Wah-Wah Wardrobe Status

I have added a new page to my blog that allows you to shop my closet through the Poshmark app, if you are so inclined. Mostly size XS-M, shoes 7.5-9.5. The link is permanently stashed over with my pages, over there in the black box on the right. ⇒

Oh, clothing. My relationship with you is so complicated sometimes. I want you not to matter, while I recognize that you do. I want less of you, but not fewer options. I have more closet space now, but not more days in the week or seasons or variation in my wardrobing needs. I have essentially the same body, and yet a completely different one.

What’s a girl to do?

I recently completed another Minimalist Game (user Seven2Seven8, natch). I have dropped off, already, a large selection of items for donation or textile recycling[1]  through Goodwill, and another large batch through a local shop called Rung (all donations with tax benefits to us but no cash back to me if an item sells). New to this challenge — I have set aside a fairly large (50?) number of items to sell. I am trying a mix of like-minded groups of friends, buy-sell-trade (“BST”) pages on Facebook for certain brands, and the new-to-me-entirely Poshmark. So far: I have sold one item to a friend, two items through a BST, and one item through Poshmark in about two weeks. Poshmark is brand-new, and I’m still getting the hang of it, but I like that I can put everything up there. I do think I will continue to cross-post brand-specific items in the BST, too. What I’m finding tricky is pricing! Some things get snatched up so quickly, and some things languish and it’s hard to figure out what the market is. I try to make it clear I’ll bundle and accept offers. I want to sell these things, after all, right? So I expect some learning curve there.

So, what’s the status of my closet?

Confused mostly. I’m still figuring out organization (mostly there, but having twins the day after you move and trying to figure out the new space and a new and rapidly-changing body presents challenges, for sure). Here’s what I’ve got going on:

Main closet: three levels of racks and 3 levels of shelves. The closet itself is about half the overall width of my closet in the little house, but offers about the same rack space since half the rods are doubled. I can barely reach the higher one and the lower on really only accommodates tops and knee-length or shorter skirts, but I can comfortably hang my pants and other long items on the single rack. It’s a wire closet organization system, which I definitely do not prefer to my former wooden rod and shelf. I guess my clothing can breathe a bit? I don’t use the shelves much, though. I can’t reach the very top one at all, and the middle on is pretty high, so I’ve just stuck a bin with extra purses up there. I keep a few pairs of off-season booties on the low shelf, and otherwise, all of my shoes now fit there, in the bin on the floor, in the 12-pair organizer, or on our shoe shelf in the great room. I keep my 50 hangers in here, and they are all spoken for. I’d estimate my number of shoes at about 25-30 at this point. Down from an upward creep of about 50 pre-Mins Game.

Overflow closet: I put things here that are out of season, seldom used, or have fit issues/are in purgatory.I might have about 15 things hanging here, and a bin with about 5 sweatshirts. Otherwise, we use my half for master bath supplies, my jewelry and bath storage, and our medicine and travel items — things which lived in our bath closet or hall closet in the old house. I don’t use it, but it keeps the floor really clear and the twins love to crawl through the space like a tunnel!

Drawers: I have drawers coming out of my ears! I have three on my bedside dresser and four (two small and two large) in our wide dresser. Here’s how I have them organized:
Bedside top:
Reading material / Advil[2] / Belts / Scarves / Shorts
Bedside middle:
Tshirts (graphic, lounge, and plain/fitted) and workout clothing
I probably have about 30 tshirts. Maybe more. Yikes. I culled several which no longer fit, and which I hope to make into a tshirt quilt (that doesn’t look like a tshirt quilt). Stay tuned on that one.
Bedside bottom:
Jeans (probably about 8-10 pair?) and sweaters (about a dozen? Maybe less).

Wide top left:
Undies and camisoles
Wide top right:
Bras and swim and accessories for same
Wide middle:
Pajamas and lounge (leggings, long-sleeve casual shirts)
Wide bottom:
Socks – this is probably my least efficient use of space, but my hosiery collection is out of control. I don’t even like socks that much (to wear) but when I do wear them, I’m reallllllly particular about whether I want them to show or not, and if they show, what I say with them. So forty million pairs later…. here we are. I did get rid of about a dozen during the Mins Game. Progress? Sigh.

