Clothing???

On Saturday Jane requested for me to write a post based on “Clothing. Buying (and only keeping) clothing for the person /lifestyle I aspire to be verses the person/lifestyle I really am/have.

I am intrigued with this suggestion, especially since she used the word aspire in it. I would always advise clothes shopping to stay within the guidelines of a style the person is comfortable with unless they are ready for a change. And even then I think I would ease myself into that change an outfit at a time. I would think it is a risk to step outside of ones comfort zone too hastily or you could end up with a closet full of clothes you are unlikely to wear. AKA aspirational clutter.

As I have been giving a lot of thought to clothes lately this post is going to be a little self-indulgent because I would like your views on the subject. I am just about to embark on a vacation to the USA where I intend to replenish my worn, tired wardrobe. From experience I know that variety and pricing is usually more appealing over there.

I am hopeful that I will not be forced to choose between outfits that would have me looking like mutton dressed up as lamb, a forty seven year old grandma trying to hide those extra pounds or having to pay through the teeth for something in between those two styles. Which is what I feel are my only choices here and now. I am too old for mini skirts and two young and trim to cover myself up with billowy blouses and high wasted elasticised pants and I detest the latest money grabbing fashion that would have me purchasing five layers of thin knit fabric pieces in order to build one outfit. I have a word for that fashion ~ CLUTTER ~ and clutter is bad enough when it is weighing your house down, I certainly don’t want it weight me down physically or financially. Not to mention the muscles I would probably pull with the contortion act required to get it all those layers on on top of each other.

Now with that off my chest I am going to run by you what I think sounds sensible when it comes to fitting out or culling a wardrobe.

Know and shop for what suits your lifestyle ~ I spend a lot of my time at home, blogging, cooking, cleaning, gardening and the like. I go out for casual coffee dates and sometimes dinner with my girlfriends. I grocery shop and sometime need things at the mall. My husband and I eat out on Saturdays and fine dining is also enjoyed on occasion. We go for rides on our motorbike on weekends and we take long walks as exercise. This is about all I need to cater to when it comes to my wardrobe aside from the odd function for hubby’s work or birthday celebration, wedding etc.

Get the ratio of clothing to activity balanced ~ Since I spend most of my time at home it stands to reason I would have a lot of comfortable casual clothes. For me that isn’t track pants and shapeless T’s. I prefer jeans, capris and a variety of tops. These outfits also cover grocery shopping, my volunteer job at the thrift store and even the walks with my hubby (Hence why mine are so worn and tired). My next most common activity is casual dining with hubby and friends. My nicer jeans and capris cross over into this activity with the better of my tops, plus I have a couple of skirts, three summer dresses and some leggings and two tunics dresses. The last thing to cover is fine dining, weddings, parties etc. I have one little black dress, one, maxi dress, one gorgeous evening gown some good long pants and a couple of dressier tops. Your needs would likely be quite different to mine and if you don’t know what they are it is time you figured it out. Take some time to think about what you do and what you feel comfortable in doing these activities and you will soon come up with a good clothing inventory right for you.

Chose styles and colours that suit your figure and complexion ~ Sometimes is pays to have an honest friend with good taste around to help with this. No matter what size you are you can’t change your shape. I am flat chested, I know this so I don’t wear low plunging necklines as there is nowhere to plunge to. That would look ridiculous on me. I also have red hair so no shade of orange will ever adorn this body. I also have spider vanes on my leg and I am 47 so mini skirts are also out. It pays to know that tight leg pants only accentuate a large bottom. Midriff tops don’t look good when you have belly rolls no matter how young you are.  Basically, just because something is the latest fashion or it looks good on someone else or the mannequin in the store  doesn’t mean it suits all figures, sizes or age groups for that matter.

It is best if you can mix and match ~ I usually keep the bottoms to my outfits neutral in colour, black, beige, white, grey, brown or denim as these colours go with just about any shade and colour of tops. My jackets and cardigans are also mostly neutral so they can be worn with most everything I own. The more that things can mix and match the less items you need. And if certain items are in the dirty clothes basket what’s left in the closet can still go together.

You can’t go wrong with classic cuts ~ It might sound boring but pants and jackets in classic cuts will stand the test of time and stay in fashion for just about ever. Put the emphasis on the petty top/blouse or accessory that goes with it. The little black dress is also a winner. You can dress it up with a splash of colour for fun. I have a red wrap and red strappy shoes for just such occasions.

Shoes need not be numerous ~ I just went and counted my shoes knowing full well I would be embarrassed by the total. I have twenty pairs of shoes.

  • 1 pair motorbike boots (essential)
  • 2 pair black dress boots (one suede one polished leather, both well used favourites)
  • 1 pair outdoor winter boots (these could go haven’t been used in 5 years)
  • 1 pair runners (Rarely worn probably could go)
  • 2 pair of Keens Mary Jane style multi purpose shoes (love, love, love these but they both need replacing as they are pretty shabby and I have almost worn through the bottoms. The will be replace on my US trip)
  • 2 pair casual shoes (well worn but not so loved)
  • 1 pair rubber flip flop (thongs to the Aussies reading)(only worn to fetch the mail on wet days)
  • 1 pair black casual sandals (love, love, love these too. So comfortable would like a brown pair as well)
  • 1 pair of slippers (used extensively in winter)
  • 4 pair of favourite sensible high heals (black, tan, brown and red)
  • 4 assorted pairs of other high heals that I could live without. (Mostly uncomfortable therefore passed over for others. Probably time I let these go)

As you can see from this list I could easily manage with half these shoes and pretty much do because half of them are rarely used. Mostly mistakes of the past when I was willing to sacrifice style of comfort. Of my shoes I use the comfortable, versatile, basic styles the most. Most of which are black, brown or tan. I find these colours go with just about everything. The red pair are my indulgent splash of colour and will stay.

My advice is stick to your comfort zone when it comes to shoes because they are the ones that will get used the most. Take into account the clothes you have to wear them with and stay as neutral in colour as possible. Why not lash out on that one crazy pair just to keep it interesting.

Splurge a little on impractical items ~ 90% practicality with 10% indulgence sound sensible ~ keeping in mind that practicality doesn’t have to be drab and boring.

Having written all that I have confirmed my clothing shopping list. I need…

  • A few new tops/blouses that make me feel good. Preferably not of T-shirt fabric.
  • 2 new pair of Keen shoes
  • 2 basic white T’s (not shapeless ones) to wear when riding the motorbike.
  • 2 new pair of jeans as my everyday pairs are 9 years old and seen better days.
  • Maybe one or two sweaters as I actually have none.
  • And I may indulge in that pair of brown sandals if and only if I find a pair comparable to the black pair I own.
  • Maybe one more evening dress as my husband must be getting tired of the one black dress I have worn for the last six years.

I have been watching out for most of the clothing items listed about in both the thrift store and the shops for the last year with no joy so hopefully I will have some success in the US. If not I will settle with what I have for now as I am not settling for second best unless I get really desperate.

What do you think? Am I on the right track? And Jane if I still didn’t manage to answer your question please elaborate more in the comment here and we will see if I or the other readers can help.

Today’s Declutter Item

Here are one of those pairs of uncomfortable shoes mentioned above. In keeping with this post and today’s mini mission they will be the first of many to go I am sure. I hope to be more discerning in the future. I prefer to wear out my shoes rather than waste money on bad choice.

One pair of uncomfortable shoes gone

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Dark chocolate and orange Maggie Bear icecream. I am now going to have a bowl to reward myself for finally finishing this blog post. Then I had better come back and proof read it with a clearer mind.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Non-Emergency Supplies These two comments, from Sanna and Ideealistin, kicked of the responses to yesterdays Mini Mission post.  They make a great point about how we don't need to be cluttering up our homes with […]
  • The hurricane method of decluttering. Part 1 The hurricane method of decluttering, as Moni dubbed it, is when one rips through the house decluttering a vast amount of stuff all at once. A person's hand is often forced into this […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. You’re so right. It’s all about knowing what you’ll actually wear before buying.
    I rarely wear trousers. And I prefer dresses over skirts as well. So there is no need for masses of tops in my wardrobe as well. I wear tops+bottoms only about once or twice a week, the rest of the time it’s dresses.

    I’m still struggling with the shoes though. I know, I don’t need three pairs of sneakers, but I don’t know whether I should get rid of one pair or whether I’ll just keep them for now until one really wears out.
    (I just own 12 pairs of shoes though)

    • Hi Sanna – I taking your advice on 333 and am going to give it a go.

      RE: sneakers. keep them, just store them out of your wardrobe for now.

