The List

It has taken me some time to take stock. I know, doing things slowly is the antithesis of this day and age where everything moves at incredibly high speeds. But I have been making a conscious effort to live a more mindful life and that does include stopping to smell the roses, or should I say, taking my own sweet time.

I had a really close and honest look at my wardrobe over the last 3 months (where has that time gone?!?), and came up with a surprisingly small list of items that need replacing. Some fall into the category of “urgent” replacement, while others can perhaps take on one last season – if I’m being really frugal about it. I also listed a couple of things that I don’t currently have but could do with.

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The list came up as follows:

  • Everyday tights – urgent 
  • Boots – urgent 
  • Knee-length coat – not urgent
  • Dress – not urgent
  • Wool sweater/Cardigan – wants, not needs 
  • Merino wool leggings – wants, not needs

Everyday tights – I wore all my tights to death last year so now I need to buy at least two new pairs. I found a New Zealand made option for merino tights, but for organic cotton, I will probably go with these.

Boots – well, the ones in the picture have really reached the end of the line but I’m convinced that I will be just fine this Winter without a new pair. The thing is, I won’t buy footwear in New Zealand, and I don’t want to order online – we’re too far away from everywhere for free returns, and without those, there’s nothing to mitigate the risk of wrong sizing. I want to buy these boots in Portugal, as I do all my footwear. Since I am not travelling there until after the Winter here is over, I will have to make do with what I have (ankle boots, city gumboots and my winter oxfords).

Knee-length coat – I’ve spoken about this one here. Below is the 7 year old warmest coat/parka in my wardrobe. Not trendy or fancy but it has served me well through many cold Austrian, Belgian, Czech, English, Portuguese, and New Zealand Winters. Now that I look at it for the first time in several months, it doesn’t look too bad. I think it will make it through another Winter.

coat

Dress – my trusty, all seasons, all occasions, 4+ yo knitted dress from Mango (here and here) is too worn out to resist another season so, sadly, I have to retire it. I had been at a loss for a few weeks: People Tree had some very good options, as did Kowtow, but none felt particularly right. The search ended last weekend when I came across a navy blue, polka dot dress, also from Mango, hidden amongst dozens of other dresses in a second hand shop. It was my size and my preferred fit by my favourite brand, which doesn’t have shops in NZ. It was exactly what I was looking for. I’m happy with my first purchase of the year!

Wool sweater or cardigan and merino wool leggings – these two items wouldn’t really be replacing anything at the moment so fall into the the category of things that I think I could do with. They are currently more wants than needs. 


I focused this exercise on my Autumn/Winter wardrobe as the cool seasons are around the corner – yesterday I had to wear an extra layer for the first time this year – Autumn is here!

However, I have also been keeping a record on the clothes I have been wearing in the last five or six months – like the cardigan in the picture below, which I love but is looking a bit rough. I plan to revisit those notes later in the year when Spring arrives and warm weather returns. Until then, I plan to stick to the list!

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Those of you having close looks at your wardrobe needs, how’s it going? And do you also feel like taking life in general at a slower pace?


A Functional {Intentional} Wardrobe

In previous posts, I make references to a functional wardrobe but I never really stated what I mean. I think it’s time to change that.

I consider my wardrobe to be functional when it works well for me – my life demands, my personal style and even my body shape. A real test of this kind of functionality is time-pressure. If I can put together an outfit I love, early in the morning, with minimal fuss, then my wardrobe is working for me.

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My functional wardrobe is one that has been put together over time, and {mostly} with purpose. This intentional, slow-paced approach gives me an opportunity to explore my style in a way that is adaptable and can evolve with me. It has also helped me curb impulse-buying, minimize clutter and waste in my life, and think more creatively about my outfit options.

From my experience, I wouldn’t say that a functional wardrobe has to be built from scratch or that the first step towards creating functionality is to get rid of everything you don’t love or need.

You need time to learn about your style and needs. As you take your time, you’ll find that slowly, the garments that you really need but are probably of lower quality, are replaced with better quality ones (which last longer and need replacement less often).

As for the stuff that really has no place in your life, you either find a new home for it, or simply don’t replace it at all when it reaches the end of its (generally short) life.

In time, you’ll find that your wardrobe no longer overflows with unwanted possessions and, instead, reaches an optimal size that is a more honest reflection of your clothing needs.

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In my definition, a functional wardrobe really is an intentional wardrobe, as I don’t think you can achieve a high level of functionality without intention. functional wardrobe is put together in a mindful way.

There is some effort in putting time aside to think honestly about lifestyle demands, personal style and whether a purchase fits a real purpose.

But, if you ask me, effortless outfit options, greater opportunities to create and express your own style, and a more positive impact of your style choices, are worth this on-going, long-term process. If for nothing else, for the feeling of confidence you get when you step outside wearing something you love.


What do you think, is an intentional wardrobe something worth pursuing? If you’ve tried something like this yourself, what do you think have been the biggest benefits and challenges?