Day 10: too many socks. #minsgamespring2016 #minimalistgame #minimalism #decluttering

A photo posted by Rebecca B. (@seven2seven8) on

So. I have plenty of clothing. What I don’t have right now is a sense of what works, what is missing, and how everything plays together. And this is why I love capsule wardrobing. (See here. Or here for specifics).

But, of course, I’m still shopping. My shopping postpartum has come down to the following methods, which are working or not working to really varying degrees.

1. Mad Dashes to Target for Impulse Buys. Examples:

  • Stretchy pants two sizes too big and a few billowy tops to accommodate an immediately postpartum body – I kept one or two items in case we attend another rodeo and pretty much burned the rest. I still wear two tops, I think (half-button tunic shirts – one white and one red plaid).
  • SHOES – specifically, knee high boots to address that my prepregnancy ones are both too small and too sad (gave them to the nanny – they don’t feel good because they are cheap); sandals (returned because cheap); and a freak find of a gorgeous pair of Jules wellies in a navy floral that make my day whenever I wear them. Which is, admittedly, very rarely. But HEY. AWESOME.
  • Tops – I love Target tops. But what they will do in the wash is a mystery! I have had luck with one pale pink duster and one white top that I just bought a size up due to wash-shrinkage (it’s a bit too big now but haven’t washed it yet. Pray for me). I did just buy another cardigan which works on a lot of levels but feels way (WAY!) too preppy for me. I’ll probably put it on Poshmark. It’s teal with big white polka dots. It’s cute! Really. But just not me. I feel weird and self-conscious in it. Bah. Impulse buys. AMIRITE?

2. STITCH FIX. I posted about my first fix here. I was also still nursing and about ten pounds heavier there with a lot more distribution in my boobs and belly. Many items are now too big and that’s largely all I’m selling — either that or items I kept for discount but didn’t end up wearing or selling through the BST.

Stitch Fix works as follows: You sign up and pay $20. They send you 5 items of clothing and you have three days to decide what to keep or return. You pay for what you keep. If you keep anything, your $20 styling fee is applied to the box. If you return it all, you lose the fee. They pay shipping both ways (largely what your styling fee covers). If a friend signs up through you and orders, you get a $25 credit when their first fix ships! That happened once and it was pretty great – I kept a pair of pants from my last fix and only had to pay an additional $13 for them. (Referral code for me if you decide to try it – but no pressure.)

I am going to do a full write-up on Stitch Fix in a post soon, because I’m ordering and will be trying a service called “Trunk Club” (often more expensive items, more items, but no fee or shipping cost, so lower-risk from that point of view). I should get my next “Fix” (#8, I think?) around June 10, and my “trunk” shortly before that. In 7 fixes so far:

Fix 1: Kept 5 (coat, jeans, sweater, tunic, earrings), sold 1 (tunic) through BST, two more items pending (now too big), and kept two items (I wear the jeans often and the earrings once in a while – but they dangle and I have twinfants — not their fault).

Fix 2: Kept 1 (burgundy blouse), returned 4. Still wear the blouse.

Fix 3: Kept 5 (cardi, sweater, sweater, scarf, black trouser leggings). Sold scarf. Later sold both sweaters. Debating the cardi (it’s really big and a bit overwhelming on me). Wear the “treggings” pretty often.

Fix 4: Kept  5 (moto jacket, dress, jeans, navy blouse, anorak). I still have all five, but I’ve been trying to sell that dress for-EVER. It’s in my closet. It’s adorable, but too big for me. Full stop. They didn’t have an XS for exchange. I just need to lower the price and eat it.

Fix 5: Returned all five! (bah) Fit and feel issues all around. Cute navy blouse but didn’t like the cuffs and it was too similar to the one I got in #4, so I ate the fee instead of spending another $48.

Fix 6: Kept 2 (dress, cardigan), returned 3. Wear cardigan often; loved dress for a wedding I attended.

Fix 7: Kept 1 (olive pants), returned 4. Love the pants.

I think SF is working better for me now that I’m being more judicious. Early on, I kept it if it fit (so little of what I owned fit or flattered at the time), and I think I sold the first tunic and scarf SO easily that I figured I’d be able to unload things after wearing them a couple of times and basically pay to “rent” them (sustainability concerns aside, I know, I know), but my difficulty selling the third item was a wake-up call. To be fair, I CAN wear it. I just would prefer something that fits differently. That said, if I still have it when we go on vacation this summer, I might just keep it.

Just too much fabric, no?
Just too much fabric, no?

