Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Wardrobe Meltdown

Going off topic here, beware! Every year during this changing of the season, I go through my closet and dump the summer clothes {into a tote} to make room for the fall and winter stuff. Ahh... my favorite time of year 'cuz I get to dress in layers again. Except life as a middle aged woman makes everything different. Nothing fits or hangs like it used to and I just hate it.
About a third to a half of this never, ever gets worn....
Clothing creeps up over my jellyrolls and scrunches under my arms. The three layers that I gleefully wore for so many years make me feel constricted and so very hot. I don't like my bosoms being on display {all the cute stuff seems to be very low cut these days} and I'm short so I walk a thin line with the tunic styles too. Agghhh!! It almost makes me want to burn everything in my closet. Almost.
Too many jean skirts....
Instead I did some deep thinking. And then, well yeah! there was some shopping required. Not having a lot of money to work with, I started out with a novel approach and went to the Goodwills. It's a mad scramble to find the good brands, but if you're tenacious they are definitely available. It's no wonder woman get traumatized by shopping these days though. In skirts I can wear anything from a 10 to a size 16. If it's a med, large, or x-large I just have to hold it up and guess. And it's really quite exhausting because I'm usually a bit too optimistic and can't even squeeze the thing up past my hips. Which used to make me want to cry. But now I just toss the thing in the corner and sneer at the people who create this sort of chaos in the first place. There's really no choice but to endure, 'cuz I haven't been able to find a dress I like in over ten years. {And I'm obviously not losing weight anytime soon....}
The sizes are just too depressing....
Let's not even talk about the secondhand prices these days. In one store they were over-inflated to the point when they asked me to add a dollar onto my receipt at the time of purchase, I almost snapped their head off 'Don't you think I'm donating enough?'. Like I could seriously find one sale 'red' tag item for half off there. Thankfully I had better luck at the second Goodwill because I really needed my money to stretch for a very long way.

And on with my day it went, always trying to think about things that were NEEDED. Things that would make my closet a happier place. That minimal thing is starting to sound pretty fascinating to me, but I'm not quite ready to purge down to a basic 15 to 30 items. Baby steps people....
Another oatmeal colored sweater to hang in my closet...
Eventually the second hand stores had delivered up their finest goods and so I made my way to the mall. A light bulb went off in my head when I splurged at Marshalls and bought the oatmeal colored sweater than practically made my head spin. I do love the neutrals. See, the fact is, I'm not precisely bored with my wardrobe. I just can't get all the pieces to fit together so that I feel truly comfortable. Out of all the t-shirts pictured below, I probably only wear about 5 on a day by day rotation. Because they are too short or too tight. They scrunch across my chest or dip too low in the front. The cami's don't get worn nearly as often as they used to because I just can't handle that many layers anymore and a lacy cami with a sweater usually feels too dressy for everyday or sometimes, even for a casual Sunday. How sad is that? My closet is a disaster!
Too many uncomfortable t-shirts
So then I was off on a hunt for the perfect underlayer sort of t-shirt. It had to be thin, slightly silky and plenty roomy under my arms without drowning me or pulling across my chest in that weird little dip t-shirts like to do. It needed to be nice enough to wear with sweaters but not so snazzy as to look weird under my button-downs I live in during the week. I finally hit pay dirt at Maurices of all places.
Blue, black and actually a lovely sort of lt. lavender for the new....
You might think I'm a boring sort of person in the way that I dress, but I just don't like to stand out in a crowd. When people approach me and compliment me on my outfit, it makes me happy, but mostly it makes me feel awkward. So I'm working on that and made a very conscious effort to buy a couple things with some nice details or pattern. It helped that the beige, vintage looking tank was on on a tag sale for $2! Oh yeah, much easier to be brave when the price is right. And I do wear brighter colors in the summer. Not sure why that is, but facts are facts.
A couple nicer pieces...
All in all, it was a good day except for the fact that I left the house at 9 am and didn't return until 8:30 pm. I have a good start on figuring out where to go with my wardrobe issues and what to do. It's hard to rethink the wardrobe when really, I'd love to dress like I was 30 and still wore a size 4! Honestly, the first step is getting out a black bag and dumping the nonsense pieces, the things I don't or won't ever wear. So very glad I didn't have to shop for bras, new jeans or shoes too! I've got that mostly figured out and the money {and time} just wasn't there for that anyway.

