Need a Good Closet Rummage?

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I had an email from Club Monaco this morning with the subject line: “Need a good browse?” “Yes, I do,” I thought. “I do need a good browse. But not through the offerings on the Club Monaco website. Through my own closet. Now that I’ve organized my wardrobe, put away most of my summer clothes, and brought out my lighter fall jackets and sweaters, skirts and pants, I do need a good browse. But the word “browse” implies running my hand lightly over the neatly arrayed jackets in my closet, gazing with satisfaction at my sweaters and tee shirts, newly folded and tucked into drawers. To describe what I’m itching to do, I need a word with more commitment, more energy. Like rummage.

I need a good closet rummage. In fact, I need to browse and then rummage. I will look first, and have a good think. Maybe consult a couple of my Pinterest boards. Get a feel for how I feel, so to speak. What do I want to wear these days? What excites me? And feels fresh? Then I will push hangers aside, pull skirts and pants out of the closet and lay them on the bed. Open drawers, grab sweaters and tee shirts. Unwind belts and pull bags out of hiding. To see what I might wear over the next while. To turn into reality those outfits I’ve been dreaming about these past few weeks. Or consign them to the rubbish heap because, well, reality does not always live up to fantasy. As we all know. Ha.

Favourite outfit from my closet rummage. Faux leather skirt from H&M, Stan Smith sneakers, Everlane cashmere crew, and All Saints bag.
All ready for … something.

I started my rummage with this faux-leather skirt from H&M, above. I know, I know, H&M is the very height of fast fashion… but we discussed this at the time. And despite my guilt over my fast fashion lapse, I forgave myself. Because I wore my skirt so little over the winter, I’d intended to try to style it for spring and early summer. Well, that didn’t work as planned. And so I owed it to the skirt to be first up on this closet rummage.

Below are some of the inspiration shots I saved to my Pinterest board when I bought my skirt. That’s Karen from KarenBritChick on the left. I follow Karen on YouTube. You can find her channel here. She does a great series called “What Everyone is Wearing in New York” where she stops passers-by on the street and chats with them about what they are wearing. It’s fun to watch, and Karen’s lovely personality and obvious love of clothes shines through every episode. I am always charmed by how friendly people are and how much they enjoy chatting to her about their outfits.

So, anyhoo. Yesterday, I pulled my faux leather skirt out of my closet along with an array of tops, sandals, my sneakers, and a couple of bags. This look, below, was my favourite. My black, Everlane cashmere crew, half tucked in. New silver hoops and a gorgeous silver chain that I bought earlier in the week at Magpie Jewellry in the Glebe. My new belt from Nordstrom, and the grey cross-body bag from All Saints that I bought last year. I lightened the look a bit with my Stan Smith sneakers.

Favourite outfit from my closet rummage. Faux leather skirt from H&M, Stan Smith sneakers, Everlane cashmere crew, and All Saints bag.
Whew… almost lost the bag there.

Now, let’s discuss this outfit, shall we?

The black on black doesn’t look as dour as it might because of the shine from the skirt. I deliberately didn’t want a lot of colour, or even a pop of colour as they say. So I wore only silver jewellry to match the hardware on the bag and belt. I didn’t carry my black, cross-body bag from Mackage because even though it’s small, it’s quite a chunky bag and looked dreadful with the outfit. If I had on boots and a heavy sweater, which I will later in the season, I’d carry the Mackage bag. In theory my white sneakers should look terrible, but they just work.

Now… about the socks. Somehow they just work too, in my opinion. I love that cheeky little bit of black; my no-show socks making an appearance. Ha. Really, lady-like on the top and non-lady-like on the bottom should jar. But it doesn’t.

Favourite outfit from my closet rummage. Faux leather skirt from H&M, Stan Smith sneakers, Everlane cashmere crew, and All Saints bag.
Not jarring at all, in my humble opinion.

Next up was a throw-on outfit to wear picking up a few groceries, returning books to the library, or meeting my walking buddies for a coffee here in the village. My very old, black and white striped tee from A.L.C. is heavy enough to have the feel of a light sweater this early in the season. And it’s also substantial enough to be able to fold the hem under to the length I want and have it stay put. I do this a lot, fold under sweaters and tee shirts to alter the hem length. Sometimes I do this with pants too. It’s a good trick.

H&M faux leather skirt, A.L.C. tee shirt, Stan Smith sneakers, All Saints tote.
Dressed for a trip to the library. Or something.

More shots from my Pinterest board. Including the one in the middle which made me think of wearing my striped tee instead of a sweater. Once it gets a bit cooler I might try adding a denim jacket over the tee and changing to my ankle boots.

