These days I’ve been feeling as if I need to shop for clothes. Really. No joke. 
For those who think they know me… this sounds like a ludicrous statement. I’m always shopping, aren’t I? But my friends who notice these things know that just because I’m always talking about fashion, and always looking at clothes, either on-line or in real life, doesn’t mean I’m always buying. 
In fact, I’ve purchased relatively few fall and winter clothes since I retired. 
When I quit teaching, I had many more clothes than I needed for my new, more casual life. I tried really hard to change up the way I wore some of my fall and winter work suits and jackets. Others, which were just too work-y, I gave away to younger friends who still needed a business wardrobe. Ever since, I’ve been buying a sweater here and there. A couple of pairs of jeans each year. And a coat or two. Some new skiing/hiking/work-out wear. But that’s pretty much it. I did a wardrobe cull earlier this fall, and bagged a few things to take to my friend Fiona’s consignment store. Finally, finally calling myself out about that black Michael Kors dress, those two lovely silk shirts, and a couple of pairs of trousers which I’d hung onto, telling myself I might wear them one day. And I never, ever have. So off they go in a few days. Finally. And now I’m left feeling, well, a bit thin… closet-wise. A bit over-curated. A victim of my own successful culling.

I’ve written a number of times on the blog about culling and curating my wardrobe. About the concept of slow fashion and how it appeals to me. I’ve always edited my wardrobe, twice a year, before I make my seasonal “I need/ want” list. And except for venturing off in a new direction this past spring, for the past couple of years, I’ve found myself shopping mostly to fill a specific wardrobe niche. Especially when it comes to fall and winter wear. And what with the fuchsia tweed Max Mara coat I bought in New York last year, the burgundy Akris sweater I purchased recently, after a long search, I should add, and this black wool La Fayette 148 jacket, it seems that I don’t have any niches left that need to be filled. Pretty much everything works with everything else, and if something doesn’t exactly work with everything else, it still goes with lots of other pieces.  
I like the stand up collar of this jacket, the quilted front, and the fact it covers my butt.

Like this black zippered sweater/jacket from Lafayette 148. I bought it at the Nordstorm Anniversary Sale last summer. Specifically because I thought it would make a great travel jacket. I wore it a lot when I was in the UK in October. I love the straight cut, the quilted front, and the fact that it covers my butt. It goes great with jeans and boots. With my black wool leggings. And especially with my old faithful leather trousers. 

The other night I was meeting the gang from my old school for dinner. I wore my black jacket with this loose, super casual, Vince tee shirt, my leather trousers, and my black Stuart Weitzman boots. And my vintage Léa Stein bracelet which I bought at the Merrickville Antique show a couple of years ago. I like how the bracelet works with the white tee to lighten up all the black. You might already know this, but I don’t go in for much accessorizing. A bracelet, earrings, a watch. Sometimes a vintage brooch. Occasionally a necklace. I’ve tried to pile on the bangles. To do a statement necklace. But anything more than minimal jewellry just doesn’t work for me. 
So while I’m kind of a minimalist. I am beginning to feel that I’ve minimalized my wardrobe too much. Everything goes with everything else. Pretty much. Which is good. I love everything I have. Pretty much. Which is good. But like last spring when I felt as if I needed to go in a new direction, I’m now hankering after something completely different. As Monty Python used to say. 
Something to change up my standard look of narrow trousers, loose tee or sweater, and a jacket or, once winter gets here in earnest, a coat. Maybe a pair of wide legged pants? I know, I know I tried that last spring without any success. But who knows, there just might be a pair of wider trousers out there that will fit me. Or maybe a long skirt? Lately, I’ve become somewhat preoccupied with the idea of a sweater, a long skirt, and boots. Like I used to wear in the seventies. I remember in university I owned and loved a dark green, wool midi skirt, with pockets. I wore it with a soft grey turtleneck, and my Fry boots. Gosh, I loved that outfit.
So, actually, I’m in a pretty good position wardrobe wise. I have several sweaters that I love and which go with jeans, and with black pants or leggings. A couple of classic winter coats that look great with jeans. A few shirts that work well with jeans and sweaters. Lots of scope for numerous outfits which I’m happy to wear, every time I wear them. And a few pieces that make me sigh every time I put them on. But while I’m currently enjoying the outfits I have, I think I’ll be on the lookout for something new. And completely different. 
After all, I now have lots of room in my tiny, over-curated closet… for a new outfit. Or two.
Geese beginning to circle for a landing on the Rideau River.
I took this shot on a gorgeous, sunny late afternoon earlier this week, just before I left home to run a few errands, and then meet my friends for dinner. I love fall afternoons, just as the sun begins to set. See the geese circling our house to land on the river? Soon, we’ll not be able to hear ourselves think with the honking. Hundreds and hundreds of them on the water. It’s kind of awe-inspiring. And kind of puts everything in perspective. Don’t you think? 
I mean, in all seriousness, I’m not really worrying about whether my closet is over-curated. Not exactly. More just musing than anything else. 
Because if I wasn’t overthinking things, especially my wardrobe, I wouldn’t be me. Would I?
How about you my friends? Are you a closet culler? Do you over weed your wardrobe? Is your curated closet maybe too much of a good thing?


