn). There are other types of items that I like having more variety with (tops), so I allow myself to have more of them. It’s been enlightening! Another big lesson for me is that if I’m going to be buying investment pieces with the intent of wearing them all the time, I need to keep my wardrobe small enough so that I can actually wear everything often enough to make the cost per wear worth it!

    I’m also two months into a total of six months of no shopping. It’s been wonderful to take a step back and realize that I have everything I need, and spend my time appreciating the clothes I have rather than always hunting for the next perfect item to add to my wardrobe. I’ve created a collection of true gems, but I can only let the collection get so big before I find that I’m shortchanging some of my favorites.

  11. I am looking forward to your September blogs, any fashion advice is always worth considering in my book.
    This long week end I will be changing my closets over to my fall wardrobe and making a list of items that need to be replaced, and I can't wait. I enjoy trying everything on and seeing what needs alteration and what I can do without and give to a womans shelter. I was raised in the European tradition of buying less, but buying the best you could afford and I thought I was doing well until I counted my white cotton blouses (11). Someone needs a reality check and I think it's me! Seven of these blouses are going to Dress for Success, an organization that helps abused women put together interview appropriate wardrobes, gives them make overs and boosts their self esteem. September is one of my favourite months, a fresh start, a fresh hair cut and potentially this year a pair of zebra print pumps from Talbots! What could be better

  12. I've realized that shoes are a particular downfall, especially with a Nordstrom Rack in the neighborhood! This fall I've resolved to avoid the shoe shelves in stores, and to have my older Ferragamos reconditioned instead. They are beautiful shoes; why not keep wearing them?
    Good luck, Vivienne, with your journey. I will follow it with interest.

  13. I tend to buy duplicates of things I already have. I have learned that it is easier to manage a smaller wardrobe.

    As for you, you've got the gift!

  14. Love, love this plan! Can't wait to see what you discover. I'm underemployed so totally relate to your situation; may things turn around soon. I'm VERY picky about blogs (only read 4 or 5) and I look forward to yours every day; I have learned so much about color and ensembles from you. Oh, and I have a little request: how would you style a leather pencil skirt and the professional wearing of dark wash slim boot jeans (I'm a professor, so both are acceptable, but I want to do them right!).
    Thx !!