Wednesday, April 9, 2014

India Gold, Pink and Brocade - and My Huge Wardrobe

Off to the gym shortly, and I'll finish this later on. But here we go!
I was told by one of my coworkers today that my jacket and shoes all looked very "India, Pakistan and Middle East" - he is Pakistani, so he knows his stuff when it comes to those wonderful glam gold-accented clothes worn in his neck of the woods. I took it as a huge compliment - I adore those glorious saris and woven fabrics.

I adore this shiny (SHINY) brocade jacket - this is my first time playing up the pink in the pattern. I last wore it here in December 2013 with red leather pants and ruffles.
Simple lines today, not fuss, no muss. A pink pencil skirt in such a pretty shade, last seen here in March with dark florals. Adding a simple little sweater camisole (thrifted here on the weekend for $4.50) makes the pink and brocade harmonize.
But wow, such shiny! I got a lot of comments on it today, and I strode about in the office with the coat flapping along behind me like a cape. What fun! I may have made airplane noises...

The stuff:
These woven leather gold kitten heels have been in my closet for many years - I last wore them here in September 2013 with my gorgeous plaid dress (can't wait to wear that again!). They are getting a little worn out, but I'm still eking season after season out of them.

Crazyass necklace. Snake? Elephant? Horses? Goats? A dragon? A guy milking (I hope he's milking!) a cow? Yup, it's got it all.

Coat (Aldo, thrifted), top (Dana Buchman, thrifted), skirt (Conrad C, thrifted), shoes (Aldo, consignment), necklace (consignment).

Reader Tiina L asked yesterday:

I have been reading your blog for quite a while now and I am so impressed by your creativity with your outfits, as well as by the sheer volume of your wardrobe... Seriously, where do you store all those clothes???? I always feel my closets are bursting at the seams, and I have closet space in two countries! Of course, I have nowhere near as many clothes as you. So, what's your secret to storing such a huge wardrobe?

I love answering questions! Thank you! 

Where do I store all those clothes? Mostly in my closet:
Cat not included
I also have a dresser in the bedroom for my socks, tights, camis, soft tops, jeans, junky sweaters and workout wear, and my underwear lives in a tall lingerie chest in the bedroom. I don't really count those. My closet is in the den, behind where I take pictures. It's the size of a very small bathroom, and I had it custom-built when I lost weight 6 years ago as my real reward to myself for that accomplishment.

I'm a very organized person, so it's no surprise that my closet is also well-organized. Let's start on the right side.
There is no wasted space in my closet; it goes right to the ceiling. I store my big vintage hats and my vintage shoes up high, since I don't use them much. Right below them are my short skirts (I'm in my spring/summer wardrobe right now, so lots of brights). I sort my skirts by colour.

Right below the skirts are my blazers and jackets. We also have a hall closet for our "archive" vintage clothing and my real outerwear coats.
Also sorted by colour. The last two outfits that I have planned for this week are on the right side.

I have the "Tower of Power" beside the skirt/jacket section on the right. The shoes I wear the most are at eye level or lower.
One shoe forward, one shoe back allows me to store 3 pairs per shelf without squishing them.
Above eye level are my "never gonna give you up" shoes, and party shoes. Ones I don't wear much, but love too much to give up.
At least, until I need more room, right?

I store my flats on the floor, one on top of the other. I only need to see one shoe.
My gold ones that I wore today go in that empty space between the Chie Miharas and the white flats.

I have a big gold mirror at the back of the closet (see first picture above), and a mini chandelier in the centre of the ceiling which tends to light-blast the pictures.
Vizzini loves the new orange maxi dress.
On the floor I have velvet hat boxes with my belts coiled up (the big ones in one, and the thin ones together, plus chain belts in another). I like my belts rolled up to keep their shape. I keep obis in a couple of shoe boxes, and scarves in two more shoe boxes. I like being able to grab the boxes of scarves and paw around in them for inspiration.

Working our way back along the left side, I have a 6' hang for my dresses. I sort my dresses by colour too.
So many dresses! I really love them. I see a bunch that I need to wear again!

Above the dresses is a shelf that has some velvet storage boxes, which contain some of my "never seen" items, like my dad's sweaters and my wedding shoes. No space is wasted!
Looking back at my dresses. Ones I haven't worn yet (my pink lace dress, my black 70s disco dress, the orange maxi) are up front to remind me not to forget about them. I need some parties to wear those 3 to - I can't wear them to work. Hmmm...I have a couple of events coming up this month/in May...