3. Online Pop-Ups. LORD HELP ME I FOUND THE LULAROE. Since I discovered this stretchy, soft brand, I’ve thrown my wallet at my computer screen way. too. damned. much. I have purchased.

  • Three pairs of leggings (black, blue, floral black). I like the blue okay and love the two black pair. I also bought a fourth pair through eBay for my mom as a gift.
  • Three “Irma” tunics (XS b&w, XXS b&w, XXS gray stripe). I like these, but sold the XS recently (too big).
  • Two “Nicole” dresses (XS blue and S red and blue). The XS is too small. The S is just right.
  • Two “Classic” tees (XS) – great, but practically tunic length, so I’m now questioning my Irmas. Especially since one of the Classics and one of the Irmas are EXACTLY the same patterns.
  • One “Randy” (S). I like it okay. It’s a tough sell with boobs and a bit of tummy. (Baseball tee.)
  • Two “Cassies” (XS, S). I like them okay. Pencil skirts. Good for the price point. Navy, Floral.
  • One “Julia” (S) – currently for sale. I like the idea but the execution doesn’t work for my height/curves.
  • I’ve also bought & exchanged: An Amelia, another Nicole.

That’s 16 items of clothing in about 6 months. LORD HELP ME. I’m stopping. For now. Truly, I do think I have enough (too much really – I’ll be selling some of it), but I could see myself getting the odd pair of leggings as a gift for friends or family, or maybe another Classic tee or another skirt sometime. I have seen a couple of cute fuller skirts with pockets that might work for the office. And there’s a competing brand called Agnes and Dora that is similar in execution, but has slight variations on style – v neck instead of crew, or sleeveless options (LLR is Mormon-owned, so nothing sleeveless). I do think I’ve mostly gotten this stuff out of my system. The stuff I’ve kept, by and large, I really like, though. The issue is that you can’t really try it on and fit is very material/item specific, and it’s easy to rack up shipping charges for something that doesn’t work: Example: I spent $10 more on 2 tshirts than if I’d just ordered them because I exchanged a dress that felt like it was squeezing my soul from my ribs and upper arms and lost three directions worth of shipping.

4. Trunk Club. See, “Stitch Fix”, and stay tuned.

So What’s Next?
I do have a plan. Sort of. It will require me to be active post baby-bedtime instead of having dinner and a glass of wine with Joe on the couch. That’s the clincher! The latter is so appealing. But I want to:

STEP ONE: Divide my wardrobe into four essential “capsules”: spring, summer, fall, winter. Maybe 20 items per capsule, including shoes, workout clothing, tshirts, pajamas, accessories, and loungewear.

STEP TWO: Pick 20 items of the “all the time I love them” sort. Doesn’t matter what season, they are the go-to pieces. I’m imagining, off the bat, about 5 pairs of shoes I’d wear year round, a couple of purses, and about a dozen items of clothing that work on their own or layered.

STEP THREE: Set aside the “specialty” items. Swimwear. Suiting (because court). Formal dresses. Long underwear. Things I would never include in a capsule and seldom use so don’t want in my normal space.

STEP FOUR: Current capsule + always things go in the closet as much as possible.

STEP FIVE: Offseason capsules go in tubs in the overflow closet.

STEP SIX: Store non-capsule items in drawers.

STEP SEVEN: Stick to a clothing allowance. Probably $200 per month + sales from my closet.

STEP EIGHT: Through Step 7 // more thoughtful shopping. I plan to keep the monthly Stitch Fix now that I’m keeping 1-2 items more often than the entire box (which would seldom be an option anyway), and if the Trunk Club set up is appealing, I plan to do one each season. The idea is that SF would be my fresh items (trendy blouse, shoes) and Trunk Club my investment pieces (Eileen Fisher, Frye). If all goes well, this would be a clothing budget of about $2500 per year (+ sales) and probably about 2-3 dozen new items per year. I have done some and plan to continue to shop secondhand – I’m doing more of that online, but the occasional sought-out piece is also fine if it fits within the budget.

START DATE: July 1, 2016. Just in time for my birthday, which is MY new year. x

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[1] That’s right! Goodwill does textile recycling. Don’t throw it away! Put it in a bag, label it, drop it off. No tax credit, but good person credit.

[2] I still hurt sometimes. I stopped nursing and pumping about 6 weeks ago, and hopefully will feel better in another six weeks or so once my hormones are normalized again. I’m also working out more regularly, which does help, some.

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