Closet Update: January

In an effort to be more transparent and open this year, I’m introducing a new blog series called the Closet Update. My goal is to share an in-depth look at my wardrobe month by month. I will share what I bought (or was gifted), what I purged, what I wore, and what I didn’t at the end of each month.

My hope is that sharing a more in depth look at what I chose for my wardrobe and how it does/doesn’t work helps all of us. Maybe you’ll be inspired to give the capsule wardrobe thing a try or to track how often you’re wearing your own items? Maybe I’ll pass on an impulse purchase when I think more about why I’m buying it and what I’ll share with you? Maybe we’ll all continue to be more conscious consumers and slow down our fashion cycle?

So, here’s my first Closet Update of 2018.

What I Added

Nothing! Not a dang thing. I intentionally decided to do a no-shop January late in December. Looking back, my last purchase was the Madewell Perfect Summer jeans I scored on Poshmark on December 2.

When I looked back at my 2017 wardrobe additions, I found I had added 40 (gasp!) new items over the course of the year. That is far more than I am comfortable with. Of course, I can find ways to justify those new items (my physical size changed, I honed in on my style more and revamped my wardrobe, my blog grew and I was able to do more collaborations, and so on).

But no matter which way I look at it, I had gotten a little too comfortable in my ‘lean’ wardrobe ways and loose capsule rules. I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching

No specific time frame has been set for my no-shopping, but I do know I want to test myself. I want to push myself to pass up on something I really want, but don’t need. Not as punishment for buying too much in 2017, but as a way to reinforce that I have plenty. To practice contentment. To be sure that my comfort-level doesn’t slowly slip into over-consuming again.

What I Purged

I did ship off a bag of 28 items to Thred Up this month. Most of them were items that had spent quite a bit of time in my ‘maybe’ pile, but over and over I chose something else to wear.  A few examples of what I sent:

  • a gray sweater with jewel/beads on it: I kept it around thinking it would be cute for the holidays. Two Christmases later and I still haven’t worn it.
  • off-white skinny cords: I bought these secondhand and wore them a few times, but never liked the way I looked in them.
  • gray skinny jeans: I bought these secondhand for my postpartum capsule 2.5 years ago and wore them a ton the first year I had them. Since then I’m just not that into skinny pants/jeans, so I don’t reach for them anymore.
  • bootcut jeans: Another item I bought secondhand postpartum, but they are too big for me now.

I also sent off a few pairs of workout pants that are too low cut and I always had to pull up, plus some old statement necklaces that I know I won’t wear anymore.

Item Count

Another new idea I’m practicing during 2018 is tracking how often I wear each of my items. I wrote a list of all the clothes in my current capsule and hung it on a clipboard in my closet. Each day I make a tally mark to track what I’m wearing. Each month I’ll update the totals and share them here.

My hope is that this tracking can help with three things.

First, as I’ve spent more on my clothing and made some investments, I like to keep track of the cost per wear of each item. I don’t have solid numbers from 2017, but I plan to take some time and backtrack through old blog and Instagram posts to get a rough count of how much I’ve worn my items.

Second, at the end of each season I like to think about if any of the items I kept in my closet didn’t get worn so I can purge them rather than pack them away. I’d expect that having some concrete numbers may make those decisions easier.

Third, I am curious if some of my favorite items aren’t worn as often as I think due to the quantity of clothes I have? I think keeping track and seeing the numbers may reinforce my limited shopping goal for the year.

My Most Worn Items

Here are the items I wore four or more times during January (and the tail end of December). The numbers may be a bit skewed this month due to the Winter 10×10, but here it is:

  • T Sweater (Jamie + the Jones): I have now worn this sweater 33 times in 13 months. That brings my cost per wear into the single digits!
  • Black Cashmere Sweatshirt (c/o Everlane): This was a part of my 10×10, so it got 4 extra wears during the past couple of weeks.
  • Umber T Top (c/o Jamie + the Jones): I hadn’t worn this at all until the 10×10, but then wore it four times during that window.
  • Basic Tees (c/o Tapered Collection): I have a variety of white and black tees from Tapered Collection that I wear alone and as layering pieces.
  • Cruiser Jeans (Madewell via Poshmark): With 10 wears, this is my most worn item of the month. Truly, most of the wears happened over the winter break for our family gatherings and the weekend that my husband and I went out of town.
  • Perfect Summer Jeans (Madewell via Poshmark): I really broke these in during the 10×10 and I love them. These were my last closet addition in December and it was a great buy.
  • Ponte Pants (Brass Clothing): I typically wear these once per week to work, so they’ll likely always make my top list.
  • Clogs (Lotta From Stockholm): These are my new weekend go-to footwear as long as it isn’t snowy. What I didn’t expect when I bought them was how often I’d wear them to work too.
  • Chelsea Boots (Nisolo): When I’m not wearing my clogs, my next option is these boots.

