Thursday, March 09, 2017

Cleaning Out Your Closet - Version 2: The Functional Method

I'm SO happy that so many of you found Tuesday's Color Method to closet decluttering useful! When I head off into these new blog directions, I'm never quite sure how things will be received; my head is so full of ideas that every now and then I have to toss one out there and cross my fingers!

For many of us, we've been shopping in our favorite color palette for so long that the Color Method doesn't really generate a lot of obvious things to declutter. Thus, I thought that analyzing our wardrobes based on what role each garment plays in an outfit might be helpful.

First up, here's the perfectly a-okay, fine, nothing wrong with these clothes wardrobe with which we're starting. Please bear in mind that if you have a closet like this and it doesn't bother you, DON'T DO ANYTHING. Decluttering is for those of us who feel the need - it is NOT a requirement for everybody! If you're a clothing pack-rat, and you like it that way, carry on, and I will defend you forever!

a typical 50-piece wardrobe
all clothes - Uniqlo

Oh man, every time I go to the Uniqlo home page, I see a bunch of black and white tee shirts.... not shopping, not shopping, not shopping...

This approach is to take all of the clothes under consideration, and arrange them by function. Here, I have 2 pieces of outerwear, 3 skirts, four dresses, a handful of cardigans, some sweaters, a few blouses, a BIG stack of swingy tee-shirty tops, some more classic tee shirts, shirts and tanks, and then pants...

WARNING - this is a vaguely math-y approach to sorting and saving; it's important to have a reasonably useful balance of tops to bottoms. For me, personally, I would go about 3:1, because I wear a lot of sweaters layered over shirts, or cardigan over something. You kind of have to know your personal outfit preferences in order to make this decision. Frankly, I'm going to tell you flat-out that I wouldn't recommend having fewer than 2 tops for each bottom...

a 50-piece wardrobe, sorted by function

Okay, I remarked that those nine loose-fit tee-shirt-like tops seemed like a generous number, but it's worth bearing in mind that this might be the way to really identify your wardrobe signature. If you went into my closet, you'd see a ton of button-front shirts, and TWO tons of cardigan.... and for me it's just right!

a part of Janice's closet
Yes, I have all matching wooden hangers. I've had them for decades,
and I'll have them for the rest of my life. All told, they cost less than $100,
which is going to come out to about $2 per year...
When I want to keep something from slipping off of a hanger,
I take the foamy gizmo off of a dry-cleaner hanger and put it onto the wood...

For now, I'm going to keep the jacket and the hooded sweatshirt, as well as all of the dresses. Dresses are a tough nut for an approach like this, because they are both top AND bottom. It's the beauty of them...

Now the fun/hard part. First off, I'm going to start with a target number of garments of 36, in order to be able to have some idea of how many of each category I need to pull out of this collection. It goes like this...

how to calculate how many tops to keep vs how many bottoms

You'll notice that as soon as my brain started screaming that the "bottoms" were going to be cut too far, I just adjusted the ratio and gave myself some wiggle room. So long as you stay reasonably within the range of 2:1 to 3:1, you're going to be fine. This isn't the last time this process will ever happen, and if you don't get it perfect the first time, you're normal!

a 44-piece wardrobe, from which we wish to remove 14 pieces

This looks daunting! For some reason, when your clothes are neatly arranged, everything just feels better, even if you're still not optimizing the usage of what you have!

So here's where you need to test-drive each piece, and see how many really GOOD ensembles you can pull together using the piece in question. Really GOOD ensembles, not just something that you could wear out of the house without getting arrested...

How to test-drive a gold skirt in your wardrobe

A "good" ensemble is up to you - I'm sure there's someone out there who would wear this gold skirt with 20 of these tops. It's just NOT for me!

How to test-drive a camel skirt in your wardrobe

The camel and black skirts are both SO neutral that you know they're going to get used a lot...

