1. Identify the Trouble Zone
Hint: This is my trouble zone (Image via Express)
The number one lesson I learned in my closet clean out is that tops are my closet trouble zone. I just buy too many! It's the easiest way to make a new outfit, and if I like something in one color I want it in all the colors (this is no surprise to my regular blog readers who have seen my Portofino and Barcelona collection habits). Plus, tops are generally cheaper than jeans or bags or shoes, so it doesn't seem like I'm spending a lot all at once to get a new look and I can buy without trying on and usually they'll fit. But still...seeing how many I got rid of in my closet clean-out yet still having a full closet left to work with made me want to work on this specific area. Skye shares the same trouble zone and we have talked about it in the past with each other, so I asked her to join me on a shopping restriction so we could keep each other accountable.
2. Do Some Math
With summer just starting, we decided to not buy any new tops until we had worn all of the summer tops we already own. We each went to our closet and counted exactly how many we had in there (this did not include multi-season tops like T-Shirts or Portofino shirts). I had 18 and she had 30, so we went in the middle and agreed not to buy any new tops for 21 days while we wear what we already have.
This might sound silly, but just this one simple step in the plan made a light bulb go on for me and helped me commit fully to the plan. Knowing I had 18 days of summer tops to wear without a single repeat made it just seem unreasonable to buy anything new prior to that. I want to make the most of the pieces I own, not just wear them once and store them in my closet for months while I collect more new stuff.
Also, just out of curiosity, I figured out that Official Summer is 93 days long. If I repeated just the same 18 tops over and over again, I'd only wear each one 5 times this summer. That's probably just enough to make me feel like I got really got good use out of my favorites without constantly wearing the same outfit all the time.
I am really glad to be doing this with a friend for some accountability, and now obviously there's public accountability since I'm sharing here! I think I need that element in order to stick to this plan. Skye and I also borrowed the incentive idea from the #JuneClosetDiet girls on Instagram (details here), and we've agreed that if one of us breaks the 21 Day Closet Fix and buys a top we have to buy the other person a Kendra Scott Rae necklace. I don't own any Kendra Scott jewelry although I've always admired it, so I'd hate to owe someone else a necklace that I want just because I bought a shirt!
I thought that putting myself on a restriction plan like this would just make me shop more in other departments, but so far it's done the opposite. For the twelve summer tops I've worn so far I already have outfit components like shorts or pants and jewelry to go with them. If I bought more shoes or accessories they would just start becoming like tops where I didn't get enough use out of what I already have. I don't even find myself feeling trapped because I know that I can already wear something different every day until it's over.
So far it's been a very positive experience. Restrictive but not too restrictive, therefore realistic. I am considering repeating the challenge again after the 21 Days because I really like how it makes me look more logically at my closet, e.g. "I've only worn that top once this summer. It is by no means old so I don't need something new." It makes it easier for me to resist temptation in stores or when I see something I like on someone else by knowing I still have ten more tops I haven't even worn this summer (or whatever the number is). It also makes it a little easier to get dressed each day of the challenge because I'm choosing from a smaller number of unworn items each day. I'm sure everyone will have a different set point of how many tops/shoes/pants etc. gives them enough personal variety, but I think this is going to be a good way for me to find out and set some finite limits going forward so I don't go back to my old ways.
I asked Skye for a comment on how she was doing on the challenge (I thought for sure she would owe me a necklace by now!), and she is also feeling positive about it. "It makes me actually look in my closet instead of grabbing for the same things and thinking everything I own is old. It's exciting!"
Update: I wrote this post on Sunday. On Monday, Skye was texting me about a shirt she needed that was on sale for $20. (It figures that would we go on a top-buying ban right as Express has a sale on tops!!!) I told her by all means get the shirt because it will really only cost her $85 after she buys me the Kendra Scott necklace, and I am so excited about that necklace! I think some curse words came after that, but I also think she resisted the purchase. When all is said and done she might be singing a different tune about how much she liked this experiment!
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Skimmer's Digest : I'm not buying any new tops for 21 Days. I already have enough tops. I'm not sure how I turned this into such a long, text-heavy post but thanks for scrolling to the end. If you want to see my parade of 18 Different Summer Tops make sure to follow me on Instagram or catch my Friday outfit recaps!
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