Pruning our Closets
Can we blame it on the pandemic?
Prior to the pandemic and WFH, we didn’t wear nearly all of our casual clothes. Between work, evening and weekends activities, travel, etc. we spent a lot of our days in business casual clothing, falling back to a few well-worn favorites for relaxing around the house after work or on the weekends. A year has gone by in this crazy new world, and we’ve been wearing more of our casual clothing as a result. This has also gotten us thinking about what we really love in our closets, and what needs to go.
Running Everyday Wear has caused our closets to grow more than they would organically. It’s easy to hit that buy button when there’s affiliate money to spend, or to say yes when someone offers you an item for review. This, coupled with always trying to fit in what we were reviewing into our rotation, sometimes left pieces languishing in our closets — especially casual wear.
Adding to that anything we might be given by family as gifts, just adds to the growing collection of lightly worn clothing.
Spending the last year working from home, our daily wardrobes have changed. While you may need to look presentable for video calls, the business casual dress we used to wear to the office certainly started to slip. It’s especially easy to throw on a pair of Slim Dungarees or stretch jeans rather than the typical office Futureworks or other chino pant. And have no one know that you are wearing anything which might not fly in your office. All the matters is the chest up, and you are good to go. Zoom-Office-Casual is along the lines of “does it look clean?” And for some a slightly higher bar of “does it look clean and have some type of collar?”
With all of our leisure time spent around the house or out in the yard, casual clothing played a bigger part in our lives. Sometimes though, grabbing an item that you haven’t worn in a while makes you wonder why you still have it. Will you ever wear it again, did you ever wear it to begin with?
Pruning our closets
Stuck at home, we both independently started to look more critically at our closets. Having been in the office recently enough to know what we were wearing, and spending more time in casual clothes at home, we had a wider lens on our wardrobes than usual. This made it easy to pick out items that weren’t pulling their weight, didn’t look good to us, or just didn’t feel good when we grabbed them.
Ben went as far as trying on all of his pants and taking pictures of each to view all of them side-by-side in order to see what he liked the looks of the best. And some looked so bad to Ben looking at them compared to others, it was evident that he could never wear those items again. Ben also started to keep track of what he was actually wearing in a spreadsheet (and convinced Steve to do the same) on a daily basis as a way to evaluate what is a good value to him. This transforms “do I need this?” Into something along the lines of “do I like the way it looks on me as compared to the other similar items I have?” And “do I actually wear this item, and how often?”
For example: Ben took a photo of all his ‘5 pocket pants’, essentially those he felt were direct replacements for wearing jeans, including his jeans. Putting those photos all together it was clear which ones, by way of just the looks of those pants themselves, but also by comparison to others, which simply had to go. Fit on your body matters, and there’s no better way to see it for sure than comparing your best fitting jeans to your worst, along with everything in between.
The clothes that didn’t make the cut either were demoted to painting clothes, emergency bags, or sold/donated. While we realize the privilege in being able to do this, it does feel good when you pass something that is still a perfectly serviceable item onto someone else who will actually wear it. But it feels even better to walk into the closet and realize that everything in there is something we like the look of when we wear it, like wearing it, and actually do wear it.