    • I am a fan of natural progression decluttering if I know I am going to use something up or wear it out soon enough. If you use the sneakers often enough that in twelve months time you will be down to one pair I would be inclined to keep them. If however you are likely to still have three pair in 4 years time perhaps the number is just too many.

      • That seems sensible to me. I’ll think about it. Thank you.

      • I just found that my sandals cracked. 🙁 I’ll check, if I can get them repaired.
        I really love them – I wore them every single summer’s day for the last three years.

        • Glad you mentioned that Sanna. I have a pair of brown high heals that need a small repair. I even got a far as to take and extra pair of shoes to the mall with me the last time I went but still forgot to drop the ones off I wanted repaired. Perhaps I will try to do that tomorrow when I meet my friend for coffee. I’ll put them in a bag now so I don’t forget.

          • At the end of last year my friend turned up with discount vouchers from the cobbler to have boots readied for next Winter. As I’d only just come out of wearing them a month earlier I was more interested in finding Summer shoes, but I got the “trust me, you can thank me later” message, and off we toddled with our winter boots. A couple of days later we picked them up, all shined up, freshened, new heel cap thingees on my high heel pair, and my flats needed new grip, very nice etc

            We had torrential rain here a week ago and I got down my boots from the top of the cupboard, and it was sooooo lovely that they were ready to go. I think I will do it again this year too. My boots always spend the first month of Winter looking bleh! as they go into active duty at the drop of the hat (or rather the drop of the rain) and so I’m convinced. Must remember to thank my friend.

  2. It’s a good thing you will be here in our spring so that the clothing on offer will be more suitable to your Aussie climate. I think the best way to go is find a store that carries things that suit you and do most or all of your shopping there. They tend to have one product line with coordinating outfits and colors. If you had a favorite when you lived in Seattle, I’d go right back there. (That said, I am now a t-shirt and sweats person with a specialized outdoor wardrobe from the Canadian equivalent of REI).

    • Hi Wendy B,
      the best part about shopping in the US is that this season’s clothes for Australia will be the ones drastically reduced as end of season items over there. Plus all the new season clothes will be out so I can pick up the latest items that I would normally wear all year round in our, not so cold, climate. And REI is one place I will be looking. I bought a jacket there just before I left Seattle that is brilliant. Its outer shell cuts the wind while the inside is slightly fleecy for cool days but it is light and easy to carry. I love it. That is the sort of clothes I want, ones that I can “I love it” about.

  3. Colleen, I loved your mutton dressed as lamb comment. That saying always makes me smile, especially now that I’m “mutton age” myself. I recently read a book that I’d recommend called What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life: Ageless Secrets of Style by Kim Johnson Gross. After reading it, I got rid of a lot of clothes that still fit but no longer flattered me.

    Have fun visiting the U.S. Not sure how long it’s been since you lived there, but we have an overabundance of inexpensive clothing. Unfortunately, much of it is also poorly made. That would help explain why so many of us have lots of clothes but nothing to wear.

    • Hi Anita,
      nothing wrong with mutton, it is tastier than lamb just a bit tougher thats all. 😉 I will see if that book is available at my library right now. It sounds like just what I need to read.

      I moved back to Australia almost 5 years ago. Don’t be fooled by the price labels on clothes. Some expensive stuff isn’t worth the money either. With some you are really only paying for the label. Lucky for me my mother was a private dressmaker so I know good workmanship, good fabrics and good cuts. God I love my parents for teaching me the stuff I know. Yesterday I replaced the brake light bulb in my car thanks to Dad raising us girls the same as the boys.

      • Cheering for your dad here – my dad can’t do that (so hasn’t taught me!)

        • I had parents like yours Colleen. I was blessed. Dad taught me all sorts of things about cars, keeping things going in a home, and all sorts of things like that. Mom taught me about clothes and food and keeping house. The one thing I didn’t pick up from them is their packrat tendencies. 😉

      • I can cook because of my dad. I think thats the only ability I got directly from my parents. I never learned anything else. But my parents did a great job by giving me the confidence to just try out things.
        I know for a fact that I am no good at a sewing machine (little things are not suitable for my fingers and my patience), but I managed to floor my apartment, wooden work in general is cool. I know how to paint quickly and efficiently, I know how to fix things on cars, bikes, toys, etc. all because I am happy to try things, and I am not afraid of dirt and heavy items. and because I am good at learning by myself (and I know where to research for information) I can easily start new things once in a while.

        • Love it Lena, it sounds like you and me have more in common than just decluttering. I was always a bit of a tomboy and proud to be so. If only it had occurred to me, way back when, to choose a “male” career such as auto mechanic or something I think I would have been happier doing that sort of thing. And maybe at 47 I wouldn’t still be wondering what I want to be when I grow up. 😕

  4. I love the brand Untouched world, from New Zealand. They are a bit expensive, but one of the chicest eco labels I know. I have two capri pants and one long sleeve tee from them and they are really great, basic high quality pieces that can double as sports wear. I’m so annoyed that I have to pay taxes if I order from them :/

    What I really love are comfortable clothes that are easy to move in, sporty but not sport clothes. Absolutely everything has to be machine washable. Most of my clothes are jersey -linen, wool, bamboo. I do have a few nice tops in linen fabric, with some embroidery. A little black dress (also jersey) and a long red dress -bamboo jersey-.. actually just bought this recently at a sale because I have two weddings to go to and no dress to wear. It’s casual enough to wear for many different things, but with heels and a piece of jewelry or something, it will be dressy enough for a wedding. So even my “fancy” clothes do double duty as everyday wear 😉

    I also stay at home a lot and none of the things I do outside home require more than a pair of jeans and a blouse, or leggings and a tunic / dress.

    • Where do you buy Untouched from? I live in Bay of Plenty but visiting Auckland for a week in April.

    • Hi Cat’s Meow,
      I will have to check out Untouched World. Mind you I am quite a tactile person so buying clothes without feeling them first doesn’t work well for me.

      My little black dress is jersey too. Quick wash no iron, gotta love that. I like the sound of your versatile red dress. I am not a lover of bamboo though, I find it takes too long to dry which is a problem when we travel. I had bamboo underpants and my husband bamboo socks on out last trip and while everything else dried in the tumble dryer but these items never did.

  5. Hi Colleen, Excellent post, as usual! I think for your lifestyle you’ve got your wardrobe perfectly worked out. It’s like mine, mostly casual. I also like your idea of keeping most of the basics neutral so that they will match pretty much everything else. I don’t think that you have an overabundance of anything really. Like you said, it’s knowing your lifestyle and what works for you so that you don’t end up with clutter. P.S. I googled your ice cream, its sounds yummy. They also have carmel with sea salt, have you tried that? I know that ones good, I know it too well!

    • Thanks you Jennifer L, now if only the shops would stock something I like. 😆
      One of the best Maggie Beer ice creams is the Burnt Fig, Honeycomb and Caramel Ice Cream, oh yum. I haven’t see the caramel and sea salt in the store where I shop yet.

  6. I had ridiculous amounts of clothing some years ago but have paired down significantly. I am at the present moment in your same situation, my wardrobe is tired and uninspired. I know it is going to take time to rebuild it and for the first time ever, I am just not in the mood to clothes shop, mainly because I just don’t seem to like anything presently at the shops. I do have 2 or 3 stores I like where the clothes are well made and fit me fairly well so I will concentrate on those.
    One thing I am doing differently is I am slowly phasing out the brown neutrals in my wardrobe and concentrating on a black as neutral wardrobe. That is, I want everything to coordinate with black. I know wearing so much black may seem boring. I did try to incorporate other colors but the reality is that I like wearing black so I am embracing it.
    The main reason for me to phase out brown and sticking to black as basic foundation color is that I can streamline what I think of as main accessories: shoes and purses. I feel it will also give me more options to mix and match what I have versus having two separate groups of mix and match.

    • Hi Veronica – I’m like you I’ve pared down my wardrobe to about a quarter of what it used to be and could easily eliminate a lot more.

      Further down I have written about how Sanna and Lena have encouraged me to take up the Project 333 Challenge – if you are trying to start over with your wardrobe, how about giving that a go?

    • This is exactly what I did recently. I culled out of my wardrobe anything that was brown in favor of black as my “core color”. So much easier to mix ‘n match with black as my base color. Plus I looked crummy in brown. It never suited my hair color (ironically enough – dark brown) or skin tone or even my personality.
      I sold off or donated all my brown shoes (which rarely got worn if ever) & any dress, top, skirt, coat, etc that was brown or even remotely veered into the brown category.
      That alone culled my wardrobe drastically & made me feel tons better as the brown stuff in my wardrobe always bummed me out.
      Now I have only black dress shoes & any other shoes I have will easily coordinate with black no problem.
      I did the same with orange. While I didn’t have a lot of orange items – I had enough that I never wore them & thus they contributed to closet clutter.
      Glad I’m not the only one to give up the browns!

