Wardrobe Dysfunction

As I work towards my goal of having a Parisian Wardrobe, I’m coming to the realization that my current wardrobe is totally dysfunctional. The cause – collecting clothes over the last 10 years while things have changed in my age, size, style, and lifestyle.

Here are a couple things I’m up against:


~I’m holding on to clothes that are up to about 10 years old. I’m 31. I don’t think I’m supposed to be wearing that Abercrombie cut jean mini skirt from college any more…unless I’m maybe (maybe!) at the beach.


~My work style has changed. As a consultant, I work in very different environments all the time. Sometimes they’re very formal. Sometimes they’re very casual. It can be challenging to have the appropriate clothing items to suit each type. But besides even that, my style itself has changed. This red top used to be one of my favorite things to wear to work with dress pants or a pencil skirt. I don’t really love it any more, and I’m not sure it was ever truly flattering on me anyways. #shirtfail


~My lifestyle has changed. There was a period of time when I used to love to go out and dance. I had a nice collection of cute “going out” tops that I’d wear for a night on the town. While I still love to go out once in awhile, I don’t do it every week, and when I do, I don’t reach for those “going out” tops any more. I have a different style from when I was in my early to mid twenties.

~I also have a collection of clothes in various sizes thanks to some weight fluctuation over the last several years. My size has ranged about 3-4 sizes, and I have pants, skirts, etc. in almost all of them. As I purge my closet, I’m working on keeping the items that fit me now or the ones I think I can get tailored.

So, how did I get here? Without going into too many details, let’s just say that hubby and I were struggling financially until pretty recently. There was a 2-3 year period where extra money was non-existent. I mean, I remember asking for t-shirts and socks for Christmas because I didn’t want (couldn’t afford) to buy them. Socks, people! That’s desperate. lol. The timing was poor, too – the time right around my transition from the twenties to the thirties. *sigh* Anywho, if I’d had the money, I would have been working on integrating new, key pieces to go with my changing lifestyle, age, and size. Instead, I just clung to old clothes I already had and added a couple essentials (t-shirts, socks, etc.) here and there as I could.

Now, I feel like I’m making up for lost time (hello shopping spree!). But, instead of dwelling on the past, I’m hoping to look forward. Part of me wants to toss my whole wardrobe out the window, but my reasonable side is having me just work through my wardrobe and purge the items that are no longer working. I think it’s going to take several passes, but things are going well so far.


I’m hoping to do a more detailed post on the purge process, but here’s a snapshot from Sunday when I went through every single pair of pants I own. Okay, I only went through my hanging dress pants and khakis (not the jeans), but still…that took some time.

I’m feeling great about the changes I’m making, but boy…do I have a lot of work ahead of me!

Reader question: Is your wardrobe functional or dysfunctional. What are your current wardrobe challenges?

18 thoughts on “Wardrobe Dysfunction”

  1. haha! Diana, I feel you. I have clothes that I haven’t worn for years that for some reason can’t throw up despite not having a deep history with any of them. Every time I see them tucked away I cringe at the fact that I even liked them, but then just turn and walk away… why? I have no idea. But yes, it’s a process to change our wardrobe–something I have to remind myself a lot.

  2. I could have written this post. I try to go through my stuff every once in a while and get rid of some things, but I’m due for a complete overhaul of my wardrobe too. I definitely have stuff that I haven’t touched in at least a year or two (if not longer) hanging in my closet.

  3. My wardrobe is “functionally dysfunctional”. I have a lot of clothes but lack the time and patience to figure out different or creative outfits for my Monday to Friday work days. (and this is pretty sad coming from a former designer). I wish I could have someone clever take a look at my wardrobe and tell me what to wear with what. I feel like I dress so boring. Its like the old saying “I can dress others, but not myself.” – LOL

    • Having the time to play with my clothes has been a problem for me, too. Sometimes you just need the time to see which items work with which other items or you fall into the rut of wearing the same things the same way. I hear ya!

  4. I’d say mine is about half and half. I have been purging clothes for a few months and I try to remember that when I put something on in the morning and I absolutely HATE it, I toss it into a “Goodwill pile”. If I don’t like it one morning, the chances of me liking it another morning are pretty slim.

    I’ve also been purging clothes with holes (or getting them fixed if I love them), clothes that are faded (even if I love them, tear), and anything that doesn’t fit. There is no use in me hanging onto clothes that are too small, because chances are that if I lose a few pounds, I’ll want new clothes anyways. I’ve been trying to invest in quality pieces like great fitting black pants, neutral work tops, high quality cardigans and jackets and timeless shoes.

    But yeah, it’s a process and I feel your pain!

  5. You are so right about closet purging being painful! I go through my closet(s) every so often when I can’t stand it anymore. Then I’ll spend three hours looking for a piece of clothing I’m not sure I kept or not. I’ve been know to keep a Goodwill bag around for a month, then end up going through it and taking something out before the bag makes it to its destination.

    I have sentimental things I’ll never wear that I’ll keep forever. Probably too many. I have a few investment pieces, but mostly I enjoy the hunt for a one-of-a kind bargain. I fondly remember Eli’s Fashion Wearhouse (closed now for many years) and have a new place I now frequent (a secret!). If you want to get $$ for your better pieces (and it looks like you have some), you may want to try Plato’s Closet. I’ve heard about it but never been. I always end up taking my bag to Goodwill. Good luck!

    • I’ve done the goodwill bag trick, too! Sometimes I have one for Goodwill and one for things to take to my parents’ house. Currently, I have all the things I want to get rid of but not sorted…I really need to go through them! lol

      I posted about Plato’s Closet on my FB wall, and people seemed to think that they can be hit or miss and don’t pay a lot for clothes. But, there are some other places like that – brick & mortar, as well as, online, so I may check them out, too. 🙂

  6. Have you heard of 99dresses.com? I put a few on there and some “sold” right away. So I now have credits to try out some new dresses. Heck, I may even snag some of yours if you sign up. 🙂

  7. I keep on going through my closet every few months. Sometimes it takes me that long to mentally let go of some pieces! I’ve given some stuff away to friends & family that has made them happy and that spurred me on, since what made their day had been sitting in a drawer for a few years, unused.
    I am finding that as I’ve become more certain in my style I take better care of the clothes that I love too, taking time out to hand wash rather than putting in the machine on a cold/gentle cycle. The appreciation of them (and using this theory across more than just my wardrobe) has kinda made me feel good about life. Like knowing there’s a lack of excess in our apartment, everything for a reason, and everything loved (or needed). The hardest part for me is getting rid of things which were gifts, but I was once told to keep the love that came with it, not necessarily the thing itself.

    • “The hardest part for me is getting rid of things which were gifts, but I was once told to keep the love that came with it, not necessarily the thing itself.” <- I LOVE that! I'm hoping to get more in line with what you're talking about - taking better care of less items.

  8. Hi Diana!

    I forgot to tell you, I found a solution for you in terms of what to do with the clothes that you skim from your wardrobe (besides give them to me!). There is a new store that is openning, Clothes Mentor, that is like a Plato’s Closet for adults. They aren’t selling any merchandise yet, but they are buying! I went in and brought a re-usable grocery bag of clothes that I don’t wear and a few pairs of shoes and came out with $64.75! It was thrilling to know that I could make some money off items that were just taking up space in my closet. So gather the items that you no longer wear and make them lucrative 🙂

    Once they open for normal business, we have to go. I can already imagine all the items (Parisian-inspired only, of course) that you will score at a fraction of the cost!

    Clothes Mentor
    901 S. Kings Dr (near the Melting Pot)


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