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From the archives


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41 thoughts on “I think my Wardrobe is Over-Curated!”

  1. Oh, I wish I was over curated. I do need to delete clothes. I'm not very good at it. I need to hire someone to hold my hand and help me do it. I adore your black and white outfit. Very cool. Love the pants, the boots, jacket and pants. All together an A+. Want to come over and help?

  2. I too am under-curated, but I still have the day job (in finance) so I have a work wardrobe, a going-out wardrobe, a weekend wardrobe, and a workout wardrobe. A lot.

    The thing that I think is missing from your wardrobe is a pop of color. You'd look smashing in claret (Eileen Fisher has a nice claret a-line long-sleeved tee shirt that is a great layering piece) and a scarf or a colorful piece of jewelry would add interest. This is not to detract from your Lea Stein piece, which is gorgeous, but you need some color, trust me.

    1. That Eileen Fisher tee sounds lovely. I may have a look at that. I like some EF things, but have tried on many over the years to find the frequent wide-scooped neckline not flattering on me. I love her stuff on others, though.
      I have a lot of scarves that I use in the winter to provide a bit of colour. And I wore that black outfit with my fuchsia tweed coat when I eventually left the house. But I do love a pure black and white and black look every now and then.

  3. I get a little pang of guilt when curating wardrobes is discussed . I do have regular clearances & bags are dropped off at the charity shop but I still have too much . I’ve cleared the worn , overtight , boring & unloved but I know I have more than I need . Perhaps I need more than I need though . In my teens there was one good outfit & it just wasn’t enough , so I’m probably over compensating . Do I still shop – yes I love a couple of hours wandering around my favourite shops . Do I still buy -yes when I find something special ( not easy ) but not the wildly expensive stuff & certainly not every time . I’m a saint compared to some bloggers out there 🙂 – not talking about you here . I think your shopping is organised & controlled .
    Oh & we have snow . Last night was a mini blizzard of mad , swirling , big fluffy snowflakes which meant the dogs were loopy on their evening walk . It will melt away today but it’s still pretty exciting as we don’t get much snow here & so early in the winter too . Don’t suppose you are impressed , there in serious snow land .
    Wendy in York

    1. I would have loved to see those dogs going loopy. We have no snow at all here in snow-land. Sigh. Stu is compensating by cutting and splitting wood for the fireplace. Weirdly enough makes me all nostalgic when I hear the chainsaw start up in the back yard. My step dad was a great cutter of wood:)

    2. My dad too Sue & Max served an ‘ apprenticeship ‘ with him in the early days . Perhaps Max & Stu would make a good team

    3. Well Rosie , I sometimes think what I need is a more exciting life , to wear the clothes I have ! Don’t think that’s going to happen now 🙂

  4. Long skirt, long sweater, boots …
    When Dr Zhivago came out, I fell in love with Julie Christie in her long skirt and boots, topped with a long cardi. Walking along a bustling street maybe. I immediately recreated the look with a midi grey herringbone wrap skirt, long purple thick knit polo neck and knee boots. Loved that outfit! Wore it and wire it.
    So, hold on to that idea of long skirt and polo neck because it is going to look amazing on you. And you will create another outfit to love just like that green and grey 70s outfit. An outfit created from a passion is one that endures. Longing to see it!!! Hugs, Mary x
    P.s. culling? Nah, I'm not very good at it!

