Wardrobe Woes

Talk about a lack of blogging lately. But it’s for good reason, well, several reasons actually.  First off, the weather. It has been raining nearly every day since we got back from California, including all of last week, which was a busy one too, including two send-offs to some very good friends who are off on adventures.  I really don’t like photographing inside, as we must rely on natural light for decent lighting, and our place is small, offering few decent areas to shoot.  Meanwhile I’m facing some wardrobe woes.  First our closet is packed. And I mean packed. Before today, I had just under two inches of wiggle room in which to shift my clothing in our main closet when I want to get dressed.  My “good vintage” closet, the one which houses my fancier duds, is brutally packed, as is our coat closet and I’m just becoming frustrated.  Secondly, there is certainly a shift in what I’m wearing. More often than not, I am pulling out my western and Mexican inspired pieces before contemplating another look when I get dressed each day.  These pieces make me happy.  And I think clothing should make you happy.  So, over the last few days I have pulled out every single piece of clothing I own, as well as hats and purses and sifting through them, selecting items to get rid of.

Unlike many vintage loving girls, who will put up a standing rack or decorate their walls with their hats and purses, I want all of my clothing in a closet.  Now, if I had a dedicated dressing room, that would be a different thing, but when it’s a bedroom, it all has to go in the closet.  Our apartment is small, and we like books and art, and these things take up room, and I’ll be honest, I like my books and art and prefer them, as they make for a more beautiful setting in which to live.  All of this plays into how much clothing I can have.

My large amount of clothing means I rotate my wardrobe for spring/summer and the fall/winter, shoving out-of-season items in tubs under the bed and in our suitcases, though items must be removed and placed into neat piles when we do go on a trip.  The seasonal change over is a grueling process, as Oregon is known of have erratic weather during spring, and often I will do a partial change out.

Today I completed going through all of my clothing and have hauled bags to Buffalo Exchange, created piles of items to go into my space at Antique Alley, and filled bags to be taken to some of the nicer vintage shops around town. While our coat closet is still rather full, my purses are much better organized (coats and purses share the same closet), my “good vintage” closet is slightly less full, and our regular closet is significantly less full with hats much more organized, and many of the dresser drawers are better off.

Over the last few years I have enjoyed creating period perfect ensembles, but that has really begun to take a toll on me. Not only am I feeling some of the things Solanah of Vixen Vintage was feeling not so long ago, with creepers and their creepy comments (I walk and take transit everywhere so, trust me, I get a lot of creepers talking to me) but I am beginning to dislike the stress and slight lack of creativity that recreating period accurate outfits comes with. Furthermore, the blogesphere and Instagram are full of vintage girls, as is Portland, and it has begun to feel like a competition for who can have the best novelty print, who can have the best tilt topper, etc. and it makes me depressed.  Right now I feel a need to focus on myself and my personal style, what makes me happy and learn to live with what I have, what I want for myself and my style, and not let what others have alter my feelings.

All of this, combined with reading Overdressed (review to come soon!) has lead me to really decide to seek out a unique wardrobe that is filled with quality pieces. I stopped shopping at fast fashion stores in college, opting for second-hand and vintage shops instead, but even then items that had issues have worked their way into my closet.  Vintage comes with its own set of problems, including a constant repairs pile, and I’m getting better at inspecting items before taking them up to the register.  I also need to look at clothing in the long term.  Some of the items I was getting rid of I’ve had for a year or less, and for me that is too quick of a turnaround.  So from now on I really need to aim at buying pieces that I think will last me at least two years.  Western themed clothing has certainly stood the test of item for me, as I have western wear that I’ve had for seven years!  But I also want to seek out the truly unique and higher end vintage items that will be nothing short of amazing.