I’d prefer a black, light-weight shopper or tote with this outfit, but I don’t own such a thing. I’ve been looking on-line and nothing has appealed. So I substituted my grey tote bag from All Saints. I like this bag, but it somehow doesn’t totally work here. Too big and heavy maybe? Too wintery? Perhaps if I wear this outfit, I’ll dig my straw tote out of storage again. You know, now that I think of it, I might wear my small, black “Pack Safe” travel pack with this. It’s designed to be worn around the waist, but I could wear it as a cross-body bag with this outfit. It would be more casual than the All Saints, and a better weight. Darn. I wish I had thought of that earlier.

H&M faux leather skirt, A.L.C. tee shirt, Stan Smith sneakers, All Saints tote.
Wishing for a different bag. But making do with what I have.

You see? This is why a closet rummage is necessary every once in a while. At the very least when the seasons change. Dreams, inspiration photos, advice on what to wear from friends, or ideas that pop into one’s head in the middle of the night are only that… ideas. Merely ephemeral visions that last until you see if they can be translated into reality. Or not. Until you try the skirt on with the tee shirt and the sneakers and the bag… you won’t know for sure whether the outfit is a keeper or not.

Shopping for and styling outfits must be a bit like on-line dating. All the profiles and the email chats in the world are no substitute for reality. Until you see the guy or girl sitting in a coffee shop waiting to meet you in person, you’ll never know if he or she is a keeper. Ha.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not making fun of on-line dating. It’s a life-line to many singles who want to meet a partner. I have friends who have met real keepers this way. And other friends who have tried it and given up in frustration, despairing of ever meeting anyone who suits them. Still… love is always a gamble isn’t it?

Even outfit love. 🙂

H&M faux leather skirt, A.L.C. tee shirt, Stan Smith sneakers, All Saints tote.
This outfit is not a match made in heaven. Not yet.

I love a long pleated skirt. They work on so many levels. With ankle boots or knee boots, with sneakers or chunky sandals, with tee shirts or sweaters. Here are a few skirts that I like.

Well, that’s it for me today, my friends. I tried on lots of other outfits during my closet rummage. Afterward the bed in the spare room was piled with clothes, and you couldn’t cross the floor without tripping over shoes and boots. And I was well and truly sick of trying on clothes. That is until the next rummage. Ha. Now it’s your turn. Are you up for a good closet rummage some days? What are you wearing during these not quite summer but not quite fall days?

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50 thoughts on “Need a Good Closet Rummage?”

  1. Pleated skirts are the only skirts I want to wear just now . They can look rather ladylike so yes I look for a little twist to change things . The fabric of your skirt is the twist of course & looks great against the dense black wool . I like to wear mine with a combat jacket but I love that denim blue “ shacket “ in the centre pic . Love the whole outfit – especially how creased it is !
    You’ve given me some new ideas of how to ‘casualise’ my pleated skirts . You’ve also illustrated how striped tops don’t have to be boring . They mix in nicely with other things . I agree tops need to be shorter . So I have some shorter , slightly boxy shirts & tops that sit well with pleated skirts & baggier trousers . The fold under trick is a good idea . I can’t tuck tops inside a belt these days , there’s no room 😁
    This article from the weekend Guardian shows we’re not the only ones looking for inspiration .
    https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2021/sep/18/the-woman-who-lost-her-personal-style-and-turned-to-tiktok-to-find-it

    1. Folding under only works if the top is think enough to stay that way. I do it a lot. I am saving that article to read later. Thanks, Wendy. The Guardian fashion and style articles are so good.

  2. I love the last look. On one of my pinterest boards I have a lovely image of a silver pleated skirt. I keep going back to look at it so that suggests to me that I would really rather like one. With black tights and my black brogue ankle boots, real stompers that have had people stop me in the street to ask where I got them. I have monochromed myself out of the picture this last year and I think, like you, a rummage is on the cards. After all – why not?

  3. Ah I am still lamenting the loss of summer! I have pulled a few fall items out of the storage closet and sprinkled them around the great room but I haven’t transitioned my summer clothes out of my closet just yet. I love H&M and adore this skirt on you! I remember when you first bought it. It’s fast fashion but really a treat like having a bit of chocolate with your morning coffee. I rather see it with a lovely silk blouse in early fall and pearls….the juxtaposition of feminine to masculine. I do need to start moving on transitioning my closet and a good rummage always helps clear cobwebs and gives outfit direction as we go into a new season! As always you lift my spirits on Sunday! Adore your blog my friend! Best to you

  4. What a coincidence! Today is the day! Keep your fingers crossed i can get it all done in one day and My husband has no thrown me and the clothes out the door :Never More! I usually do not do this until after our halloween because it stays warm that long here in Ne floida! But good intentions and better now than wait another year!

