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[Style Search] Week 2: The Closet Overhaul

by | Sep 12, 2016 | STYLE SEARCH | 24 comments

Hi All,

This post is really late. I was planning to go through my wardrobe this week and it would be fairly simple- look through my things, pick out the things that are summer, the things that don’t fit me anymore and the things that don’t fit my categories- shouldn’t take too long right?….

Well I can tell you that I’ve spent the better part of my weekend in my room pacing from my closet to my bed, with a disproportionate amount of time spent laying on my bedroom floor, staring at my ceiling, wondering just what I’ve gotten myself into.

So after a weekend of work this is what my closet looks like now:

And before:


Now                                                          Before


To be honest I’m not completely happy with what I did. I feel like I got really bogged down in it, and had a hard time sticking to my rules. I think my general feeling is that I still have too many clothes, and there are still too many that I don’t really love, and that I’m not sure if they really fit in my wardrobe perfectly. I think my main problems were:

1. I feel really confused about how to put good outfits together- so when I was trying to decide what would and wouldn’t work I got very lost

2. I was worried that I would get rid of the wrong thing- and not have a chance to see how it worked in my wardrobe, especially once I get more basics to pair everything with.

3. Some things I feel are almost duplicates of other things, but they are also fairly cheap clothes with poor quality fabrics- and I feel like I don’t want to get rid of duplicates, I would rather just wait until they both wear out, and then replace them with something higher quality and me-made.

Generally I fell like I still left too much in for it to be a real and easy capsule wardrobe. But there are a lot of things that I’m going to weed out after the end of the season. This will be a process that is ongoing for a while.

That’s not to say that I didn’t clear out a whole bunch of stuff (those drawers are almost empty and the shelves in the side of my closet don’t have any clothes anymore!).

This is what didn’t make the cut:

These were all the clothes that don’t fit me- I’m not a size 2 or a size 14 anymore- so these have got to go- there’s not point in holding on to them. (For reference I range somewhere between a size 6-10 in most stores)

These are the sad old clothes that are all worn out.

Then these were the clothes that are the right size- but don’t fit very well (I’m looking at you black & grey pants!) Or are too preppy for my style (I’m looking at you pink pants and green printed pants). Also colours that I think are a little washed out for me, or styles that I found too fussy, or difficult to wear- or those flats- they’re not comfortable at all!

So now is the time that you can all be massive creepers- and see what’s in my wardrobe. This might be super boring or super overshare- but some of you may enjoy this if you’re anything like me lol.

Pants- I have three pair of jeans; one is a dark wash, non-stretch, straight leg; the other is super low rise, stretch, ripped knee black jeans; last is super old mens levi’s ripped and worn jeans (they were my dads).
Then I have the Alexandria Peg Trousers, and the Hudson Pants – that are a little more difficult to pair because they both have colour and texture/volume.

Two skirts- both start at the waist, one is black and A-line with black lace, an the other is elasticated waist and poofy  – one is formal and one is less formal.

Dresses- The left two are a little more dress-up for me- mustard and short halter which is super fun and I feel very chic in, and the black which has a cowl neck is nice for going out. The other two are more sweater-style day dresses that you would wear with leggings and boots.


These are sleeveless tops/blouses in fairly neutral colours. Two of them should go with a lot – the other two are a little more busy but they’re all good if I wear mid-rise jeans- because that’s how long they are on me.

These are my more ‘fancy tops’ One is super short- so I need to get something higher waisted to wear with it- like I’m hoping to introduce more of in my wardrobe- the other two are more of a regular length- all black 🙂

These three are my pops of colour (and sequin!) Emerald, Coral, Mustard. The Emerald one is new and I hope it will fill some of the gaps in my wardrobe where I need some colour, the mustard is from my sister and is more boxy, and the coral is one that I wear to death right now.

These are my long-sleeved button ups. The top two are: left- a professional and longer white/blue pin stripe, right – an oversized soft denim shirt to layer.

Next is a more slinky emerald button up, beside a denim with printed white circles button up that is casual, and a fairly sheer button up that I wore loads last fall.

Then jackets. The two on the left are formal- sort of a navy nautical double breasted blazer, and a pink wool jacket, which is chic but doesn’t quite pass the comfort test (it’s a little tight in the shoulders- but I want to try it out once more before I exile it.

Then on the other side I have a longer light beige super warm jacket, then a leather look light olive jacket (which fairly neutral if not in my colours). A denim jacket that is on trial in my wardrobe, and one of my fav casual jackets that is scarlet.

