My first real wardrobe culling was about 13 years ago when I was 20 years old and I moved to Toronto for theatre school. I've done at least one big cull a year for most of my adult life. My most recent major culling was last year when I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I've done it before, and I'll do it again and again until it sticks.
I'm really trying to make it stick.
I feel like half my life I've been trying to get my wardrobe under control. And, for some obscene reason, it never seems to last for very long. I've tried having the classic core wardrobe, and it actually worked when I was in university, running political events and had a 9-to-5 desk job. Sadly, that job was soul-crushing and made me realize how little a desk job like that would me happy in the long run. (There's nothing inherently wrong with desk jobs; I'm just not suited to sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day unless I'm writing fiction.) I envy those who have a 9-to-5 job in a corporate environment because I lovelovelove those clothes! All the perfect pant suits and pencil skirts and blouses and blazers! I love those clothes and I wish I had a job that necessitated a closet full of them. But I don't.
I've tried to have a capsule wardrobe too, but it doesn't work for me. I find the idea of re-newing my wardrobe and having to repeat the wardrobe-creating process every three month tedious and self-defeating. I want to do this once and for all and only replace things when they wear out. Also, swing dancing makes minimalism hard, guys.
I've tried to pare down to what 'sparks joy' as Marie Kondo suggests, but I'm a freaking magpie so I love the clothes that I don't wear sometimes more than I love the ones I wear day-in and day-out. (There's a reason why I still use the phrase 'Shiny!' to describe things I like or things being good even though Firefly was cancelled 13 years ago.)
I've considered The Uniform, but I honestly don't love the concept and, again, swing dancing makes this tricky. (It's like I need to just have a completely separate swing wardrobe. I'm seriously considering this, by the by.)
The most promising wardrobe-control idea I've come across is the Five-Piece French Wardrobe. Its a Basic French Wardrobe plus five seasonal statement pieces. I like the idea because I actually love and naturally gravitate towards many of the French Wardrobe basics, but there's leeway to add some spunk with the five statement pieces. I'm not following any one French Wardrobe check-list because I've found about half a dozen variations. After scouring Pinterest and Google for wardrobe check lists, I've compiled my own list of basics. (Included at the bottom are a number of items that appeared on lists but that I chose to eliminate from my own list. They may be relevant to you, however, so I considered them worth including.)
Of the fifty-six items on my master list, I have forty-two of them. (Admittedly, some of them are in British Columbia in storage, but I'll have them back in June, so I'm counting them towards my total.) I will endeavour to add the remaining fourteen items to my list over the course of this year. For the record, I'm missing the following: silk blouse, cashmere cardigan, leather jacket, trench coat, parka, sandals, sneakers, black flats, straw hat, casual tote, umbrella, wide leather belt, skinny colourful belt, and stripped pyjamas.
I'm beginning my handmade-closet journey with a lot of store-bought pieces in my closet. As they wear out, I'll be replacing them with items I make myself, but I think I want to maintain a closet full of basics, even if they're handmade. After all, who doesn't love a beautifully handmade white dress shirt?
I have already decided that the next -hopefully the last- culling will be in June. I lived in British Columbia for seven years and left in a bit of a rush, opting to toss everything into storage rather than decide what to do with it. In late May, my sweetie and I are going out to BC to get all my stuff. When it's all back in Quebec, I plan to go through everything I own (not just clothes) and cull it all. I don't want to do this again for YEARS. I plan to cull my closet down to the basics and show-stopping pieces I can't bear to part with. I'll post photos of the resulting wardrobe.
Until June, I'm focusing on finishing a few projects that I've had on the go. Even if they aren't wardrobe basics...