  5. You are my inspiration to actually try on outfits (for my UK trip) instead of just mentally thinking they should work out: my usual–so not fail-proof–method. I put together a 16 item packing list of mix/match items while looking ahead at predicted weather/temps for the various places I will be going. May reduce the list to 12 items. Following your example, I recently tried on a few combinations of outfits I was sure would work only to discover, they don’t work for me. Either they weren’t as comfortable as I imagined, or they simply didn’t look as I envisaged. Of course, I imagined a bit better body…that might be part of the problem :). So the packing list is undergoing changes. DH is going away for nine days on Tuesday, so will be rummaging the closet to my heart’s delight and finalizing some outfits for the UK. Thanks for the prompting.

  6. I’d like to see the all black outfit with your chunky black sandals and a different necklace. Maybe a chunky jet necklace. Black on black with texture. I can see you headed to the neighbour’s for a glass of wine, wearing this.

    1. Yes, I think I could wear that black outfit with my chunky sandals. I don’t usually wear chunky necklaces and think I’d eschew a necklace altogether if I wore my sandals.

  7. I always enjoy your posts. This morning I was sitting with my cold brewed coffee (have you tried it- I find it so much nicer than regular brew!) and said a little “yeah!” when I saw your email. Such a nice start to my Sunday.

    I have the same skirt as you showed in this post and loved wearing it previous two falls/winters. Now I can’t remember what I wore with it, so I definitely need a good rummage. Still at the lake for another blissful (but increasingly chilly) few weeks, so my rummage will have to wait until we are back in mid October. (My cottage wardrobe is, by necessity, a very small capsule – comfy in my lululemons, Ts and hoodies – so city life blooms with wardrobe choices!).

    1. Thanks, Catherine. How nice it will be to see all your city clothes for the first time in ages. I feel like that when we come home from camping even if we’re only away for five or six days.

  8. What a great post. You have given me inspiration for the end of the month when my hubby is off for a few days with the guys fishing and a good old catch up. I was going to do some outside work but this sound like something I need to get done. I can set up a full length mirror in the living room and spread things around on various chairs and such to see what stays and what is just not working anymore. Even the scarves and jewellery will get a good critique… about time. I really like the on the street looks above, the centre one is quite lovely and the one on the right, all navy is gorgeous. With your slim build and long legs, that would be something that might work for you. Have you tried the bulky sweater over the skirt look? Even the sandals in the one on the right are like your new ones.
    Thanks for the inspiration this morning and your wonderful musings about clothes.

    1. How much fun will that be, Diane! Full length mirror in the living room and clothes everywhere. Ha. Yes, I do wear a bulky sweater with the skirt. Last year I wore my chunky boxy-fit Vince turtleneck and ankle boots and loved the combination.

  9. You probably know this way to learn what one really wears, and I find it •really• works for me: When you have your clothes out for a particular season, after wearing, turn the hanger in the opposite direction (and keep it there) or replace the item in your drawers, folded in opposite direction. After a season you will see what did not get worn even once! That’s a solid clue to what isn’t earning its space, with a few possible exceptions.

  10. I love the first outfit! I know you are shopping your closet, but Coach Outlet has an adorable black patent rain bootie that might work with this skirt. I think a grey sweater would also look gorgeous. As a shortie, I envy your ability to wear a long pleated skirt. Perfection on you!!!

  11. I really liked both outfits. You have inspired me to follow your advise as I get ready to transition my spring/summer clothes to fall/winter clothes. I live in the northwest so that changes from day to day. I so enjoy your blog whether you are talking about books, clothes or the weather. And you make me laugh and challenge me. Thank you.

  12. Love black on black with different textures indeed! Always! Lovely outfits,Sue!
    My pleated black skirt is not leather,but it looks good with light sweaters and boots
    Here was an indian summer for ten days,cold in the morning,very warm during the day. I can’t have my legs cold,so no dresses with bare legs,instead it was ivory white jeans (or jeans, when I was washing white ones…or linen trousers ) with same colour silk or silk blend t-shirt and periwinkle oversized cool wool blazer-I like the combo
    I’m not in a rummage mood yet-still “sunbathing” my clothes,decluttering,cleaning,washing,ironining,changing seasonal clothes……
    I have some ideas on my mind (shopping my closet),I find them excellent,but we’ll see … waiting for tights and boots and ankle boots (but not literally,because I like sunny,warm weather)
    Dottoressa

    1. That sounds like a lovely combination, Dottoressa. Love, love periwinkle blue. I am imagining that blazer with a column of colour under it… so many possibilities. Love that you sunbathe your clothes. 🙂

  13. I haven’t done my seasonal wardrobe switch yet, but I’m definitely gravitating toward the warmer items in my closet. We’re leaving for one last short camping trip tomorrow, but once we’re home again, it will be time. I’ll make the switch, decide what stays for another summer season and what doesn’t. Then I’ll be ready for a good rummage!