My Least Worn Items

For contrast, here are the items that I haven’t worn yet since my Winter Capsule started. Again, I do think the numbers are slightly off because of the 10×10 (which counted for 15 of my outfits in the past 6ish weeks).

  • Gray Sweater (Brass Clothing): I was thisclose to including this sweater in my 10×10 which would have totally changed it’s list placement for the month. I do love this sweater and plan to get it into the rotation more in February.
  • Cropped Sweater (Brass Clothing): I have a feeling this sweater is creeping into my wardrobe purgatory. I’m not 100% ready to purge, but I’m also not convinced it has a place in my closet anymore. I don’t wear it often because it’s a bit small on me and the cropped length is hard to pull of at work. I also feel when we get into the middle of winter and my skin is at it’s most fair that the sand color washes me out.
  • Krissy Tee (Two Fold, get $20 off first Two Fold purchase through Garmentory): I haven’t worn my cardigans much this month, and this tee was kept in my closet as a layering option under those. Combining some new items in my 10×10 gave me a few ideas for this top, so expect to see it more next month.
  • Ponte Pants (c/o Vetta Capsule): Because I have two similar pair of ponte pants, these haven’t been worn yet. These are a bit longer and don’t stay rolled up as easily as my Brass pair, so when I wear them with boots (which I have been) I opt for the other pair.
  • A-line Dress (Brass Clothing): I kept a white short sleeve dress in my wardrobe to experiment some with layering it, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. We’ll see if it actually happens the way I hope it will.

My Top Three

Here’s a look at my three favorite looks from January.

winter capsule favorite outfits

I’d love to get your feedback on this new series so I can make it more useful and relevant to all of you. Can you think of anything else you’d like me to include in these posts each month? 

More about Paige


    1. Yaaaaas!!!

      I absolutely LOVE this series!
      Thank you for bringing the lean part back to lean closet!!! This is just so good and I appreciate you being so real and sharing!

      I would’ve never guessed that you added 40 items! I’m going to go count what I added and I bet it’s even more. Not at all what I want!
      I haven’t shopped all month except for the light Everlane denim, but I did use store credit from a returned pair last year so that makes it count less, right?
      Before last year and the birth of my son for the prior 2 years I had been doing SO good with shopping way less and having a much leaner closet.
      How long will you not shop for?
      How are you going to handle this going forward?
      As in, will you put a cap on the number of items you buy/ gifted a month? I’ve toyed with that idea. Allowing myself like one a month, or 4 a season (which would be 12- 16 items a year, more than I want but way less than I add now).

      I’d love to do something like that with you! Maybe create a hashtag, and movement around this? DM me if you’re interested!

      You’re such a closet inspiration.

      1. Jodie,
        I was truly shocked when I added it all up. I did purge more than I added, but still….
        I think this year of less shopping may happen somewhat naturally because I’m much more content with my wardrobe and more comfortable with my style than I’ve ever been before, so I don’t have as much of an urge to add more.

        I like the idea of setting some ‘rules’ if you think that will help stay on track. One a month would probably be what I would choose if I needed to because it’s frequent enough to feel flexible during the course of a season, but would drastically cut down from last year.

        I think you should totally do that and share your journey on your IG, I’d love to follow along!
        Thanks, as always, for your kind words!

    1. I LOVE this new series!! I want to follow along and keep track of my closet better as well. I am trying my first capsule this season – packing everything not included away, which I loved – until we planned a last minute beach vacation. First world problems, right?! 😂 But really, thank you for being so real and open. I think this is a brilliant approach and excited to play along! xx

      1. Becca,
        I love that you’re trying a capsule and are going all in by packing everything up. As soon as I did that and really cleared out my closet I realized how much I loved the emptiness and clarity. It is definitely an ongoing journey which is why I’m always trying to things to be as mindful of my clothes and purchases as possible.
        I hope you had a great beach vacation…that sounds amazing!