I’m looking forward to exchanging all of the items I no longer wish to own for items that are really me, and I’ve already done that a bit. I traded several items already at Simply Vintage and took home a 50s two-piece cowgirl set as well as a stunning, Viva worthy, black lurex dress by Estevez.  These are the types of items I want to fill my closet.  I hope I made it clear that I am not saying goodbye to vintage. Not one bit. I can’t imagine buying new all the time!  In fact, buying new is kind of difficult for me.  I just felt a need to share with you where I’m coming from lately. Why you’re seeing so much western, why you’re bound to see some late 60s/70s rocker stuff in the future, and why you’ll see a few items a little more frequently.

25 thoughts on “Wardrobe Woes

  1. Good on you for culling what sounds like an enormous collection! I desperately need to do the same as my wardrobe is bursting. I am starting to realise that I can’t keep everything and if I don’t love a piece, then it is better off somewhere else. XXX

  2. This totally resonates with me. I’m new to the blogosphere, but the competition thing is something I’ve noticed in my own reactions to other posts/Instagram/Twitter, etc. And the constant need to acquire more and show more. I will say, it’s lead me to start evaluating what my own aesthetic is a lot sooner than it might have otherwise–what I think looks good, what makes me happy–and like you, I think it’s probably not in period-perfect ensembles. In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing you evolve, and uhm, I mean, if there’s anything in my size looking for a new home… (wink!)

    xo
    Whitney

  3. Hum…recently it seems there’s been a shift in thoughts about wearing vintage going on as I read some of the blogs. It does seem to be over saturated in some locations more than others. Aside from people gawking and the awkward comments, I wonder if it’s just becoming too trendy. I know I like to look unique in my vintage ware and me personally would feel kind of awkward seeing most everybody in town wearing it. I have been alternating, wearing a vintage dress one day then the next wearing more figure flattering jeans. They make me happy and feel sexy. Though I love wearing vintage jewels and tops, purses too with the jeans. I absolutely love your Western vintage. Can’t wait to see some of your 70s outfits also. I also think its a freeing feeling not having so much clothes, just more really nice quality pieces like you mentioned. It did kind of make my heart drop a little when I read your post, thinking you might slowly be fading out the petticoats, full skirt dresses and circle skirts. You were the first vintage blog I began reading, and I do think you just look smashing in the traditional vintage ware and hope you continue to post those type outfits. Woops, kind of typed a bit much, 😉

  4. We have precisely the same issues when it comes to taking outfit snaps here as well. Our condo has a ridiculously small amount of natural light (due largely to the fact that the light’s path is blocked by other condos on three sides and a full on hill across the street on the fourth) and when the weather is the pits, as it’s been for most of the last few months, we’re at its mercy until it perks up and we can quickly (hopefully) squeeze in a shoot again.

    What a massive and highly commendable undertaking you’ve been doing with your wardrobe as of late. I love that you’re striving to focus on those pieces and styles that make you the most happy to wear these days. I swear, a person’s happiness can shine through in their wardrobe and I really see that as being the case with you when you sport your awesome western/Mexican threads in particular.

    ♥ Jessica

  5. Man am I feelin’ ya! I DO have a devoted dressing room, so sad ;), and it’s not so much space that’s an issue for me; but feeling happy with what I have. Feeling happy with what I’m wearing and who I am. Whatever you choose to wear, you always look fabulous! (But feel free to kick some novelty brooches my way if you weed through those! Hehe!) Thank you for sharing this!
    ~xoxo, CoriLynn

  6. Good for you! I commend you for not only taking on such a big task but for being able to narrow it down to what you really want to wear. And at the end of the day, like you said, it’s about what makes you happy. That’s what matters in clothes (and most everything else too!). Also, I LOVE your Western stuff! You just don’t see that over here in Ohio for obvious reasons, and it’s so cool to see something different.

    But the weather, OH, the weather! I absolutely know what you mean. I don’t have any room to take pictures inside, either, and it’s just miserable outside. *sigh* Here’s hoping for a change soon!