So how about you? How's your wardrobe feeling these days? hehe I'll get back to quilting soon, promise. There's a Quilt Festival still to check out and a Improv. linky part I was hoping to join up with....

*My new closet has been 'in the works' for two years now. Still no discernible progress there as my husband finds our current closet quite adequate!


  1. I started an all new wardrobe 8 years ago because our house burned down and all I had were the clothes on my back. I picked what I thought would work, but starting in 2009 by some miracle I lost 50 lbs by 2011. How did that happen? Don't know, but it did! Then, it was back to shopping and this time my adult daughter made some suggestions about recent styles and what would look good and who would be a disaster. My teenage granddaughter introduced me to T.J. Maxx and I was able to purchase a gray sweater that I am in love with. It just takes a little time and the willingness to donate or get rid of those things that no longer make us look 'great.' I'm 65, so not the same as I was when 23. I need to accept that and go on. I hope you can find your niche and have something to wear this winter, because it will be here sooner or later. Sending you many blessings. Enjoy your quilts. Joyce B. in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.

  2. Oh I HEAR you loud and clear!! My most used top is plain and black so that I can wear with a colourful scarf! I could wear it all fall and winter...:o))

  3. My favorite T-shirt comes from LL Bean online. It's just white with a bound modest neckline. I buy about 4 each fall and wear them as the under layer all winter long. Then in the summer I can wear them alone if I want to. They don't cling and they don't crawl up. I have a few in other colors but I like the white ones best. Shopping used to be fun. Now it's a chore.

  4. About 3 or 4 years ago I did a serious closet purge, and everything that didn't fit or flatter me went to charity. Over half the stuff in my closet. It was a huge relief! Now when I open the closet door, there is no stress at all, and every choice is a good one.

    Plus, now the other half of the closet holds quilting supplies!

  5. I'm afraid my wardrobe would qualify as boring! When I find pants that fit well, I buy 3 pairs like I did recently. I did add variety by going with dark denim, light denim and brown! LOL same with shirts. I have the same issues with shirts that you do, thanks for making me less alone in that! I am not a shopper so when I recently bought two shirts with patterns on them everyone in my family noticed. At least it was a positive response. I go for comfort and wrinkle free when at all possible. That makes me sound like an 80 year old grump, and I hate that because I'm really fun! You just wouldn't ever be able to tell from my closet. Hahaha

  6. Okay - I'll add - I HATE to shop for clothes!!! So when I started your post, I was smiling and by the end right out laughing!!! I think we all go through that at some point in our life!!
    Hubby calls my clothes - your uniforms - denim shortalls with short sleeve polo shirts on the warm days - jeans, long sleeve Ts and sweaters during the cooler/cold days. Nice jeans for town! BORING clothes, but I'm happy!

    Blessings and hugs!

  7. I'm with you Audrey - I hate shopping for clothes and I am so boring with them - t-shirts of all colors same design, jeans, sweat shirts, sweaters - nothing fancy - I hate shirts that are too tight and jeans too that for matter. I am lucky in that I am 5'7 1/2" and a narrow frame - but the waist line has gotten larger over the years. I don't do fancy at all - in fact if it comes down to having to have a dress, going to a funeral or a wedding it almost sends me in a panic as what I have in the closet in those garments no longer fit - why are they still there? I have no idea. I clean out the closet and drawers once or twice a year and still things are there that I haven't worn in years or still have a grease stain in the front - why do I not toss it - haven't a clue - I need to be harsh with myself - admit I only wear jeans and t-s and stick with it.