How to test-drive a black skirt in your wardrobe

So, after doing this, you can see (if you're me!) that the gold skirt is the weak link. There's nothing inherently wrong with the skirt, it's just not a strong link in the network of your wardrobe. Of course, if you really feel strongly that you want to keep it, you keep it. These are guidelines only, remember. It might be worth considering that you could keep all 3 skirts and maybe get rid of 2 pairs of pants?

After some exhaustive analysis, which might take a couple of days, or which might fall into place pretty quickly, you get to this point:

A wardrobe after some editing has taken place

Because all of the clothes in your closet are still in good condition, you now need to find either a resale facility or a charity.... Don't throw things away. Please. There must be a better way...

This is where we are now - it's pretty close to Tuesday's wardrobe, with just a handful of differences:

a 36-piece all-season wardrobe in ivory, camel, rust, olive and black

And just as I did before, I pull together a 24-piece Summer Capsule Wardrobe. Note how very much those 2 pair of olive green pants are going to get used now - maybe this would be a good time to look for the perfect olive skirt (maybe with a bit of a rust print or pattern?).

a 24-piece warm-weather wardrobe in black, olive, and shades of rust

And these are the dozen pieces to be stored. With so few pieces to be stored, it might be worthwhile to look for a canvas hanging bag that's just a couple of feet wide, into which all of these pieces will fit while still hung. Or you could just put them into a handful of garments bags and hang them in the back of your closet. It will be like getting gifts when you unpack them in the cool weather!

12 garments to store until cooler weather

And yes, just to check myself, I want to be sure that I can still build a quick Four by Four Capsule Wardrobe for packing...

A Four by Four Wardrobe from Uniqlo, in black, olive and camel

Do you want me to tackle another one of these next week? I'm sort of enjoying the process, and I thought maybe seeing it run through a second time might be useful?

love,
Janice

PS - For more in the "Cleaning Out Your Closet" series, please check out:

How to clean your closet and build a summer capsule wardrobe using the functional method
Like this article? Save it to Pinterest!



55 comments:

  1. Wow - thank you Janice. I like this method a lot (appeals to the mathematician in me). Now if I can only find some decent patterned tops, I think I could make my wardrobe work a little harder than it alway is. Thank you again for your creativity and genorisity. I look forward to your posts each day. S (Australia)

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  2. Yes. I would like to see another similar post next week.

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  3. I love this. The whole time, I'm thinking through my stuff in my head. It is almost time to make the switch and get out summer clothes, a perfect time to edit. More of this kind of advice would be very welcome!

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    1. I agree, this is a good time for this series of blog posts. Bring on more. And I would have totally kept that gold skirt. I could see it being a core piece for me. In fact, now I want one.

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  4. Bring it on! I love new ideas, that is the biggest treasure there is.

    Having said that: the 24-piece picture, I would love to see it more explained - that picture alone is worth its own article.

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  5. Oh dear, perhaps I need another coffee! I found this confusing (maths is not my strong point) and perhaps a tad over analytical. Yesterday's blog was much more straight forward and doable for me. But I would love you to do some more examples using different colour groupings. Much appreciated. Sharon, U.K.

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    1. I've had my second coffee and re-read the blog and I get it now. I guess because I have a small but colourful wardrobe the first blog resonated with me more. However, I can still use the functional advice given to sort out seasonal clothes, identify any sore thumbs or duds and any obvious gaps for new purchases. Thanks Janice, Sharon, U.K.

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  6. Janice, you're amazing! I can see the advantages to both methods, but this one hits a sweet spot for me. I know it's a lot more work, but to look at color only and not consider shapes and/or compatibility with other pieces is incomplete analysis. I am minimizing my wardrobe and find that it would be smart for me to also migrate away from so much black - especially near my face - so working through each piece is part of the heavy lifting I need to do. Thank you thank you thank you!!

