Monday, October 9, 2017

FIFTY! Pink Party, and the Closet Swap-Over

Well, I'm FIFTY years old. I guess I shall have to update my profile write-up! There, done. 

L and I went to our friend Greg's birthday party on Saturday night. I'm pretty sure women over 50 aren't "supposed to" wear this sort of outfit. 
 I generally don't like people telling me what to do or what to wear, so screw that! This is my entry for "Visible Monday" over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style. Since I'm only 50, and not dead, I'm in!

  • Leather shirt - Danier Leather, consignment; purchased here for $69.00 in Sidney
  • Skirt - Danier Leather, thrifted in Powell River; last seen here in April with bad lavender booties
  • Boots - Prepare Hi , Fluevog; last worn here (2nd outfit) in a "Nightmare" look for the VFF Gala in February 2016
  • Sleeveless coat (below) - Only, thrifted; last seen here (2nd outfit) a few days ago over my Space Pants ensemble

Check out the awesome sleeves on this beautiful top! They have a slit, then a wavy "fin" that dangles off them. Perfect for dragging through your favourite dip.
 This pink shirt was a freakin' delight to wear, although I was way overdressed for a casual house party. However, that's what I do. It would be weird for me to show up in jeans and a t-shirt. I wouldn't feel like me!

The shirt is leather-finished on the inside and sueded on the outside, and is butter soft. It'll gradually shape to my body. I wore a black cami under it for smoothing and extra warmth. It's still lovely weather out for October, but quite crisp in the evenings.
L is always dapper, in his purple jeans, purple Fluevogs and blue velvet jacket
 I'm shocked that I haven't worn this leather miniskirt in so long, but it was a warm summer and I do have a lot of clothes! I added the lacy tights for more visual texture.

Outerwear - just enough to keep me warm.
 L and I took the bus both ways. We're not your average-looking bus couple, ha ha! We got a few stares.

The stuff:
 I loved the punch of neon green leather from the bag. These boots are way more comfy than they look, thanks to the hidden platform. They're very stable for walking, although I clutched at L while we hobbled along the uneven sidewalks in the dark residential neighbourhoods.

  • Purse - Club Monaco, thrifted
  • Earrings - vintage 80s, Joyce's
  • Hematite ring - thrifted
  • Death Star ring - Soul Flower

After a nice sleep-in on Sunday morning, I strolled to town for my weekly grocery shop, then started in on the big job of cleaning out my closet. I swap over my spring/summer wardrobe at the end of September (I was a little busy last weekend, you may recall, and chose to delay it a week), and again at the end of March (link to last spring's swap-out here). About 30% of my wardrobe is for wearing all year round and stays out, but the rest of it needs to be assessed (keep or not?) then packed away for the season.

Starting with a "before" shot:
 Me in the mirror, Vizzini poking around, and the controlled chaos of what my closet looks like at the end of 6 months: a little bit of a mess and somewhat overcrowded, and spilling over with the new season's not-yet-worn items.

I start with the lower rack on the left, which is my shirts and blouses, longer skirts and my trousers. I pull out everything that's not staying out (all pieces are done up (buttons, snaps, zips) and folded and set in piles), removing the empty hangers and dusting the rail.
 Not too much left. I then pulled all the sweaters, cardigans and sleeveless sweater tops off the bottom two shelves and clean them with wood polish.

Next is the long-hang rack, where I store my jumpsuit, dusters and dresses.
 Substantially thinned. Sundresses - gone!

The shelf above the dresses didn't get cleaned out this time around - this is more costume-y dress-up pieces.
 The velvet boxes are storage for a few old sentimental pieces, like my dad's sweaters.

Next, working my way from left to right, the top shelf above my short skirts also didn't get cleaned out.
 I store a couple of vintage hats up there, plus two pairs of vintage shoes.

I had to thin out the skirts even further than this, due to lack of hangers once I'd unpacked all my fall/winter clothes.
 The growth in my trouser collection means fewer skirts. I refuse to buy more hangers!

