Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

Earlier this year, I published a two-part series (HERE and HERE) announcing my theme for 2021: “less.” I’ve been writing a lot about wardrobe-related subjects lately, but I’d like to switch the focus back to my overall life for a bit. If you enjoy my wardrobe musings, they’ll be back soon, as I’m committed to cultivating a smaller and more workable wardrobe as part of my commitment to “less is more” this year. However, some other topics have been more top of mind in recent days.

The other night, as is often the case, I had trouble sleeping. A cascade of thoughts raced through my mind, and I was unable to settle down enough to get the rest I needed. When I woke up the following morning, I was not just tired; I also felt unsettled and angry. At the root of those feelings was the fact that I have shifted off course once again. I’ve allowed “more” to permeate various facets of my existence, such that it has disrupted my peace and serenity.

information overload

Does information overload ever disrupt your peace and serenity?

We’re now over a third of the way through the year, so I’d like to increase the focus on my less theme. I was going to do an overall update on how I’m incorporating this theme into my life, but I’ve decided to take a different approach so I can delve deeper. I’ll periodically write about an area of more that I’d like to pare down. I’ll share the current state of affairs and let you know what I plan to do to address the situation through the lens of less. We’ll start today with a longtime problem of mine, information overload.

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This is the third and final installment in my three-part series about what I no longer wear. In my first post, I explored two types of garments that I previously loved wearing but no longer do: skirts and blazers. I reflected upon how the combination of certain types of skirt and blazers created an overly-formal vibe that didn’t work with my casual lifestyle. In part two, I showed how I progressed to the interim outfit formula of maxi-length skirts and dresses paired with cropped or tie cardigans. I also shared the current state of my skirt wardrobe and mused about whether or not skirts will continue to be part of my summer style.

Today, I look at how my style preferences have evolved and what I’m wearing now instead of skirts and blazers. I also highlight some of the reasons for my style shifts and what these changes reveal about my current style preferences and my future sartorial journey.

New Preferences: Cropped Pants and Mid-Length Dresses

After I went through menopause in 2016 and my body changed (more on that below), I started to migrate more toward wearing cropped pants in warmer temperatures rather than skirts. This shift in terms of my bottom pieces has continued as the years have gone by. My current collection of cropped pants is pictured below (I also have a few other pairs that I wear only at home):

my cropped pants collection

This is my current collection of cropped pants that I wear a lot in warm weather. 

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In my last post, I offered a suggestion for helping you increase your understanding of your style preferences. Since many of us have a better sense of what we don’t want in our lives – and in our wardrobes – than what we do want, I recommended starting there to gain some powerful insights. I also suggested looking back at what you used to love wearing but no longer do, and I explored two of my previous closet favorites that have since fallen by the wayside: skirts and blazers. I shared photos of some of those formerly loved garments, as well as examples of ensembles in which they were featured.

flared midi skirts - no longer wear

I used to love wearing skirts like this, but I don’t anymore.

In today’s essay, which is the second installment in what will now be a three-part series (I found I had more to say than I originally thought!), I look at how my style has evolved to the point where I very rarely wear skirts and blazers any longer. I’ll show how I progressed from my too formal summer “uniform” of skirts with blazers to an interim formula that better suited my lifestyle and style aesthetic. I also share my current skirt collection and my thoughts about the future of skirts in my wardrobe. The third installment in the series will cover my current style preferences and some thoughts about my future sartorial journey.

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Sometimes it’s hard to know what we want. This may sound counterintuitive, but one good way to determine what we want is to first look at what we don’t want. The reason for this suggestion is that we often have more clarity about the unwanted elements of our lives. Our wardrobes can be much the same in this respect. Thus, when we feel stuck with regard to our personal style, it’s often helpful to start by considering what we don’t like wearing.

For all of us, there are types of clothes, shoes, and accessories that we’ve just never liked. I’m sure you all can picture a few such items right now. Sometimes just envisioning the opposite of those “That’s not for me!” styles can get you on the path to determining what might work well for you. For instance, if you don’t like garments with a lot of “bells and whistles” (as I mentioned in my last post), perhaps a more minimalist style aesthetic may hold appeal for you. Likewise, if you feel that a monochromatic neutral ensemble looks boring, maybe you’d be happier wearing more colorful clothing.

Examining styles that you’ve never liked and imagining their opposites can spark ideas for pieces and aesthetics to try, but there’s another place you can look. There’s “gold” to be found by considering what you used to like wearing but no longer do, which is the topic of my next series of three posts, beginning today.

what I no longer wear

What types of clothes, shoes, and accessories do you no longer like wearing?

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Several posts ago, I confessed to owning far too many cardigans and feeling overwhelmed by overduplication in that area of my wardrobe. In my last essay, I revealed that I opted to purge nine of my cardigans after doing try-ons and analysis. I showed photos of the purged cardigans and outlined my reasons for letting each of them go. In today’s post – part two, I highlight the lessons I learned from going through that difficult but rewarding wardrobe decluttering exercise.

lessons learned from mistake purchases

Do a “Post-Mortem” After Letting Things Go

While it feels great to downsize a packed closet, I don’t think we should stop there. We have a better chance of learning from our mistakes if we do a “post-mortem” analysis following our decluttering efforts. When we don’t pause to consider our motivations for letting go of closet pieces, we may be prone to repeating our shopping missteps.

Of course, not all of the items we release from our wardrobes represent purchasing errors. Sometimes we pass things on because they’ve become worn out, or because they no longer fit our bodies, lifestyles, or personal style aesthetics. If a particular closet piece has served us well, we may be sad to see it go, but we won’t feel the guilt that’s often present with garments we shouldn’t have bought in the first place.

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