Coming clean: the closet cull of 2014

You would think I was really into cocaine if you saw the speed with which I cleaned out my closet after my last blog post.  Thanks for your suggestions and dissents.  All were helpful.  I would say 70% of the clothing I'm passing on was vintage/resale shop/thrift stores but I think 70% of what I kept is the same so that isn't indicative of much besides my general shopping habits.  I'm just as likely to not wear new and used clothing I purchase.

The result:
1 bag plus 5 pairs of shoes for resale or swaps
4 bags for the thrift store
5 pieces for the tailor 
(I haven't fully cleaned out my closet in years if that seems like a lot)

I have almost nothing left in my closet and I'm petrified to add anything to my closet because I clearly cannot figure out what I'll actually wear.  The good news is that I unearthed a few things that I do like to wear but which were buried under unwanted button-downs.  This Mary Ink t-shirt dress and cardigan are good examples - and I ended up wearing them together.  Black and white pattern mixing is about as adventurous as I get. I also hate rollercoasters.

I wore this to:  work, attend Brave Gentleman's Fashion Week Pop-Up and go pick up a tiny black kitten rescued by friends from the street so I could bring her to my work's Adoption Center the next day (I fell in love with her but we already have too many cats so I bitterly, sadly and with great melodramatic despair dropped her off at a place I was lucky to get her into - such is the Cat Lady Life) 



^ dress: Mary Ink t-shirt dress (USA-made) ^
bag: org cotton Baggu (monitored labor standards
cardigan: swap

Ignore that my face looks like I'm doing a headshot for a really serious endeavor in this picture below, where I am required to stare into the distance poignantly.  I promise you I didn't do anything dramatic or important this day.  But these clothes did make it through the closet cull successfully and so here they are.

I wore this to:  go to work; hang out with some people


^ top: Beacon's Closet ^
leggings: American Apparel
shoes: Cri de Coeur
necklace: gift from friend 

I'm still mulling over my lessons learned from the vantage point of surveying all the outcasts from my closet at one time.  (Note: I still have to go through a dresser as well so party time is far from over.)  So far this is all I got:

No List:
  1. No button downs or v-necks
  2. No colors except black/gray/navy and possibly cobalt, dark green and dark purple
  3. No shoes with a heel or that are uncomfortable to walk in
  4. Your shoe racks fit 21 pairs of shoes and that is all you're allowed to have
  5. Not all of those 21 shoes can be sneakers
  6. Nothing too girly or juvenile
  7. No peter pan collars
  8. Nothing ill-fitting - get it tailored or get rid of it
  9. No short skirts
  10. No trapeze jackets
  11. No dated business suits - no one wants to see anyone in those, ever
  12. No more crew neck t-shirts (I have some and it's enough)

Yes List:

  1. Black, gray, navy for top and bottom and cobalt, dark green and dark purple for top
  2. Black shoes, black shoes with detail or gray shoes only  
  3. Shoes with rubbery bottoms are the best and I'll wear them to death
  4. Flat shoes with good traction only - no tottering down the subway stairs and missing trains
  5. Boat necks or sweetheart necklines (not low-cut)
  6. Knee-length or midi skirts
  7. Dark dresses with a pattern - whether shift or fitted/semi-full skirt
  8. More longer tops so I can hide the fact I wear jeans to work all the time
  9. Patterns are okay (stripes, florals, geometric, dots) as long as the base is a dark neutral but for the love of god, nothing too twee (no cats, foxes, bicycles, etc)
  10. Having the psychics in the bra department fit you just by glancing in your direction is totally worth it even if they argue with you about cup size (trust them, they are right)


  1. This post is totally making me realize that I need to cull. It's been a while and I've thrifted too much in the past year or two. And I definitely need to update my no/yes list! There are way too many times I think I can pull off a color or a shape, and I do the whole "sure, I can wear beige if I wear lipstick"-thing way too often... and that's after all these years of "educating" myself about what works and what doesn't. Sometimes it just feels like I've learned nothing.

