Retail Recovery

RETAIL RECOVERY is about recovering from mindless buying and instead actively building a personal, well-utilized, tightly-edited wardrobe. i want my clothes to be expressions of me, not just the result of retail therapy, impulse purchases, and random moments of succumbing to editorial instructions. i’ve already explored the contents of my closet thoroughly in a blog titled 34 PIECES. that project came about after a particularly aggressive bout of Spring cleaning (i believe i stored an additional 10 iffy pieces, setting them aside to evaluate later). i then determined to work with the pieces that were left, rather than replace all that was tossed out with new, unnecessary space-fillers. 34 pieces, i found, can yield a lot of different combinations. more than 70 unique combinations at last count. in the process, while on a shopping hiatus, i also had some time to think about what i liked about those 34 pieces and what i didn’t.

after turning my closet into a semi-public project, i am a bit burned out on some of the pieces, but i also have proved to myself how far a small wardrobe can go. with that lesson learned, i now want to actively build a small wardrobe – 34 PIECES was really the result of weeding, not planting.

i hope to build 2 wardrobes – spring/summer and fall/winter, because that is most appropriate for where i currently live. this time around, repetition is fine (as long as i have enough items to allow for laundering before another outing). working with a rough ingredient list right now, the basics that i am aiming for at this point are:
spring/summer: shorts, pants, dresses, tops
fall/winter: jeans, pants, dresses, tops

yes, i know, that is not the most inspired list, and it seems obvious at first glance, but any thoughts on how many items (the minimum) would make a perfect wardrobe?

6 comments:

hebden said...

Great idea for a blog. I'm not the best person to ask about the minimum number of pieces needed but I think that the quality of the pieces is important. If you're going to go for a limited number of items I'd make sure that each one is the best quality you can get. Not the most expensive...just the best quality.

I'd also add coats to your list...one warm overcoat that is the right length/color to go with everything else and a lightweight raincoat.

Good luck!

editor said...

my coat collection is stable so i'm not building that (thankfully)... well, maybe a trench would be nice... :)

but i am literally trying to curate a new wardrobe for myself, a small wardrobe (divided for 2 seasons). i want to make very conscious decisions about what i put in it and see if the result is as i would hope, a very personal and satisfying collection.

Carlene said...

Another great idea! I think you are my hero. This is exactly what I'm trying to do.

I'm just at the beginning of my weeding, so I am questioning what a good number would be. (I am afraid to count my clothing. I don't even know if I can *find* all my clothing, and I'm a relative minimalist). There'd be some overlap, for sure; I wear lots of things both seasons.

To start with, during your 34 pieces experiment, did you ever find yourself saying, "If I only had a...." ? And did you *not* wear any of the pieces? (I don't know if this is the right place to ask... which blog do I use now, LOL?) That's where I'd start. This is gonna be fun.

editor said...

hi carlene!
now i'm no longer weeding. well, i'm weeding through the 34 (plus the 10 stored iffy items), but this blog is about creating, and hopefully the end result will be 2 wardrobes, 20 and 15 pieces each - i'm just guessing here. maybe less. summer will be the smaller wardrobe.
yes, the 34 pieces project taught me what was a chore to wear and what i was particularly drawn to. not to mention seeing myself in the clothes really helped evaluate the pieces' appeal too.
i am inclined to wear things throughout the year too, but i think it would enhance the fun and the lifespan of the clothes if they got a rest and were re-introduced for each season. trying to be practical here.
where i live, that is realistic. if we were to move, the overlap, perennial wardrobe would be my choice, but it would effect the condition of the clothes and need to replace them... i think.
off the top of my head though... i can think of a few pieces that will overlap. it's unavoidable i guess.

laurieann said...

Hello! I found my way over from TFS and I must say this is a great idea for a blog. I sure need more help following the mindful approach to wardrobe building (what I call Buddhist dressing)rather than the scatter-shot approach I have traditionally taken.

Do you follow Real Simple magazine? I have found some great dressing tips in the issues that help me to utilize what I have in my closet more creatively. My favorite issue is September 2006 with the "well-balanced wardrobe" editorial. Their approach is in pyramid format where you build a wardrobe from the bottom with what they refer to as basics, staples, statement pieces, evening standards and showstoppers. Lots of pictures and purchase recommendations.

I find this approach interesting as a guide to help me focus on what's missing from my wardrobe (statement pieces, evening standards and showstoppers) and what I have too much of (basics and staples).

Iheartfashion said...

I have been similarly inspired by the 34 pieces experiment. I tend to engage in retail therapy, buying things that are beautiful and/or a great bargain for a life I do not lead, and impulse buying. I'd love to edit my closet down to a selection of high-quality basics that I'll actually wear.