I got a lovely e-mail from reader Corinne, who said:
Your book also made me realize that maybe the key to clarifying and strengthening my personal style was in my “orphans.” Practically everything else I’ve read says to get rid of them because they’re outliers. However, reading your book it occurred to me that perhaps it’s the rest of the closet is what should go quietly into the background.
Which, of course, made me unspeakably happy. And made me realize that closet orphans are basically teaching moments waiting to happen. I mean, we loved them, we bought them, we longed to wear them … and yet we didn’t wear them. If we don’t examine what prompted those purchases and what prevented those wearings, are we not doomed to make those same mistakes again?
Originally posted 2013-05-17 06:35:24.
Above, you’ll see an outfit featuring a pink, ruffly skirt that I bought at Anthropologie in 2005. I saw that skirt on the rack, keeled over from object lust, picked myself up off the shop floor, and forked over $80 for it quite willingly. And although I hung onto it for six years, it rarely got worn. By and large, this skirt qualifies as a closet orphan.
What is a closet orphan?
“Closet orphan” is a term that I picked up from Angie, but I think we define it slightly differently. To me, a closet orphan is an item that you love, but that proves very difficult to pair with other items. It seldom gets worn because it doesn’t play nicely within the context of outfits. It just hangs there, lonely and sad, languishing away while your wardrobe workhorses get worn again and again.
Originally posted 2011-04-07 06:20:48.
My slow but ongoing attempts to downsize my wardrobe continue, but culling has become much harder. I’m down to items that I still love (at least in theory), and am having to make decisions about taste/emotion versus actual use patterns.
One practice that helps ease the pain? I’ve created a holding area for items that I think I can let go, but am not entirely sure I want to cast off just yet. For me, this is a bunch of grocery bags in my laundry room, but the under bed storage box shown above would work just as well. If an item remains in the holding area for more than six weeks and I haven’t missed it, out it goes. And I am confident that it won’t be missed. So far, only one striped shirt has been brought back into rotation. The rest have been donated and never thought of again.
Originally posted 2015-06-16 06:28:30.