My shoes are all removed from the closet and lined up down the hallway.
 Everything from fall/winter unpacked, plus the shoes that I plan on keeping out from the spring/summer season.

So many, they go around the corner.
 I'm pleased to see more flats in my collection. Lots of good walking shoes and boots.

Oh, there's more.
 More boots! There are also about 6 more pairs in the closet already at this point.

And here are the spring/summer shoes that I packed away.
 I did remove about 4 pairs of shoes from my collection; ones that I just didn't like, or that hurt my feet. I forgot to take a picture of the giveaway pile, but it was massive!

Oh, and before you ask: 95. That's how many pairs of shoes I have in total, all seasons.

Here's the pile of the spring/summer clothes, ready for storage.
 I'll enjoy rediscovering these at the end of March 2018.

Before I unpacked all the fall/winter boots and shoes (and some clothes), this is how they looked when I pulled them out from the under-clothes storage sections in my closet.
 My fall/winter wardrobe is much bulkier than the spring/summer one. I didn't need even a quarter of these bags to store it!

I use one deep tub (forgot to take a picture of it), and these 3 shallow ones for storing the bulk of my clothes. I make sure to pack cashmere, wool and silk in the centre, with polyesters around them to protect them from moths. 
The top tub is already packed with spring/summer items; the bottom two contain fall/winter
 The big tub is stored in the closet under my dresses, and these tubs are stored under our bed. Again, I refuse to buy additional bins, because that would just encourage me to buy more clothes!

The jumble of hangers after pulling out all the spring/summer things, the vacuum for giving the closet a good cleaning, and my white metal step-stool for reaching the high shelves.
 Vizzini hates the vacuum and hid during this part. What a chicken-cat!

In addition to the 4 tubs, this is what didn't fit.
 These 3 bags were stored underneath the lowest sections of the closet, and the box was wedged under the shoes.

Here are my double-wide shelves with all my shoes, ready for the party season. My shelves all go right up to the ceiling.
 Some favourites that I don't want to give up. Those are my first pair of Fluevogs ever, on the right.

Party and special occasion shoes.
 I am considering farking those white shoes and drawing on them or decorating them - they are Fluevogs but the cream is scuffed and they are not very versatile - I haven't worn them since Feb 2015, here.

The next two rows - stuff I can reach, and therefore shoes I plan to wear.
 I'm so excited to have some of these back in rotation.

Tall shoes and booties.
 My fall/winter shoes tend to be darker overall.

Did I say darker? I meant full of colour!
 Grey, green, cream, purple, black, burgundy, hot pink, orange, bronze, snakeskin, blue and magenta. Colour!

The bottom row are my menswear styles, and my "good" flats, like my kitten heels and my Star Wars shoes.
 On the floor are my walking shoes and tall boots.

Across from them, under the blouses, skirts, pants and dresses are more boots.
 The ones I wear the most stay paired side by side; the fancier ones (that I wear to work more than on the weekends) are arranged in a "one in front, one behind" method so that I can see the style, but they don't take as much room.

And here we are, all my "new" fall/winter stuff is hung up, and sorted by colour.
My closet art is a hand-painted poppy tile on a piece of orange wood. 
These are my jackets.
 My new-to-me items that haven't been worn yet are there as well. And good for me, I ended up with a few extra hangers. Room to shop!

I also swapped out my belts and obis for more seasonally-appropriate ones.
 The spring/summer ones are in that blue box. I bought these round velvet hatboxes several years ago at the drugstore.

Here are my dresses (and one skirt with Vizzini-tempting fringe), ready for wearing.
 Ah! So many fabulous pieces. I hope there are lots of parties to wear them to!

My blouses, long skirts and trousers. 
 There are a lot of wrinkles from my clothes being squished. I don't steam as I unpack, though - that would take too long - but I'll do each piece as I decide to incorporate it into an outfit.