    Anywhoo... good job on the cull, and yay re: the black-and-white prints - they look awesome. And I really want a kitten now... except that's a lie. I've wanted one for months. :)

    1. I also feel like I've learned nothing in all these time. Or maybe the rules change. I don't know. The limited closet has been pretty liberating so far so hopefully I can keep it in that spot. Good luck with a closet clean-out!

  2. Trapeze jackets look so cool on some people, I always forget I can't make them work.

    "No dated business suits - no one wants to see anyone in those, ever"

    YES! Why is it that dated business suits seem so much more pathetic than other dated clothes? There's something depressing about them. Thoughts?

    Shoe questions: how are your dressy dotted black flats working out? I have a hard time finding walking-friendly vegan dress shoes that are fancy for evening events. Either low-heeled OR fancy are easy, but not both together. To be fair, I think it's hard for non-vegans to find elegant, non-matronly flats, too.

    Also, may I ask why you gave away your Melissas (ages ago, kept forgetting to ask)?

    1. I think business suits are supposed to be "power suits" so I think it's extra depressing when people are in an old power suit. It's so deflating and awkward.

      Do you mean the Cri de Coeur lattice shoes? They're not dots but cut-outs if those are the ones you mean. I wear them all the time and they're really comfortable. They are the Max Lace Up Laser Cut if these are the ones:

      Ah, Melissas. I actually still have them in my giveaway box but what happened was this - I have wide feet and I used shoe stretchers on them which would work for a day or so but then they'd sort of retract to their old, narrower size. So it got to the point where they were pinchy if I didn't try to stretch them out on the regular and I just don't have time for that. I have friends who swear by them but they have narrower feet. I think they would have been fine if they fit right but there was no altering the fit in any long term way. I should actually add them to my Housing Works pile now.

    2. Now that I'm thinking about it, I think you meant the Neuaura ones - those are dressier. They are also too narrow for me but I just got new shoe stretchers that might make a difference.

    3. Ah, you nailed it. Suits of Past Power.

      Right, I meant the Neuaura shoes. Hope the stretcher works! I have some too-narrow shoes I've been trying to stretch by wearing the around the house with thick hand-knit socks. Not sure if that works on vegan leathers or not.

      What are your shoe stretchers like?

  3. :) I used to have that cardi. I wore it for a while then passed it along. I like the way you've styled it, but I always looked more preppy in it (was often wearing it with slacks for work) and felt off.

    I love your lists. I'm working on mine. So far, I want to dress like a beach on a hazy day (grey, blue, tan) with pops of black, brown, and soft red (skewing purple or rust). I need bateau neck, scoop neck, or v to make my shoulders seem broader (so, so narrow) and balance my chest. I either benefit from ankle-length skinny pants (sandals or boots) or straight or barely bootcut ones ("real" shoes). Skirts are truly so specific to the length and fit that I have to try them all on. Dresses must hit mid-knee - longer or shorter fail to flatter my legs. I prefer natural materials (wool, silk, cotton, leather) when possible (I'm not vegan, but I do try to find ethically manufactured items when and where possible - truly not an option for the worms with silk, I understand). And I'm trying to buy used when I can or shop companies that either work really well for me and/or have transparent and laudable practices so that I am shopping less, consuming less, and voting with my dollars.

    So ready for another closet clean-out. Feels good, doesn't it?

    1. It does! I haven't done it in so long. I ended up dropping off 5 bags of clothes and some shoes at Housing Works today. (They hold the city contract for clothing donations/textile recycling in the city so I know they have an appropriate sorting process that goes from resale stores to buy the bag bin warehouse to selling in bundles overseas.

  4. Congrats on cleaning out the closet! Man, high heels I can't walk in, peter pan collars and "power suits" are definitely on my no list! I'm so attracted to high heels and then remember my primary mode of transportation is walking so makes no sense at all.

    I used to do a big closet cull twice a year and it always kind of felt like a pain. Now I cull more organically. I have a small hamper in my closet when I try something on whether clothes/shoes/belts/bags if I have bad feelings about it I stick it in the hamper and when the hamper is full I look it over see what I like/don't like need more time on then donate/sell/recycle/ mend appropriately since there's charity shops and a recycle center close to me, it's been way better than dedicating a huge chunk of time every time to cull ya know?


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