Closet Goals

I am on a mission to love my wardrobe–everything in it. A few years ago, I would have said the more the merrier, when it comes to things sartorial. These days, being out of college, and developing a more adult-world style, I value quality over quantity. I would much rather have a few things I love, and fit me well, then have a closet stocked full of a variety of cheap fabric and so-so measurements.

Of course, I cannot remove everything that does not fit me perfectly all at once, because I would be left wearing the same three items all season. We cannot have that. So, my goal now is to get rid of things as I accumulate better things. My ultimate goal is to get to the point where I only have to buy a few things each season, to spruce up my closet a bit. I want to be a collector of clothes…not a consumer.

Here’s the thing: I hate, hate, HATE that feeling of clothing discontentment. I hate feeling like I need more, more, more. Because, for one thing, I don’t. 

I am not a big fan of shopping, because I am overwhelmed by how many things I just love and can’t live without…until I leave the store and don’t miss anything. Most of the time, my shopping trips end with buying a book or a journal. Why? Because a book doesn’t make you feel fat or pale or like you hate everything you already own. In short, you don’t have to try a book on. But because I already have more books than I have read, and because I would like to feel good after I spend money on clothes, I have slowly come up with a closet ritual I do every season to avoid both buyer’s remorse, and time wasted. Want to know what it is?

Note: the following process is a lot smoother, and a lot more enjoyable, with a glass of wine close at hand. Why not make the most of it?

I take a good long look at each item of clothing I own. I notice the quality–how much longer will the item last? When was the last time I wore it? Do I feel good when I wear it? Can it stand alone, or do I have to add a cardigan to cover the teeny tiny hole in the back (please tell me I am not the only one)? If I am not ecstatic about the item, but I cannot seem to get rid of it, I hold onto it for a few months. If I don’t wear it, to the donation pile it goes. If I don’t love it, and am suffering from major inability to make a decision, I put it in a pile. If I lose sleep over it, I retrieve it. If not, it goes to donations as well.

I try on everything: things I always pair together, and things I have never worn together. I experiment, and take pictures of the outfits I love for future outfit inspiration (this may seem too time-consuming, but I always thank myself when I wake up without an ounce of creativity in my blood). Know thy closet. Your bank account, and future morning-self will bless you. That’s my motto.

I take note of all my favorite things in my closet. What are my go-to items? What makes me happy when I put it on? What do I want in ten more colors? I then note why I like them: color, style, fit, fabric? I ask myself what I spent the most money on, and was it worth it? My smartest closet investments: my pink wool coat from Anthropologie, cashmere boyfriend cardigan, brown leather boots. I wear them almost daily in the colder months, and not having to buy them year after year actually saves a lot of money.


I make a list of things my closet is lacking: both basics, and things to update what I already own, both short-term and long-term. On my list this season: a neutral cardigan, basic flats, another pencil skirt for work, pants other than jeans. With a list, I feel like I am on a treasure hunt when I go shopping, instead of feeling like a country mouse in the big city. I stay focused, and I feel good when I find exactly what I am looking for, and can leave the store in peace.

And that’s that. This is usually when I call it a night because let’s be real here: wine and changing clothes at a fast pace are cause for some major exhaustion. At least for me. I don’t know about you.

beautiful feet


Let me tell you why I love ballet.

It’s the music, first of all. Then it is the fact that you become the music. That itch that you have when you hear beautiful music, and you don’t know what to do with it–it just means you long to morph into the music and become something else that is not human, it just is. It’s freeing. When you dance, you hide in the music. You don’t feel like you, you feel like it. It is a perfect marriage–but the music is dominate.

How your head tilts, how your arms are held, the angle between your right heel and your left heel, the weight over your supporting leg, your eyes when you turn, they are all of the utmost importance: more important than the dust in the corners of your baseboards at your house, money, work, to-do lists. Everything is forgotten except what is the most important thing in that moment: moving your body perfectly and being in complete control of every muscle. The intense focus and concentration it all takes, takes away everything else and allows you to just let go.

Last night I took my first ballet class in six years. Up until that point, I had been taking it since second grade. Last night was glorious and I could hardly contain my excitement. It was a beginners class, which was fine because I might have collapsed if I had jumped back in where I left off. I tried really hard, and I think I succeeded, not to mourn the loss of muscle, and the loss of what used to be so easy. I had to remember it was not possible to go six years without formal class, and not skip a beat. It is going to be a challenge getting back to where I left off, but I want it. I want it because I love simply being the music, and not because I feel pressure of any kind. So in that sense, this time around, ballet is more liberating than ever.

*picture on the left: I still have every pair of point shoes I ever wore. picture on the right: California, 2006

choose your friends wisely

 
This past Saturday, I opened the windows in my kitchen and baked pumpkin bread to
 let the scent of fall mix with cloves and spice. After church on Sunday, 
Eric was planning on working on a video project with a friend, and I was planning on
taking a nap. But, I didn’t take a nap. I went to fairyland instead. Come to think of it, maybe I 
did take a nap, and this was all a dream? Overall, it was a fantastic weekend.
 
Have you ever heard of Dumbarton Oaks? Neither had I until yesterday. 
A good friend of mine is volunteering there for a year, and she let me and a 
few other friends have a private tour of the beautiful gardens 
that sit smack dab in the middle of D.C. You would never know it, would you?
 
Dumbarton Oaks was the home of Robert and Mildred Bliss, currently managed 
by the trustees of Harvard University. Mildred Bliss held the study and preservation of art
 and the humanities in high regard, and dedicated her life to preserving and collecting
 Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art and artifacts. The house and grounds today, 
are open as a museum, a site for public lectures, and research center for scholars.
 Mildred spent forty years designing and perfecting the gardens around her home. 
Don’t you just want to be her? I do.
 
 
My favorite tour guides are the ones that have a true knowledge and appreciation 
for the history they are sharing, so it worked out well. And, it just made my 
desire to become a benefactress of the humanities, or ballet, or something beautiful 
grow even stronger. First, I will have to come into a great deal of money easily. 
I’ll post about that right here on this very blog when it happens.
 

 

Every corner of the grounds was different, but I certainly was not 
expecting to come across a pool–a heated pool for the staff 
and fellows (and their friends…choose your friends wisely).
 
 
It was such an escape from the real world and a welcome 
substitution for a prosaic nap. Thank you for a lovely 
afternoon, Ms. Bliss (and Amanda).
 
 
 

how to make your eyelashes thicker and longer

I tried a new method of removing water-proof mascara the other day,
and aside from working beautifully, something surprising happened: I
noticed that after a few days, my eyelashes looked thicker and longer.
“What the heck?” I thought to myself, and then called my
mom and asked her if that was normal. But,
I wasn’t complaining. Obviously.
Want to know what I did?
Read my latest Lydia article here to find out!