The top two shelves, way above the sweater shelves:
That white string is a piece of cobweb - the shame!
Fancy going-out stuff. See aforementioned note about parties!

And here are my sweaters, all nicely folded (doesn't last!). I have them in piles according to fluffiness, cardigans and patterns.
 Then, on the shelf below that, my sleeveless sweaters, my specialty items (vests, bustiers, and a beaded top, and including my leather shorts - needed the hanger), then solid sweaters. The pile on the right are sweaters and tops that are new-to-me but not worn yet.

As I go through my closet, I look for the backwards hangers, following my Hanger Trick that I've been doing for a few years now.

The Hanger Trick: At the start of each season, I turn all the hangers "backwards" for all pants, blouses, dresses, skirts and jackets. As I wear each item and put it away, I put the hanger back the "right" way. Over the next 6 months (or however long you choose), it's easy to see what's not getting worn! It helps to weed out the items that you keep out of habit, or that you're just not feeling.

I've noticed that I'm mostly left with party clothes or items that are very event-specific - I wear 95% of my wardrobe to work or on weekends, which is a higher wearing percentage than most wardrobes, I've read. This past 6 months, I saw that same pattern, with a couple of exceptions.
 A pewter metallic leather full-length skirt. I love this piece, but it's not the kind of thing you wear every day!

A party dress:
 So many peach feathers! I haven't worn this in a couple of years - party dresses get "rested" in my closet and then rotated every few years, when they feel like new again to me.

A wonderful vintage silk and glass bead "wiggle dress".
 It's amazing on!

I'm planning on wearing this gorgeous burnt orange dress this season.
 Not much on the hanger, but it looks great on.

I really wanted to wear this dress again, but I'm wondering if it's a "closet orphan". I tend to buy solid-coloured dresses or dresses with versatile patterns, where they allow for versatility with accessories.
 I don't know if this mint green is going to go with much. I wore it with all copper accessories once, but I'm stumped as to what else to do with it. Ideas?

This is a dress I've had for nearly 10 years. It's a bit tight on me, but I'm still resisting giving it up.
 I left most of these pictures uncropped for the glimpse into my closet - note my Pledge there on the shoe shelf for dusting.

This was last year's Christmas party dress for my work.
That white thing is my step-stool
 I thought I might wear it this summer, but changed my mind.

My "50 pound" dress that I bought when I lost...50 pounds.
 Another lovely dress that I'm keeping.

I have a few fun dresses, don't I?
 I love that one - it's handmade.

I was shocked that I didn't wear my yeti jacket, but it was just too warm for spring/summer.
 You can bet it will be worn soon!

I had kept out both of my leather/faux leather full short skirts for spring/summer, but only the leather one got worn.
However, I opted to put the leather one in the giveaway pile and keep this one faux leather one instead. I like the quality better and it's a more interesting piece overall.

That's it for my closet! Now, on to the jewelry!

I have a huge costume jewelry collection, including vintage pieces from both of my grandmothers and my mom. I've found that doing a seasonal swap with my accessories helps keep me from wearing the same ol' stuff over and over.
 This is the "before" of my main jewelry box, my bag o' big pieces, my earrings dish, and my assorted cuffs.

This is my vintage jewelry box:
 Also the "before" shot. I didn't wear everything in it over the last 6 months, but I wore most of it!

Sorting out what's going to be packed away, and what's staying out.
 I just spread it all over the bed.

And here's all the spring/summer things packed away, and a bag full of stuff that I'm cool with letting go of.
 See you in March!

The "after" of my vintage collection:
 A nice selection of fancy and everyday, plus my few Christmassy things.

And here's the "after" of the whole area - I dusted all the surfaces too.
 I'm excited to start putting outfits together!

L watched football all day yesterday.
"I am keeping the Man company."
 I spy a little kitty under that blanket!

He couldn't sit still once I was there.
"The presence of the Woman means food!"
 It did! It took me about 5-6 hours to do my full closet clean out. L and I hung out and drank wine and played board games all evening, and it was perfect. Just what I wanted for the last day of my forties.