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  7. Janice, I love your examination of these two methods! The funny thing about your imaginary woman, is that when I look at that yellow skirt in this closet, my hunch is that would "spark joy" for her. I think the color jumped out at her and makes her happy and even though it might not be the most flattering on her, its not next to her face. In fact, this is why the closet edit is so useful. I think its important to really examine your wardrobe and try and get it to work together. But I think its also ok to have a few wildcard items, but know that they are wildcard items. So for this skirt, I think she should keep it in her spring/summer wardrobe and make a few outfits that she likes and then commit to wearing it and enjoying it. But she shouldn't try and make any more purchases around the skirt. To me, its the exception that proves the rule! K.

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  8. I'd love to see this process, and yesterday's, as a regular part of your blog. So helpful! Could you start with a wider variety of colors and prints? My closet has everything except the yellow-orange-beige range. I do chocolate brown, but the rest is neutrals and jewel colors on the cool side. And I'd love to see the gaps after doing this process, to build a shopping list. Thanks for all you do - it's fabulous!
    Sue

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  9. Oh, dear, so many thoughts. First, I would like to see these processes again and on more varied wardrobes that have been collected over many years. A problem in my wardrobe is that I gravitate to blue-green, but this year's version does not blend with the version from 3 years ago.

    Second, I can see these processes being combined such that the first step is to weed out color problems and the second to balance the proportions of tops and bottoms. Sounds rather complicated.

    Third, revisit discards for any that provokes "joy." This seems dangerous, but I have a soft spot for a particular shade of yellow and would have definite trouble discarding an item in that color.

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    1. BTW, I love what you are doing here. Both techniques will help a wardrobe that has just gotten out of hand. Thanks so much for your work!

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    2. I too love blue-green items and yes they do vary from year to year, but I wouldn't necessarily wear them together but instead pair them with neutrals like navy, brown or off-white. Similarly, if you enjoy wearing yellow - why would you want to discard something you love? You don't say whether they're tops or bottoms or warm or cool tones, but either way they can still be worn with your neutral colours. However, if you don't have the right neutrals (which is my problem, as I am always drawn to colour), then at least this process will identify any potential gaps in your wardrobe. Happy sorting.... Sharon, U.K.

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    3. Lesley, I so agree with your thought process about accumulating a wardrobe over years. Colors, proportions, lengths, pant widths, etc. change and do not create a cohesive wardrobe. To remedy this problem I have stopped buying one piece at a time. A complete ensemble would be one bottom, two tops, one topper. At least I know color and proportions are right and I don't drive myself crazy trying to add one piece to clothing items purchased years ago. This allows me to try current pant or skirt styles without revamping my wardrobe and I've cut down on closet orphans.
      Thanks for your comment, it re-enforced my commitment to method shopping and thanks to you, Janice, for sparking this awareness.

      Pat

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    4. Sharon, I believe you hit the nail on the head: the right neutrals. I have a mish-mash of warm and cool neutrals and more black than is good for my coloring. As you say, "Happy Sorting!"

      Thanks, Pat, for reminding me to focus on the bigger picture. I tend to get caught up in the little things or the easy fix.

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    5. Yes, Lesley! If your yellow (or blue-green, or peach, or lavender, or black...) "sparks joy" you will wear it with confidence and confidence is beautiful.

      I'm going back to the "sparking joy" approach. Too many purchases that fit capsule color "rules" but that just make me feel "bleh". Still like to look at pretty clothes though : ) -Lily

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  10. I love seeing this process ! Would you be willing to do something similar with sorting a jewelry box ?

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    1. What a great idea - I'm on it!
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. How about shoes? Well, actually footwear would be a more appropriate term. I'm not overly guilty when it comes to quantity, but it would be nice to minimize and still have appropriate choices for any occasion. And don't even get me started on bags, sigh...

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    3. Oh, I'm SO glad to hear that you will apply this approach to jewelry! I find it even harder to figure out how to make a jewelry wardrobe work than a clothing wardrobe. Partly, I think, because the combinations or "uniforms" are not as obvious. And partly because my jewelry box, like that of many women I suspect, contains a lot of items that were gifts and that may or may not suit my current style. It sounds so silly, but even though I have no problem buying clothes I still really have to fight the utterly silly notion in my head that jewelry isn't something one buys for oneself!

