My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

Earlier this year, I revealed my 2023 “wardrobe bucket list,” a collection of 20 tasks that I hope to complete sometime during this year (see HERE and HERE). I was inspired to create this list by an episode of “The Everyday Style School” podcast, in which the host shared that instead of setting goals and resolutions, she came up with a list of simple tasks and activities to help move her style forward this year. I loved this concept and decided to take it on myself.

wardrobe bucket list spring update - part one

Now that it’s been a few months and we’re nearing the end of spring, I thought it would be a good time to review my wardrobe bucket list and see how things are progressing. This will be a two-part series, in line with my efforts to post more often and publish shorter posts (which I admittedly do better with sometimes than others). In today’s post, I’ll recap items 1-10 on my list and share what progress I’ve made, if any. Part Two will cover items 11-20, which were originally shared in this February essay.

Doing this type of review will help remind me of my wardrobe bucket list items and will hopefully enable me to get back on track with any that may have slipped my mind. I also hope that reading this will spark your thoughts about the projects, changes, or goals you have for your wardrobe and style in 2023 (and I invite you to share about them!). I plan to do at least one more review later this year, and I also plan to do individual posts about some of the tasks and activities I’ve opted to take on related to my wardrobe and style.

While I hope to complete all 20 tasks on my list during 2023, I’m open to carrying forward whatever doesn’t get done into 2024. There’s little urgency to most of my bucket list items, but there’s lots of potential benefits to doing them. I’d like to get these tasks done because I feel they’ll make a positive difference with both my wardrobe and my personal style. Now, on to the review…

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I review the items in my closet on a regular basis and purge what’s no longer working for me. Sometimes I do a major review of my entire wardrobe (a “closet audit”), while other times I’ll just go through one small section of pieces. In addition to letting go of anything that no longer fits my body, lifestyle, or personal style aesthetic, I also find it helpful to highlight why I’m passing things on.

In today’s post, I review twelve items that I’ve passed on during the early months of this year. These aren’t all my 2023 closet castoffs, but they’re a representative group from which important lessons can be gleaned. I’ll show photos of the purged items and let you know what led me to removing them from my wardrobe.

At the end of the post, I’ll encapsulate the key lessons from the twelve castoffs reviewed. I’ve found that making notes of the reasons for my purged pieces helps me to both know better and do better, but I haven’t been engaging in this practice consistently. Periodically writing posts such as this one can help to drive critical shopping and sartorial lessons home for me, plus I also hope it helps to provide you with some “aha moments,” too.

Purged Item Overview

Here’s a look at the twelve closet items that I’ll be covering today, followed by some basic information about them. In the next section, I’ll share my individual reasons for purging each piece.

12 items I purged from my closet in early 2023

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My last four posts looked at the oldest items in my wardrobe and why they have been in my closet for five years or longer. There were 79 such pieces, and many of them are still worn on repeat today. In my last essay, I shared that the most common features these garments, shoes, and purses have in common are a consistent color palette and classic styles and silhouettes. Additionally, the majority of them were purchased new rather than secondhand, although nine of my “oldies but goodies” were bought in resale stores.

Today I’m going to look at the flip side of the equation, the pieces that did not stand the test of time in my wardrobe. In addition to the 79 items that I covered in my last series, I also purchased a lot of other clothes, shoes, and bags that left my closet a long time ago. While some of what was passed on was due to “wear and tear,” that wasn’t my reason for letting go of many other items. However, as I went through my folders of what I purchased in 2018 and earlier years, I discovered some clear patterns regarding what didn’t stick around. I’ll share those patterns below, along with photos of many of my castoffs (some of which fit into more than one mistake category).

clothes that didn't stand the test of time

Which of YOUR closet items have NOT stood the test of time – and why?

Bad Resale Buys

I first got into resale shopping about twenty years ago, and I remained a secondhand enthusiast until the pandemic hit in 2020, although I had slowed things down quite a bit in the few years leading up to that. I loved “the thrill of the hunt” inherent in that type of shopping, and it was fun to find hidden gems in thrift and consignment stores. I had to stop secondhand shopping due to my increasing chemical sensitivities, but I also came to understand how unsuccessful resale buys were for me. I’ve acquired some “winners” along the way for sure, but my overall success percentage with thrift and consignment shopping is very low.

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In my last three posts, I examined the items that I still own from five or more years ago. The first part of the series covered the twelve pieces (nine garments and three purses) that have been with me for at least ten years. Part two looked at the twenty-five wardrobe items (eighteen garments, two purses, and five pairs of shoes) that I’ve owned for seven to nine years. Finally, part three reviewed the forty-two pieces (all clothing except for one pair of shoes) that I purchased in either 2017 or 2018.

oldest items recap

Today’s essay is a “wrap-up” of the series, in which I’ll share some final numbers, as well as a summary of what I’ve learned through examining all my “oldies but goodies.” As with the other posts in this series, this essay will be image and number heavy, but this final installment will also include my reflections about my remaining items, why I still own them, and what they say about my personal style, my purchasing habits, and what works best for me.

“Oldies but Goodies” By Category

Let’s start with a recap of the categories represented among the oldest pieces in my closet. All in all, I still own 79 items from 2018 or earlier. As mentioned in the three prior essays, I’m only looking at clothing, shoes, and purses in this series. While I definitely still own scarves and jewelry pieces that have been around for longer than five years, I didn’t track those purchases, so I’d only be guessing their purchase dates if I included them in my counts, and I’d like to be more accurate than that. I plan to write about jewelry and scarves soon, as these items are part of my wardrobe and style “bucket list” for 2023.

Included below are how my 79 longest-standing items can be broken down by categories. I’ll show photos of the items and share some thoughts about each category.

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This is the third part in my series about the oldest items in my wardrobe. In part one, I discussed the pieces that have been in my closet since 2013 and earlier, and in the second part, I wrote about my remaining items from 2014 through 2016. In this installment, I cover the garments and shoes that I purchased in 2017 and 2018 and still own today. I plan to wrap up the series with one more post that summarizes what I’ve learned through doing this in-depth exploration of “oldies but goodies.”

wardrobe longevity - items that are 5 to 6 years old

Do you own a lot of items that are five to six years old?

As with my two earlier posts, I’ll show you all the items from 2017 and 2018 and then break them down by categories. I’ll also highlight some outfits that feature my pieces from five to six years ago. I didn’t think to do that before (other than two dress outfits in part one), mostly because I don’t take outfit photos very often anymore. However, reader Sally did a post on her blog about her remaining garments from 2014, and it was helpful to see those pieces as part of ensembles. My photos aren’t as recent (I have dyed hair in many of them!) or as nice as hers, but they show at least some of my 2017 and 2018 pieces on me rather than as a stock photo or flat-lay image.

I’ll also share what my favorite items are from this last grouping of “oldies but goodies,” as well as which other pieces I’m considering passing on.

Items I Still Own from 2017 and 2018

Below are the forty-two items that remain in my closet from 2017 and 2018:

5 to 6 year-old items - all

As with parts one and two, I’m only including clothing and shoes in this essay. I also included purses in the other two posts, but I don’t own any that were purchased either five or six years ago. I know that I probably have quite a few jewelry pieces that I acquired in either 2017 or 2018, but since I didn’t track that information, I’m going to wait and discuss jewelry (and maybe scarves, too) in a separate post or series later this year.

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