Then I have some sweaters- A grey zip-up hoodie, a deep fuchsia pull over hoodie, a navy button up knit hoodie, and an oversized grey fair isle sweater (that is pilling something fierce but I can’t bring myself to get rid of it)


These are all t-shirts- the ones on the left are heavier sweater-like knit ones, and on the right they are lighter ones. They all have different fits and looks, but it would be way too much to get into it. I think they will all work for the most part- but I’ll see what they actually go with.


Then these are my cardigans- an oversized brown knit sleeveless thing, an oversized long sleeved brown and a tight fitting black cardigan for more evening outfits.

These are lighter sweaters- medium heavy on the top- that are chunky grays, browns and a black lace one. And on the bottom lighter more summer weight sweaters (with my bethioua).

Then some long-sleeve t-shirts, which are fairly neutral, and most of them are a little oversized on me now, so they aren’t always the best for layers (and then there’s the nettie in with that – which is a bit tricky because of the super low back- but I haven’t given up on it)


Then there are some casual t-shirts, some blue stripes and solids on the one side, then black scoop neck and back, grey logo shirt and my eyes white shirt.
Other than that my closet is just work-out clothes and a couple painting clothes.
I feel so confused about whether or not this is a lot of clothes. The majority of my friends and family still have closets that are much larger than this- so that’s somewhat comforting? To me it still feels like too much, but I feel so confused about where to go from here. How to narrow it to my style without picking the wrong things or just completely starting over.
Reading over this post and looking through my things, I feel very conflicted- I don’t think I’m doing the best job at this capsule wardrobe thing.
There are definitely certain things that I think will end up leaving my wardrobe by the end of the season- some things that I think aren’t completely comfortable, that just won’t work with enough other things, that are not the right colours, that aren’t nice enough quality fabrics, or that just don’t feel right. But I feel like I need to give myself a little more time to really get into my style and make sure it’s right for me. And I think for me it will help to have some of the clothes in my closet- so they are an option, so if I don’t pick them, or if I do and I don’t end up liking them- then I can confidently give them away.
I think this is one of those areas where I have to accept that I really suck at it right now- and it will be difficult right now at the start- but eventually I will find my way.
But apart from what I already have and am debating over:
There are a few things that I feel are really missing from my wardrobe. And those things are:
1. A nice pair of comfortable, stretch, mid-rise skinny jeans (because I am a comfort fiend who will only wear stretch jeans for a whole day)
2. White & Black t-shirts and tank tops- if you scroll back through my wardrobe you will see- I actually have no tank tops or simple t-shirts- this is crazy.
3. A skirt- I would like one that is a soft stretch knit, that is the shape of a pencil skirt, high waisted and mid- thigh that I can wear with tights and boots
4. A nice classic wrap dress maybe out of a knit, with that classic fit and flare shape.
5. A nice and loose dress like my navy printed tank dress, but in a more fall/neutral colour
Those are the things I would love to wear more- and my next goal will be to hunt down the right fabrics and the patterns for it.
hmm, I have to say that even after all this hard weekend, I’m still stewing. I’m going to sleep on this for a couple nights and decide if I’ve really done this first sorting thing enough justice, or if I need to get back in there and be a little more ruthless. *sigh*
Do you have this hard of a time going through your clothes?
Have you ever done a huge wardrobe haul?
What are the biggest blocks that you have with your wardrobe?
Let me know your thoughts! I appreciate all of your comments and help!!


  1. Cheryl

    Don't worry about still having too much or everything not matching the plan yet – this is an ongoing process – not a once and it's done exercise! You made a GREAT start. I agree with several of the needs you identified – you definitely need more bottoms and a few dresses wouldn't hurt. You may want to hold off on any tops for a bit. See how things go for a few weeks and then re-evaluate. Be more ruthless about what you add than about what you get rid of. What you add should fit, follow the plan and be the best quality you can afford since these are keepers that will be worn a lot. If you are not wearing something you kept try to determine why – is it for a special ocassion or do you need something to pair it with – before getting rid of it. And there is nothing wrong with holding onto a favorite even if you rarely wear it (like the fair isle sweater).

    I'm lucky with my recent wardrobe purge – I retired so got rid of most of my work clothes. At the same time I simplified my casual clothes. I found jeans that fit and bought several (dark indigo and black) and am replacing polos & v-neck tees as needed. My color palette is very limited – navy & gray on bottom (black jeans quickly fade) and turquoise, pinks & purples on top. I do have things that don't follow the plan but not much and definitely nothing to stress over.