And today...I am FIFTY. L gave me a few presents (he paid for 2/3 of my couture dress) in the morning.
Reading material (graphic novels, a new Stephen/Owen King), a new Panthers cap, and some chocolate, which I'm now going to go eat!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!


  1. Happy Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving Sheila! Your weekend sounded the perfect way to ring in your fifties!

  2. Phew! That is quite an endeavor, but I can tell it is a labor of love. I live in southern California so we don't notice the season changes as much. Most of my wardrobe can be worn year around so no need to change it over. Mostly what changes are the colors; I go more seasonally appropriate. For instance, my new cap sleeve lace top is a dark forest green. In the summer I'll wear a mint tank top instead. On the coldest days, I only have to add a sweater or jacket. But I enjoy watching your process too.

    1. Yes, I do enjoy it. I have my tea and water as I go, and I pop out and check football highlights, then back to the clothes, muttering away to myself and grabbing at the cat. I like the changeover of bright to darker colours, too. More jackets - I'm excited!

  3. Wishing you a very Happy 50th Birthday, Sheila! Cheers to the next 50! XXX

  4. A very happy birthday, Sheila. I am thankful for your blog, which I love reading.

    1. Thank you for reading, Cynthia! I hugely appreciate it!

  5. Hi Sheila. I did my seasonal closet changeover last week, too. My closet looks a lot yours although my styling is different (more romantic/nomad). I got rid of a lot of things as I retired in July and therefore retired some of my standard working wardrobe. However, no dressing down for me: I wore a skirt, sweater and pearls to my doctor's office yesterday. I am not organized with my jewelry like you although I change over my seasonal makeup on the same day I do my closet. The colors need to be warmer and deeper in fall/winter although I remain in my basic palette.

    This spring/summer I tried your hanger trick -- what a great idea! It helped me to see what I wasn't wearing and I removed almost all of those items from my closet. I give my retired clothes and shoes to AmVets or Volunteers of America.

    I enjoy your blog! And, happy 50th birthday! I turned 60 this July (hence, the retirement) and I am loving every second of it!

    Ohio, USA

    1. Hello, Susan! I'm not looking forward to retiring as I don't want to downsize, but it totally makes sense. I also do a bit of a makeup swap! So glad the hanger trick worked for you! I clear out my clothes to friends first, then to charities. Thanks so much for your kind wishes!

  6. What a lovely relaxing way to spend the day before your birthday! :)

    I always enjoy these posts of yours, it's fascinating seeing how you organise it all and how you ensure it doesn't get unmanageable! I really like the 'no more hangers' rule, that's a good one it would be easy for me to put into practice! :)

    I need to try the backwards hanger trick too. I'm at that point with my 30 wears challenge where I'm wondering if I should keep rewearing a few favourites to hit 30 wears in a smaller amount of time, or continue to try and wear more of my wardrobe. I don't have an answer yet, but it's something I think of often!

    1. It was just what I needed - some downtime to myself. I enjoy it, and like the organization and order it gives me. 30 wears isn't always practical - not everything will be worn that many times - but the backwards hanger trick works really well. Try it!

  7. happy birthday, fabulous lady!!, so glad to see you rocking your mini skirt and boots, you look gorgeous!, (and I love those sleeves too!)
    And it's always fab to have a look into another people's closets, particularly if they're so stylish ladies like you're!, your shoes collection is so amazing!!!!

    1. Thank you, my dear! I know, I always want to look in people's closets. Thank you!

  8. Happy, happy birthday!! The fifties are so great. And you'll be dressed to enjoy every day of them, my stylish friend. xox


  9. Happy Birthday, Sheila! I love seeing your wardrobe swap, and that you've got even more shoes than I do ;-) I do the Hanger Trick too! xxx

    1. Thanks, m'dear! Nice to know you're not completely overboard on shoes, hee hee.

  10. Love the outfit and sleeves. And I'm sick of hearing that age should limit how we dress and act. I'm about to turn 60 and wear teenage girl clothes, so there!