    Cheers,
    Jenny

  7. I keep clothes in bins, too! Not just seasonally, but all the time because I have extremely limited space and a tiny, tiny closet. It’s pretty frustrating because things wrinkle up like crazy and I can’t always find that one piece I’m looking for. Reassessing your wardrobe definitely helps lift some weight off your shoulders. It was a great idea to purge some items. Sometimes paring things down makes you even more creative and inspired because you just have the pieces you really love! 🙂
    -Melissa

  8. Good post! You must wear what you like, not choose something because you have to. For example, right now that viva is just around the corner, girls (and prices…) are becoming crazy about hawaiian stuff, lurex everything, sequins dresses…. I honestly don’t understand, I like to create my own style… for example I really like flowers fabrics, it’s not really fashionnable among vintage girls, I will never wear a lurex or sequins dress… I don’t wear vintagecat work so it’s perhaps better to find inspiration on week-ends….

  9. I totally understand on the lack of natural light and busyness.My blog has also lacked in new content lately…
    I appreciate the intentionality you’re taking with your wardrobe. even vintage can be as bad as new throw away stuff if it’s never used or not a good fit for one’s wardrobe. Plus, you’re right. vintage is becoming more popular, and I’m looking to discover my “niche” that sets me apart. More power to you in your wardrobe adventures: we’re behind you 100%¡

  10. My wardrobe is in need of cleaning out too! I’ve recently graduated university and started a “big girl” job and my wardrobe has different needs now. Especially since I wasn’t planning on having the type of job that I have now! Personally, I’ve been finding myself drawn to separates and basics instead of novelty print dresses all the time.

    I think your Western/Mexican style is great and I look forward to seeing more outfits from you. 🙂

  11. Brave, brave lady! I applaud you for being true to yourself and what you want your clothing to do for you, and for being so ruthless with your clear out – it’s never easy. Best of luck in achieving the perfect wardrobe for you, and never let the creepers get you down! P x

  12. This is a great post because like with modern fashions there is a time to clean closet. It is realistic to be real with what you like. The difficult thing with vintage is that I also see it as an art form so even though certain pieces I wouldn’t wear in day to day life they have an aesthetic and sentimental purpose but at some point it becomes a collection and when you have limited space can present a problem. I don’t want to be a hoarder and sometimes I do feel like this lol. I would just love a walk in closet…dream:)

  13. Seems like a lot of us are in a similar boat, right now, doesn’t it? I definitely know what you mean about not feeling creative, anymore, and I also understand what you mean about the ‘competition’ stuff as well. But I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what you come up with in the future! 😀

  14. I can’t even imagine the amount of clothing you must have! This is the first year I’ve rotated my closet at all for the seasons, and that’s mostly because when I lived in California the seasons didn’t really matter. I just wore cotton sundresses year-round, and wool was highly impractical. At the moment, I have most of my cotton dresses and sleeveless blouses tucked in a shopping bag in a cedar closet.
    I’ve definitely noticed the competition aspect too. I’ve never felt like my blog and I are part of the “in” group of excellent vintage gals, in part because I really don’t have the budget to purchase and maintain museum-quality pieces and a wardrobe big enough to avoid repeats. I try to style things a little differently every time they pop up on the blog, but I only have so many coats and so many dresses, so they show up over and over!
    But hey, what Whitney said… 😉

    • What!? You don’t feel like you’re part of the “in” vintage blog group!? You are! You are consistent with your posts, which are full of amazing photographs, and details talking about your outfits that I find hard to write about, which is always why 99% of my outfit posts are just like “Yep, went out today” with a little list at the bottom! You also always have comments! Regarding “museum quality” pieces in your wardrobe, I think that you’d be shocked at what some girls actually wear when you see it up close. I’ve been with girls where safety pins are holding their dresses together! Don’t worry about your budget, just relax and buy what you can. No matter what you own, know that you will always have the ability to dress it up!