    1. Love the new series!! Saw you posted on Instastories and hopped on over to read while dinner is cooking. All of the elements you included are super helpful and inspiring me to keep count, as well! And as you process through why you purged and bought some items, it will help all of us make more conscious and hopefully better decisions for the long run.

      1. Chelsea,
        Thank you so much for you comment! I hope that by sharing my thought process I’ll gain more clarity as well. It doesn’t seem like a wardrobe should require so much effort, but I have found it so freeing to stop shopping and always wanting for something more.
        Have a great afternoon!

    1. I was inspired to keep track of cost per wear after your review of your Jamie & the Jones sweater. I have an android phone, so no Stylebook or Cladwell apps for me, but I found the free Smart Closet app and it has been so fun. It tells me cost per wear and number of wears and other stats. I am glad to have something do the math for me because I am a librarian, not a math teacher. 😁

      1. Erica,
        I still need to look into the Smart Closet app – I don’t have an iPhone either. Maybe loading in my items would be a good spring break or summer project?! For now, the clipboard and tally system is simple enough that I remember to do it. I almost see reducing my cost per wear as a new challenge, which I love. And is a far healthier and sustainable ‘high’ than shoppers high.
        Thanks for taking the time to comment,

    1. Yes, I love this new series! I used to track my cost per wear in a Google Sheet but now I can use Instagram. And it has that added benefit of keeping me honest about whether I wear it out of obligation or whether it actually flatters and suits me!

      1. Hello!
        Yes, as soon as I cleared my wardrobe of all the items I wore out of obligation it was so much more fun to get dressed. I know I still have a few of those items lingering, so I’m excited for this tracking to help make it more black and white for me.
        Have an awesome afternoon,

    1. Love this! I love that it’s okay to wear favorite items on repeat and let go of things that never became or are no longer faves. Please keep this monthly review coming!

      1. Lindsay,
        My purging has been so much easier since I’ve let go of the ‘guilt’ of wasted money or whatever it is that makes me hold on to items longer than I should. I love that getting rid of those items lets me wear my favorites more often and I don’t have the ‘obligation’ to wear anything else.
        Thanks for commenting! I appreciate it,

    1. I’m really excited to follow along as you track your closet. What you said about not wearing your favorite pieces as much because there is too much in your closet is hitting home with me.

      1. Justina,
        Allowing myself to let go of things I didn’t care for (and let go of the guilt associated with purging) has been so amazing! I would say 90% of my outfits used to be purely out of obligation because I bought it, so I must wear it. And so many things that I truly wanted to wear, I passed up on. I know I still have a few of those lingering, but tracking is making them so obvious, even just a month in.
        Keep me posted on if you start to consider what you want to wear vs. obligation!

    1. I love this new series! It’s already inspired me to keep up with my Stylebook app. So far I’m noticing more closet contentment from just observing the sheer amount of clothes I have to enter into the app–and I want to get that CPW down! Thanks for being so transparent and inspiring me to find way stop play with what I already have rather than acquiring more. Excited to follow along!

      1. Bri,
        It is definitely eye opening to look at your wardrobe as a whole…whether it’s loading it into an app, emptying it all on the floor for a purge, or even just writing them down to tally. Wow! I love hearing that just that process has helped you see what you have and appreciate that.

        I appreciate your kind words, they mean so much!
        Have a great afternoon,

    1. Great idea! I like the idea of “things I did not buy” posts because they help put my own longings in perspective. I’m also trying to do a year of reduced shopping/practicing contentment with my closet (I like to think of it more as the latter, seems more positive haha. And also more holistic, since I feel like I over-shop as a symptom of being stressed in other parts of my life). Looking forward to the coming year on the blog!

      1. Alice,
        I agree with thinking of it as closet contentment! So much more positive 🙂
        I love your idea of sharing things I passed up – I will add that in next time.
        Thanks for the suggestion!

