Deciding what to wear

It has been said that I have a compulsive need to organize.   Pre-ravelry, all of my yarn and patterns were organized in spreadsheets, as my sewing stash is now.  It makes me crazy when some part of my life is messy.  This has been the case with me and my wardrobe for years.  Earlier this year, it became apparent that I had to fix things.  75% of my wardrobe consisted of items I didn’t like because they weren’t flattering or were uncomfortable in some way.  I kept the unflattering items around “just in case,” but even worse… I felt the need to wear the unflattering items sometimes, because I felt guilty owning things I didn’t wear.  Well… I decided there was no room in my wardrobe for items that make me feel bad about myself, so I had a major paring down session.  Anything that I questioned was tried on, judged by a panel consisting of my husband and a supportive friend, and donated.  I got rid of half my closet, and let me tell you it was hard… I felt that I didn’t have enough choices, and yet, oddly, found myself unable to combine the items in my closet in pleasing ways.

I have been inspired by the participants of MeMadeMay, especially those who don’t have a lot of handmade items, yet are managing to combine them in great and fun ways!  I didn’t sign up because I worried I wouldn’t have enough, which is completely insane if  you look in my sweater drawer (which is not so much a drawer as an entire dresser.)  But anyway, these ladies are making it work, no matter how small their wardrobe is, and they look fabulous!

Super Kawaii Mama is doing a series on being glamorous for every occasion, and she specifically asked ” What are your excuses / reasons for not getting glammed up each day?” Now, I’m not going for glamour.  It’s important to decide what your look is.  I want to look elegant.  I like being dressed up, and so I usually am.  I do wear jeans occasionally, but even those are dressy.  My biggest issue was decision paralysis when faced with a closet full of clothes.  So here is what I’ve started doing, in order to simplify getting ready each day.  First of all, I wash and set my hair at night, which is easier, since if I leave it to morning I will wear a ponytail every day.  Then, some days I will take extra time choosing what I’m wearing, and if it’s really successful I take a photo and place it in a folder on my desktop labeled “successful outfits.”  For instance, here is mine from today:

I’m wearing:

Linen dress by Merona from Target a few years ago (I love this dress, and I want to make a pattern from it so I can have other colors!)

DKNY cardigan that used to be my Mom’s – it’s too big for me if I wear it normally, but I love the sleeves.

Belt from Forever 21 (I know, I hate that store, but the belts are really cheap.  I love this one!)

Vintage flats

So now that I have a picture and the details written down (I have a spreadsheet… of course) it’s much easier to get ready in the morning.  I have many of my FO shots of knitting and sewing in there too, as those tend to be my good outfits.  And I don’t feel bad about repeating, because I have the pictures to remind me of why the outfits worked!  Now all I have to do is keep this up – I’ve been doing it for a few weeks and I’m loving it!


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19 thoughts on “Deciding what to wear

  1. I think it would be a good idea for me too to reorganize my closet. I have way too many clothes and I am sure I don’t wear everything I have. I do have to confess i am not that good in throwing clothes away. Everything else? Easy. But clothes and shoes? Ouch. Not good. Does that sound really superficial? ;-)

    Anyway, I love what you are wearing in the above picture. If this is your general style than I think our taste is quite alike. You look lovely, very elegant!

  2. I do exactly the same thing! I take a picture of my outfit when I can and save them all in a folder in my computer. I then look at them from time to time and label them ‘yes’ for the good ones, ‘maybe’ or ‘no’. I thought I was really weird!

  3. It’s funny you mention this! I’m doing the Me-Made challenge and it’s nice to see whether an outfit worked or didn’t, when I upload the photo evidence later. One day I keep saying I’m going to photograph my whole wardrobe, by outfit, and create a mini-lookbook for getting dressed in the morning. In my spare time, of course, one of these days I might get around to it! You’re right, when I make something, I have blog evidence of a good outfit :)
    Another bonus of taking daily outfit photos – I remember what I wore when, so I don’t repeat an outfit on days where I see the same people!

  4. I work in DC and find that I have lots and lots of work clothes but no play clothes. I have started sewing my casual clothes and this is a great idea for figuring out what works and what doesn’t!

  5. This is an awesome idea! I always pick out my clothes the night before because it takes a minimum of 20 minutes, and on a regular occasion have spent an hour going through different combinations. Part of it is my every changing size (and pants that fit some months and not others). The other part is a very large wardrobe. I also embrace the “dress up” (or at least look very nice) theory to make me feel better about life. Look good, feel good. This would be so easy to snap with my iphone, store them there, and then be able to scroll through them easily.

