Cooler weather is starting to arrive where I live. Although I suspect we’ll experience at least one more heatwave before it’s all said and done, this week has felt a lot like the fall season bloggers and YouTubers have been writing and talking about for months. When the seasons change, that’s when I usually opt to do a closet audit. I try things on, decide what should stay and what should go, and switch my pieces around so that the current season’s items are more accessible to me.
I recently started this process by going through my “holding zone” box. As I’ve written about previously, this is a large plastic bin that I store in my garage and fill with garments that either don’t currently fit me or that I’m considering letting go of for other reasons. In this latest review, I opted to pass on multiple pieces from my holding zone, and I also purged some additional items from my closet.
In today’s post, I highlight ten pieces that I’ve passed on and share my reasons for purging them. This will actually be the first post of a three-part series. I’m experimenting with doing shorter posts more often to see if that works better for both myself and readers (so let me know what you think). After writing a “marathon post” yesterday and today, I thought it might make more sense to break it down into more “digestible” portions:
- I’ll start with the purged item review in part one
- In part two, I’ll highlight the lessons I learned from these recent castoffs.
- In the final installment, I’ll update you on the state of my holding zone and how I’m managing my wardrobe in light of my size and style shifts.
The style shifts may even be addressed in an additional part of the series if I find that part three is becoming too lengthy. This is all part of my wanting to wrap up the year powerfully and intentionally. We’re now in the fourth quarter of 2022, believe it or not, so I suspect I’ll be doing quite a few yearly wrap-up posts. I will likely also revisit some of the topics I’ve written about previously to provide updates on how things have progressed and evolved.
Purged Item Overview
Although I have purged more than ten items since I did my last closet purge update back in March, I think these types of posts can be more helpful when I don’t cover too many pieces at once. That’s why I’ve opted to limit this review to just ten of my recent castoffs. Below is a look at those ten items, as well as some basic information about them. In the next section, I’ll share my individual reasons for purging each of the ten pieces.
Broken down by item category, here’s what we’re looking at:
- 2 tops
- 1 cardigan
- 4 pairs of pants (2 cropped, 2 full-length)
- 1 skirt
- 2 pairs of shoes
When Items Were Purchased
Next, let’s review when each of the purged items were purchased:
- 2016: 4 items (both sandals, both full-length pants)
- 2018: 1 item (black cropped pants with white side stripes)
- 2019: 1 item (sleeveless floral blouse)
- 2021: 3 items (cardigan, striped tee, black skirt)
- 2022: 1 item (black/white print cropped pants)
Full Price vs. On Sale
Another data point is that half of these purged items were purchased at full price, while the other half were bought on sale, as shown below. However, whether or not the pieces were on sale and how much they cost is not meaningful in all cases. I’ll elaborate more on this issue in the remainder of this post and in part two…
Individual Item Reviews
I’ll now review the purged items one by one and tell you my specific reasons for letting them go. To make it easier for you to follow along, I’ll show a picture of the item that I’m reviewing either directly above or next to my commentary.
Purged Item #1 – Black Marled Open Cardigan
This was a sale purchase that I only wore a few times. I liked this cardigan, but the sleeves were always a bit too short, and the lace stripes on the sleeves made it difficult for me to push them up. I tried to wear this cardigan a few times over the summer, but it never seemed right to me. I felt it looked too large and sloppy. Since I didn’t love it, I felt it wasn’t worth it to take in the sides like I had done with some of my other cardigans following my recent weight loss.
I have “settled” on sleeve length before (too many times), but I’m going to do my best not to do so any longer. Yes, I can always push my sleeves up – and I often do so anyway, but I don’t want to have to do it. In this instance, I should have taken heed of the fact that the sleeves were difficult to push up (I had to push both of the lace stripes above my elbows) and returned the cardigan to the store. I didn’t lose out on all that much money, but any amount of money wasted is too much!
