School has begun and the glorious month of September is upon us. This means it is time to dress in more snuggly clothes in colors which often reflect the new palette we see with each new autumn day. Traditionally, Easter and Labor Day are the cues to transition into dressing for the cool months versus the warm months. I adhere to this tradition, not because it is traditional, but because it heeds the wisdom upon which traditions are built. They are holidays at the turning points of the seasons. I have a task on my permanent to-do list for April and September to switch out my closet for the next season.
Pictured below is the bottom rack of my closet where I hang my bottoms (naturally). These are the bottoms that have been hung there since April. I hung all the hangers backwards at first and hung them the other way around throughout the summer only if I wore them. This picture is irksome to me because the clothes are not organized according to type but, just for this picture, according to the direction the hangers faced. The clothes to the left of center (where the little blue marker is) were worn, and the clothes to the right were not worn. It turns out that I wore thirty-eight bottoms and did not wear thirty-five. How nice it would have been if I had known in April that I would never wear those thirty-five this year and eliminated them up front so that the clothes I did wear had more hanging room. My daily decisions would have been less complicated and time consuming.
Once I determined which pieces were not worn, I put a tiny elastic on each hanger so that I will know at the end of next season which items have gone two seasons without being worn. When that is true, I will need to seriously consider whether I should continue to pay their mortgage. I bought these little elastics to use with my scarves. (That will have to be a separate blog post on another day.) They are found in the hair care aisle and a package of one gazillion will cost you less than $3. I have never used them on hair but I am finding them to be handy in unexpected ways.
The next step is to pull from the rack anything that is no longer appropriate to wear this time of year. That would be whites and light colors and fabrics that would be too cool or worn with summer shoes. These need to be stored elsewhere. You may have to get creative with storage under the bed or on closet shelves. I have hung off-season clothes behind my hanging clothes on the bar that anchors the wire shelf to the wall. I was sad when my oldest son left home but was slightly comforted when I realized he left me an empty closet. It has become my off-season closet. It is nice to get clothing out of sight and out of mind for a whole season. They then seem like new clothes when you are reminded of them next season.
The summer items now transition to the off-season closet and I pick out the pieces from the off-season closet that can be used when the first chill of autumn is felt. There aren’t many for me because I have half a rack of sweaters that stay in my closet year round. Most buildings in the South are very cool to combat the high temperatures outside so I find that I need a sweater every time I go anywhere. The day I determined to wear a sweater everywhere was the day I left my lunch half-eaten on a restaurant table because I was so miserable from shivering that I couldn’t enjoy it. The thin, three-quarter-length-sleeve sweaters are wardrobe staples for me.
Now summer doesn’t turn to winter on a dime so there will be a gradual switching of clothes from my closet to the off-season closet. We Southern Belles have the added challenge of trying to look like October when it feels like July! It will be January before we need wool and we will shiver in our Easter dresses because our weather is unpredictable. I should go ahead and create some fallish outfits that won’t make me sweat.
And now for the finished product.
Here are my autumn bottoms! From left to right, I have shorts, capris, pants, and then skirts ranging from casual to dressy. I am already looking sideways at the more summery ones which will soon be switched out for winter pieces. Those elastic bands will be staring at me and I will be staring back giving hard consideration to whether they should really be in my collection. I’m pretty sure I can’t zip several of them; this closet has made some of my garments shrink in the last few years.
Bulky wools and coats take up a lot of closet space so the more real I can be about what I actually wear, the less packed my clothes will be in my closet. Let’s face it: we reach for our favorite pieces over and over anyway so we need far less than we think. I often wish I could snap my fingers and the clothes I will never actually use would disappear. Minimalism and less complication is appealing more and more. I haven’t changed greatly in size over my life so that lends to collecting things from long-gone styles that I can’t see as long-gone. Thus a collection is prone to only inflow unless it is purposely purged.
I like the idea of thoroughly enjoying what I really like and letting go of the rest. It seems that it would mean that you can celebrate who you are and that you aren’t still experimenting with multiple styles. My style and maturity have changed over the years and sometimes it is difficult to recognize when it is time to let go of a former era. Fashion is just one tangible way we do this and it should encourage us to be as real with our inner selves.
Enjoy this lovely time of year!