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  11. Fantastic! I love math and numbers and color and this is just so fun for me to read about. Please do more and like Joan above a jewelry sort sounds awesome.

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  12. This was a fun post! I love the math aspect of it. But I will say that I thought differently than you when it came to eliminating the bottoms. I didn't want to eliminate any of the skirts, I felt that having a dark, a light, and a medium colored skirt would be quite useful. Later when you mentioned possibly including an olive green skirt I felt that would be a better color than the gold one. And I really like the floral print top. There are times when I want a print, especially in the warmer months when I don't want a cardigan or a scarf.

    And thank you for not making any of us who have more than 36 items in our wardrobe feel that we are somehow less than those who enjoy having minimalist wardrobes. Hugs to you Janice!

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    1. There are no wardrobe laws! While I like my relatively small wardrobe, I am NEVER EVER going to tell anybody that my way is better than theirs. How arrogant, and how truly wrong; we are all adult enough to make our own choices, and I will defend your right to your choices with every bit of strength in my body!
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. Janice,
      And this is why you are pretty much my one and only wardrobe " guru " ! !

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    3. Amen! Deb in KY

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  13. Love this! You are amazing! I appreciate all of your hard work...makes my life easier!! And yes - please do this again!

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  14. Janice,
    I love how that analytical brain of yours thinks ! While I have never counted my actual items of clothes for a given season , and probably never shall , as something within me rebels at the sense of restriction, rebel that I am, I have automatically edited down the number of items to the approximate ratios of 2/1 or sometimes 3/1 by limiting the number of neutral bottoms. In a given season , I have 3 values of a range of brown hues -- light, medium , and dark, plus 1 olive green , plus a medium denim blue that I only wear for home chores and which I don't include as a part of my main wardrobe. There are two pairs of pants within each of those values of brown for a variety of looks and laundry issues, for a total of 7 pairs of pants , including the olive green pair. In addition, there are 2 wild card skirts that seldom get worn and only in Winter with knee high boots, which I am rethinking entirely about editing out. In warmer months, some of the darkest pants are replaced by lighter culottes.
    Now for the tops, and this is where it gets numerous, because I like anywhere from 2-3 tops per bottom PLUS a topper of some sort, either a cardigan, a 1/4 zip pullover in the cold months, or a shirt jacket in the warm months. Recently, by editing out the excess color range in the tops and toppers, the numbers of items automatically reduced. So it would seem that I limit the number of total items in my wardrobe using both of your methods -- by color primarily, and then by number of items within those chosen colors .
    I love, love, love your analytical posts -- can't ever get too many of them, thanks again Januce, for all of the work and energy you put into these eye openers ! Big hugs !

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    1. Janice, not Januce ! Edit, Shrebee, edit !

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    2. Uh-oh, light bulb moment ! I just realized the ratio of tops to bottoms is MUCH higher in my case, as I was only thinking of 2-3 tops in a given accent color, plus a matching neutral cluster for each bottom, but then I realized that I have 3-5 accent colors in a season -- no wonder my closet has been so crowded !

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  16. Thanks, Janice, for both these posts which are so helpful. Was wondering if you could show us a functional need sorting idea. I mostly am home in very casual clothes - one functional need, then there are activities for other functions: Ballroom dancing once per month, gym 3 times per week, gardening in summer almost every day, then the most difficult, travel to conventions where we give presentations and I give talks and speeches. I also need to plan for the change of seasons. AND, i want as minimal a wardrobe as possible!! It is overwhelming! Any ideas on this functional need approach? Thanks again for all your help and inspiration. Janice Collins, Washington, DC

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    1. I think I remember a post from quite some time ago in which Vivienne-Janice suggested listing activities and the proportion of each week spent on them, to get a realistic picture of what you do and what you need. I found it a revelation - I had the wardrobe of someone I wasn't. It sounds as though you (Janice C) have very sensibly done that and are now ready to edit on that basis. I'd be very happy to see a post along these lines too. Function and seasonality are vital to the process aren't they.
      Robyn in Tasmania