Beside the dresses is a 4' hang, where I keep my 3 pairs of spring/summer pants (do you see the emerald culottes?), my longer skirts and my blouses. Again everything is sorted by colour.
I used to sort blouses (and dresses) by sleeve length, but I prefer them done by colour. It helps me put outfits together better. 

Above the blouse/long skirt/pant rack, are 4 shelves. The bottom two shelves are mostly sweaters, including sleeveless cami-type sweaters, cardigans, and dressy sweaters or funky ones. I also keep vests here, folded up. 
I also have my "in waiting" accessories here at eye level, like that blue/red/white scarf, the magenta socks (I should put away the Smoking Lily heart pin), my two Wendy Brandes rings in their boxes. And of course, my "Vizzini-fied" Fluevogs that I've been meaning to customize/paint/glue things to.

Above the two sweater shelves are my purses and hats; again, things I don't use very often, but when I want them I want to be able to see them and get to them. Oooh, hats!
I'm not much of a purse person, so I have a few favourites that I've collected over the years.

Vizzini loves to be in my closet. This is looking out of it, and you can see that my practical shoes are stored on the side (my walk-to-work runners, my Converses, my Docs). On the floor below the blouses and skirts, and on the other side, below my jackets, are canvas totes with some of my winter clothes bundled up.
I have a few everyday purses tucked under there too, but I tend to be a one-bag woman for the most part.

Now, I guess that seems like a lot of clothes - and it is! I never used to have this many. I love thrifting and shopping second-hand and looking for new treasures. And for those of you who've been reading for a while, you know that I do a swap-out of my spring/summer and fall/winter wardrobes twice a year when I put away about 2/3 of what's in the closet. This 2/3 gets stored either in the closet (as noted above), and under our bed, in 3 big Rubbermaid tubs.

I really need to see my clothes in order to fully-utilize everything I own. Items that I don't wear much or at all any more get moved to the "archive" section of the hall closet. Sometimes I give those away, sometimes I keep them and wear them again.

So, what's your secret to storing such a huge wardrobe?

Aside from being really organized, and having a big closet? I cull. Ruthlessly, and regularly.

If I don't love it, it's gone.

If I feel like I've gotten enough wear out of it, it's gone.

If I'm just plain tired of it, it's gone.

If it doesn't fit anymore, it's gone.

If it's damaged in any way, it's gone.

If it pisses me off or drives me crazy, it's gone.

Clothes are just things. They aren't really that important; I would rather have a picture of me wearing them, than the actual item. I don't have emotional attachments to my clothes (my family-passed-down and vintage jewelry is another matter!), so it isn't difficult for me to get rid of things. 

I've also found that storing away items for 6 months gives me a chance to "rest" from them, and any emotional attachment I have developed gets time to dissipate. When I unpacked my spring/summer clothes a few weeks ago, a lot of those items were set aside.
Library rug custom-scrunched by Vizzini (see his red and orange/yellow balls?).
Those are the stacks of clothes in my library just waiting for my girlfriends to come over and root through, or for me to bag up and take to work or to Book Club. I love giving away my clothes, seeing them go to a good home, seeing someone excited about them. I rarely regret giving something away - and if I do miss it, I'll always be able to look at the pictures on my blog! And I love seeing one of my items on a friend or coworker. 

I believe in thrifting karma: if you give it away, it will come back to you. 


  1. Hah, Patti just had a post about minimalism. I guess that doesn't apply to you! I love how organized you are. I also need to see everything or I forget what I have. And I sort my tops by sleeve length, but maybe I'll switch to sorting by color like you do. Might as well stir things up.

    Oh, the outfit! That coat is so gorgeous, I'm glad you let it shine brightly today without having to compete. The shoes are fab, too!

  2. Garderoba zachwyca:)))Pozdrawiam serdecznie:))

  3. Your closet is so well organized!
    I have often wondered if it is better to arrange by colour or by style..all pants, skirts etc...what are your thoughts?

    1. I prefer all skirts together, all pants together, etc. If you have enough to sort by colour, then by colour after that. It comes from when I worked in women's clothing retail: good ol' Fairweather! Everything by colour is too confusing - a big block of black or grey (or even red) is uninspiring to me.