    1. Indeed, so there! You are completely right - forget what others tell us to wear! Thank you for the reminder, Ally!

  11. Happy birthday Sheila! Welcome to my decade.
    You look, utterly stunning and I adored your blue party dress.
    You break the rules fabulously!
    Xoox, Elle

    1. Thank you, Elle - it feels like a grand party already! Thanks so much!

  12. Happy Birthday. I may not comment much but I absolutely love your blog. It always makes me smile. Hope you had a wonderful day and can't wait to check back to see what new treasures you pick up, outfits you put together, and great sayings you incorporate in your posts (I love "boobular region").

    1. Thank you for commenting, Charlotte! Aw, that's so sweet, thanks!

  13. The grand switcheroonie! Gaaa! You do it so well. Thanks for documenting it all. How could a day not look just a little bit brighter when the first thing you see is all these amazing colours, patterns, and textures. And so many lovely gifts from your circle. Goes around, comes around. Makes me dizzy.

    1. I like doing it - it calms me. It also really revs me up for digging into my "new" clothes for a season. I know, the years speed do the gifts.

  14. Happiest of Belated Birthdays to you! You look years younger and have one amazing closet!!

  15. Holy shit the glass and bead party dress!!!! The brocade dresses!!! The peach feather dress!!!!!

  16. A day late but still want to send my wishes for a happiest birthday-tide--keep the good times rolling, right? Your fifties are an opportunity to consolidate and yet expand your personal power. You will find that you become more yourself than ever.
    Sending a huge hug from Arizona!
    Linda (who left the land of 50s two months ago to start the 60s)

    1. Thank you, Linda! Yes, I'll definitely be keeping the good times rolling, and I love the idea of expanding my personal power (I shall take over the world!). Thank you!

  17. Very happy birthday wishes to you Sheila!
    Great to see your annual closet swap over too, it inspires me to do mine x

  18. Thankyou soooooo much for sharing all the details of how you do your changeover Sheila - I'll definitely be incorporating some of your tips when I do my next one in a few weeks (Spring is currently running about 6 weeks behind down here, we might just segue straight to Summer). And I love all the shots of your shoes - it quite puts me in Fluevog heaven! And inspires me to completely give up trying to not buy more shoes :) Welcome to the 50s precious one, I find it a very empowering stage of life........a great time for flexing ones physical, mental and spiritual muscles. With Love, Leanne from Barwon Heads, Australia

    1. You are so very welcome, Leanne! I enjoy doing the changeover, and renewing my love for my fall/winter clothes. I'm always boggled by my own shoe collection, but I refuse to feel guilty! It's my hobby and I have the right to it. Thanks for the encouraging words about the 50s - it's a little scary at first!

  19. I adore your big change over. It's like sitting in a sweet shop all day long watching all the sweet delights being brought out for a tasting session. It's great to see some of my favourites on show again - I think top of the list has to be the peach dress with the feathers, it's so feminine and sexy too.

    Congratulations on being 50! It doesn't feel much different does it? I loved your kickass outfit for the party - leather and mini skirt is so what you ought to be wearing as a 50 year old. Go girl!

    Anna x

    1. Thanks, Anna! You would love being here, I'm sure! I must wear that peach dress again soon (it is very boobtastic!) - it does make me feel like a million bucks.

      Woo, 50! It feels...weird. No different, really, "it's just a number", that whole thing, but still...FIFTY. I agree - I'll wear whatever the f**k I want!

  20. You know i enjoy these swaps ! and getting glimpses of your clothing and I'm always on the lookout for finding new ways to store my stuff.
    The mint dress: its not an orphan I can see this dress worn so many ways, don't let it goooo.
    Also once again HAPPPYYYY BIRTHDAY!

    1. I like them too - I like seeing what's in people's closets. Okay, I won't let the green dress go...

      Thank you, hon!


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