My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

In my last post, I shared a hypothetical wardrobe capsule consisting of my top fifty-five cool weather items. I did a similar exercise back in August for my summer wardrobe. I chose the number fifty-five in recognition of the milestone birthday that I had reached earlier that month. I find that playing in my closet and doing sartorial “navel-gazing” can uplift my mood, plus I always like to come to new realizations and share them with my readers.

I followed up my August post with a “part two” in which I delved deeper about the collection and highlighted some of my lessons learned from pulling it together. I’m doing a similar thing today with my “not summer” capsule. In this post, I break down my cool weather capsule selections by color and offer some insights related to those designations. I also point out how my capsule choices have shifted since I originally made them last August – and why (I chose both summer and “not summer” collections back then but only blogged about the summer one). In a future post, I’ll outline the gaps that I’ve noticed in my closet and what my targeted shopping priorities are for the remainder of the year (for both the cool and warm seasons).

wardrobe capsule insights

Why Do Hypothetical Capsules?

Before I move on, I want to answer a question that some of you may be thinking: “Why create hypothetical wardrobe capsules if you’re not going to actually restrict yourself to them?” That’s a very good question! While it’s true that we might learn more about ourselves and our wardrobes if we actually take the plunge and dress from a smaller capsule, it’s amazing how much we can learn from just preparing to dress with less. In doing so, we need to take a good, hard look at what’s in our closets, how we spend our time, and what we like to wear. This process often alerts us to what is and isn’t working for us, as well as what we might want to do differently moving forward. It can also be a fun way to identify closet gaps and areas of duplication.

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As I’ve mentioned several times on the blog, I turned fifty-five last August. Shortly after my birthday, I decided to commemorate the occasion with a fun and lighthearted post about my top fifty-five summer closet pieces. I shared photos of all of my chosen items, as well as information about why I selected them for my hypothetical warm weather collection. I followed up that post with a second one in which I analyzed patterns among my capsule pieces and highlighted closet gaps that I discovered through the exercise. I closed out the series with a short list of warm weather shopping priorities to address before summer 2022 (which will be here before we know it!).

I plan to revisit some of the topics from the aforementioned posts in a few months, but I thought it would be interesting to select a cool weather “top fifty-five” collection now since there are still a few more months remaining of lower temperatures where I live (and for many of us). I actually designated items for a “not summer” capsule back in August and intended to share them sometime last fall, but I got sidetracked with other topics. When I revisited those choices a few days ago, I opted to make quite a few swaps. I will explain those changes in part two of this series, which will also address closet gaps and cool weather wardrobe issues identified through doing this exercise.

top 55 winter wardrobe pieces

As with my summer “top fifty-five” essay, I’ll show you the items in my capsule by category and also share a bit of information as to why I made those particular selections. Although I own more cool weather items than what is depicted here (but not nearly as many as I used to have!), the pieces shown represent my favorites, so the capsule should ostensibly work well for me. While my cool weather wardrobe is serving me well for the most part, there’s still room for improvement, which is a big part of what this blog is all about!

When we better understand our wardrobe, our personal style, and our lifestyle and comfort preferences (both physical and emotional), we’re better able to dress in a way that suits our individual needs. The “navel-gazing” and numbers-crunching that I do here is geared toward increasing my own personal awareness, as well as helping you to consider important aspects of your wardrobe and personal style. It’s always my hope that sharing my wardrobe journey will help others to learn and grow – and maybe avoid a few of the pitfalls I’ve experienced along the way. With all that said, let’s check out the capsule!

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Happy February! We’re already one-twelfth of the way through 2022, so it’s high time for me to introduce my word/theme for the year. But before I delve into that topic, I want to first debrief my 2021 theme, “less.” I often do full posts for both the recap and my new word, but this time I’m covering it all in this one single essay. I don’t plan to go too deep on either subject today, but I’ll definitely circle back to both “less” and my new word in the coming months because they dovetail nicely with each other.