  5. Ah Sue, Overthinking 'R' Us, 😉
    As you know, I'm a few years behind you in the length of retirement, but last year's big move pushed my wardrobe-culling along considerably. Still, these last few months, I've found much room to be even more brutal, and I'm getting closer and closer to the kind of curated wardrobe that suits my lifestyle (and reduced closet space here in the condo!) and makes getting dressed much easier. Haven't yet arrived at the point you're at and suspect I lack the discipline ever to be Over-Curated, but I am becoming ever less patient with the pressure for variety. . . .

    1. Yep. I still remember when I found other women on-line who "philosophized" about their wardrobe. Finally gave me someone else to explain my thinking to besides Stu…who would listen patiently as long as I didn't interrupt the hockey game.

  6. Your closet is very well curated-I love your style and your outfits-it is maybe time to think about adding something new?fresh?different? Just to play with, because sometimes one becomes bored for a while,feels restless,needs some distraction……
    Like Wendy,I have regular clearances,but a lot of stuff remains…..
    My instantaneous problem is that a lot of things I wear for years (like ankle boots,oxfords,turtlenecks,velvet,leopard print,leather biker jackets,scarfs……you name it) are ubiquitous,everywhere-so,I need to move on a little (to be ready to come back,when they change)-but not so sure yet where to!
    I have a long skirt and knee high boots (yes,me too,I've owned and loved long green tweed skirt with pale yellow or white turtleneck and knee high boots,with short camel -more a oversized jacket-coat)-but,I don't know…….:-)

  7. Sue, I so admire your self-discipline, and your wardrobe! I try to cull regularly but still hang on to a few good things that I haven't worn since retiring four years ago: the good black pants with wider legs and a Ralph Lauren black silk twill shirtdress. Frankly, I have been waiting for the skinny pants trend to die and thinking that just maybe the good black pants will be exactly what I want in a year or two. I could let them go if I was confident that, when the time comes, I could find replacements of similar quality at a reasonable price, but I find that fabrics in midrange clothing are really substandard these days. You would look terrific in a midi skirt, boots, and oversize sweater. I adored that look as a teen and could wear it then, but at 62 and no longer slender, it is one of the styles that I suspect would be very aging on me. I was in grad school in the early '80s when preppy was all the rage, and the revival of that style would probably be a sartorial gift to many of us mature women, much as I hate to say it (and especially as I loathe the politics associated with it).

    1. That's the problem with letting some things go, isn't it? Replacing them with equally good and well cut pieces. That's why I've hung onto every Max Mara blazer I've ever bought. They don't hang in my tiny closet where my clothes on "current rotation" live. I have no room for that. But I can pull them out whenever I feel like a change.
      With respect to the long skirt and sweater look… the proportions and cut are so important to look modern…and not aging. Funny how we could do all those looks in our twenties and thirties with impunity. Now, I'll admit…it takes more thought and a stern eye.

  8. Like you, I retired in the not-so-distant past and I'm still curating. There are couple things I just can't part with, but over time I know I'll have to. I just don't wear them. 🙁 And like you, I wear a lot of black and white but this year I'm adding RED. I saw quite a bit of it in Italy and I brought home the perfect red puffer coat and some little red booties. It's fun to have one of my favorite colors hit the stores.

    I also love turquoise, so I have added a couple more pieces of that color this fall too…a cashmere sweater and a plaid shirt for home and casual. But overall, my closet looks pretty empty compared to my working years. That said, I never have trouble getting dressed, so I guess all is well.

    Good luck finding something different. The search is fun.

    1. A red puffer coat is just the thing to brighten up winter. Sounds great…and red boots. Maybe… maybe I'll invest in some boots that aren't black or brown… just for fun.

  9. I am in the black and white fan club and like you have a good wardrobe base in those colours…it is easy to mix, match and makes dressing a breeze. It is great for travelling, looks smart and is the perfect base for adding colour. I love it with dashes of cobalt blue or with red (…if you have had had your colours done I am a winter with very dark hair.) The colours you have incorporated into your wardrobe are lovely….looking forward to seeing what wardrobe treasures you will be adding in the future! Cheers, Alayne

    1. Oh… me too, Alayne. Sometimes I just love crisp white with black. And sometimes I add colour. But with my leather pants and the quilting on my jacket, and the bit of sheen they have, I prefer everything else to be very simple.