  14. I always read all the comments that follow your posts. But, I’m a bit intimidated to put my written words out there for the whole world (and an ex-teacher) to critique. I usually backspace over anything I’ve typed while saying to myself, “who cares what you think.” Today I felt compelled to leave a comment because I’m so pleased to learn you enjoy Karen Britchick on YouTube just as much as I do. Karen’s street fashion series “What they’re wearing in New York” is wonderfully edited and like a good book, pairs well with a lovely cup of tea. Both of you ladies create such thoughtful content. The work you do supports how people of diverse ages and backgrounds can find connection and commonality. Thank you and keep it coming.

  15. Thanks for this, Sue! I love a good closet rummage and trying different combinations. Just feel self-conscious doing it unless I’m alone in the house, which has been a rarety the last 18 months.
    A few years ago, we were traveling to NYC and parts East and planned to live out of carry-ons for two + weeks. I put together a capsule wardrobe (tip of the hat to Janet at The Vivienne Files) laid out each outfit (including shoes) on the bed and took a photo while perched on the top rung of a step ladder. Got caught at it; fodder for a bit of wife/Mom teasing. Never mind–I still take selfies of OOTD to aid my own lapsing memory. When hubby is out for a few hours, though, it’s a toss-up: time to rummage, or time to watch a movie with subtitles? 😉

  16. I think the striped sweater looks fabulous with the skirt. The proportions look more appealing. The black sweater, in theory, should be the winner but IMHO it’s not a knock out. I looked at both photos and I believe it’s the half tuck which is mucking up the look. It’s become so ubiquitous that in some situations we forget that it does us no favours. I tried thinking about the cashmere sweater all in or all out and felt that neither way would give you the look you want. I like the length of the striped top and the ‘hand’ of it with this skirt, it looks very attractive on you.

  17. There was a little chill in the morning and I grabbed a pair of jeans…not my usual summer shorts.
    Arrrggghhh…zipper was a little tough to pull up!!! Another type of “editing” needs to occur…and not in my closet!

  18. Love, love, love it when you wear white sneakers. They bookend your hair beautifully. And I love your discussion of rummaging. I’m in the process of doing that now, but so far without your success. Both of your outfits are great!

  19. I love nice clothes but HATE a closet rummage — which is exactly why I read your blog and a few others, in the hope that I will identify what clothes I want and how I can wear them without actually having to do anything myself.

  20. What am I wearing you say?Something comfortable and long………..
    I need to do a good RUMMAGE as you say as I realize I will never wear a few of my items again.You get to an age and realize even though you love it it does not work anymore plus where on earth do I have to go!I recently watched a video and the woman was talking about her formal attire which she liked Jumpsuits in velvet and one shoulder look.I burst into TEARS as I realized even without COVID no one around here would dress like that anymore!
    Even weddings I am seeing more and more SUN DRESSES!
    GOOD for YOU for cleaning OUT!

    1. I know just what you mean! Although I hear predictions of people wanting to dress up when they can finally get out – I hope that doesn’t just mean ruffled billowy dresses in velvet instead of floral prints…but I HATE “athleisure” and glorified pajamas and yoga pants. Sigh. What are we to do?

  21. This is exactly what I need to do. And I want at least a half-day to do it! JUST realized I have tomorrow off, and it’s supposed to rain – PERFECT! Thanks for the inspiration, friend!

  22. Hi Sue,
    Great post! I really like the Breton top with the skirt and sneakers. There’s a casual bracketing to the more formal skirt that is very appealing. Knowing that you were off to shop, I thought that the large gray tote worked (you could add a name tag stating the purpose of your outing, so that others would know that you needed a shopping tote). Perhaps some sort of structured canvas tote would also work. I picked up a Farmer’s Market canvas tote with leather handles from Food52 and it might be a good match.
    I think that I have a long black pleated skirt. I might pull it out this weekend thanks to you.
    Happy fall and have a good week.

    1. I am keeping my eye open for a tote bag that is not quite summer weight like my straw one, nor as heavy as my leather ones. Canvas with leather trim would be ideal. At the moment I’m still looking.

  23. I LOVE your blog! I look forward to it every week. You have inspired me to try to be more creative with my outfits! You have a great eye and always look fantastic.

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