Purge Item #2 – Black Wedge Sandals
These sandals were another sale purchase, from way back in summer 2016. They got a decent amount of wear over the years, but they were never a favorite. Painting the buckles from gold to silver using nail polish (an easy hack, but you need to have a steady hand – I recruited my husband for this task) helped me to want to wear the sandals more often, but I owned several pairs of black sandals that I simply liked more. After not reaching for these sandals at all this summer, I elected to pass them on last month.
Purged Item #3 – Black Button-Front Midi Skirt
I purchased this skirt last fall, again on sale. The only black skirt I owned at the time was a two-layer crinkle maxi-skirt that had been in my closet since 2016 and had been worn frequently each summer. I was tiring of the maxi silhouette, however, and really wanted to find a mid-length black skirt to wear. At the time when I bought this skirt, it was a good idea, but it became ill-fitting and unflattering on me following my weight loss.
I took the skirt to my tailor to be taken in a few months ago, but a new contractor she had hired to help in her shop ruined it. My tailor tried to fix it twice, but it never looked right. I think it was just too much fabric to take in successfully, as it was originally a quite voluminous skirt and I now prefer to have less fabric overall. That plus my change in size resulted in a difficult alteration that was ultimately unsuccessful. This was a case of “throwing good money after bad,” and I wish I would have just passed on the skirt from the get-go or stored it in my holding zone box to revisit next year. I hope someone will end up wanting to wear it…
Purged Item #4 – Black Cropped Pants with White Side Stripe
I bought these pants several years ago because I liked the side stripes. Unfortunately, however, they were not available in tall sizes and have always been too short on me. If they were the cropped length shown on the model, I would have been happier with them, but they were at least two inches shorter than that on me.
I wore the pants multiple times in previous summers, but I always felt they weren’t quite right. This year when I tried them on, they were both too short and much too big. Because they won’t ever get any longer, I decided to pass them on instead of holding on to them for possible future wear.
Purged Items #5 and #6 – Metro Slouch Pants
Both pants were purchased in 2016 and worn a fair number of times during that year and the next year. After I gained weight following menopause, I stored these pants in my holding zone box, hoping to one day wear them again. I was excited to pull them out this year, but I found that I didn’t love how low the rise was and how stiff the fabric seemed. I now prefer more of a mid-to-high rise (but not ultra-high!), as well as a more comfortable and pliable fabric.
I was kind of sad to let these pants go, but they’re an example of how our preferences can change over the years. Even though I could fit into them well again, I no longer wanted to wear that type of style. I wish Athleta would offer more straight-leg silhouettes like these with a higher rise, but the prevailing athleisure styles now are either joggers or wide-legs. This is another example of what I wrote about in my last post about trends. I think it’s great to have new styles to choose from each season/year, but I also wish we’d still be able to purchase alternate styles in addition to the “latest and greatest” (as some of us don’t always like what’s most current).
Purged Item #7 – Black-and-White Print Cropped Pants
What a big mistake these pants were… I bought them earlier this year, but I never wore them even once! They’re an example of something that seemed good in theory, but wasn’t good in practice. I really wanted to find some non-boring pants to wear. So many retailers either don’t offer tall sizing at all or only offer very basic styles in the longer lengths. That’s why I have so many pairs of black pants and standard jeans. So, when I saw this fun print available online – and on sale, I jumped at the chance to buy them.
I wanted to love the pants, but I mostly just loved the idea of them. I fell in love with the vision of myself wearing printed pants with my solid-colored tees and summer sandals. I struggle so much to find “fun pants” that fit me, but I also need to recognize when something just isn’t going to work. These pants were still too short even in the tall length (maybe they were supposed to be that cropped, but I wanted more of an ankle pant), and the fabric was also too stiff, much like the ones I wrote about in the last section.
I kept the pants instead of sending them back, and then I lost weight, which rendered them completely unwearable. I wisely decided not to throw more good money after bad to take them in, so I passed them on. I knew I wouldn’t be excited to wear them even if they fit me well, as I didn’t rush to wear them when they first arrived back in the spring.
