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January 23, 2007

Winter Wardrobe

Growing up I had very little clothes, most of which were hand me downs, thrifted or made. I also had a very peculiar style, mixing strange colours and textures and thinking Laura Ingalls was a fashion model. When I began to travel at 18, everything I owned had to fit into one suitcase so owning a lot of clothes wasn’t important to me (lugging around dozens of books, however, was). This meant I had clothes that I didn’t really love nor knew how to make work because I never really took the time to understand clothing – it wasn’t high on the priority list plus I juts didn’t enjoy the act of shopping.

I don’t like to hunt through racks or go from shop to shop. I know what I like and would often come away disappointed and frustrated – how was that fun? I also didn’t know how to put an outfit together or accessorise. So despite loving fashion, I didn’t participate in it. It was just too much of a hassle and I didn’t want hassle.

It wasn’t until a few years ago I discovered a store that suited my sensibility and had clothes that fit me perfectly. The outfits seemed to be put together which helped me to learn to look a little less crazy but still have my style. Finding this one store has helped me because now I don’t shop anywhere else. I don’t spend my time looking for things to wear or feeling like crap if things don’t fit. I understand how the stores sales work (and I work with them seasonally for the discount – 40%!) so I never have to buy clothes full price. It works.

However, because I now adore clothes and keep falling in love with new ones all the time, it’s become really important for me to really know what I have, what I wear, and what needs to go. I’m still a minimalist girl so if I kept buying clothes I’d get easily overwhelmed if they all stayed with me.

To keep sane I have a method of clothes management. When I purchase something, I go to the stores web site, save the photo of the item and copy the description to a text file. I make a collage every so often of my current wardrobe so at a quick glance, I can see what I have, what to mix, what I’m actually wearing and what I’ve tired of.

When I’ve grown tired of something or just find I’m not wearing it, I then either swap clothes with friends, donate to shelters or, if it’s in great, hardly used condition, I eBay it using the photos and description I saved.

For me, this method has been really, really helpful. I’ve had friends see my images and ask to borrow a dress or tell me to try to mix this top with that skirt. I can see the seasons through my wardrobe, I can see how I’ve been evolving style wise over the years and mostly, I can just see pretty things, which I’m a sucker for. It also helps me plan for trips; just cutting and pasting images around I can easily see what to take instead of having to take everything out of the closet! For my upcoming trip to New York and Copenhagen, I discovered that the following would work quite nicely:

So next time you buy something, try saving the images. Then when you look at your wardrobe you can really analyse if you’re buying things you love or just buying to buy. And if you have things you don’t love – get rid of them. That way you have room for all that you do adore.

(The above pictures were made very easily made using Photoshop’s Automated Contact Sheet function under the “Browse” window. By simply selecting the images I wanted to use and then selecting the “contact sheet” function, Photoshop automatically created the image. What could be easier than that?!)

  • Reply
    jamesNo Gravatar
    January 23, 2007 at 10:51 PM

    Alex, I think this is a really brilliant, practical idea. It’s difficult for me to keep tabs on my closet — the past few years my style has switched around a lot. After the recent breakup of a 3-year relationship, it’s switching again into a more comfortable zone that feels like something I can relax into — something more _me_. I guess another part of it is just reaching a point where I dress for myself and don’t give a hoot what the world thinks, as long as I’m happy!

    Anyway, I plan to return home tonight with a critical but fair eye and weed through my items to see what could go, and what should stay. I think this photographing method will be most helpful.

    On a similar note, I remember reading a post on your flickr site that responded to a woman who mentioned she would never be able to afford all the Anthropologie items you had in your winter wardrobe shot. I have to side with you on that one. I, too, find spectacular bargains there — just last week, I bought a pair of lined shorts for $9.95. I just have to hunt and be patient. I buy almost all my clothes there as well, but I always, always buy them on sale. Thrifty is the way to be!

    Anyway, cheers, and have a good evening. Keep up the good work on Hygge! I find it to be a great source of information and good ideas.

  • Reply
    DanaNo Gravatar
    January 24, 2007 at 7:00 AM

    Hello,
    I have really enjoyed your writings & find your site very peaceful. This is a fantastic idea for a wardrobe. I too buy from the same store. And being a Mom of four I need all the streamlining ideas I can get. Wonderful!

  • Reply
    DanielleNo Gravatar
    January 24, 2007 at 7:26 AM

    This is awesome, and so inspiring! I wish there were more opportunities to purchase online in Australia, but we are yet to break into that market seriously…

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