Wednesday, April 22, 2015

knowing when to let go

chambray shirt with striped skirt
No, this post will not be about knowing when to let go of a boyfriend, although trust, I could write a whole book about that topic ;) Instead, it's going to be about letting go of a piece of clothing. Not nearly as scandalous to write about it but maybe a bit more applicable to this here style blog.

So I bought this striped skirt two years. It was soon after I found out I got into school, and I was really excited to get out of my lab clothes and into more "fun" clothes (jokes on me now, I miss those jean days!). I found this skirt on a sales rack at Banana Republic, and bought it in preparation for school. Well, school came, and I found myself never reaching for this skirt. I never really thought about why, until I was doing a bit of closet rearranging the other day and tried to make an outfit around it. The biggest issue for me is that it's actually a navy + cream combo, and that means it restricts what I can wear with it. I would much prefer it to be black and white, because it means I could mix and match it with so many more of the tops in my closet. It is also too large on me. But I still like it enough, so I paired it with my favorite chambray top and cognac wedges, and went on with my day. Turns out, chambray goes with just about everything.

So I have this skirt that in theory I should like (hello, stripes) but in reality I don't. The thing is, I would like to own a striped pencil skirt because I could see it being pretty versatile, but I would never go and buy a new one because I already own one, although it's one I don't really wear because it's not what I want. So the issue is - do I keep a skirt that is fine, there's nothing really wrong with it, or do I get rid of it and move on?

I've had a lot of people ask me how to do a closet clean up. Between the time I found out I got into school and before I moved two years ago, I got rid of a lot of clothes in my closet. It was right around the time that I was getting better about figuring out what worked on my body, what I wanted in my closet, and what I didn't, and so I got rid of the clothes I had accumulated over the seven years I lived in Madison. Over the past two years, I have really honed in on my style, and realized that works for my dress code and what doesn't. I've held on to quite a few pieces over the last two years that I bought before I started school because I thought they would work in my current lifestyle, but I realize now that I never ever reach for them. With another move coming up, I've been slowly working my way back through my closet. There's definitely certain items that are easier to let go - ones I haven't touched since moving, or ones that just aren't as nice as they once were. I've either passed them on to friends/family members, sent them in to ThredUp, or donated them. 

The harder pieces are ones that you just don't wear as often although there is nothing really wrong with them. I have a really hard time letting go of those pieces. I paid good money for them, I should make it work somehow! But because I have clothes I like a lot more, I wear those instead, and occasional try to make something work that I'm just not as excited about. So when a closet clean up comes around, and I come across something that I haven't worn in a while, I try to make it work. I tried this skirt with three or four shirts before I found one where the colors worked together, and a belt that kept the skirt from falling off. While I like this particular outfit, I don't think that getting dressed should be such a hassle. I've spent years trying to build a closet with clothes I'm excited to wear, so holding on to something because I paid $20 for it two years ago is not a good enough reason to have it take up a hanger. 

So to wrap up this novella about a striped skirt....I'm selling the skirt. I know that once it is gone, I won't even miss it. And then some day, when I come across a striped skirt that is in the colors that I want, in a size that fits me, I won't feel guilty about buying it. Or I'll never find one I like, and that's okay too. 

What tips do you have for getting rid of those pieces that are fine, but not great? Do you hold on to them in hopes you fall back in love, or get rid of it and move on? 
j.crew keeper shirt

Chambray: J.Crew [exact]
Skirt: Banana Republic
Belt: Gap [very similar]
Shoes: Frye [exact, some sizes on sale]
Watch: Michael Kors [exact currently 25% off]