  8. You are not far off-topic, still on textile design and Oooh! Pretty ribbon roses! I'm with you all the way regarding The #!%&$$$ Wardrobe!

  9. I just hate how I now look in last fall's clothes--most of which no longer FIT. At 72, I no longer even want to use that four letter word--uh...D I E T!! I like loose mock turtlenecks, and pretty much jeans--stretchy jeans that is--QVC does pretty well for me on those..
    Long v-neck cardigans are my go-to sweaters--and that's about it for me--oh and Big Shirts..... I haven't worn a skirt in years.....I have trouble putting together outfits....somehow I always buy one top I love and it doesn't end up going with anything else I own...and let's not even talk about how hot flashes make you change outfits 2 -3 x/day....hugs from jeans gal Julierose

  10. Oh this was a nerve wracking post! First of all I d get rid of everything I didn t wear or that doesn t fit. I can t stand closet clutter, I like my closets empty so I can put my fabric and quilts in there.
    I don t wear skirts or dresses, so that s big category I can ignore. I don't go to fancy places, so no evening or dress up attire needed.
    In recent years, I limit myself to a few catalogs [online] that I like the clothes and know they fit...LL Bean, J Jill, Land's End.Also Target is good, and has fun scarves etc too. I ll pick up a find at the thrift store now and then. The other place I buy shorts and pants --men's, I m tall / cargo preferred bec I don t carry a purse/---and great t shirts is BJ's which is a NY big box store like Costco.
    Mostly I m just going to the store or walking Mo, or going to the beach, LOL Sadly not a life that needs glamorous clothes.

    I hope you enjoy your new wardrobe! Fun post.

  11. Good luck with progress towards you new wardrobe. I got rid of loads in the last year - anything I hadn't worn for 12 months went. Then I spent quite a long time thinking about what I liked and an even longer time working out how to get that look/feel on a tiny budget. Like you I have gone secondhand (mostly ebay) but am much happier now and having paid so much less means I don't have to keep things for 'best'.

  12. It is hard work indeed! I'd rather spend my money on fabric!

  13. I still haven't changed over my closet. Personally I need to toss out about half of what's in it. I don't know why I keep moving things I don't wear from season to season.

  14. Oh gosh It must be the season change because I also just cleaned out my closet. I'm using Pinterest to get ideas, and last week put together 2 outfits using clothes I already had, but had never been worn together before! I donated a bunch of clothes and kept mostly the neutral pieces.
    I read we wear only 20% of our clothes. That's some serious purging that needs to happen! I like the minimalist look, but not taken quite so literally. If I stick to the basics in neutrals, it's easy to mix and match and find something to wear. Then add a colorful scarf or a piece of jewelry.
    It's really hard to find clothes that fit as we "age". Everything seems to be made for skinny little 20 year olds. Good luck on your wardrobe journey, seems like a hot topic for most of us!

  15. Same issue here! A recent weightloss and birthday prompted a new over 50 approach to my wardrobe. I started with the purge of four XL rubbish bags full, then reevaluated. I always shop thrift and consignment shops with great results. i shop by fiber and color, and can spot real wool yards away..... I'm finding the longer tunics and sweaters look good, but I skip the leggings and find comfy pants.

  16. I recently read Marie Kondo ' s book and purged my wardrobe keeping only the clothes that make me feel good when I wear them. (About a quarter of what was there)

  17. So true and very timely! I spent an entire weekend a few weeks ago cleaning out clothes I no longer wear. I finally let go of all my "skinny" clothes, realizing that not only would they never fit again, but they had gone out of style about 15 years ago. Not that I am stylish in any way. Dressing up for me is wearing a flashy pair of earrings, at least I know they will fit! Thanks for another entertaining post.

  18. You are a girl after my own heart! Boy, can I relate! Seems like I wear the same things and then suddenly realize how worn they look. . Someone told me that when you are changing out your wardrobe each season, you should hang all your clothes backwards over the rod. Then, when after you wear it, hang it the correct way. At the end of the season, all of the clothes still hanging with the hook facing out need to be purged!

