My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

As I wrote about in my last post, I recently completed a closet reorganization. I separated out my summer tops into three distinct sections: “standalone” tops, tops that I only feel comfortable wearing with an accompanying topper, and tops that are designated as workout or lounge wear only. My goal is to eventually eliminate the second category by means of attrition, as well as no longer purchasing tops that I don’t want to wear on their own. Additionally, I’d like the majority of the tops I buy from this point forward to be “crossover” pieces that can be worn for a variety of occasions.

Rearranging my closet alerted me to another wardrobe issue beyond my owning too many tops that I’m only comfortable wearing with a sweater or jacket over them. In today’s post, I’ll share what that issue is, why I think it happened, and what I plan to do about it. I never thought I’d learn so much from a simple closet reorganization, but I hope my lessons will also be helpful to some of you.

My Love Affair with Black Clothing

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that I love to wear black clothing. Not only is black versatile and slimming, it also suits my cool complexion and my personal style aesthetic. Black pieces are often in line with my style guideposts of “dramatic, polished, and elegant,” and they also add a bit of “edge” to my outfits.


I love to wear black, but there CAN be too much of a good thing… 

Those are all good points in favor of my owning a lot of black items. But no matter how much I love black, there can be too much of a good thing. Rearranging my tops really highlighted the fact that there are just too many black ones in the mix. While this can also be said about my black pants and black toppers, I’m only going to focus on my warm weather tops today to keep things simple – and also because this topic follows on nicely from my last post. I’ll likely dedicate future essays to those other sections of my wardrobe.

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I frequently reorganize my closet in an effort to better understand and utilize the pieces I own. For a long time, I just organized everything in a standard fashion: by garment type and then by color. However, I’ve found that making periodic “tweaks” to this arrangement can make it easier for me to get dressed for my various life occasions.

In today’s post, I share about my most recent closet reorganization, why I did it, what my new sections are, and how they’ll help me get dressed more easily in the coming months. I also outline a wardrobe goal that I’m working towards and how I plan to get there.

well organized closet

Reorganizing My Closet in a New Way

Last fall, I wrote a two-part series on “third piece” challenges (HERE and HERE), in which I explained the difficulties I experience when dressing for warmer weather. Part of my dilemma involves making sure my outfits look interesting and well put-together without using a traditional “third piece” (e.g., a cardigan, jacket, or coat), but an even bigger challenge relates to my emotional comfort when I’m unable to cover up as much when it’s hot outside.

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Thank you so much to everyone who weighed in on the “keep or return” decision that I introduced in my last post! As I knew would be the case, I received a lot of thought-provoking feedback from readers. The comments were mixed, which added to my confusion at first, but the blessing of time and consideration helped me to gain clarity. Finally, after going back and forth a few times between keeping the Athleta Whisper Featherless Vest or returning it to the store, I reached a decision that brought me peace.

reaching clarity on keep or return decision

In today’s post, I’ll share the excellent points presented by commenters about my specific situation, as well as in regards to return deliberations in general. I’ll break down the key feedback into several sections:

  • Questions and considerations for making the keep/return decision
  • Arguments for keeping the vest
  • Arguments for returning the vest

After I go through all of that, I’ll let you know what I decided and why. I’ll close the post with some general suggestions from readers that can help all of us when we’re pondering whether to keep an item or return it. Many of these tips can also assist us when we’re cleaning out our closets and determining what should stay and what should go. I hope you enjoy this post and find it beneficial when working through any wardrobe confusion you may have.

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Today’s post introduces a new category on the blog, in which I share my “keep or return” decision process with items I’ve purchased. In some keep or return posts, I will already have reached a decision, but I’ll break it down for you. In other instances, like today, I’ll still be wrestling with what to do, so I’ll lay out the pros and cons and hopefully gain clarity through that process. I also welcome your input, as I’m sure some of you have contended with similar decisions and will have good points to share.

keep or return decision

I’ve been pondering what to do about a particular item over the past couple of weeks. It’s not usually this difficult for me to decide whether or not to return something. Buying too many items contributes to my oversized wardrobe much more so than an unwillingness to let things go (although I do struggle when it comes to purging pants and shoes).

Usually, if I have any doubts about what to do, I try on the piece in question and trust my instincts when I look in my full-length mirror. Failing that initial clarity, I’ll revisit any unworn items as their return deadline looms, at which point I can usually reach a conclusion without too much deliberation. This time, however, none of that has worked – and I’m still as confused as ever!

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Although I sometimes do major closet reviews and get rid of a lot of items, that’s not what usually happens for me. In most instances, I decide to get rid of pieces a bit at a time as I either wear them or attempt to wear them. Sometimes I put something on and immediately realize that it’s past its time in my closet – or was never right for me. In other cases, I wear an item out of the house and feel unhappy in it for one reason or another. Perhaps it’s fussy and requires a lot of adjustment throughout the day, or maybe I just feel frumpy or untrue to my current style aesthetic. No matter what the reason, I’ve learned to more fully trust my instincts and pass something on if I just don’t feel good in it.

In today’s post, I review six items that I’ve recently decided to either donate or sell. I’ll show you the pieces and share the reasons why I’ve opted to let them go. The general theme of this post is that the little things matter! If I look at the pictures of my castoffs, they still appeal to me, but there’s at least one small detail in each of them that made them an overall fail. I’m highlighting these reasons here today for two reasons:

  • First, I want to make sure that I internalize and remember garment details that don’t work for me so that I can avoid future errors.
  • Second, I’d like to help you consider what types of clothing characteristics lead to your closet items becoming wardrobe benchwarmers.

We’d all like to make better choices and save money, so I hope my reviewing my castoffs will help to increase your awareness so you’ll shop better and smarter.

The Six Items

Before I delve into my recent castoffs one by one, I’d like to present a brief overview of them. First, here’s a picture of the items:

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