Purging Your Wardrobe To Find Your Look

Closet purging
What stays? What goes?

My rule of thumb: Keep ALL accessories - they come and go in style, take up little room and really with basic plain clothes and lots of cool accessories, everything looks new again.

Depend on purse, shoes, scarf, necklaces, bracelets, hats, rings to be your "dialect."
Consider your clothing to be your language.

Know your look so you can determine what fits it and what doesn't. Some women don't like to commit to a "look," but like piecing outfits together. The only problem is, your personality is lost in a lot of vague pieces that are mixed and matched that don't seem to belong. It's like a busy quilt instead of a simple linen bedspread. The components are read by the viewer separately and it confuses. 

A look doesn't have to be a persona, but can be something as simple as "neutral creams and camels depending strongly on textures" or "springtime pastels like happy sea and sky." Some women are committed, perhaps because of careers, to be "black, gray and white structured pieces." 

I have long tangly red hair and am tall with rather Nordic/Highlander coloring. For me to fit myself into the black, gray and white structured work pieces type with the flat-ironed hair look would take great effort and look unnatural. My very personality is colorful, vivacious, sassy, and comedic. Consider all these things in your look.

When I was married and in a rapidly dying relationship, I wanted nothing more than to blend in and not be seen because of constant ridicule about my weight. So, I had a wardrobe of only beige. The last thing I wanted was to stand out. I hoped to glide under the radar. I had been dyeing my hair medium brown forever. And I never knew who I was. This is 180 degrees from the woman I am now - the genuine and confident me. 

Today, I call myself a beach bohemian or woodland bohemian. I have two seasons of colors - pastels for warm weather when I'm beach bohemian and rich autumn colors for fall/winter at which time I am woodland bohemian. Look at every piece of clothing and ask - is this something my persona would wear - does it promote my "title." Being Bohemian, I own nothing structured - no blazers, no button down shirts unless they are purely decorative on a pull-over shirt.

For this coming season - here's some pieces I'm adding to my woodland bohemian look - 

(Grand total on Amazon of $60!)

Another thing to consider is - has this piece been hanging up for over a year with the intention you might be brave enough or skinny enough to wear it but you haven't? Get rid of it. I just cleaned my closet and found a puffy skirt that would make an anorectic woman look huge. What was I thinking? I never wore it. The truth is, when you are skinnier - you will be in a different mindset and want different clothing. If that occasion you wanted to wear it to hasn't happened, consider rethinking your priorities and either making that occasion happen or learn to accept you aren't going to pursue it. 

When I got divorced, I bought tons of sexy lingerie and heels, assuming single life would be like Sex and the City. The lingerie elastic finally died from sitting the bottom of a drawer and the heels were never worn. I reduced my heels down to one pair that goes with everything. The truth was, I'm not a clubbing type gal and I haven't been dating, so occasions are rare.

Remember - let someone else pay full price. Go Goodwill or TJ Maxx or season clearance. I used to have a tea party for my gal pals. They all brought bags of accessories and clothes and shoes. We would have a formal tea party with a good deal of sherry afterwards and then the living room became a giant clothing trying on site with mirrors and everyone tossing things on and off and having a decorative bag to bring them home in.

Separate clothes into these categories 

work/adult functions (summer and winter) these would be slacks/dresses skirts/blouses
outdoors/hiking/beach (summer and winter) these would be shorts/jeans/sundresses
dressy events (summer and winter) these would be basic classic dresses
workout/at home (summer and winter) these would be yoga pants, bike shorts, tees, sweats
casual outtings like shopping/lunch with friends (summer and winter) like jeans/pants and tops

Consider ratios. I work from home, so 95% of my wardrobe is the workout/at home and casual outtings variety. About 4% is outdoors/hiking beach and work/adult functions and 1% dressy events. 
Do I need 5 pairs of high heels? Nope!

And, I live in the southwestern desert, so my cold season or trips north to the high country are very brief, so the winter clothes choices were a few pieces for layering. Otherwise, tons of shorts, sundresses, tees, and lighter fabrics.

Be realistic and honest with yourself.

Next, take out anything that is ruined  - stained, torn, missing buttons, or anything else that makes it too "junky" to be seen in. There are lots of neat and well taken care of items at Goodwill and other secondhand stores and vintage shops, estate sales, and the like.

Remember your assets. We all have them, but some don't recognize them. Legs? Breasts? Coloring? Hair? Honor these things. I either wear skinny jeans or short skirts. My nickname is "Legs."

In parting, consider these things -

1. Be real about the actual amount of time each day you spend in certain roles.
2. Take into account the amount of time you are in each season where you live.
3. Know your colors - take the time to go into a naturally lit room with a mirror and hold colors up under your chin - see what looks good with your skin tones and what makes you look shadowy and tired.

Most of all, be certain your wardrobe is cohesive. You want to have a good mix of solids and patterns, bottoms that can go with anything, and tons of accessory choices to take the average outfit into personal expression.

Expect some videos coming up on our channel regarding "look" and "wardrobe style."