Editing your clothing


I am constantly editing my closet. A few years ago, I became fed up with the excessive amounts of clothing I accumulated as a thrifter, vintage collector, and fashion appreciator. Not only that, I was a bit of a clutterer in other regards.

At some point, I developed a system for editing my life's contents, specifically my clothing. Though my criteria constantly changes, I am always editing. It took a while to get over the pangs of nostalgia. I hung on to sentimental garments that I didn't wear and favorite pieces that didn't suit my style. I would bring home weird thrift store things just because they were weird or seemed to represent what I was trying to convey with my fashion. Sometimes these things stuck...other times, the novelty wore off quickly and I was left with a surplus of clothing.

When I first started downsizing it was a bit traumatic. As soon as I developed a rhythm, however, it became easier and easier. Pull in items, wear them and decide what was a staple, what worked, and what I wore, and recycle the others. Sometimes, I gifted things to friends. Good things were sold in the vintage shop I worked at or at other resale places like Buffalo Exchange. Many things simply returned to the thrift store from whence they came.

Either way, I figured they had a good life and were ready to continue on their clothing journey. What made it okay for me, was that I was always buying things from small stores or thrift shops and always recycling them...only taking out of rotation those who had been deemed unwearable (though, these usually ended up as craft projects rather than garbage).

Though I don't think I will ever thoroughly distill my personal style into a reliable formula, I feel like my ability to capture a fleeting and highly conceptual 'style' from time to time is getting better and easier. It is at the point where I edit my closets every few months, with a big edit occurring every time I switch over my summer/spring and fall/winter wardrobes. What is most interesting is to see the pieces that stand the test of time.

This brings me to the core of this blog post. I am developing a 'service' that seeks to help others do the same. My desire to assist others comes out of a desire to help others achieve this level of freedom and confidence about their limited wardrobe while avoiding the trap of conspicuous clothing consumption that we are lead to believe is normal. I probably buy about 4-6 clothing items for myself per year. This is due in part to the fact that I feel satisfied with my clothing and see the uselessness of excessive shopping and clothes hoarding. I am a convert to the limited-wardrobe system.

My one weakness?

About 8 too many vintage dresses I wear about a handful of days out of the year. I blame this on our culture not providing as many opportunities for fancy dress as it did a decade ago. My other excuse is that I'm hanging on to them for my kids, since with the kinds of things created nowadays, I doubt we'll have much 'vintage clothing' in the future...