Last week I wrote about a new closet editing system I’d discovered on YouTube. I really like stylist Allison Bornstein’s approach to culling one’s closet. So I tried it out. I identified my “regulars” that I wear all the time, and my “never wears” that I never, or rarely, wear. Then I classified my “never wears” into an “out the door” pile to give away, a “not now” pile to store, and a “how the heck should I style it” pile. And I came up with two new outfits by pairing never wear pieces with some of my “regulars.” So that closet edit worked a treat.
Then when I was stashing my “not now” pieces in my storage closet, I found my old blue shirt. This spring when I turned my closet, I’d stored it. I still liked the shirt, in theory, and I wasn’t ready to get rid of it, but I guess I was sick of feeling guilty for never wearing it
I bought this blue Equipment shirt at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale back in 2015. In fact I wrote a post about it, and about how blue shirts seemed to be making inroads into the long-held iconic status of the white shirt. I wore my shirt a few times that year, and since then, whenever I pull it out to wear it, I end up putting it back on the hanger instead. And I couldn’t put my finger on the reason.
This blue shirt should be a classic “how” piece. So as a follow-up to last week’s post I thought I’d try to revive my blue shirt. To bring it back into the fold by, as Allison suggests, pairing it with some of my “regulars.” I’m nothing if not determined to find a way to wear pieces I still love. Does that make me obstinate and headstrong? Only with respect to fashion, my friends.
I pulled several pairs of pants out of my closet as a first step, and chose three pairs that are in heavy rotation. I’ve been wearing these checked, navy and white Simone pants by Rag and Bone almost every week since I actually started going places again. Yesterday, I paired them with a navy cotton camisole, and my blue Equipment shirt, a small pair of navy and silver earrings I bought in Peru, and my old flat black sandals. I love the navy cami and the navy earrings with the pants. I could wear this outfit, but I know I won’t. It’s not edgy enough and, if I’m honest, just plain boring. I tried different bags and shoes. Nope. Then I discovered that I prefer the navy cami and pants with my white Theory blazer and my sneakers. And NOT with the shirt.
Not to be defeated so soon, I next tried the shirt with my Frame straight leg jeans, and my white Theory blazer, definitely two of my “regular” pieces. I tucked the shirt into the jeans, trying for a blousy, messy tuck so it didn’t look too business-y, and to hide my middle-age middle as best I could. Ditto with rolling up the sleeves, trying for a not too perfect roll. I added my cream Michael Kors sandals. And my gold Michael Kors tote bag, so the look didn’t get too matchy-matchy. I popped on my cream vintage cuff and wore no other jewellery, besides my watch and wedding rings.
Oh my. I love, love, love this outfit. It looks current, and just edgy enough for me. I like it with a minimum of jewellery. I like how everything seems to go without matching. And I love the really messy tuck on the shirt. I had completely eschewed tucking for years. Now I know that was as much about my skinny jeans as it was about my middle. Straight-leg, high-waisted jeans look great with a shirt or tee at least partially tucked in. Don’t get me wrong the old middle-age middle is still there, and I probably wouldn’t wear this shirt tucked in without the jacket. But as long as the jacket disguises the profile view, I’m good. Ha. I’d wear this outfit to dinner, or downtown shopping, or to lunch somewhere in the city.
The last look I tried with my blue shirt involved my Frame straight-leg white jeans and my Stan Smith sneakers. I wore my silver hoop earrings, my vintage chain bracelet, and a white leather one. I like this outfit too. I like the comfort, the softness of the blue and white and cream. It’s perfect for popping out to the library, to the drugstore, or for a take-out coffee in the village.
I rummaged around for a suitable bag to carry. One that was NOT my Eric Javits straw tote, which I love, but which I use all the time. And I found a couple of cloth totes that I bought on our travels. One from Shakespeare and Company in Paris, and this one from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. I love the cream and blue of my bag from Bath, not to mention the quote. “Obstinate, headstrong, girl.” Remember that line from Pride and Prejudice? Words thrown at Elizabeth Bennet by Lady Catherine de Bourgh when Lizzy refuses to agree to never marry Darcy. I love that part of the book. And the 1995 mini-series. This bag has been sitting unused and forgotten since 2017. It’s high time to remedy that.
In fact, as much as I love the outfit with the white blazer, I’ll probably get more wear out of this combination. Simply because I’m more likely to pop into the village for groceries or for coffee than I am to venture downtown to a restaurant or to shop. Still, two new outfits that I really like from one styling session is pretty good. I love both these outfits so much, I think my old blue shirt just might become one of my closet “regulars.”
Now let’s discuss the reason why I never wore this shirt, okay? And the irony that it might now become one of my “regulars.” First off, back when I bought this shirt, it looked dreadful tucked into my skinny jeans. In fact, in my view, everything looks dreadful tucked into my skinny jeans. I tried it under my black summer blazer, but the jacket is too tailored and the shirt too over-sized to work. But with a looser style jacket like my white Theory blazer, and my straight-leg jeans the shirt looks just right.
When I first bought the shirt, I tried several times to wear it loose over jeans. And after a half hour or so, I always felt too rumpled. As if I’d rolled out of bed and pulled on yesterday’s clothes. I can’t explain why I now love it over my white jeans, rumpled or not, except to say that the change must be about me. And not about the shirt… or the jeans.
Obviously, my hair colour has changed. I think the soft blue of the shirt looks much nicer with my white hair than with my dyed blonde/highlighted/low-lighted hair. But I also think that letting my hair go white has resulted in my letting go of some of my obsessive neatness and perfectionism … just a little. Having white hair has made me examine some of my long-held ideas of what looks good and and what doesn’t on me. When my hair was blonde I felt silly in a rumpled shirt. Now that my hair is white I like it. Weird, eh?
Continuing on the theme of a follow-up to last week, I wanted to tell you that Allison Bornstein has her own YouTube channel now. She posted this video just a few weeks ago. It’s all about her own closet, and she takes you on a tour of her “regulars.” Have a look.
Allison’s closet edit ideas are great if you’re trying to do the slow fashion thing. Or if you can’t afford to shop right now. Or are not inclined to tackle the crowds in the mall. So often we think: “If only I had a different pair of shoes, or a different top, I’d wear that piece I never wear.” This method encourages us NOT to wish for new stuff, but to look honestly and objectively at what we already have in our closets. I love that.
So, my personal closet edit has been a big success. Four different “new” outfits in two try-on sessions.
I guess I’d better start going out more. Safely masked and socially-distanced, of course.
What have you been up to this week, my friends? Anyone else give the closet editing method a try? Let me know if you have and how it went.
If you are inclined to shop, here are links to some of the pieces featured in this post. Or as near as I can find if the exact piece is no longer available. These are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission. That’s how I’m paying for my blog hosting fees etc.
Frame straight-leg jeans. White blazer, not Theory, but similar and cheaper. Frame straight-leg white jeans. Rag and Bone Simone pants. Eric Javits straw bag. Michael Kors similar tote. Stan Smith Adidas.