    • Hi Veronica,
      I see what you mean about phasing out brown. If the basis of your wardrobe is black then you would only need a few pair of shoes to begin with. Perhaps 1 boot 1 sandal 1 flat and 1 high heal. Too easy, I will have to consider that.

    • I’m phasing out black for the same reasons. 😉

      • Moni:
        I might look into doing that. Maybe I can keep it in mind when buying new pieces. I will get back with you!
        Jane:
        Glad there is someone else doing the same. I personally have an easier time matching things to black so it was just easier as well. I have colors in there still, but they are just used for pop. Everyone has always given me so much grief about wearing only black but so what, I like it!
        Colleen:
        I don’t want to mislead, I do have more than 20 pair of shoes, and while I am getting rid of a lot of them (they are used up!), I imagine that when replaced there will still be around 25 or so. However, considering that I started with 60+, I think I am doing pretty good. I used to live in this home by myself and had 3 dressers full, the master closet full, the guest room closet full, and even the hall closet full (in FL we dont really store coats there). Now that my husband is moved in I only have half the master closet, the large dresser, and the hall closet with dressy dresses and dance costumes. Slow progress but progress just the same 🙂
        Sanna:
        Glad the same concept is working for you 🙂

  7. Oh my! This is a big issue for me. I HATE shopping for clothes. For one thing I am obese, short, and moneyless. I have one pair of jeans that I wear to church and to anything where I have to “dress up”, one pair of jeans capri’s for going out during the day, and two pair of jeans shorts for around the house. I had more but I have lost weight and had to give them away. I just put my long sleeved “winter” blouses to the center of my closet (the storage area) because I can only wear them for a couple of months. I have three nice blouses for church, two T’s for out and about and two sleeveless T’s for around the house. I have a jacket I haven’t worn but a couple of times and a sweater I can only wear with one blouse in the winter. I have 2 pair of lightweight “sweats” but they are too heavy for most of the time. I think I am going to give them away. I basically wear shorts around the house most days. They don’t bother my knees which are very painful and It’s only my arms that get chilly. Oh, I have 2 pair of shoes. Both are orthopaedic shoes–runners and black laceups. Boring. I do have one dress that is new. It is a tiered style and is more for being out in the heat but could work for church. I need to get some more clothes but I have to buy them because the clothes in the thrift stores have been washed or cleaned in some product that stinks to the max and I can’t get it out. I’ve tried everything listed on the internet and none of it works. So I have to buy what I wear on sale when I can find something that works. Since I can’t walk much and getting my scooter in and out takes too much from me, I put it off until I have to go somewhere anyway. I had someone recently tell me I needed to buy more feminine cloths because most of that I have is like a T only in nice fabric. I wanted to tell them to give me the money. Anyway, I have slim pickings and it’s all very low key. I have a couple of really nice, colorful items but not many. I love color too. I think we all have a problem with clothes. It’s hard to get the clothes out there today to fit our non-skinny bodies and look nice.

    • Hi Deb J,
      you certainly do have some difficulties facing you when it comes to clothes shopping. Makes me feel like a real sookie la la with my petty issues.

      • Your issues are not petty just different. I think we all have those irritating things that have to do with clothes. No body is perfect and that means learning what will work and what won’t. One thing that really frustrates me is when you finally find a label that works and you do really well with that for a few years and then they decided to chang it. Oh well! That’s the way the cookie crumbles as they say.

  8. Oh I love the ‘shoe’ thread on unclutterer, keeps me thinking over my shoes, and making sure I have what works. Got rid of so many prompted by other people’s lists!!

    And I can totally empathise with your t shirt material point. So many ‘basic’ t shirts are dressed up with embellishments that I might love but I know a few washes will see the top misshapen, and looking, well like a T shirt!! So I stick to tunic tops (which I have to iron, but then I feel far ‘nicer’ on errands than otherwise).

    From the ‘less is more’ standpoint, so pleased to wear a uniform 4-5days a week. I mean, i look like a man, but it really has helped me rationalise the closet I had (as a uni student I had lots of clothes!)

  9. I do like clothes though I’m pretty middle of the field when it comes to style. I got pushed out of lower price stores like Glassons, Valley Girls and Jay Jays as my daughters grew into that size range. So I know what you mean about trying to find something that isn’t too youthful but not nana-ish either.

    The last year the fashion has been a rehash of what I wore as a teenager, so I just can’t bring myself to wear those……again.

    I prefer to window shop thru the store’s websites these days, saves me a lot of time and saves me from temptation. Only if I see something I REALLY like do I go and try on and then its down to a 50-50 chance.

    • Good strategy moni. I might have to take a quick peak at the JC Penny web site to see whats in style in the US. A little forward planning never hurts. Oooo check this out how cute and it was the first thing I saw. I have been looking for dresses like this for a year here and could barely find anything. God bless America.

      • lol Colleen – First time I ever heard that particular phrase used with regard to clothing selection!!

      • Colleen, You could even do the transaction, have it delivered to your accommodation awaiting your arrival, try on, keep or return!

  10. 🙂 Last year for a thing at school my daughter’s class had to write the best advice their mother had given her/him.

    The teacher was most amused at Dayna’s:
    Merino is God’s Gift to Women
    And wear Lee Ryders jeans.

    So much for “follow your heart” and “dream big” and “spend less than you earn”.

    I assume other countries have Merino wool ? Its very warm but light weight and can be woven into fabric. Its quite fashionable here as you don’t have to wear bulky tops in the winter.

    • Australian know all about Merino wool, the country was built on it at one point. My problem is I can’t wear wool or even cashmere, it makes me itch.

      • I love the feel of Merino wool but can’t wear it. Like you it makes me itch — and break out.

        • We must have magic Merino here or maybe they mix it with something cause ours feels slightly coarser than lambs wool. Mind you over here we tend to layer so right thru winter so probably we have that extra layer between us and the wool, even if it is a strappy top underneath.

  11. Hi 365’ers – Sanna and Lena have given me encouragement to take up the Project 333 Challenge. I’m not going to start until 1 April so I’ve got time to get organised. I’ve decided not to include accessories in my 33 items and Sanna suggested I try 1 month the first time instead of 3 months as a nervous first timer – so its going to be more of a Project Almost 331 🙂

    I’m guessing I need to pick my classics and black will probably make up a fair bit. I do love colours so it will be a matter of picking which will work best to make it a mix and match wardrobe.

    Anyone else out there keen to give it a go?

    • I’m in. It has become spring over here, so I think April 1st will be a good date to pack away the winter coat.

    • Good luck Moni, I hope you succeed. It will be a great learning experience either way.

    • I do believe I have been doing this for the last two years as I tend to live in jeans and t’s but Hell Yeah bring it on girl. I will post my list on the 30th March (that’s my Birthday and it seems like a good place to start hahahaha) Do I do it for 1 month as well or 3? We are in Autumn at the moment so I had better find a couple of jumpers!!

      I’m in Moni, I just told my hubby and he said he’ll replace for me anything that gets crapped out clothes or shoes!

      Check out Be More With Less and it will give you a full rundown on how to prepare for it. Funnily enough Courtney’s site was how I ended up at 365.

      • oh, that challege sounds like fun! I’ve been trying to cull my wardrobe for ages now, and allthough I have greatly reduced it I would love to get to the stage where I have only the things I love and that do look good on me. I’ll be doing it for 2 moths though as in the four season climate I live in I will need to change with the seasons, and spring started beginning of march here. Plus I will probably be up a dress size by june :)))

        • Hunter_xs ~ You are game taking on this challenge when your body will be changing so much. But it will help avoid any temptation to acquire too many maternity clothes. Good luck!

      • Hi Dizzy knew I could count on you! I committed to one month, but I think it will stretch into the three. I’m going to allow myself an amnesty day on Day 30 to swap out something from the stored items but only if I have a good reason.

        And I’m not including accessories in my 33, as I will use this exercise as the opportunity to see what I do and don’t use, and to use creativeness with accessories to disguise my limited wardrobe. I’m actually getting quite excited about it!

        Thanks for the Be More With Less – as I am in the middle garage decluttering, I haven’t allowed myself much time to prepare plus my daughter flies out to Oz next week so its all go-go-go around here!