  6. I love this idea and have been perplexed about how to get the picture taken when I usually get dressed after hubby leaves for work. Duh! Take the picture in a mirror. I am organized about my clothes, the rest of my house? Not so much. Where does that put my priorities, I wonder…

  7. It is much easier to choose from a smaller group of clothes, isn’t it?

    I’m curious; why don’t you like Forever 21? Not that I’ve even been to one, but my daughters like it a lot.

    Cute outfit.

  8. Well done! I seem to have lost some weight (without meaning to) and all my skirts and trousers are hanging too low, except the things I have made recently. It is a bit scary, but I know I need to either alter them or start again. Making my own is the fun bit, and I have to ensure it doesn’t turn into a chore. Having a gallery of successes is a great idea!

  9. I LOVE spreadsheets too…my friends always have a giggle at the indepth spreadsheets I make for holidays…but they are just so useful! I’m curious, what do your spreadsheets look like? What headings do you have etc?

    Also, do you have an iphone? I recently got one and downloaded an App ‘StylishGirl’ – I haven’t started using it, but it allows you to take a photo of every item in your wardrobe (which you then store as tops, skirts, shoes etc) and then create outfits by scrolling through eveything. Sounds like it was made for you!

  10. I find I never have quite what I need in terms of clothes. A big huge closet full of clothes that I just dont know how to wear, or are missing the right skirt/belt etc in order to make it work.

  11. The timing of your post was perfect for me. I’ve been unhappy with my clothes (though they are well-organized), but not sure what to do.

    I took out the folder of my tear sheets from fashion magazines to remind myself of what I’m drawn to, and discovered nearly all of them are Grace Kelly/Hitchcock Woman/50s European looks, with the cardigans, soft blouses, full or pencil skirts, and structured handbags. I discovered (like you) that I need some blouses, and also some belts. Unfortunately, fashion is still going through a very bohemian phase, so it’s harder to find these clothes in stores.

    Now I’m looking for knitting patterns that fit this look. I like Bijou by Marnie McLean, and I’m also looking for a tennis sweater pattern similar to a sweater I saw in a photo of Grace Kelly.

    Thank you for your inspiration!

  12. I like your idea of photos of successful outfits. Wish I had the motivation to organize like you do. I think about what needs to be done (my craft room as well as my closet) and just think “It’ll still be there tomorrow!”

  13. Very nice! I like the look of the belted cardigan. There is a Sew Stylish (Simplicity) sewing pattern that has a pattern for a long cardigan that is designed to be belted like that, and I have some lightweight rayon knit that I was thinking of using for it. However, I wasn’t sure how the belted cardigan look would be on me. I tend not to like belts on me as they tend to make me look shorter (and thicker, truth be told) although I do have a defined waist. Maybe I’ll try this look on in the *store* (oh the horror!) before investing time in it.

  14. Luba says:

    You are an inspiration as always! Right now, I have a closet full of stuff I don’t wear for the same reasons you mentioned- but I am terrible at getting rid of things. Plus, my mom buys me clothes sometimes and so I’ve got stuff that I don’t necessarily need, or want, or wear…but can’t really throw out. Anyway, I think I too shall undertake a reorganization (as soon as piano recital, exam, competition month is done!)

  15. There are some great books on embellishing already-owned items of clothing out there… I have a tendency to purchase solid colors in my clothes, even though I love patterned fabric. Sometimes all a skirt or shirt needs is an applique or embroidery or beading to liven it up and give it some color to match other parts of your wardrobe. Or if you hate the sleeves or neckline, cut it up! You’re not wearing it anyway; try out some alteration techniques for fun.

    I also realized the other day while talking to my sister-in-law that I have an old “mind-block” from middle school regarding whether or not I can wear the same item two days in a row… or even in the same week. I remember worrying that other girls in my class would notice that I had the same clothes on twice in a short period of time (oh, horror!).

    However, my sister-in-law was commenting on the fact that she’ll get herself a new favorite shirt and end up wearing it every other day for a month because she likes it so much. I thought about it and decided “why not?” If it makes me happy, do it!

  16. That is a really good idea, might have to try that. I get up and am out the door before my husband, so I actually lay out my outfit for the day the night before. Gives me time to try it on and make sure the pieces will work together and I also don’t have to think about it in the morning when I’m still half asleep. ;)

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