Note to self… Consider all aspects of a new or prospective purchase. Don’t fall in love with one or two elements of an item (or of any purchase, job, or person, for that matter!). If you don’t love the whole item on balance, let it go. There will be others, even if it might take a while for them to come along.
Purged Item #8 – Black-and-Cream Stripe Cotton Tee
This tee has been a major disappointment. File it under the category of something that should have worked well for me but didn’t. Anyone who has been reading here for a while knows that I love black, knit tops, and stripes. Check, check, check… Well, I bought this tee before I realized that I prefer for my knit tops to include even just a small percentage of spandex in most instances. The spandex helps them to stay in place and hold their shape.
This top was a hundred percent cotton. Yes, it was organic cotton and it was soft, too. However, it just wouldn’t stay in place well and was “fussy” to wear. This became especially true after I dropped some weight. I didn’t think it was worth taking in or holding on to, as I didn’t love wearing it even when it fit me well. It’s too bad because I thought the different stripe colors on the front and back was a fun design.
Letting go of this tee was a reminder for me to move around in my tees when I’m trying them on in the store or deciding whether to keep or return online purchases. And I need to remember not to fall too much in love with a color or print because a garment needs more than just that for it to work well.
Purged Item #9 – Pewter Flat Sandals
I didn’t realize until I just looked back, but I purchased these sandals way back in 2014. I wore them a decent number of times over the years, but I mostly only paired them with maxi-length dresses and skirts (which I haven’t worn as much in the past few years). I’m not getting rid of these sandals because I don’t like them anymore. I would love to be able to hold on to them, even if I only wear them a handful of times each year. Sadly, however, the bottoms of the shoes started to fall apart even though the top part was still in great condition.
My husband had the exact same problem with an older pair of his Ecco sandals this year. The sole material must just degrade after a certain period. In my husband’s case, his sandals went from looking normal to being almost completely unwearable over the course of one day. Mine degraded a bit more gradually, but I ultimately had to throw them away.
I don’t know if there’s a lesson here, but I think I’ll be more careful when buying sandals with black soles in the future. I don’t even know what the material was, but it got messy in short order. I’m glad I got to wear and enjoy the sandals for eight years, but I wish I would have worn them more often while I had them. Maybe the lesson is to have fewer pairs of shoes overall and to only purchase shoes that I know I’ll wear regularly (special occasion shoes may be an exception here).
Purged Item #10 – Multi-color Sleeveless Blouse
The last item I’m covering today is one that I wished would have worked for me but ultimately did not. I loved the colors of this top and the fact that it was basically two tops in one, as the back had a different colorway and could be switched to be worn in the front. The problem with this top, though, was that I was too tall for it. It hit me in a strange spot such that it looked too short for pants and too long for skirts. It had a nice two-layer hem that added visual interest, but it also added visual width to the area where it ended.
This top was kind of out of my style “wheelhouse” anyway. I saw it on another woman and loved how it looked on her, but I never felt the same way about it on me. I’m just not much into wearing florals, unless they are grounded in black or have an “edgy” look to them (as edgy as florals could look, anyway). This top was always too feminine or “twee” looking for my style. It felt like too much, even if I paired it with simple black pieces. Now that it’s too big for me, I don’t see any reason to hold on to it. It’s not worth altering since it was never a favorite even when it fit me well.
So that’s my review of ten of my recently purged items. In my next post, I’ll be covering some common threads and lessons from the closet castoffs I reviewed above. But now it’s time for you to weigh in…
Below are a few questions to help you gather your thoughts. However, I welcome any feedback you’d like to offer related to the topics addressed in today’s essay.
- How often do you do a “closet audit” (a review of the items in your wardrobe)?
- Do you have a “holding zone”? If so, how often do you go through it and what’s in there? Do you limit the size of your holding zone?
- What have you recently purged from your closet – and why?
Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back next week with part two of this series.