        My husband thinks its a great idea too – though he is puzzled why we bought a house with a walk in wardrobe now.

        • You’re walk in robe will be used for swinging cats in the future hahaha.

          I think your hubby is my hubby’s brother he said the same damn thing last night!

          According to the 333 you can still wear your jewellery that is staple wedding rings etc and anything that is on you all the time and not count them in your total. I really only wear 2 pieces of accessory so I have them ready to go! I have started getting my gear ready and I actually think I don’t have enough for 33 items woo hoo (just realised I must look the same day in day out to everyone that sees me 🙁 🙁

    • I’ve considered this once but then got to thinking that it’s a bit too much work than I’m willing to invest plus it drags out the inevitable – you don’t need or even want much of what you already have in your wardrobe.

      Late last year just time in time to list on Ebay for the holiday rush, I ruthlessly culled my wardrobe down substantially & have literally only kept what I am physically able to fit into (not stuff I hope to fit should I become a size 2 again) & clothing I’m actually willing to wear. I do have 4 or 5 things I’m not quite ready to part with – but at least they do fit & I have worn them.

      So for me instead of getting into the Project 333 & having to store away clothing in the interim, I took a more direct approach & simply culled my wardrobe to a more realistic level. Things I can fit in. Things I actually wear (even if only for special occasions). Things that fit my actual lifestyle & not some inflated aspirational lifestyle I once imagined.

      That last category accounted for quite a bit of the wardrobe that I sold on eBay (or donated) over the past year or so. I literally culled out 2/3’s of my wardrobe with such a ruthlessness that I started to doubt I would know when to say when!

      But now I’m left with a wardrobe that I am willing to wear (aside from the 4 or 5 odd items I’m still on the fence about) & my closet is no longer packed full of “nothing to wear” or “nothing I’m willing to wear”.

      I think the Project 333 is an educational aid to help folks realize they don’t need or even want much of their current wardrobe – at least that was my take on the project. But for me, I just opted to cut to the chase & purge with ruthless ninja skills.

      I quickly got past the “but I paid $$$$ for that top” and the “but I used to love that sweater 15 years ago” and the “but I might wear it again if I lose 2 more dress sizes” and the “but I’ll keep that should we decide to paint our house again”.

      I think if folks get past the “but I might” & the “but I paid” phase & be honest & realistic, it takes no time at all to get to the finish line if you will.

      Do I regret getting rid of so much stuff? Not a bit. Can’t hardly remember what most of that stuff was now had I not keep a log of what I sold or donated. If anything, I am appalled at how much money I wasted on aspirational and/or cheap disposable seasonal clothing.

      I sure the heck impressed my husband when I culled out my wardrobe too!
      (Colleen, sorry for such a looong comment by the way)

      • I think you hit the nail on the head about delaying the inevitable, but I also think Project333 can be used to figure out your minimum “comfort level” of variety and figure out what kinds of clothes you actually wear. I too cut to the chase and donated and sold a large portion of my wardrobe prior to doing the challenge. However, doing the challenge really highlighted what pieces I value and what styles I actually didn’t like but thought I did (ex: dresses in fall and winter – I simply don’t like tights no matter how warm and flattering they might be). It’s also thrown into stark relief the value of buying quality clothing. So it does have value, albeit something different for everyone, beyond the recognition that you can do with less clothing options.

        It’s also been helpful in making decisions about clothing I had been on the fence about. When I pulled them out after a round and dreaded the thought of having to wear them – out they went. And yet if they had been in the closet I would have worn them because I lacked options.

        • “I simply don’t like tights no matter how warm and flattering they might be”
          LOL, funny you mention that as I have a small stack of unworn still in the packaging tights I’m giving away to a tight-loving friend. I love the idea of tights right up to the point that I find myself cramming into a pair.

          • Jane: “I love the idea of tights right up to the point that I find myself cramming into a pair.”

            This is hilarious – and exactly how I feel! My tights (and other hose) went out the door a couple of years ago!

            • I still wear my tights but stockings/hose, I am not going there, no way.

              • Haha, I actually don’t mind stockings/hose! Aren’t we lucky to live in a time with so many ‘fashionable’ options? Imagine if you lived in the 40s (stockings required) or I lived sometime when tights were required (all I could think of was a perpetual dance class, but who lives in a dance studio?)

          • Jane ~ I find that tights often cause the tunic I wear over the top to ride up and I am forever having to tug it down. And they do feel rather awful if the start to hang down in the crotch as well.

          • lol – abolutely true.

        • For me, it also helped just to recognize how much is enough and to recognize the benefits of having less.

          I think, when I took up project 333, I had 20-30 t-shirts in my wardrobe. I wore them all. But I ended up not wanting to do the laundry and just heap up piles of “things to wash”, “things to iron” or “things to put back in the dresser”.
          I chose about 7 t-shirts along with 5 bottoms for the challenge (and a few dresses, jacket etc.) and suddenly, I didn’t have laundry piling up. When I realized that there was just one or two bottoms left, I didn’t put off washing any longer but just did it. Thus, I ended up not even wearing two of the t-shirts at all during the time, as I got used to snatch a top straight from the drying rack… I just found that owning (or using) less helped me stay on track with laundry and helped to make life more simple.

          A similar eye-opener was that I only had one handbag at that time. I never had to search any other bag, when I couldn’t find my keys or whatsoever.

          Project 333 for me was a further step in simplifying and learning the benefits of simplicity by living it.

          I think there are a lot of things you use regularly of which you might have a little excess, but you think to yourself “well, never mind, it’s not really bothering me and over time, it will declutter itself”. Clothes is one of these things for me (dishes and craft or office supplies are similar). When I packed away the excess and really gave it a try to live only with what I needed, I found out that the excess WAS bothering me and DID complicate my life, in spite of what I thought before.

          • Sanna you always say the right thing I need hear! Just this morning my daughter pointed out that I do laundry every day, and what has been washed, dried, folded is then put on top in drawers and so that is what everyone grabs to wear the next time.

          • I had the same experience. instead of chosing from the pile which stuff you really want to have washed now, the laundry is done quickly and easily and not more than one load per week. super easy. I will never again own many clothes. this is absolutely freeing.

      • Hi Jane – you’re waaaay ahead of the rest of us.

        My wardrobe is a quarter of what it used to be pre-decluttering, and I plan to get rid of more rather than store in preperation for the 333. Some I will store ie summer clothes as we’re in Autumn here and I won’t need them again until December. This is about me re-educating myself in an area that I have put no parameters on since my teens. Its also about learning to think smarter and to use a bit of imagination!

      • I did the same thing over and over culling ruthlessly each time, I leterally had hundreds of items when I worked full time and was expected to wear really nice outfits, I also had a clothing allowance and I think that caused my excess to start and fed it relentlessly. I’m so glad that I ninja’ed my way through it all, clothing and shoes are a killer 🙂 but I’m proud I have slayed the beast. I think I’m gonna struggle to have 33 items hahaha.

        • Hi Dizzy – I thought I’d picked my 33. And then I remembered I had a weeks worth of folding to do sitting on the sofa…….. I’ll start again!

  12. I have “followed” a lot of fashion bloggers over the years & still do with a few that I’ve gotten to know or just like their reviews, but there was a time when I would see a fashion blogger in something I adored & I would quick hurry order that item online. More often than not, the particular item didn’t do me any favors & looked tons better on the fashion blogger. That pretty much describes any & all clothing items from Anthropologie. On me, most Anthro stuff looks like I’m trying to pretend I don’t look kitschy ridiculous. But, having said that – I still like to see how other folks manage to make those clothes “work”.

    Same with J.Crew. I have many items from J.Crew but yet I haven’t bought much from them in the longest time as I think quality has gone south yet prices have gone north. But still, I live vicariously through the J.Crew fashion bloggers.
    My lifestyle is such that I have always had to wear scrubs to work & then casual clothing for non-work time.

    I don’t attend luncheons with the ladies who lunch. I’m a drive-thru kinda gal for lunch out.
    The husband & I rarely attend formal affairs/soirees. Instead, we attend backyard beer & burger burns.

    I go to the grocery stores. I go to the pet store. I go walking daily. We go to Lowes (home improvement store). We go to the gardening place. We go to the little neighborhood pub. Then, we go to the Florida Keys for vacation.
    That pretty much rounds it out. All of it quite casual & quite regular stuff.

    Yet, I’m always intrigued by fashion bloggers who are SAHM’s & even the regular folks who work in a cubical farm or from home & yet dress to the nines. Where in the hell do these folks grocery shop at? ‘Cause every time I go to my local grocery store – pretty much everyone looks rather regular like me.