  15. I’m so glad you posted this. 🙂 I was having a difficult time about two years ago with my “vintage identity”. I was pressuring myself to wear period specific looks and pin curl my hair every day and it took all the fun out of getting dressed, I often “failed” at achieving my self imposed wardrobe/outfit goals and was beating myself up. As if loving vintage meant I had to look like I walked out of 1952.
    After some serious inspection about my style (thank god for the internet and pintrest! haha!) I realized I like a bit of a rockabilly look. That’s its ok to wear skinny jeans and straight hair and that I can have a tougher look, but still love my vintage dresses in the summer. I also got real with myself about how my demanding job impacts the way I need to dress for work and worked hard at cultivating my wardrobe to reflect my style at work.
    Most importantly I realized that having a more casual, rockabilly style didn’t mean I was any less of a vintage gal. It meant that I have a unique, eclectic style and that is awesome!
    I can’t wait to see your style evolve! You’re so right. Clothing should make you happy and if it isn’t it’s time to re-evaluate. (the silver lining in having a vintage related wardrobe crisis is that we can sell the stuff we no longer want so easily – unlike people who by fast fashion and must donate old clothes – and put that money towards great pieces we’re stoked about!)

    Lisa.

  16. Good for you for doing a big closet clean! I’ve been needing to do that myself lately. Get rid of everything that doesn’t fit (or fit me right), things I rarely wear, etc. There’s no sense in holding onto X number of dresses when I really just wear the same ones all the time. It’s funny how many ppl mentioned the competition thing. Am I the only one who doesn’t think like that? Finding vintage is really just a matter of location, luck & budget. Nothing to fret about. Someone else has something lustworthy? That’s awesome for them, and boy oh boy do I love it when they share pics, so I can ogle! It shouldn’t be a competition, it should be appreciation? Idk. Maybe I just think about it differently, as I’m such a “don’t have time fir haters” gal. As for museum worthy? Omg. All my stuff is jacked up. I’m sitting here writing this with a safety pinned hem & a moth eaten 49er. I love the f***ed but fabulous, I get to give things love that other ppl would sneer over, without breaking the bank. Oh god I’m blabbering. Looking forward to seeing the wardrobe evolution! xoxox

    • Btw I completely love what Sara said here about “f***ed but fabulous” pieces. I don’t want to look like I stepped out of a museum or off a period set. Some of my favorite pieces have worn bits, holes, you name it… makes them more real and feel less precious, and I’m all for that!

  17. I honestly have sometimes felt overwhelmed just thinking about the sheer amount of clothing many vintage bloggers/Instagrammers/etc have when I constantly see new and different pieces all. the. time. I simply don’t want to own that much. The idea of my clothes spilling into multiple closets and boxes and boxes off season and standing racks makes me a little twitchy. I am lucky enough that Mel and I each have our own closet, and have a little bit in storage off season, but that’s really it. Okay yeah, our (tiny) coat closet is stuffed to the gills, but in fairness I live in Chicago and need a coat for approximately 8 seasons. 😉

    It’s not ever worth feeling like you should compete with anyone for fashion. That thought just turns me off completely. I enjoy what I wear, I’m learning more every day what I do and don’t like and recognize hey, sometimes that changes– kind of like you’re feeling the Western vibes more lately. I have a nice collection of things, I wear a lot of them lots of times, and I try not to feel bad when I see myself in some of the same pieces over and over again and try not to wonder if people notice. Sometimes it means I have to just check out of Instagram and Pinterest entirely for awhile, because it’s easy for that self-doubt to set in. Sometimes “inspiration” can cross a line into a place that makes us feel bad. I do my best to avoid that place… but we’re only human.

    Everything should be a balance– don’t feel overwhelmed by what you have. Love and wear what you have. Love it a lot, wear it a lot. Do you need a new outfit every day of the month with no repetition? Nope. If it means we see you in the same jacket or pants or brooch time and time again, seriously, WHO CARES! Certainly not your readers and friends. Have a happy and healthy wardrobe and do what you want. 🙂 xo

    (Sorry for the novel!)

  18. I feel much better after reading that. I just had a big clear out of things as I’ve just moved to a new house (moving is always a good motivator to have a clean out). Wardrobes like ours need constant maintenance and yes, it can be totally exhausting!