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    2. Yes Robyn, Doing lifestyle analysis really helps in focusing your wardrobe and proportion of which clothes you need. Should over time reduce inappropriate buys and therefore reduce need to throw out later. I am retired so need clothes for medical specialist appointments and then mainly casual. I reminisce and realise that when I was at school wearing a school uniform during the week I really only needed two days clothes for the weekend. Cool post Janice and great comments from everyone. Carol S (In Victoria)

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  17. Love these posts - they are so useful. I find that when I edit that I use a combination of these two methods - friends laugh at my closet arranged by colour - but it makes it so much easier to see what I have and what I need.

    I know that I am a good way along in the process now but perhaps a continuation of these posts but featuring a far less co-ordinated wardrobe? Perhaps one with things that don't quite match and maybe too many prints that aren't "quite right".....

    I know this might be difficult for you to find and a lot of extra work but I think, that for many of us this is where we would be starting (at least I was). I'd accumulated a lot of items, but they didn't necessarily work with other things I owned - or at least I didn't know how perhaps the addition of a few new pieces might actually give me more wear out of existing pieces. I found this to be true more so for my Spring/Summer clothes - I would get tempted by some pretty prints or a bright new colour but then find that there wasn't much else to wear with these items in my existing wardrobe - it's still much more difficult for me to co-ordinate these pieces rather than my Winter neutrals. Just a thought as we start to think about switching over.

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    1. I'm working on Monday's post right now - it's got "magpie" written all over it! I hope that it's helpful for you!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  18. Hi Janice,

    I have a wardrobe question that keeps rolling around in my head. I'm a professional working mom of three (2, 4.5 and 15) and live in a 4 season climate.

    So, I have gym clothes, home clothes, work clothes, casual weekend clothes, and dressier weekend/going out clothes. Plus all of the shoes for each kind of clothing. My kids are obsessed with my nice clothes - I can basically only wear natural fibers, as polyester and acrylic quite literally make my skin itch - which means that few pieces make it more than one/two wears without dry cleaning or washing on delicate. I'm also not that casual a dresser, in that I would generally be happy to wear ankle pants for work and for casual, if I knew I wouldn't run out by the end of the week.

    To make it more interesting, I'm generally a thrift shopper so I find beautiful, well-made pieces for very little money. I have a lot of pieces.

    I'm struggling with the feeling that I have too much clothing in my closet and dresser. It seems a little overwhelming, but I'm not sure how to focus my editing.

    I have briefly considered having several Whatever's Clean 13 capsules, or quite a few 4x4 wardrobes. How would you approach this?

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    1. I understand your feeling about having lots of different types of clothing. I work at home now, so still need items that can be worn out for occasions/events, or meetings. I do focus on more casual clothing overall and also keep my infant granddaughter and will be adding a second grandchild to the day, soon. I need comfortably, stylish, casual clothes that are easy to wash at home. I have wondered about creating a few different capsules out of my pieces. I also feel the need to upgrade to more quality clothing that is more classic and sustains its usefulness, beyond the trends of fashion changes every season. What to do???

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  19. This approach works better for me than the previous one, and I can think off-hand of a few short sleeved button-front shirts and tropical wool trousers that I have not worn in two years. They make me feel frumpy, yet I hang on to them because they are such wonderful quality, hardly ever worn, expensive, and perfect for work. And since my closet is definitely not crowded anymore, I rationalize that they are allowed to stay. Out they go this weekend for at least a couple of months.

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  20. I would really like to see you go through this process again -- but please don't use all garments from one source -- almost all garments from a single manufacturer during a single season inherently kind of work together...they are usually of the same colour families and cut from a similar shape profile.

    Our closets tend to include clothes from a variety of sources and seasons, and therefore don't have that amount of similarity, which actually tends to be the problem. Designers make slight changes to the cut of basics like tee shirts and cardigans that make proportions much harder to account for when deciding what to keep and what to let go of. At least that is a major problem for me.