    • Great comment Jane, I agree to a large extent!

    • Different stokes for different folks I suppose. Personally I can’t be bothered getting all tizzied up for everyday living. And my vanity only stretches so far.

      • I kinda feel the same, my girlfriend spends hours in front of the mirror getting the natural look, I slap on my makeup (had years of practice doing it fast) step into my great jeans and singlet, wazz through my hair (finger comb cos it’s short) head out the door feeling like a million bucks and wait and wait to be picked up by said girlfriend who is probably still trying to get her mush natural!! Hahahaha love her to bits but her hubby calls her high maintenance and remarks she looks no different to me after 3 hours :):):) God I love him to bits as well hahaha!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thank goodness for great friends that can take a ribbing!

  13. I read somewhere that the average woman has 20 pr of shoes. So you are right on track there. I would like to recommend Zappo’s (zappos.com) for the Keens and sandals. No, I don’t work for them; I’m just a very satisfied customer. I have really big feet and only get shoes at Zappo’s online store because I can search by size and get a whole bunch of choices. At a store I have 0-3 choices. Zappos always has more choices than any store could have, I believe.
    You can look at ALL the Keens they have, and they have many, pick what you want, have it sent to you for free, then return it for free too. I tend to buy several pairs, try them on, and buy one pair, sending the rest back. You have 365 days to return the shoes.

    • Are Zappos in America? And do they suit broad feet too? Reason I ask is that my daughter struggles to find shoes and has joked that she needs to find an online shoe store for cross-dressers if she wants to find something pretty.

      • Yes, wide feet are well covered with Zappos’ selection. Zappos is located in the U.S. I went to the site to see about international orders, and only found that their pre-paid return labels must be shipped from the U.S. Nothing about sales only taking place within the U.S. Here is some info to contact Zappos and find out about international shipping and returns:

        Have questions? Prefer to order by Phone or Fax? The Zappos Customer Loyalty Team (ZCLT) is happy to help!
        Call ZCLT 24 hours a day – 365 days a year:

        1-800-927-7671 or https://secure-www.zappos.com/contact

    • Zappo’s is where I bought my first pair of Keens. That was while in was in the US though. Most US sites insist you use a go between to buy from them when buying from Australia. The shoes get mailed to a US address and they send them on to Australia. I don’t know what this is about but it sounds dodgy to me so I don’t bother. Someone is selling Keens on ebay cheaply in Australia now but since I am going to the US I will just pick up mine there. I shouldn’t need another pair for about four years.

      • Quite a number of places don’t like posting outside of USA, not sure why, probably they would have to get a exporting license and have different taxes. There is an online business called “Bought In America” that have a buy and post service to overseas for these situations. I know people who use it for ebay purchasing.

  14. Great post. How refreshing it is to find a group of ladies who are on the same page as me in this department! Like you were saying, clothing here in the US is very reasonably priced. Between the frequent sales, big box stores and outlet malls, most people are constantly (and often mindlessly) adding to their wardrobes. Many women I know tell me that they have too much clothing…but have no plan of action for realistically taking stock of their ACTUAL (not fantasy) lives and figuring out what’s worth keeping. I’d rather have a small collection of clothing that is just the right combination of comfy and cute for taking care of my kids, pets and house, than a closet full of sophisticated, sexy (i.e. impractical!) outfits that I’ll never wear. Call me boring…but I know THIS group never would, and I really appreciate that!
    Happy shopping and enjoy your trip to the States. 🙂

  15. I was actually going to write about this same topic tomorrow, but on a personal level. I love this post!

  16. Hi Colleen,

    Just off track but I saw the links to the ‘Krazy Krap Korner’ suggestion for a post subject, man there are some weird things people have kept. I say keep it up coz as we all peel back the layers of clutter I’m sure there will be more weird stuff. I’m guilty of Pregnancy tests (What the!) and my Mum recently found the hospital vial with my Dad’s Gallstones hahahaha I think they hung onto them as a reminder to eat well etc and considering back in the 70’s gallstones could kill you I think he was proud of his (not on display though).

    As this subject above has shoes in it I’ll tell you of weird and shoes. Years ago my dear friend rented a little cottage and it was old old old, beautiful but OLD and a little creepy if I’m honest. I was staying overnight with her and the bulb blew so up she went to change it and the old rose/cornice thingy gave way and down came part of the ceiling, with the plaster and wires arrived a small suitcase type box. Man after the shock of the ceiling collapsing I just wasn’t real keen on looking in the box! I did though cos the suspense was killing me and I thought what the hell, too small to be body parts hahaha so I thought or oohhh could be a money stash!! hehehehe
    In it was an old book and a few bottles and in one it looked like a finger bone (wasn’t bone just a rock! I think!!) uugghhh creepy but the book was creepier! It was one of those Death Book type books, like in the film the ‘Others’ whoa it was crazy. Anyway back then it was the norm to keep photos of your Dead loved ones I couldn’t read any of the writing, also in the box was a pair of really old fashioned shoes (boot type that lace up and very small, like a child’s size. Totally creeped me out, my friend was having hysterics but we got through the night hahahaha. We rang the Real Estate Agent to let them know about the hole in the ceiling etc etc. Turns out the owner of the cottage had no knowledge of previous owners and because the cottage had changed hands so many times no one could be traced without a lot of legwork so my mate handed the stuff over to a little museum type place, turned out to be the possessions of a family long lost. They didn’t have enough info to trace anything but suggested to my friend that whoever left them in the ceiling were probably old to start with and that it was their long departed relatives things. The photos looked so old they kind of looked liked drawn pictures, they looked like a girl although years ago who could tell, I must say apart from my modern day ‘What The’s’ that discovery had to be the weirdest and yes quite creepy!!!! The weird thing I couldn’t get over was why it hadn’t been discovered before, surely someone had been in the ceiling space at least once to re-wire or whatever. Other cluttery things were found up there but the book pinged them all. My friend, bless her cotton socks was totally wigged out and moved out as soon as her fella came down from his North-West job. Freaked us all out hahaha! I must ask her what became of the book.

    Now I’m decluttering another pr of shoe/thongs/sandals because I can! I’m feeling a bit freaked after remembering the ‘book’ so I think I’ll go and find some books to declutter and maybe some ‘boots’ (shudder!!!) 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • You sure have some interesting stories to tell Dizzy. Just keep them coming.

      • hahaha I have definitely experienced life on quite a few levels, today I de-cluttered another pr of shoes and a pr of work boots.. I seriously am now starting to think someone is sneaking stuff back in!!!!

        • Hey last night I claimed the clutter was breeding!

          LOL! Seriously, I think as I declutter around the house I come across things that get returned to their official ‘home’ and have missed the official cull.

          I guess this means we need to go back around…..again!

          • I get the slight feeling that this is what we are supposed to do. like the onion. layer of layer of layer… until we are seriously run out of things to get rid of.

        • No No Dizzy, you have just taken the blinkers off.

  17. Ohh, clothes shopping as a woman in her late forties is the bane of my existance. I don’t want to look like a total frump but I don’t kid myself that I can skip around in a mini-skirt like I did 30 years ago either. Every woman of this age that I know grumbles about the choices available; there must be a huge amount of commercial potential for retailers to cater to this market. I counted my footwear the other day; workshoes (2 pairs black flats), trainers for casual running around, 1 pair of hiking boots, 2 pairs of flipflops, a pair of slippers which live at a relative’s home where I visit, and a pair of canvas lace-ups. So I have 8 pairs and therefore some other woman has the balance of my “average” of 20………….;) Today I shall be replacing one of the pairs of workshoes which are 8 years old and worn out with another pair and then off they shall go in the bin……….Less is more when you live in a small home.

    • Hi GreyQueen,
      I actually find it hard to believe that 20 is the average number of shoes that women own. Perhaps they are including women in undeveloped countries as well. For the Western countries I would think it is much more than that. Either that or women just buy and discard them willy nilly.

      • I think that 20 is statistically skewed: either self reporting (which is more likely to be women who care about shoes, thus inflating numbers), or based on shoe sales (from which a small but significant number of outliers also skew upward). “Average” could be mean or median, I’d bet that median is somewhere around 15 or so.

        • I had better take a long hard look at myself then because I would have thought it was higher. In the 30s perhaps. I must do my own survey. In fact I am going to text 10 of the women I know and ask them to count their shoes and see what the average is once they have responded and sent their replies.