  19. I, too, can so relate. I go through my closet by the seasons as well, and since I've become mostly a work-at-home person, I've been able to get rid of a lot. Problem is, I don't have much left and hate to shop. And being super-tall with long arms/legs does NOT make shopping fun, though one might think otherwise. And that middle-age spread thing, ugh... But Goodwill has worked for finding capris in summer (i.e., slightly altering "normal length" pants so that they fit me as capris). I spent the summer, when I wasn't in my jammies working from home, alternating between two--count 'em, two--pairs of capri pants. By the end of summer, one was only worthy of wearing in the garden. I don't know whether to be happy I made it through summer in minimalist fashion or embarrassed. Ha! PS - GAP tees are the bomb, and my daughter has introduced me to the wonder of Burlington Coat Factory.

  20. I hate clothes shopping. I have a chubby front and a flat behind, making finding pants that fit a nightmare. They all assume you have a flat tum and a big booty. I have 2 weeks worth of work clothes, most of which the tops match the bottoms. This summer I swapped pants out for skirts, which was a very pleasant surprise. I haven't worn them in years and they are very comfy and breezy. (ofc finding size that fit was fun) My office hates to use the AC and it was very warm in there, making the skirts even nicer. I rarely go through my closet, as I wear most of what I have. I tend to go through mine and organize based on condition, to see what need repairs, depilling or somehow got covered in pet hair at the laundromat.

  21. All of the reasons that I don't like shopping, lol!

  22. I love your new oatmeal sweater! I have not thought about fashion or what was in style since high school, a very long time ago. I like to think I dress in a timeless classic style! lol

  23. My wardrobe is like Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard: bare. Which is what I'm going to be soon if I don't do something about it, eek! Things have just worn out completely and I haven't had the money to buy anything else. Nothing I have left feels like 'me' at all. In fact I think I hate my clothes. No, I know I do. The thing is I don't know what I do like either. I bought some wool fabric the other day with the idea of making a pinafore style dress. Hmm it's more likely to become a woollen quilt at this rate! And I'm totally with you on the price of clothes in charity shops - well ott, and nothing special!

  24. I have virtually given up on store bought clothes. I now try and make everything. I get a better fit and a better choice of colour.

  25. I agree with your post and all the comments! LOL

  26. This must have been a hard post to write, and I admire that you had the courage to do it. Thank you for sharing what you really are going through.
    I have the opposite problem of many women--in the last year I lost 15 pounds, probably due to stress and changing my diet. So nothing fits me any more. Not only that, but I have held on to clothes for so many years that I never wore and will probably never wear in this lifetime. I liked them when I bought them, but after that the love affair was over. So after I read your post, I threw everything from the closet on my bed and pulled anything that was the wrong size, over 20 years old, hadn't ever been worn, or was completely out of style. Four nice bags found their way to the local thrift shop. And you know, I don't even notice that those things are missing! Thanks for motivating me.

  27. Hi Audrey,
    I just discovered your blog and have really enjoyed reading your posts. I liked this post about weeding out clothing as that is something I really need to do too. I also have discovered Goodwill and especially look for things from Coldwater Creek. It is like a treasure hunt when I find one and the price is always right compared to what it would have cost in their stores. Now, it is even a greater find because they are out of business. I recently found a pretty soft orange jacket for a few bucks from CC and it will be a staple in my fall wardrobe. I also love your quilting posts and makes me want to get back into quilting which I haven't had much time for because of a crazy life. Thanks for all the time you spend writing your posts which it seems like a lot of people enjoy!

  28. I love to read all the off topic post because I feel like we are standing in your kitchen visiting and it makes me a little less homesick. Do post more. And please come visit soon.

    1. Lol You do know that I post about quilting because I don't always want to talk about the other stuff? Can't replay directly to your email because you're a no-reply commentor.:)


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