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  21. Stimulated by the comment above, on the problem of the mish-mash wardrobe assembled over many years and how to cull. ......a realisation of this problem chez moi has made me much more 'awake' to my buying habits and the choices i need to be making in future to have a delightful & super functional wardrobe. I will buy a lot less and a lot more mindfully. I have realised how even 'classic' items do date (after a decade or so) and thereby don't play so well with newer additions in terms of colour & cut. Hence this realisation is making me much more judicious in my purchases, so what I get I have opportunity to wear to bits. When it is time to upgrade pieces, I can do so in good conscience as they have truly been work horses and given a lot of joy in regular wearings.
    I didn't click until recently how many of my wardrobe orphans were thus because they really had outlived their usefulness, and if they still had wear in them, shame on me for buying something I clearly didn't really need or get value out of. Janice's writing is really help me understand viscerally how, at least in my wardrobe, less is indeed more. More choice (paradoxically), more cost per wear value and ultimately more resources to invest elsewhere in one's life as one (ie me) isn't wasting funds on mis-purchases.
    Anne

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    1. I, like you, have quite a few purchases from a wide variety of stores. It would be nice if I had a wardrobe, such as in the example picture, with which to start the culling process. Unfortunately, I think mine is much more chaotic and difficult to know where to start. I wondered if the place to start is just to create the "Common Wardrobe" first, and build off of that... Have most of the readers done that to start? Or do you start with the "Start Here" section to begin building your wardrobe? Just wondering how most of you have progressed?

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    2. Oops, I meant the "Starting from Scratch" section...

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    3. I've started at the dining table with some lists: What do I want to achieve? What is my preferred 'look' (in emotional terms, e.g. friendly, neat, efficient, pleasant, original)? What are my activities and how much time (roughly) goes on each during the week? I stick that (temporarily) on the bedroom wall while I do my review. Then I put a white sheet over the bed to make a neutral background for making outfits - which works with what. So it's kind of starting from scratch with what I already have, and with clear objectives. Nice music and favourite drinks help too! But always starting with what to I want to achieve, why, and how can I get there? After that, any of Janice's methods work wonders.
      Robyn in Tasmania



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  22. I really like a combination of the two methods as well. So very useful!! Would love to see the processes again! An accessory edit would be terrific!! Jewelry, shoes, scarves, bags etc...Janice, you are a rock star in the wardrobe world!! : )

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  23. I really like these posts! I am trying to pare down my clothes into a capsule wardrobe and this will really help. My husband will be out of town for a week at the end of the month and I plan to spend several evenings completely pulling everything out of my closet and sorting through it all!

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  24. I have so enjoyed yesterday's and today's posts! Both methods seem really useful, and I can also see the way they complement each other. I really appreciate all the thoughtful comments, too.

    I wanted to share an approach that I've been working on with my wardrobe recently, because it's inspired in part by some things you've posted on your blog.

    To build a seasonal capsule, I'm starting with a handful -- 5 to 7 -- of key "statement" pieces for the season. Items that I want to wear frequently because they just somehow express that season to me. (For example, in fall, a multicolored fair-isle cardigan; in spring, a Breton-stripe tee.)

    This is somewhat akin to your monthly selections of "building blocks" and "targeted items" that you are doing this year (http://www.theviviennefiles.com/2017/01/my-year-without-shopping-january-2017.html). The difference is that I START with the targeted items rather than the building blocks.

    The idea of beginning with statement pieces rather than neutrals/basics was a key insight for me. I wear a lot of color, I like to pattern mix, wear mixed neutrals in a single outfit, etc. When I start planning a capsule with neutrals, I always end up with too many basics, and not enough "room" for the items that turn those basics into outfits that feel like me.

    Then, the next step is to take each of those targeted items in turn and build a couple of outfits around each -- the "basics" fall into place naturally as I fill out the rest of the capsule. (As I build outfits, I keep track of what items I have added to the capsule, just to make sure that I don't end up with the proportion of tops and bottoms out of whack, etc.)

