Wardrobe 101

Confessions of a Dress Hoarder-My Dirty Little Wardrobe Secret

OR–How Things Got Out of Control

PLUS–THE Best Edit Question

Happy day, Reader Dear…

I’m SO embarrassed.

I have had 32 dresses.

I don’t know how it happened. Well, I know HOW. Obviously, I bought them.

But when? And why? It’s not like I blacked out and had a shopping frenzy.

Maybe they snuck up on me?

Maybe they’re doing the bunny thing in the closet?

I wish I could blame someone else.

BUT

It was me.

In my defense, however:

It’s complicated.

So today, let’s chat about how things can get out of control in your wardrobe. Or at least how they got out of control in mine… And let me know if you can relate!

PS: It’s never just one thing, it’s always a combination.

If you’d prefer the Cliff’s Notes version, here you go!

For Years

We were a military family moving every three years. Like clockwork. Our final year living in any one place, I would look around and let things go. Cookware, holiday decoration, clothes. Nothing was sacred. (Not even my scarves!) With each passing holiday or clothing season, I would ask myself, Do I want to pack and unpack this again and find a place for it in our new home? Frequently, the answer was No. Then we made our last intercontinental move back here to the good old US of A and settled. We’ve lived in the same house since 2007. I know that doesn’t sound like a long time to many, but for us? It’s an eternity! Settling down means I’ve lost my triennial wardrobe management motivation.

The Next Chapter

After returning to the States, I found myself classroom teaching. (Buy me a drink and I’ll share the story…) Dress + Boots (or Flats) was my uniform. I wore a dress three or four days weekly from fall through spring. Sometimes with a jacket or cardigan. Sometimes without. It was easy, comfortable and casually professional. (A suit isn’t conducive to sitting on the floor with Kindergarteners!) I kept most of them when I left the classroom because those dresses were perfect for church and hot summer days. If you can’t give it sun, give it air…

And Then

Flash forward to a few years after leaving the classroom. It was 2017 and the founding of Closet Play Image. Once again, dresses prove a great option. YAY! Some of my classroom dresses still work; many are worn and need replacing AND I need a few more tailored dresses for business. So I added a few.

That 2020-Present Thing

Then March, 2020 came along. Everything shifted again. I moved my entire business online and dressed in jeans daily. My uniform Outfit Recipe morphed into Jeans (or Shorts) + Blouse which worked well for virtual meetings and trips to the grocery store and pharmacy. Those were pretty much the only two places I went for more than a year. Dresses? Even church was virtual; the dresses moved to the back of the closet. I ignored them.

Then, sometimes nature throws a loop at you. Like last summer. I started wearing dresses again. Not as often as before, nor as polished, but dresses nonetheless.

Last Week

I was looking for items to declutter from my closet and thought, Gee, I think I have too many dresses; I’ll pull them all together and then I knock this out all at once. (Yes, I do think in semicolons.)

Oh, my.

Oh. My.

Now you can see why I am so embarrassed.

Wishful Wardrobing?

All along, I was monitoring my buying. I make a French 5 Shopping Plan every 6 months or so and am pretty good at sticking with it. (Accessories excluded. Sigh. #outfitgoals) Considering what my lifestyle actually looked like, why was I adding a dress twice yearly?

Polyvore French 5 Piece Wardrobe Ideas

Synergy + Attention Deficit

Now, each of these life seasons alone shouldn’t have been a problem. It was the combination along with losing sight of my one-in-one-out rule. I simply stopped paying attention. (Does that sound familiar?) So it’s time for an edit. A serious edit. With the question that guided me well all those years ago. It’s still a great question! Even if there’s no move on the horizon.

THE Best Edit Question

If we were moving, would I want to pack and unpack this and find it a place in our new home?

AKA: Are you PCS-ing with me?

Talk about clarity. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

What’s Your Thing?

Now, your thing may not be dresses. Yours could be scarves, or cashmere sweaters, or costume jewelry, or shoes, or almost anything! You don’t need to like shopping to get into this kind of trap. I’ve been in plenty of closets where people hate shopping and stilll have WAY more than they need of one or more items.

How About You?

Have you ever given your wardrobe a headcount? Or any particular category of your wardrobe? If so, were you surprised by the number? Was it higher or lower than you expected? Have you moved recently? Did you take it all or downsize? Do you have rules for buying? Or for keeping your wardrobe from growing uncontrollably? Do tell… I love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours,

9 Comments

  • Pam B

    I love your sense of humor and your realistic approach. Thank you for your blog. Great tips today. My issue is SHOES! 😀

    • Liz K

      Thank you, Pam! Glad to help. I understand about the shoes! Unfortunately, I don’t feel nearly as bad about owning too many of those… LOL!

  • NATALIE K.

    Liz, I was shocked I have so many T-shirts at the beginning of he summer. I SAVED HALF IN STORAGE FOR ANOTHER SUMMER.. I don’t know how that happen!!!

    • Liz K

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with the surprise, Natalie! PS: You’re not alone with the tees… I see that one ALL the time in client’s closets!

      • Lydia

        I am also a dress hoarder!! My wardrobe is pretty small but I’ve got I think 14 dresses and I was even looking to add more- eep! In my defense, though, there’s nothing better for pregnancy/postpartum than a dress. My real problem is that I buy dresses that are too fancy/delicate for my lifestyle- my days are mostly spent at the playground or cooking!! So I’m not sure why I have all this silk in the closet…

        • Liz K

          Sigh. Sounds like some wishful wardrobing going on there, Lydia! Although I am ALL in on dresses for pregnancy/postpartum! So much easier to wear and more forgving. I found the biggest issue was easy dresses that were nursing friendly. There are certainly more out there now than when I needed them!

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