tuesday night, i went through my closet and pulled out a bunch of clothes that i felt very meh about. i pulled out an item, held it up in the air and said out loud (to no one) “does wearing this make you feel happy?” if the answer was no, i tossed it in the giveaway pile. i put all the clothes in contention for giveaway in a shopping bag and left it in a corner of my room. it’ll stay there for a bit; if i desperately feel the need to pull something out of the bag it goes back in the closet. if not, in a couple of weeks it’s leaving the apartment. and i feel great! i love seeing less clothing in my closet.
i want to open my closet and see clothes hanging there that make me say “i would love to wear any of these items today!” i am really warming up to the idea that having less overall but having only things that i truly love will be more fulfilling than a closet full of clothes that don’t make me feel anything. i used to really feel like having a closet full of clothes, stuffed to the brim would be awesome because i would have so many many options when it came to dressing everyday. but i usually ended up gravitating toward those few pieces that i really loved to wear. the rest just sat there.
about a week after starting my new job, i decided to start a little experiment. i wanted to wear everything in my closet at least once without repeating. i thought this was going to be a good way to weed out clothes i didn’t wear that often that i should consider giving away, a good way to really experiment with different combinations of clothing that would be new and exciting, and a good way to have fun! it certainly started out that way, because i started out by wearing all my favorite items. as the weeks went on it became less fun. i started having to dig really deep to put together outfits. most of the time, these late stage outfits were not exciting, did not really flatter me, and kind of depressed me. i would open my closet, see all my favorite pieces, and then have to bypass them because they’d already been worn. talk about a problem that shouldn’t exist.
so when i finally put the zeros in the giveaway bag the experiment ended. i’m going back to wearing only the things that i love, that make me happy, that make me feel pretty. if it doesn’t do all of those three things…then in the giveaway it goes! no looking back!
while i was putting my first round of giveaway clothes into the bag, i realized that there was a definite pattern to everything that i was pulling. it was almost all exclusively bought while i worked at ralph lauren. it was all bought for work. every single item was bought because it sat at the intersection of 1) the right price point, 2) work appropriate, and 3) something i really liked. which means that i was compromising, especially on the liking it part. i really thought that the clothes at ralph lauren and club monaco were totally in line with my personal style. i’ve come to realize that is not the case.
for a while now i’ve had the nagging feeling that most of these clothes weren’t me. but i pushed it away because i would look in my closet and say to myself, “but look at all this ralph lauren that i own, all the club monaco. most of my friends, most people my age (around 25/26 at the time) couldn’t afford this kind of closet!” i felt like i had been given the chance to own a wardrobe i would, under normal financial circumstances, have no right to own. i couldn’t just give it away or even consign it because it cost me so. much. money. seriously!? how crazy does that sound.
as the weeks go on, i’m sure i will be cleaning out even more of my closet and giving items that no longer fall into the “love it” category the proverbial heave ho. the money spent no longer is a deciding factor in whether i keep something or give it away. some of my favorite pieces are from used clothing stores, some are from clearance racks, and some are indeed from ralph and club monaco. but the money is gone, spent to fill my wardrobe with clothes i only felt “meh” about. i use that now as my lesson; my bank account would be much fuller today if i had found three or four really great work appropriate outfits and left it at that.