    Sorry to hear about the creepy comments. 😦 How disappointing!

    Also, it’s OK to let your style evolve. That is what makes fashion fun – constant change.

  19. I have been struggling with the same thing lately! While I’ve managed tone down my clothing collections to “just things I like from certain eras” instead of “EVERYTHING THAT WAS EVER FROM A CERTAIN ERA, OMG, IT’S ONLY $4, BUY IT”, that still leaves a wide path of retail situations where I’m buying because I like it, not because I love it/can wear it/ don’t already have four others similar to it in the closet (oh….the black sequined items I have. Enough to start my own trapeze or nightclub act!). I really loved reading this post and all the comments above, it’s good to hear you and others agree that pressure we put on ourselves to live up to “a vintage image” (and the license that seems to give creepy mccreeperstons to say WHATEVER comes to their head…I work in a downtown library, lord the level of personal boundaries people do not understand) is just that, something we put on ourselves. That doesn’t mean to clip one’s fashion wings entirely, but when the collection’s running you rather you running the collection, I agree, it’s time to do some cleaning out.

    Well done! And good luck on your wardrobe transition, I am looking forward to seeing what new directions you take your always smashing style! 😀

  20. Couldn’t agree more! There’s too much of a fierceness and competition in the vintage world to always “top” everyone else and outshine anyone around you. I always thought t should be about being your best YOU and enjoying what you are wearing and making it YOURS. I applaud your steps in doing just that! 🙂

    -Holly

    Veronica Vintage

  21. wonerfull post. thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
    i really adore the people replicating an era perfectly by dressing up. i deeply adore them. they are so inspiring to me. but i live today and today’s life is expecting different things from a woman as they were expected -for example- in the 50s. i ride the bike to work, sometimes i have to look super professional, sometimes i want to wear something i don’t have to worry about when i sit on an old rotten bench in the park …i can’t show up with the most perfect tilt hat on my head to work, typing my mailes with gloves on my hands … i want to feel happy with what i wear (this is hard enough, if you go to the office every day).
    sometimes the things i wear are more true vintage, sometimes less … most of the time i can’t afford the time to create fancy curly vintage hairdos …. because their is no time left. i quit the competition – actually i tried never to get into this ‘i wear pefect vintage’-competition … but sometimes i feel the pressure from looking at other vintage ladies and feeling not vintage-y enough.
    dressing up should be fun … wear what you like. enjoy being yourself.
    i can’t wait to see the future posts ….

  22. Wonderfully thought out and well-written piece. I’ve always been a gal who mixes vintage with modern, almost all of it thrifted or purchased second-hand, so I’ve sometimes felt kind of out of the loop or on the fringes of the vintage culture. I’ve never been one for a purist look; I don’t like to feel like I’m wearing a costume, and if I were to deviate too far from my personal look, especially under a pressure to compete or to be considered “acceptable,” that’s what it would begin to feel like. I’m not and have never been a rockabilly, a swing gal, someone who takes beautiful pin-up photos, puts up inspiring hair tutorials on Youtube, or performs in burlesque shows, though I know and love many ladies (and and some gents) who do these things, and do them well. I just like to wear the things that speak to me, that comfort me, that enliven my day, whether it be the 1930s dress and 1950s cardigan I wore reading my work at Wordstock or the 1950s crazy circus-themed novelty print dress I wore to a friend’s circus-themed wedding. Oftentimes, it’s just a vintage cardi, an ancient tee-shirt, thrifted Levi’s, and Chuck Taylors worn to take my kids to the park and romp in the muddy leaves. That makes me happy and feel comfortable and should be a valid “look” too, shouldn’t it? I also adore the f’d up but fabulous pieces, as mentioned by Sara et al — as a vintage dealer, I’m more than happy to showcase the more pristine frocks and keep the tattered and well-loved stuff for myself and wear it to (threadbare) bits.

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