I’ve found that my theme for one year often “informs” and leads into the one I select for the following year, which makes good sense. We all continue to evolve and so do the areas of focus in our lives. Most years, my theme choice comes easily for me, as it’s a natural evolution from its predecessor. This year is no different, as you’ll see later on in today’s essay…

Recapping “Less”

So, how did I do with my efforts to cultivate less in the various areas of my life last year? Well, it was pretty much a “mixed bag,” with great success and progress in some respects and stagnation or even backsliding in others. I’ll briefly recap how I did with “less” related to my home, closet, productivity, and mindset.

2021 less theme recap

Win – Reducing Home Possessions

As I mentioned in the post introducing my “less” theme, my husband and I played “The 30-Day Minimalism Game” last January after watching The Minimalists’ new documentary, Less is Now.  We finished off the month having gotten rid of close to a thousand of our household possessions from all areas of our home, and we’ve done well with not accumulating more stuff in the ensuing year. There are still some categories of possessions that could be pared down further, such as books, papers, and mementos (and of course, my wardrobe!), but I don’t think anyone would call our home cluttered at this point.

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We’re now almost a month into the new year, so I’ll soon switch from reflecting back on 2021 to looking at my vision for my wardrobe and my life in 2022. But before I do that, I want to share some of the highlights from My Wardrobe, Myself over the past year. In today’s essay, I look at the most popular posts of 2021, my personal favorites, and a few other pieces of information about the blog that you might find interesting.

best of the blog 2021

I’ve done “best of” posts for most of my years of blogging, although I skipped 2020 because it was a strange and surreal year (to say the least…) and I didn’t end up posting all that often. These yearly compilations help new readers to easily access recent highlights, and they also give longtime readers an opportunity to revisit essays they may have missed or would like to explore again. Of course, you can always view my earlier writings via the Article Archive, or you can browse specific topics through the “Browse by Category” links on the site sidebar.

In case you want to check out my previous “best of” collections, here are the links:

Some General Information and Stats…

Last year was when My Wardrobe, Myself was born, as I shifted the name and focus of the blog in late July. What I was writing about had already migrated back toward wardrobe-related topics, but I decided to formally rebrand to align the blog name and tagline with the subject matter. I’ve been happier with my blogging experience since I rebranded, as it’s now much easier for me to decide what to write about. While I’ll still branch out into other topics from time to time, writing about wardrobe management, shopping, and style are really my “wheelhouse,” and it feels good to stay there.

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In my last two posts, I recapped my best purchases of 2021, starting with my favorite at-home acquisitions and ending with the top pieces I bought for my out-and-about wardrobe. Now it’s time to switch over the other side of the equation, those items that I shouldn’t have bought. Fortunately, I made a lot more good purchases last year than bad ones, so my track record is improving (yay!). It’s actually quite normal to periodically make a shopping misstep, but if we take the time to look at why things didn’t work out, we’re less likely to repeat the same type of error.

learning from bad purchases

A few months ago, I evaluated my biggest shopping mistakes of 2020, most of which are no longer in my closet. In fact, just three of the items reviewed remain, including one that I plan to list for sale shortly (the other two are basically “benchwarmers” that may be purged soon). I haven’t been doing much with online clothing sales recently (my last update on that topic was in March), but I have a stack of items waiting to be listed, most of which were purchased prior to 2021. I’ll do another update about selling my closet castoffs on eBay and Poshmark soon, but now let’s take a look at the pieces I definitely should have passed up or returned last year.

Some Photos and Statistics

Here’s a snapshot of my worst purchases of 2021:

2021 worst purchases

With the exception of the tops at the left and right sides of the bottom row, I still own all of the pieces shown. However, most of them are currently in my “holding zone” box, as I’m not sure whether to keep or purge them. Since they’re all off-season items, I’ll determine their fate after the weather warms up, when I’ll likely pass on a lot of them.

Fortunately, none of my 2021 “bad buys” were all that expensive, but when the costs are combined, it’s still a decent sum of money to have basically wasted. But hopefully the lessons I encapsulate in this post will help me avoid such wasteful expenditures in the future – and also provide some useful tips for you with your shopping.

Before I analyze each of my 2021 mistakes, I want to first do some high-level analysis of these ill-advised purchases.

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