    This step has a lot in common I think with your long-ago exploration of Vivienne's work wardrobe (http://www.theviviennefiles.com/2011/06/back-to-roots-of-vivienne-files-part-5.html). Something about the way that was laid out, with one "bottom" for each day and then two top options to go with each, made a lot of sense to me -- rather than some arbitrary number of items in a capsule, that just clicks with how we get dressed over the course of a week.

    So, although my "targeted" items are not all bottoms in this case, at the end of this process I have two weeks' worth of outfits ready to go. And of course the clothes will mix and match more from there.

    I might add a few "extras" at the end, as your French friend did -- but I think the key is to "test drive" them as you are suggesting in this post and make sure that they really work in outfits.

    Anyway, I'm still tweaking this a bit (still working through the difference between what I think I "should" have in a capsule and what I actually want to wear, for starters), but it has been really helpful so far.

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    1. This is terrific Sarah! Your method really will really allow favourite patterned and colourful items to sing. Also to identify where perhaps a basic or two might be needed to round things out so that the stars can shine as often as possible. (Sorry, I'm getting a bit carried away here with singing and shining . . .) I applaud your goal to keep the wardrobe contained to a sensible number of outfits. Vivienne rocks.
      Robyn in Tasmania

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    2. I really like your approach of having a couple of key items around which to arrange the rest of the wardrobe. Most of my wardrobe is made of solid pieces although I have one patterned vest (teal, gold and black) that I love and wear as often as I can.

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    3. This approach sounds great to me, Sarah. Combine Janice's methods to suit my situation: the Start With a Scarf method, but using a statement garment as the inspiration, followed by this "closet cleaning" method to put together a wardrobe that works with the statement piece(s) and donate or store the rest. That would really help me get the most wear out of those current, seasonal garments that are my favorites, and still have a small workable wardrobe.

      Right now, the statement garment of choice is a beautiful but strongly patterned blouse with flutter sleeves. I fell in love with it at first sight...it is definitely not something I will wear forever, I know, but I am excited to wear it to bits for the next few seasons.

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  25. I used to have a pack rat closet, and one day I thought, Why? The only answer I had was, I like clothes. But I can only wear so many clothes, and continual buying was not the best use of my money. I had the sense that, even with many stuffed closets, I had "nothing to wear". So from my own experience and that of others, paring down is good, and endless buying is not. Maybe the buying is doing something else for a woman. Some women need an extensive wardrobe for various needs but most of us have more than we wear, so what we have does not return good value.

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  26. I thought I had a sense of what my base colors are and had a good selection of items to complement, but was still frustrated by my closet every day. Yesterday I pulled everything out and between this tutorial and the previous one using color, I have two huge bags to donate. Now I can quickly see outfit possibilities and I have identified the "gaps" (sure would be nice to add a navy blazer) and also the pitfalls (stop buying brown! brown is not in your wardrobe wheelhouse!). THANK YOU so much for these. It was easy and made it very clear where my wardrobe strengths and weaknesses lie.

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  27. I think I'll stick with 'sparks joy' even if that spark is black (which if most often isn't) because I keep hearing my mom say that is 'my' color and feeling like 'my' color(s) start to feel like a default. Even though I love 'my' shade of red and 'my' shade of purple, olive and cognac and orange, right now - this very moment - I am thinking of a grey tshirt ('my' grey) that sparks joy because it is so easy to wear.

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  28. Over the past year, I have slowly gotten rid of a ton of clothes starting with the easier out-of-date items then the obvious "do not love" items finally the "really does nothing for my figure" items. Now it is really tweaking what is left. Read both color and function approach and both are so helpful. I really want to do a capsule but am just stuck. I have a lot less but think I really need to find pieces that are more what I want and not just what is left at the moment. Next I am going to my closet to try out both approaches. When I travel, I am the queen of the perfect capsule which I feel great in. Why can't I do that at home? I think I feel wasteful passing garments on and not getting every bit of use out of them myself. I also find it hard to find a better replacement for what I have (how hard can it be to find a great white or black tshirt??) I'll keep reading, maybe you have covered this as well. :)

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