    1. I like the idea of keeping a running tally of what you wear. I will turn the hanger around on items that I’m iffy about and after a month or two if it’s still facing the wrong way, I know it’s a sign it probably needs to go. I have a big bag to go to ThredUP, a bunch at my local consignment (almost all of which has sold, yay), and I’m prepping a box to send off to Slowre. The biggest problem I have is I see someone wearing The Cutest outfit and then I’ll buy the same piece or a similar one and I end up just not liking the way it looks on me. For example, I love all the oversized looks, wide leg crops and oversized sweaters, and a boy fit blazer with skinny jeans. None of which ended up making me feel great when I wore them. I bought almost all the items second hand so maybe it’s a fit thing…but then that starts me on the whole ‘if I bought it new it’d look great’ cycle. Which I did and I still don’t feel good about the proportions. (Can I please get a fairy fashion godmother??)

      I did make two purchases at Nordstrom yesterday; replacing my pointe pants from the UK that fell apart (that I wore constantly), and higher rise jeans since I have become uncomfortable with my older jeans that just feel too low. I am hoping that I can stick to the ‘one in one out’ system and really be even more conscious of what I buy.

      1. Andrea,
        I love the closet hanger idea for an easy way to see what you aren’t reaching for in your closet.

        As for shopping and buying things that don’t work for you, I think when I first started IG that was my biggest downfall. I ended up with a closet full of things that I loved on everyone else and either didn’t like on my or didn’t feel like ‘myself’ in. For example, plaid shirts, Converse, blanket scarves, heels with jeans. I could go on and on 🙂

        I think even being aware that you have the habit makes you a more mindful consumer than many. And the one in, one out system is always a great way to keep purchases under control.

        Have a great day,

    1. OMG, Paige, I LOVE this series!! Any time you go into depth when showing and explaining your fashion choices is so helpful. Also, keeping track of the number of times you wear a piece is really smart on so many levels, not just to figure out cost-per-wear, but to determine whether things have earned their space in a wardrobe. ‘Course one needs to pare down enough so that the list isn’t too crazy long (yikes have I got a way to go! :)), but it makes so much sense to keep track like that. I’d love to hear more about what you purged and why, because my biggest challenge is in letting things go. Thanks for all your awesome tips!! xoxox
      P.S. Those nisolo chelsea boots are so great — what size did you get? Also, the New Balance sneaks look adorable on you. 🙂

      1. Hi Holly,
        Yes, I am so excited to continue this series. I think verbalizing my thought-process will give me even more insight into my own wardrobe and hopefully help others too.

        I got the Nisolo boots in my true size (8.5). They are a bit narrow, but I feel them breaking in more and more.

        I hope you’re having a great weekend!

    1. This is a great idea! Your posts always remind me to be more mindful of what I’m purchasing and why. I bought a few things after Christmas with money I received as gifts (anxiously awaiting my Jamie and the Jones purchase) but I also purged some items too. It’s funny because I’m the opposite and really only reach for my skinny jeans or work pants with a similar skinny look. Debating purging all my other pants but I haven’t brought myself to do it yet. My ultimate goal is to fit everything I own in my closet and dresser and not pack items away each season because of lack of space. It may take me awhile. I appreciate that you advocate wearing what you love and repeating items!

      1. Heather,
        That is a great goal! Making slow and steady progress and being thoughtful about purchases and purges is a great way to get there.

        What did you purchase from J+J?!

        1. I bought the staple basic tee in mist. My IG is @lovetobebusyblog and you helped a great deal with sizing so I appreciate it!

    1. I’ve been tracking all my clothes purchases for about 3 years. When I first started looking at the idea of a more curated closet I ended up buying more AND better items (100+ a year in both 2015 and 2016.) The numbers were staggering since it didnt “feel” like I was buying so much. What I have discovered though, now that I am tracking how often I wear items in my closet is that the planned for, big expense items have been worn the most over the last 3 years. Last year I was down to 43 items and my hope it to get down to 20 this year. I think the more I know what MY “fewer, but better” items are the fewer I need now. It is hard going from being someone who loved to shop and who loves fashion to being highly selective, but it is an important shift. (BTW, I am still wearing a black cashmere sweater of my mom’s from the late 1950’s. That is down to a CPW of pennies!)

      1. Deb,
        I totally know what you’re saying. I think if I had tracked purchases back in 2015 I would be SHOCKED. I know I would be. I have also found that the items it took me a while to save up for and to finally decide to invest in are my very favorites and most worn items.

        Tracking is a very powerful tool l to make smart purchases and be aware of shopping habits. I cannot wait to get further in and see what I learn.

        I love that you have one of your mom’s sweaters! That is so cool!

        I hope you’ve had a great weekend,

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