    • EmeraldErin

      Thanks so much for your comment Cheryl! This is a huge learning curve for me, and I can definitely be a little hard on myself sometimes. Those are really great ideas- bottoms and dresses, I have such a hard time finding jeans that fit me, so I have avoided it for too long! Onwards and upwards!!! Thanks!!

  2. Sofía

    You did A TON of work, Erin!! You should be proud of yourself! 🙂 I strugled too when I did my big closet haul last March, so you're not alone!

    I think that my closet now is more or less like yours, maybe with less sewaters and more dresses (well, far too many dresses. I can't resist the temptation to buy/make cute dresses!)

    One thing that helped me to make good pairings between my clothes is organizing my closet by colours, from darker to lighter. It sounds a bit obsessive, I know! 😛 But this way I found that the easiest outfit formula for me is to pair a darker piece of clothing with a lighter one (eg. black jeans with a pale pink t-shirt, or a white skirt with a navy top). The only thing you have to do is to grab one garment from each side: it saves my lazy mornings! 😉

    So, good luck with your style search!! I love to read these posts!

    • EmeraldErin

      Ohh! The colour coding sounds like a really great idea- probably better than my grouping system right now- definitely something to think about! And I think I would like more dresses in my wardrobe too- I'm finding that unless pants are super stretch (yoga pants or leggings) then I really just don't have the patience to wear them, because they're never comfortable enough for me, but dresses are so much more comfortable. Thanks for all the support 🙂 🙂

  3. Rosemary Griffin

    Well done. Style and wardrobe planning seem to take the most time. Once that is sorted finding the right clothes is easier. Do you belong to Stitcher's guild on Artisan Square? 6 Pac seasonal plans seem to blend from one season to the next.

    • EmeraldErin

      I'm not part of either of those groups- but thanks for the suggestions, I'll have to check it out! So much to learn about style! Thanks!

  4. allie J.

    Oh my gosh, you've done a lot of style searching here! You may not see it, but I can totally see your color palette peeking through here; emerald, scarlet, coral, and mustard for sure! I think as you go forward and replace things that are wearing out/not fitting in as well, you'll become a lot more cohesive, but this looks like a great start!

    I agree with Sofia above–I used to organize my closet by color and it was really nice. I don't anymore because of laziness but it was very helpful getting dressed!

    • EmeraldErin

      Another point to colour coding my wardrobe! And I think I'm just used to blazing through things, and this is a project that will be ongoing for quite a while- well I guess style never really stops evolving 🙂 So much to learn! Thanks for the support! xo

  5. Gillian

    I think you are being way too hard on yourself! i mean, there are no rules, girl! On the other hand… you sound like you might be happy packing a medium size suitcase and living from that for a week. The other stuff will still be there but you'll see it with fresh eyes after a break!

    • EmeraldErin

      I think this is just really challenging for me- so right now a medium sized suitcase does sound like a good option lol- but it's all part of the process, I think I'll loosen up on the rules when I feel a little more in-control with my style 🙂 🙂

  6. Helen

    Well done. I wish I had as much courage. I have too many clothes that don't work together but having invested so much time and money making them I just cannot get over the guilt of donating them. I'm not sure how I can move forward but I am thankful that you have shared your experience so openly. I am following your progress and good luck.

    • EmeraldErin

      Thanks Helen! I can totally relate to you- there is some strange guilt that we attach to clothing, I think for me a huge focus is going to be on making my clothing more mindfully in the future to be sure that they will fit in well and see a lot of wear. It does feel very vulnerable to put all of this out into the world- but you guys are all so amazing that it completely worth it! <3

  7. Anonymous

    A wardrobe purge is hard! It does get easier. I did a HUGE purge about 5-6 years ago. Some tips.

    The first purge is the hardest. With what you've kept turn the hangers the wrong way. As you wear something put it back w/the hanger the right way if ( if ) it's something you definitely know you want to wear
    again. If wearing an item irritates you no end get rid of it right then. At the end of the season have a hard look at what you didn't wear. Really think about why it didn't get worn. Maybe it needs to be purged now. Use the same method with anything that's folded.

    I'm assuming you didn't purge any spring/summer clothes. Do that before you switch things around in the spring. Use the same method w/spring/summer clothes.

    As you buy/make a new item look to see if it's filling a hole or replacing a current item. If it's a replacement get rid of the original.

    You'll find "holes" ( missing needs ) in your wardrobe. Make notes and try to fill them. Usually they're basics.

