September 27, 2013

RAC: A Closet for a Real Life

Well organized, massive closet with floor to ceiling accessories
Well organize, but unnecessarily large closet
I want a closet I can wear. More importantly, I want a closet that I do wear. Lets say you've looked through your look books, you've found your personal style, you've gone out and bought your personal style, you've got a coordinated closet of skirts, high heels, blouses and blazers. It's beautiful. It's perfect. But it remains untouched. Because you are a yoga instructor and are rarely required to wear office wear. 

Your closet should fit your actual daily life- not the daily life you want to have. 

If this seems obvious, it is. Does it still require a blog post? It does.

My closet feels like this sometiems

For instance: in the past year, I have not worn one pair of high heels. I can't bike in them. I can't walk the requisite mile and a half in them. And yet, half my shoe collection is comprised of unworn high heels because I like the idea of them. While my two pairs of flats and single pair of boots are worn down to almost nothing.

Or, I have three fancy winter coats perfect for going to the opera or the ballet. Yet, I never attended either the opera or the ballet once this past year despite loving the idea of it so much. 

These items fit my personal style certainly. They are beautiful, I love how I look in them, but they don't fit my lifestyle and so they go unworn. Does this mean to the donation bin for them? I'm not sure. If there comes a time in my life when I can wear high heels and afford the theater, I'll want these on hand. But in the mean time, one thing I can absolutely do is keep myself first, from buying things I won't wear and second, being on the lookout for things that I would wear on a daily basis. 

A closet full of pretty clothes, might not get worn

How to do this?

A lifestyle analysis. These are the steps I am taking to try and decide what I need to be on the look out at thrift stores and the like.

1. How do you actually spend your days?

This is a difficult question to answer since I feel as though I am in transition for so many things. For paid and regularly attended commitments, I have two: School and Krav Maga.  For the divisions of my days, I attend school, study, hang out with friends, and work on my desk. (As I continue to adjust to my new life, these activities will, hopefully, expand.)

2. What do these activities require in apparel?

Krav Maga: Basic workout clothes:  (clean tennis shoes, plain shorts, plain shirt, sports bra) X 2

School: my school is wonderful and allows me a wide variety of clothing for the basic classes. I can go from very casual jeans and a tee shirt, to my more elaborate daily wear.  However, the practical classes are a little more strict.

Normal Classes: whatever I want: (Skirt, blouse, shoes, jacket, tights, etc) X4

Practical classes: clothes that aren't restrictive and allow access to general musculature. (Tank top, shorts (or skirt), closed toe shoes, something to cover during the colder months.) X3

Study/ Hanging out/ Work at desk: slightly more casual, comfortable clothes. X 7

3. What other conditions should you take into consideration?

You can include anything you want, but for me this is transportation and weather.

Transportation: since I walk at least a mile every day, my shoes need to be practical. Since, I often bike, I can't wear many hats.

Weather: up north, the winters are bitter and the summers miserable. I need two distinct wardrobes. In the winter, an abundance of overcoats, gloves, hats, scarves, sweaters and tights. In the summer, things must be light and flowing.

4. How well does your actual closet fulfill these needs?


My entire wardrobe is geared towards Normal Classes with little regard to transportation though pretty flexible for the weather. I have just enough workout and practicals clothes to last a week, but doing laundry every week would just wear out those pieces too quickly.

5. What needs to go on the shopping list?

From a quick perusal:

~ One pair of black flats.

~ A pair of boots

~ 4-5 new tank tops.

I know it is possible to find all these items in my aesthetic. The tank tops don't have to be practical for work out- they can be richly colored and embellished with lacy details. The shoes can have quirky details. But these will become immediate and instant parts of my wardrobe- not need to be left waiting until I found the right outfit.

It's tempting to create a beautiful wardrobe full of fancy, well matched outfits but only be able to wear it for a fraction of your life. Now that I have a better idea of what my actual daily life requires, I can shift the focus of my wardrobe to have beautiful, matching pieces that I regularly use.

How well does your wardrobe match your lifestyle?


  1. What an interesting post!! After following your example and answering the five questions (I could write a whole blog post of my own with those answers, but I'll spare you) I find that my wardrobe matches my needs quite well! I am however in quite dire need of a second winter coat (it gets boring with just one) and I wear my single pair of pleather pants so much that buying a few more pairs would be justifiable. I also need a pair of good looking and comfortable sandals/slippers to wear at work... I have one pair of slippers but I don't want to wear those every day, that would wear them out so fast. So far all of the sandals I have looked at are soo ugly and the slippers are non-existent so finding a good indoor shoe to wear to work is my biggest shopping problem at the moment. Some elegant and really warm winter boots are also on the shopping list, but I do have some semi-warm ones and my main mode of transport is by car so they aren't a priority.

    1. Don't spare me! I would love to see a blog post about your answers- especially since your closet and lifestyle are so interesting to me. I've been enjoying all your wardrobe posts lately.

      It's really good to have a shopping list in your head. I find it makes going to thrift stores so much more enjoyable when you know what you are looking for and know that what you buy will become an immediate part of your closet.

    2. if you are interested I'm sure I can write a blog post about it. :) I'll just have to take some photos of my wardrobe first!

      I usually don't have very specific shopping lists when I go to a thrift store. The thift stores here aren't very good, so only rarely do I find stuff that I'm really looking for... It's usually not even worth trying to find something specific in a thrift store around here... However I am always on the lookout for blouses/shirts with shoulder pads or extremely wide sleeves as well as any and all skinny black pants. Those kinds of things are my usual thrift store finds!

    3. Haha. Yes, I suppose one of the benefits of the American culture is that our thrift stores are chock full of interesting finds as people clean out their closets. It would be cool to do a comparison of the things found in your thrift store and my local one. Interested in doing comparative blog posts?

    4. That would be interesting! I keep quite good record of where I have bought my items so it would be an easy thing to pick out the thrifted items from my wardrobe and compare with yours!

      People here tend to either hold on to their clothing or not have that interesting clothes to begin with... But the most common kind of thrift shop here is a kind that is probably not found in most countries... This kind of thrift shop doesn't sell donated items instead anyone can rent a part of the shop where they can sell their own items. Usually the thrift store space is made up of hundreds of little stalls... So the owners profit (not always a charity) isn't made off of the items sold but off the rent paid. This system has both pros and cons. The pros are thet there is a lot of competition and people want to sell their items to pay the stall rent so items are really cheap but it's also really difficult to find anything when there is no organization... I have four such thrift shops that I frequent and then there are a couple of ordinary charity shops. In Sweden I had some awesome second hand shops too, but I'm not going to count those as their prices where quite high and items bought there could not really be considered thrifted...

  2. You do Krav Maga? Snazzy :)
    I end up with "work clothes" "sporty clothes" and "stuff I wear the rest of the time" - the things I always never end up getting are boots suitable for work - because they're a) expensive and b) hard to find in a style that is both practical and something I actually like, as I don't want to fork out lots of money for something I will later grumble about being ugly.