Ahhh, perspective. It is a wonderful thing, no? Last night I received a thought provoking email that took my present closet edit to the next level - or perhaps even a few levels beyond. My focus this time has been on what to purge. The thoughtful email from a reader/friend suggested that perhaps I view the challenge from the other side of the hanger (so to speak). What if I asked myself, "What few spectacular items should I actually keep?"
Some of you are having a eureka moment, others of you may have read those sentences unfazed. Let me put this into more concrete terms. Up until now I've been carefully selecting 30-40 items to purge, sell or donate. What if... what if I were only allowing myself to KEEP 30-40 pieces of clothing. What gems would those be? How many pieces in my closet do I absolutely adore? Which dresses make me feel like Sophia Vergera (or Sophia Loren, while we're at it)? Which jackets make me feel unstoppable? Which pants to my yoga booty justice? Are any of these blouses really worth the wooden hanger they rest upon? Or perhaps the ultimate question: if I were shopping today, would I purchase this item. Ouch. Yes, that last one stings. It is actually my favorite question to ask when I evaluate each item.
Positioned this way, I become a much more harsh critic on my sartorial acquisitions. Each piece is cast in an entirely new light and I ask myself, is it hanger worthy? Few things will make the cut, I assure you. This is actually quite liberating. Especially if I can unload them in a more high-end fashion via Vaunte and The Real Real, I feel I might actually end up with a bit of pocket change when all is said and done.
What if we only allowed excellence into our lives and our closets? How different would our existence and our wardrobes be? It should be noted that I already do this with bags. There are no extras in my handbag collection. The only items I have are those that I adore. No so-so bags filling space allowed.
The same is absolutely true in terms of my furniture and home decor. I would never, ever acquire or hold on to something I didn't absolutely love. In fact I go out of my way to eliminate anything in my visual life that I am not absolutely enamored with. There are no "so so" chairs. There are no mediocre sofas. I do not take in pieces that I don't absolutely love. In fact, I've been known to stubbornly do without key furnishings until I find EXACTLY what I want.
Being in the business I'm in I have most things custom made. They are, therefore, the result of month's long consideration and planning. Each piece is the result of specifying to the letter how each chair or sofa should be created. I obsess over tiny details no one will notice. I fondle a fabric for months next to dozens of others and carefully weigh pros and cons of this versus that and how it reads in a variety of lights and conditions. I put each piece of furniture through the paces before ever placing an order. In the end, I go with what makes my knees weak and my heart flutter.
So why would anyone allow mediocrity in the closet? There are many, many reasons. Few of us apply such a judicious and careful approach to wardrobe building. Commitment and cost differentials play a major role, of course. A sofa costs thousands of dollars and is a longer term investment. It also isn't an impulse purchase. Our apparel should also be considered in such a careful way - especially since it represents us to the world at large.
Yet it's more complex than that, isn't it? We make excuses. "It's summer now. I'll wear it again when it's cold." Will you? I believe lifestyle and lifestage play a key role. I'm self employed. I no longer need clothing for an office. Perhaps I obtained too many boho items before and now I'm back to my preppy classic roots. Regardless, it is time to trim the fat once and for all and leave only space for that which is awesome.
One quick look at my "sell" pile confirms what I've always known: items purchased on sale or at major chain stores are the very first to go. They hold little or no long term value (emotional or otherwise) for my wardrobe. Moving forward I want very, very few pieces. Yet the standards for those few pieces will be exceptionally high.
And so... off I go to dive in and free myself of clothing that isn't everything I hoped it would be. If you're an online shopper, feel free to look me up on Vaunte and The Real Real and Tradesy. The Venti closet is being freed once and for all and I couldn't be more excited.