A Look Inside my Closet

My jackets with scarves

My jackets with scarves. Click to enlarge

I don’t participate in the social media phenomenon called “Me Made May,” where sewers from around the world show off their homemade clothes.  Since I sew most of what I wear, I figure there’s nothing special about May for me.

But inspired by Lizzie Bramlett, as I often am, I thought a closer analysis of my closet was in order. Do I overestimate how many clothes I’ve made?  To find out, I did an inventory of what I’ve bought new, what used, and what I’ve made myself.  And since sewing alone will not save the planet, I paid attention to which of my homemade items came from recycled textiles.

There are a  grand total of 64 clothing pieces in my closet–and that’s everything I own. Long before the Kondo method, I was an energetic closet purger.  To be honest, though,  there are piles of fabric in other closets waiting to be transformed into clothes.

Knit Tops

Some of my knit Tops

You won’t find any dresses or jumpsuits in my closet. I have a uniform style of dress consisting of just three kinds of clothes, an outer layer (usually a jacket), a top, and pants. Iris Apfel would call it boring, but it works for me.  In the late fall, winter, and spring my outfits consist of an outer layer, a knit top, and usually knit pants.  In the long Southern California summer, from June to late October, I wear woven pants and a woven top. When I want to jazz things up, I add a scarf (I own 32).

The used items in my wardrobe mainly come from eBay—except for an occasional nip and tuck I wear them just as I receive them in the mail; the “recycled” clothes come either from fabric bought at yard sales or used clothes that I cut up and remake.

Here is the breakdown of my possessions. I have 21 outer layer pieces, including 18 jackets.  Of these, 5 are used and 5 recycled.  My collection of tops, 30 in all, include 10 recycled creations, 2 used and 2 new.  Although I wear knit pants more often, I was surprised to learn that my pants collection is evenly divided between knits and woven.  Three of my 12 pairs were bought new, 1 bought used.

What’s my environmental record?  Only 6% of my clothes were bought new, 11% bought used, and the rest made by me–83% of everything I own. Of the clothes I made, 23% were constructed of recycled textiles.  Not bad!  But I could do better.

What’s in your closet?

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4 Responses to A Look Inside my Closet

  1. I loved Lizzie’s post of the same, and yours as well! I find these sorts of posts so interesting, and actually more informative than Me-Made May (even though I do participate in the challenge). MMM is less of a challenge for me this year because so many more of my clothes are me-made, or are at least strategic enough that I can get through a month without 100% RTW.

    I try to buy second hand as much as possible, and only rarely new (exceptions: undergarments!), but still. I think I counted 79 pieces in my wardrobe, for all seasons, not counting pajamas and workout wear. It could be less. I’m still working out how to make that happen and still be happy with what I’m wearing each season. (I do Project 333 as well, so that is naturally limiting in a good way).

    Thanks for sharing a peek into your closet!

  2. eimear says:

    I am not sure of amount of items in my closet. I dont have a lot in some respects (in that technically it all fits in to one wardrobe) but at times it seems excessive when I think of what the average 80s wardrobe would have, and I also believe that mine is minimal by comparisson to my colleagues. I have not bought anything new in 2 years or so, when I buy anything, I always will check for the quality of fabrics and I tend to try an mind my clothes as I can get rather sentimental about them and most of my buys will last and last, and quite a few are in double digits. One such was a large straw hat bought 25 years ago. I think at the time it could have been 30pounds and I was job hunting at the time and it was probably nearly a weeks rent (I really cannot remember how much but it was definitely more than I could justify or afford – but I rarely buy anything impetuously) , but the quality of the straw and make seemed so good. It still comes out each summer, and still is as good as ever.

  3. Katrina says:

    Fascinating! I think we have a similar approach. I haven’t bought anything new except for shoes and underwear since around 2007, just after I retired. I browse the XL racks at the second-hand shops for pants and shirts, and recut and sew them to my shape. Although I don’t know the exact number, I do know that my clothing takes up about 1/4 of the closet space it did 10 – 20 years ago.
    Of course, I now have a whole room full of fabrics, since I can’t seem to keep my hands off of beautiful textiles that I love. Not an ecologically sound practice, but at least it is a healthy creative outlet for me.

  4. Lizzie says:

    I’m so happy that I inspired others! I’m really impressed that you have dressing down to a consistent three pieces.

    My mother was Marie Kondo. If we didn’t wear it, an item would leave our closet and go straight to the church rummage sale.

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