          • I have 6 – but even I admit that that really isn’t enough, I just hate breaking in shoes cause I get lots of blisters. Right now I really need autumn shoes ie something between some sandals and winter boots, but just can’t find anything…….

            • Take your time finding just the right ones Moni, that is my advice. You don’t need them badly enough to settle for second best because blisters are no fun.

              • My mum always told me that shoes should be considered an investment. Don’t think my hubby would agree.

          • Ok, I was curious and did some research.

            “Women in the USA own an average of 17 (I also saw 19 elsewhere) pairs of shoes but wear only three pairs regularly, according to a poll of 1,009 women ages 18 and older by ShopSmart magazine, which is published by Consumer Reports.”

            However, only HALF had more than ten pairs of shoes. So the mean number of shoes is 17 and the median is around 10. Or at least that’s what I got from the report.

            One in 12 owns more than 100 pairs of shoes, hence the higher mean than median.

            • That all makes a lot of sense. I have received twelve responses to the survey I have sent out to my friends and family. Only two people have less than 20 at 15 & 17, 4 have over thirty and everyone else is between 20 & 30. I suppose my survey is less broad and not including people who live below the poverty line. Although to be honest the ones with the most shoes ~ over thirty ~ are probably also the ones on the list who can least afford it. They are also single women of varying ages. The mean is 29 at this stage of the count.

              • Hi Colleen,

                I couldn’t help myself when I read your survey, I just had to do it myself. I have 8 female neighbours and I txt’ed 12 girlfriends + myself and 2 sisters 18 – 62 that is 23 girls shoes all added up to 666 LOL what does that tell ya!! 1 girl (aged 22 has 168prs of shoes, I almost fell over, she took the longest to call me back) my own niece has 48prs assorted shoes! The next highest was 96prs, my friend from work who was also shocked when she realised what she had. Man it was fun my average for my group of 23 is 28.95prs okay round it to 29prs. Funnily enough the young chicky with all the shoes is also treading beyond her means! I have got my stash of shoes down to 10 assorted prs. Now that was an eyeopener I’m going to do it again soon and see if there is a difference. 🙂 🙂 🙂

                • What fun Dizzy. Your girls beat my by a long shot. 168 pairs, 😕 is she a centipede? My highest was 41 and she is a fashion student. My daughter still hasn’t got back to me yet. Ironically she is too busy setting up the new shoe store she will be manager of prior to the big opening tomorrow. Did you do any statistical analysis as are the highest shoe count ladies single, married or a mix? Do the younger ladies have more shoes than the older ones?…

                  One more question Dizzy, are you counting your dance shoes in that total of 10?

                  • Aarhhh no I didn’t but I suppose that would make sense although I daresay do they really count, some I only wear for a comp, I suppose i should count the Tap Shoes I seem to live in, good point I shall re-do it cos I have caused such a stir with everyone I know and I asked them about make-up and handbags too!

                    The totals blew my mind but the little centipede up the road has admitted to me her habit started with working in a shoe store, they get a really good discount and were always expected to be wearing the newest styles! Beware to your daughter!!!!

                    All the younger ones had the larger collection but my neighbour is nearing 40 and she has a shoe fetish!!!

                    They are all a good mix of single and married! I did find however the majority of married versus single had less shoes, maybe thats because they have to buy them for their kids. Although not completely statistical those numbers gave me a shock. I am looking forward to them telling me how much make-up and handbags they have! If nothing else it has made them look at their ‘Stuff Storm’ in a whole new light, me included! 🙂 🙂 🙂

                    • Thanks for those stats Dizzy. My survey of the shoes encouraged a bit of shoe decluttering among my friends and relatives too. And too late to warn by daughter she has been working in the shoe biz for near on five years now. Three different companies so far. She just became manager of Dragonberry Stide in Brisbane City this week.

                • 168 pairs? Yikes. That’s regoshdarndiculous.

                  • I know unbelieveable eh! I fear that may have been me a few years ago!! I can only pray that some lovely women out there got good use out of all the shoes I got rid of. Lets face it we only have 2 feet and can only wear one pair of shoes at a time! I know that 90% of the time I wore faves so the rest were just decorating the wardrobe floor hahaha 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’m disgusted at my excess but thankful that I did something about it! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  18. Oh clothes, I could write for hours.
    I have never liked shopping, but there was a time, not even so many years ago, when I liked dressing like a girl: skirts, dresses, high heels, nice tops (including jewelry and make-up)… but now I don’t anymore. I think the main reason is that I’m now almost 3 sizes bigger (and I’m only 37!) but also that I’ve decided I don’t need to impress anyone anymore. Even if my husband says I should dress up more often 😛

    My lifestyle does not need any “nice” clothes: I can wear jeans and t-shirts, sweaters and snickers at work if I so like (and I do sometimes). Of course these are ok also for grocery shopping or other errands. Then I go out for dinner sometimes but always at simple places. Or we go to a friends place. Nothing more than this (apart from the occasional wedding or ceremony), so if I ever put some fancy dress on it’s just for my pleasure.
    I admit that it is fun and I guess the reason I don’t do it much is mainly I don’t like my shape. I feel fat and ugly. In fact I’m “only” 8 kg more than I used to be until 3-4 years ago, but my belly sticks out and I have mostly tight-fitting tops (they were ok a few years ago). At the moment I am only using maybe 4-5 recently acquired tops (loose fitting so that my belly doesn’t show too much) and 2-3 trousers/pants for each season, because all the rest of my wardrobe is too small.

    I started realizing I cannot keep all that 3-sizes-too-small stuff, even if I am trying to lose weight I’m sure certain clothes will never fit again. So I just decluttered 3 big shopping bags of clothing. And I also noticed a lot of things were just too old style to keep. Still, I kept a lot of things that I hope I’ll be able to use again… maybe this is just aspirational clutter? Should I just let them go and then maybe buy something new (and more comfortable maybe) for my present size or even if I lose weight?
    Should I realize that at almost 40 years old I will never use a short skirt anymore, even if I do fit in it again? It’s quite a shock to realize you are not a “girl” anymore and you should dress like a “lady” 😛

    • Hi Sabrina,
      The trick is to look at the item itself, not the size, and ask if you would wear it today if it fit. Keeping some favorite clothes may be an incentive to lose weight but keeping everything is just a recipe for disappointment. Your body shape also changes over time (as I am finding out!) so even though I now weigh the same as I did when I graduated from high school almost 40 years ago, gravity has done its business. There’s the same amount of me, but it is distributed closer to the ground! Dress for who you are now – neither ‘girl’ nor ‘lady’ but Sabrina! Cheers. Wendy

      • Sabrina, this is great advice from Wendy B – this is basically what I did with my older clothing – would I wear it now, if it fit? If not, out it went. Styles change, even if you are a conservative dresser. And, Wendy is so right about body shape changing. Keeping only what fits now gives you the freedom to buy what fits and flatters if and when you lose weight.

      • Good advice Wendy B. Damn gravity!

    • Hi Sabrina,
      I am sorry you don’t feel so good about yourself. As we get older it does get harder to maintain our weight. I notice now that I have to eat a whole lot less in order to stay at my preferred weight. Even then, because I am not as active as I used to be I am getting soft, particularly around the middle. I just detest the idea more of going to the gym and especially paying for that privilege. So I try to keep as active as possible by doing housework, working in the garden, taking walks with my husband, walking to the local store rather than driving to the mall… little things like that. Staying active is important not only for your physical health but for your mental health also.

      Even if you don’t keep those smaller clothes start doing something now to improve your physical health, it is important.

      • Sabrina from Italy :

        Thanks Colleen, I actually have started in February to eat less (especially, less dessert / snacks) and to have a short run 3 times a week. I’m trying to follow a program called C25K, even if I stopped last week and might start again only next week. Anyway you’re right, I feel so much better after I have some physical activity. I need to find more time for it in my already busy days 🙂

        • Sabrina,

          Just bear in mind that whatever you do in your busy lifestyle, you do it for yourself, and smile at yourself all the time.

          Don’t get caught up in the weighing yourself trap, chuck out the scales and when you have a snack don’t overdo it. Enjoy your life and feel happy that you’re out and about, chuck out the small and too big clothes cos when your weight and shape change, you’ll want something new and fresh anyway, because you deserve it and you’re worth it!

          Have a beautiful day 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • I know I might be advertising here, but I lost recently over 12 kilos (and 8 kg is not “only”!!) with weight watchers. I found it super easy to follow and it is so flexible for different lifestyles. And because it didnt require me to stop eating all the good stuff, I could handle it better… I dont want to gain weight again ever in my life. I feel so much better about my body. Not because of the looks, but of the healthy feeling. Everything is so much lighter and easier…

          So my point is here: weight is like clutter. if you feel bad about it, get rid of it.