    I purge each season ( spring/summer and fall/winter ) twice a year. When I pull the season's clothing out and before I put it away. Sometimes I'll keep something that I'm on the fence about but when I pull it out the next season I know it's got to go and it does without any remorse!

    I'm signing as anonymous since google sometimes doesn't cooperate and looses my entire response! LOL


    • EmeraldErin

      Thanks Debbie- great tips! I'm absolutely going to do the hanger trick! I did leave all of my summer clothes out, I figured that my ideas and style might evolve after all this fall and I would be better equipped to do it when spring rolls around. It's definitely a process! Thanks for all your great tips!

  8. Chris

    Well done!!
    If I am really on the fence, I put things in a clear box someplace else (another closet). If I find I do want it, out it comes!
    I also rotate my wardrobe. I pull from the front and put clean laundry in the back. If something makes it to the front and I don't want to wear it, I put it to the back and switch the hanger so it's backwards. Unless something is out of season (paprika sweater dress…), if it makes 2-3 months backwards, then clearly I don't like it and I don't want to wear it!
    Kinda helps keep the purge going!

    • EmeraldErin

      Thanks Chris- it sounds like you have a great system! Hopefully one day I'll get there!!

  9. missmaddysews

    You should be proud of all that hard work Erin! Major closet sorts are always draining, but it looks like you achieved a lot. Even if you feel like you still have a lot of clothes, the next one you do will be so much easier – I try and do one every few months and every time I find heaps of things that make me think "why did I keep that last time??". I'm also trying to have a stall once a year at my local market to sell off clothes which are too nice to throw out but never wear; it makes it easier to clear out when you know that you'll be getting a few bucks to fund future projects with 😉

    I love the sound of your upcoming project list and can't wait to see the results – I made myself a knit pencil skirt pretty much identical to what you describe (soon to be blogged!), can confirm it's one of my most worn pieces at the moment, it looks so cic and is yet so comfy 😛

    • EmeraldErin

      Thanks Maddy! It's definitely draining! That sounds like a great idea, selling your old clothes! I was thinking of setting it up with my friends where we do a clothing swap as a possible way to share around old clothes too!

      Chic and comfy are my two biggest priorities- and I think that project will jump right to the top of my list! xo

  10. Jannie @

    Hi Erin,
    Great job on the wardrobe. I love following along you wardrobe and style project. I want to chime in, in support of whats being said. I think that what really matters is being mindful about what you buy and keep. To shop or create with a conscious attitude about what you need and like. What is less important in my book is the exact number, even though a guidline can be a good jumping of point. So all the time you spend thinking about how you use your clothing well, what you are missing, how to combine things to get good wear out of it, is much more important than wether you end up with 30 or 50 pieces in the end. That is my two cent anyway!

    • EmeraldErin

      Thanks Jannie! I think you're absolutely right, it's going to take some time, but I think going forward it's important that I think about what I'm adding, I can always purge more later 🙂 Thanks for all the support!

  11. Ilna

    Hallo Erin. I agree with what everybody said. You did well. Your wardrobe seems definitely comfortable, but you need more classy bottoms. I love your plan, I think that will help a lot. I found this site a few days ago, and it makes a lot of sense ( I organise my closet with like items together e.g. all skirts, pants, etc. (you get the idea) and then colours from light to dark, so it helps me get to what I want to wear fast. You got some good advice from the others, but don't be too hard on yourself, try to have some fun!

    • EmeraldErin

      Thanks Ilna! Classy bottoms are a must! I've seen that site and I love how she lays out outfits! Also another vote for colour coding my wardrobe- I think it's something I'll have to try. I think for me it will be more fun when I get to the making, and start to see it coming together, but I really needed to confront my closet to start! Thanks for all the support xo

  12. Melissa C

    Hi Erin, thanks for opening up your closet! Your closet and mine are nearly identical and I've been struggling with wardrobe woes that sound eerily similar to yours. After a massive purge 2 years ago, I'm still struggling with how to put an outfit together or what to actually add into my closet to tie everything together. So I'll be reading with a keen eye to see what works for you and to take away some of the great advice others are giving you. Good luck!

    • EmeraldErin

      Thanks Melissa! I feel like so many of these problems are really common, with all the fast-fashion and super trendy clothes. I have to say that it was SUPER hard for me at first, but it's already getting better- I don't think I'm out of the woods yet, and I have a lot to learn- but it's definitely not as hard as the first push. One of the biggest things that has helped me is figuring out my style words, and wardrobe colours- just so I have some loose guidelines to help me. But it's been so worth it so far!


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