  4. Thank you for this post, now I'm even more impressed. And here I thought I was organised.... Actually I am, and I have a similar storage space. The only problem is that it is in the U.K, where my husband lives and works, and I spend most of my time in Finland, where I work (and where my closet is stuffed to the brim...). So, I am trying to come up with a plan that allows me to have the clohes that I need when I need them, in both countries, and still travel light. I'm afraid I haven't figured it out yet. But this gave me an idea for a blog post... BTW, i just love your brocade coat!

  5. I love how organised your wardrobe is! I tried to have a big clear out when I got pregnant, as I needed to move everything out of my "wardrobe room" to make baby's nursery. I'm now down to just one wardrobe and a clothes rack, which is better than one and a half wardrobes and a clothes rack I guess! But when we move house, walk in wardrobe like this is on my list! :)
    Really enjoyed this post - I like seeing inside people's wardrobes for inspiration of how to sort out my own!

  6. Look like a beautiful boutique! So pretty and so well organized. I loved your comment on my post today, thanks! xox

  7. Supremely well-organised, and you certainly make the most of your space. I am no minimalist either, but sadly neither am I as organised as you, Sheila!
    Love the brocade jacket with the pink skirt, a beautiful combination. xxx

  8. Sheila, wow, a particularly gorgeous outfit. Thanks for the closet tour too!

  9. Of course you would have an amazing closet! I am not surprised! Very nice! I am working on the organizing stuff this weekend. It's tough being in a small house - my closet is still the closet in the baby's room. For now that still works though!

  10. Organizing my closet and pawing through my clothes is a calming hobby for me, too. :D

    Thanks for the wardrobe tour!

    I like the brocade jacket even better when you let it shine with solids underneath, like this. That awesome gold torque is the perfect accessory for it.

  11. That brocade jacket is so beautiful and pink and gold are always so lovely together. Your wardrobe is amazing and your organisation of it, your ability to put together an outfit and the lifestyle you have where you can wear your items and enjoy them are all a treat to see on this blog. It is your art form and I am very impressed. It is quite amusing, as Val pointed out, to compare this post with Patti's minimalism one. I am somewhere in between. I don't have a lot of clothes as I don't need them, though I have more than I actually need. I am not a minimalist at all but I need to be able to justify what I have. I need to be using it and loving it or it feels like clutter. I think we are all like that, it's just that what we use and love and what feels like clutter varies amongst us.

  12. The colors & textiles etc here
    really compliment you!


  13. That is my favourite coat among all the incredible coats you have. I would have liked to hear the airplane noises though. And thanks for the tour of your closet. I store my shoes like that too. Many of my clothes are space-bagged and I am interested to see which pieces still hold my interest after several months have passed. I like how you do culling when you crack open your stored stashes.

  14. Love your coat and your shoes! I always stroke the saris when I'm in Value Village. I just haven't figured out what to make with one...yes, I would refashion it into something more wearable for me.

    Wow! Your closet is awesome! I NEED more space, LOL.

    1. Make beautiful throw pillows out of them. That's what I want to do.

  15. Little did I know you were THIS organised Sheila !
    I mean I'd seen your closet before and I know how you take good care of your items and how you constantly purge the closet but little did I know it was SOOOO neat.
    Oh and i love the pink, gold and brocade outfit and how nice of him to compliment you on your look.

  16. That brocade coat is stunning. I wish I had your closet space, I am just having a clear out myself as I have added quite a few bits to my wardrobe lately and some items need to go

  17. The SHINY coat is beautiful, and I lust after your closet! I dream of having a space in which I could organize my wardrobe like that. And I think you actually have more clothes than I do ;)

  18. I love the comment about your shiny clothes! I think people respond to shine. When I wore a shiny Asian jacket the other day a stranger turned and startled saying "wow, you look beautiful!" As do you in all your ensembles.
    Your closet is full of wonders, and I love your generosity to friends. Hello, I am new to commenting...but have been enjoying your blog for a while :-)

  19. Mmmm shoe closet!! I handle my clothes the same way - cull!! My 'closet' such as it is, is much smaller than yours, but it also means I'm used to working off smaller wardrobes. I do also keep my winter/summer gear in different places to keep from getting burnt out.


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