    • Ladies!!!!! At one time in history I would have been considered a goddess! I would have represented bountifulness and longevity. Pity I was born now, but I’ll take the trade for indoor plumbing. Who said we were supposed to be super skinny anyway? Ladies enjoy life for today!

      • Hahaha

        I am a Goddess and my bountifulness is a car full of ‘stuff for charity’ and my longevity is my list of ‘stuff’ I cleared from my house heehee 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • No no no Dizzy…..you are bestowing gifts to your worthy subjects! 🙂

        • We must remember to add Toga, Laurel Wreath and Golden Sandles to our 333 list! 🙂

          • hahaha I need to add that then because I have a grand total of 17 items but will add my suede coat into the mash cos it’s going to get cooler here very quick! That’s 18 OMG maybe I went too far with the last cull. Mind you I’m not counting my dance gear because Courtney says you don’t include workout gear! or did I read it wrong?

  19. I just counted my shoes & I think compared to most women in my age group/peers I have far less than most. I certainly don’t go ga-ga when I walk into a shoe store. Quite the opposite as I’m usually there under duress. I tend to buy quality plus comfort & have long since gotten past the uncomfortable “for the sake of fashion” phase.
    Anyways, I counted 15 total pairs of shoes in my collection.

    1 pair Tsubo heels. Because occasionally I need to wear heels. bleh.
    1 pair Lands’ End house slippers. Cozy goodness.
    1 pair Clarks tall black boots. Low heel & pure comfort!
    1 pair Frye mid-calf motorcycle boots. Best boot ever made known to man kind.
    1 pair Keen water shoes. A must since I live near the salt-water marshes.
    1 pair Birkenstock suede clogs. Ugly yes. Comfortable yes!!
    1 pair Klogs closed-back clogs. My work shoes.
    1 pair Merrell barefoot wonders. Insanely fun & comfy regular gal “flats”.
    1 pair Jack Rogers sandals. My dressy sandals, but still I rarely wear these.
    2 pair Reef flip flops. BEST ever made! I wear these literally year ’round!
    2 pair Asics runners. 1 pair still new in the box as a back-up. I walk a lot. A whole lot. These keep my feet happy.
    1 pair Hunter rain boots. In case of hurricane or rainy day at the horse races? I have no good excuse for buying these. No excuse.
    1 pair Converse Jack Purcells. Classic All-American. Timeless! Fun fun fun!

    What I have fits my lifestyle. Yeah I could have done without the Hunter rain boots – but I can see their potential. Maybe. Hrmmm. Maybe not.

    What I don’t have are shoes too umcomfy to bear to wear. I also don’t have unpractical multiples. With the exception of the extra pair of runners – I bought those on a great reduced sale & it made excellent economic sense as I will use them without a doubt.

    Compared to my friends & sister-in-laws? Well I’m the oddball as I have waaaay less shoes than they do & it seems to be a topic of discussion more often than I care to admit. A topic I don’t bring up but yet somehow it does. I stand my ground & make no excuses for my lack of shoe “love”. I got what I got/need & nothing more.

    • Judging by that list and the brand names on it you sure do know how to shop for comfortable shoes. The sandals I agonised over buying for months before I finally found just the right pair are a new label called Taos. Keep an eye out for that brand they are so practical and comfortable (nicely hidden Valcro no awkward buckles).

      • My sandals and shoes are also Taos; I agree they are very comfortable, and I was even happy with the way they look 🙂

  20. Sabrina, I understand how you feel. I had a lot of clothes that would fit me again if I just lost 10 lbs, but I’ve been planning on losing that 10 lbs. for a few years now. Anyhow, some of the pants I had been saving weren’t even in style anymore, so out they went. Get rid of the tight clothes. If you lose weight, reward yourself with something new.

    • Good advice Anita. Even though I would rather encourage a person to lose those extra pounds over wasting a wardrobe full of clothes due to the fact that one is healthy and the other is environmentally unsound. Perhaps the added bonus of some new outfits could be the encouragement someone needs to do just that. My husband recently had to buy almost and entire wardrobe of new pants after loosing 15kg and it was a very expensive venture. But he sure looks and feels good.

  21. Another great post with loads of responses!
    Another late 40’s woman with you on the clothes thing. I don’t enjoy clothes shopping and I have found a capsule wardrobe takes all the decsion making out of the start of the day and I love it.
    I do however have some differences in what I buy to some of you – I do not own anything black (drains the life out of my face), haven’t owned a pair of jeans for years and years and never buy neutral because it goes with everything. I love colour and I find if I buy colours I love then they do go/blend together very well, dispite a capsule wardrobe.
    For example, I have petrol blue cords and they go with 2 x turquoise tops and a sea green long cardigan beautifully, or orange top ditto. Then I have purple cords that go with a purple based tunic, or a blue and white (Breton) striped long sleeved top and a long purple cardie very well. And the striped top also goes with the blue cords. So 2 pairs of cords and 5 tops see me through a winter week with no problem. I own 2 jumpers. I purple and one red. The red goes with a red spotty skirt and long black suede boots.
    I have one outfit for work which does for the part time hrs I work. That totals about 14 items of clothing for winter. (Not including shoes)

    In the summer I have 2 x good quality linen trousers – Taupe and turquoise and interchageable tops as those 2 colours go very well together. I own 2 different blue(one light one dark) pattened dressses (that go well with the long turquoise cardie), and one pair of turquoise and tape floral long shorts and 2 x t shirts – one orange and one blue.

    I have turquoise blue suede shoes/purple shoes/ red shoes/lime green boots and olive green shoes and turquiose and purple flat sandles. All blend or nicely contrast with what I am wearing. I have 18 pairs of shoes/sandles/boots. I think a few of them could soon be culled. But most of them I wear most of the time.

    Looking forward to hearing about the project 333 adventures of some of you.

    • I love the sound of your colorful wardrobe!

      I own very few black pieces (it’s exactly one completely black outfit, I’m keeping, as certain events like choir concerts, funerals etc. require black)

      I do love brown though and most of my “basics” like shoes, coats, hats etc. are brown. The in-between is more often than not a dress and really, any color matches – if your shoes match your jacket/hat, you can wear about anything in between… 😉

      (I also own a frog green coat and yellow rainboots, I like a splash of color on a rainy day. 🙂 )

      • My winter coat is lime green and my summer one is purple, so that fits with the matching shoes theory:)

      • I’d know you if I bumped into you on a rainy day, I’m the one in the purple coat with polka dot wellies and lime green umbrella heehee:)

    • Good for you Katharine you wild and untamed thing. Gotta love a girl who knows what she likes and runs with it.

  22. I really enjoyed this article Colleen and I’m interested to see how successful your shopping excursions in the States are. (sorry for sidetracking two threads now by bringing up Project333 btw!)

    My biggest challenge is finding clothing I like that doesn’t age me. I’m 22 with a large bust/small waist: clothing lines that specialize for the bust tend to be aimed at women 40+ and “waist” isn’t really a waist, at least not on me. I’m learning to love tailors, but have yet to find one I really trust with my favorite clothes.

    Capsule wardrobes are a wonderful idea and one that I am doing my best to grasp. I’m currently switching out of black basics, but none of them are near the end of their useful life and I don’t have the money to replace them (suit pieces mostly).

    The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given about clothing and presentation is that well-maintained quality shoes raise the level of the entire outfit. Similarly, a string of pearls dresses up even the most casual shirt or dress.

    • Hi Aurelia – 🙂 🙂 🙂 – forgive me!!!! I didn’t know what a capsule wardrobe was, so I googled it, thinking it was some space age, Swedish technology, clever wardrobe that did I don’t know what? Maybe some european system of storing clothes? And then I realised it was what was called mix & match in my day. 🙂

      Lucky you large bust/small waist! Trust me, for all the problems finding clothes, you want that combination and not the other way around. Yes tailors will be your best friend. Have you ever looked up one of Gok Wan’s books or Trinny & Sussanah’s books for advice on your shape. My BFF (who is also big bust/small waist) literally goes shopping with those books tucked under her arm.

      Yes I agree about the shoes, though I hate breaking in new ones, so tend to stick with my old ones, but you are 100% right. My sis also reckons that even doing your hair completely differently will change an outfit, and if its cold enough, fancy hoisery. Basically anything interesting will draw the attention away from some basic/classic – I assumed she had tonnes of clothes, but no actually she doesn’t, she just created an illusion.