  10. Firstly ..I'm definitely a member of the over thinking group! but not a minimalist when it comes to clothing! 🙂 I simply find it hard to "let go" I blame my mum with her wartime ideals … but feel that I've reached an age where I've got to take some responsibility! 🙂
    I do take clothes to charity shops, just not enough even though I know I'd be much happier with less. I love coming up with different combinations when I'm travelling and have only a few items to choose from.
    Your quilted jacket looks great with the white tee and leather trousers. I'm always impressed how the majority of your purchases are not only lovely but firmly on the "versatile" list.
    Woken up to a dull and wet day here so I've decided to do some wardrobe curating! Actually quite looking forward to it … wish me luck! 🙂
    Have a good weekend.

    1. I love doing that on a dull day. I actually enjoy sorting and culling. Probably because I love to organize. Now… cleaning my house… that's a whole other story:)
      Good luck. Take time for a cup of tea in the middle of all the piling.

  11. ps definitely a supporter of the long skirt, jumper and boots combo.That used to be my favourite winter outfit …haven't worn a "winter" skirt in years although I do have one …or maybe two … black and burgundy in my wardrobe!:( decisions, decisions …do they stay or do they go??
    Prior to reading this they would definitely have headed to the charity shop but now I'm wondering ….:)

    1. Rosie, I bought a mid-calf grey flannel pleated skirt at The Gap, of all places, probably almost ten years ago, and somehow every winter I end up wearing it and still loving the look. I know I'll wear it at least four or five times this winter — generally with flat shoes or boots, dark tights, a simple pullover, although it also works with blouse and cardi. It can skew Librarian/Bluestocking Chic or (with Doc Martens, say) can have a Street/Hipster edge, but it's also just a classic look that's easy to wear. Don't take those skirts to the thrift shop, in other words 😉

    2. I'm with Frances. Pull them out and try them with one of your newer pieces. You never know. My former winter work skirts all went to the consignment store or to friends because they just couldn't be made to look like I was going anywhere but to a professional occasion.

    3. Hi Sue, Frances …Thanks for the advice and tips. Totally understand what you're saying Frances …haven't tried them yet but on Sues suggestion I've already thought of a few newer items that may work with them …coordinating with black biker boots or my new suede slouchy ones! I didn't have a cup of tea Sue, decided a glass of mulled wine was preferable! 🙂 thanks again to you both.

  12. Your 1970's outfit sounds simply divine! I come across great late 70s early 80s midi skirts all the time when thrifting and quite a few people are buying them. I've got my own collection of leather ones. Paired with Frye boots and a sweater…heck that look never goes out of style!

    I was lucky I scored two pairs of Frye boots while thrifting last month from the 70s. They are gorgeous. They don't fit me though. Some lucky person will snap them up from my store.

    I still haven't switched over to my winter dresses. I need to do that though. And um…yeah…I guess this is where I admit that I am more of a *collector* than a culler. Collector sounds so much better than hoarder don't you think?


  13. Love your look, and I love your fantasy skirt outfit. I used to wear similar outfits (way past the 70s, I must admit) but sadly cannot wear them any longer due to loss of my once-small waistline. Now all skirts seem to ride up under my bust! Lol. You have the figure for it so I say, do it!
    As to being over-curated, I think that as humans we just crave (and perhaps need) novelty. Acquiring and shedding garments allows us to match our mutable outer and inner selves. Well, that’s my excuse anyway.

    1. Ah well… there's the rub… I don't have the figure for it anymore. Flat butt, no hips, mid-section that is bigger than my hips, means that full-legged pants and skirts often look verrry unflattering on me. I'm still looking, though:)

  14. So lovely to swing by and read your post. I understand that idea of over curating a wardrobe, but can't say there's any chance it may happen for me any time soon. Your black and white works very well – minimalist styling clearly works for you. The leather jeans look fab and fit you like a dream.

    Have a fab week!
    Anna x

  15. Hi there – popped in from Visible Monday.
    I too cull my closet at least twice a year. One thing I culled and it is so silly but it was a glamorous love-to-wear full-length burgundy gown. A $5 Thrift Town score but I was a little too "fluffy" for it and gave it away. I lost some fluffiness and now I want my gown back. Are you listening Great Thrift Shop Beyond?
    Pop by for a visit some time

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