      • I will be the first to say that I love my bust, but I have to completely disagree about finding clothes. Manufacturers design for a B cup because it is easiest for them and likely to fit more women. Thus, women on either end of the spectrum will more often than not fail to find anything at department stores: bras, shirts, etc. The “rules” are great, but they don’t make clothing with a real (7-9 inches less than bust) waist and room for the bust magically appear.

        . . . if I sound bitter I apologize. I’m in the middle of a seemingly futile search for basic tees and incredibly frustrated.

    • This clothing subject is an interesting one. The best thing to do is know yourself when it comes to clothing before going out to buy. I am going to give that plenty of though before heading off to the US next week.

  23. Because I find black looks too harsh on me, I use navy as my neutral. I stick to neutral bottoms and use colour on the top.

    Footwear? 4 pairs only: winter boots, summer sandals, workday shoes and running shoes. I have fitting issues and structural problems, and pay more for my footwear so that those problems don’t get worse. I have to say that my daughter’s shoe collection plus mine would give the “average” above! 🙂

    • I appears you know yourself well Jo H and that is a good thing. I am finding the I prefer higher priced, comfortable footwear these days too so that should keep the numbers down in the future.

  24. I have six or less pair of shoes. My husband and I joke all the time because he has three or four times the amount of shoes and boots that I do. I’m always after him to thin out his shoes, and once in awhile succeed in convincing him to get rid of a pair.

    As for clothes, I’m a large woman who falls into the “wear what fits” rather than “wear what I like” category. I have the best luck ordering clothes from Just My Size or Woman Within.

    I have skirts and tops that I wear to church, and jeans and t-shirts or sweatshirts for at home wear. If I have to attend a dressy occasion, I wear one of my church skirts and tops because it’s too hard finding dresses that fit.

    Our biggest challenge, for both my husband and me, is that of keeping several sizes of clothes in our closet. We both vary in weight, and we both always want to lose weight. Since we never know what weight we’ll be, this requires us to keep on hand more sizes than the average person might.

    This really drives me nuts, as it causes our closets to be much more stuffed than I like, but we can’t just run out and buy new wardrobes every time our size changes.

    I often think that we should keep no more than TWO sizes smaller than we are, but then I worry that we might all of a sudden lose more weight than that, and we would have already gotten rid of some of our favorite clothes.

    I can’t realistically see myself losing more than two sizes at this point, so holding onto that many smaller sizes is probably more of a “lucky charm” thing than anything.

    We haven’t quite figured out what to do about this yet.

    • Hi Becky – I know what you mean. I had 5 years of Yo Yo dieting, and I thought I was being so clever as I had in our ceiling storage a different box with each size clothing in it. But you know what? I very rarely went and got something from the box as it would be the wrong season clothing or just not my thing any more.

      I don’t know how your sizing works, but here a size 6 would be about a 12 year old girl – so when I read someone from America is a size 2 I’m like “whoa that is skinny” but it is probably the equivalent.

      Well last year I hauled it all down and decided that the chances of me at my age making it back down to under a 10 was very unlikely. Besides my teenage daughters told me I would look like a cougar dressed in things I could still just pull off 10 years ago. Good point. Out they went.

      Recently, I had a look at the last two boxes, and you know what? Those clothes didn’t make me feel happy. If I drop some weight I’m going to want to treat myself to something fun and cheap (and non-cougar). So I sent those clothes to recycling with my hubby’s blessing.

      If you feel you need to hang onto something, then yes one, maybe two sizes down is the way to go, but entertain the notion that you may not want to wear them when you get to that size again. 🙂

  25. My best friend since High School lives in another town. We are the same height and size, and the same size shoes. We do this thing a couple of times during the year we swap a bag full of clothes and then a month or so later swap back again.

  26. I think with the voucher it was $10 per pair and I took in two pairs and my friend took in 3 pairs I think, but the getting the soles re-done was extra I can’t remember how much but my favourite boots that I’ve had 4 years. Oh and he fixed the decorative buckle. I could have got out the nugget myself of course, but December is such a crazy month for me it wouldn’t have happened. And he gave me the best suggestion for storing them, instead of buying fancy boot thingees that keep the leg part straight (so they don’t crease) use an empty dishwash container.

    • I have been using the same pieces of folded cardboard in my boots for about 11 years. I will have my detergent container when I empty the next one. I got their heal touched up last year too, it was well worth the money. I am sending in my favourite high heal brown sandals tomorrow. So long as I remember this time. They are in a bright yellow bag next to my handbag, surely I can’t miss seeing that. 😕

  27. A few years ago, without any conscious planning, I acquired first one item in a muted sage green and then another and another………it took me a while before I twigged that the reason this colour probably suited me was that I’m a redhead and my eyes are the exact same greeny-gray.;) I use it as the base colour in my wardrobe as black washes me out and navy reminds me of my old school uniform. It’s a surprisingly-common colour and very kind to those of us with hair of coppery hues. It dresses up nicely with both brights and neutrals and looks fine in the city and in the sticks. I’m getting to the point where I just know there are styles and lengths which will always look ghastly on my individual bodily proportions so it becomes easier to leave them behind. I find that I tend to have “pet” clothes which I favour and love to death and far too many “so-so” clothes which tend to be passed over although there is nothing precisely wrong with them……………

    Moni, I too am a goddess. Find a statue of a classical Greek goddess and that’s me, even to the broad feet…….Shame wearing scanty draperies isn’t going to cut the mustard in northern Europe in the winter…….I coulda been a contender, back in the day, tee hee……….

    • Hi Grey Queen – I’m thinking my toga might need to be made out of polar fleece or Merino wool……….

    • Muted sage green, I will have to give that a try since I am also a redhead. Thanks GreyQueen

    • my mum got one of those colour councelling sessions with her girlfriends in the early 90s. so there are 4 types (seasons). We are spring. Since then she carries that little colour folder in her handbag. It shows all the colours that she can wear, and because I have the same skin (well I guess its the skin) I am the same type and can therefor go with it. It helps so much if you know the range of colours, that you look good in. I find this such a good limit when it comes to shopping… The more limits you have on your items, the easier it gets to decide.

      • OMG my mum had that done too in the 80’s andeven though we have completely different colouring her and I ended up in the same category (I am a standard Winter), so even though I was a still a pre-teen I have kept that in mind.

      • Yes, had that done too about 20 (eek!) years ago. I am an autumn and I always bear it in mind. It was wonderful to understand why I always looked washed out in pastels (‘summer’) and black didn’t do a lot for me (‘winter’) – charcoal grey looks much better on my skin tones and have never wasted my money on them since. Made plenty of other mistakes though 🙂
        The colours that suit me (or anyone else) are not always readily available though, fashions dictate what colours are available each season.

        • haha. yeah. especially these 70s colours that are coming again somehow (this orange brown beige thing) are really not cool. But as long as I have a scarf around, I cant be wrong with colour…

  28. Wow! This has really been a subject near and dear to our hearts. I think we need a post about purses. I do have one but it’s small and I seldom carry it. I hate purses. But we have a sage in my family. My aunt can never seem to find the purse she dreams of. She’s always buying on and then taking it back. Or buying one and then after a short time giving it away. Colleen, I think it would be fun to hear what all goes on with the bunch when it comes to purses. Do you have one to match every pair of shoes? Etc. Etc.

    • Deb J, perhaps I need to learn how to do polls on my blog and then I can start posing some of these question on Simple Saturdays.
      I do have a handbag to match all my shoes. Two one black and one black with brown trim. My Shoes are mostly brown or black. I do also have two clutch purses for evening dress one also black the other gold which cover all my evening shoes.

  29. I wonder if there is any correlation between your 2 single friends that have the most shoes & them not having to answer to someone else (i.e. spouse) about their purchases? While my husband doesn’t have me account for my every purchase – I still keep him abreast of what I’ve bought mostly for my own peace of mind & full disclosure.

    • Hi Jane, it could be that or it could be trying to dress to impress to attract a mate. I know that isn’t the case for some of these ladies though. Or it could also be a feel good thing that many people with a partner don’t require so much because they have a full time love interest in their lives. That sounds a little preposterous though. So you are probably right. Perhaps I will pose that question of my survey subject once all the figures are in. They will probably tell me to shove off. 😆

  30. I discovered something new about a friend last week. We only met last summer but it was one of those instant bond things and we get on really well.
    The subject of handbags (purses) (as opposed to over the shoulder little rucksacks) came up. In response to the question, how many did each of us own, our mutual answers left us each totally speechless!
    I own one. She owns 90…