Last year I decided to actually count and see how many items of clothing I had. I had 127 things in my closet, not including tights, socks or undergarments. At the time, I felt like that was fine because I claimed to wear all my clothes, but after reflection I realized that I actually had some pieces that hadn’t been worn in quite some time.
“How can this be?” I thought to myself as pulled out dresses that I had been saving for a perfect occasion, and blouses I avoided wearing for various reasons. I’m the kind of person that enjoys clothes, and thinks they can be used creatively to express myself. Having a lot of clothes just means I have SOOOOOO many more ways to be modest! I mean, can I really consider myself a modest dresser if I don’t have at least one denim skirt?!
When I started my purposeful journey towards dressing more modestly (back in 2014) I had a couple skirts and dresses, but most of my wardrobe consisted of pants. I had no problem wearing the same pair of jeans all week, but somehow wearing the same skirt just felt weird. I wanted more skirts, because that meant I could wear more modest outfits. Last year when I counted I realized I had over 30 dresses and nearly 20 skirts. I told myself that was totally reasonable, since my closet is quite large, therefore I had the space. I told myself I needed a lot of skirts and dresses so that I could wear a new modest outfit nearly every day of the month. After all, I wanted people to notice my modest clothes and think “wow, she looks nice. Maybe modest dressing isn’t as frumpy as I thought”. I felt like I had to constantly come up with creative outfits that were fresh and new.
Why did I think that? Why put so much pressure on myself, when the whole point of modesty is to NOT draw attention to oneself?
Honestly, I can’t think of a reason for my behavior. But I can tell you that having that much clothing certainly didn’t make my life easier! Nor did I actually come up with new outfits daily. I realized there were some pieces of clothing I avoided wearing because it either didn’t fit well, wasn’t really my style, or I didn’t think it matched anything else in my closet. I had so many clothing, which I felt was needed in order to commit to a modest way of dressing, yet I wasn’t content.
Then I had a revelation (maybe more of a light bulb moment):
I don’t actually NEED all these clothes.
So for the last few months I have been ruthlessly going at my closet in order to weed it out. I looked at every single item critically and asked myself the following questions:
- Do I wear this item multiple times a season? If yes, keep it.
- Do I love it? If no, donate it.
- Does it match other things in my wardrobe? If yes, keep it.
- Does this item make me feel good? If no, donate it.
- Is it modest or can it be modified to be modest? If yes, keep it.
- Is it practical for my lifestyle? If no, donate it.
- Is it in good shape? If no, get rid of it.
- Is it a duplicate item? If yes, donate it.
Yes, it certainly took some time to do this with as much clothing as I have, but it has been worth it! I had tops that I wore because they matched certain skirts, but I didn’t actually like them. Then there were clothes I had been avoiding wearing since I had nothing to match it. Something I wore because they were modest, but not really my style, so I decided to donate them. Then there were clothes that i liked, but never wore because they didn’t fit my lifestyle. I am currently a full time homemaker, and intend to stay in this role indefinitely unless my husband feels it necessary for me to return to work. As a homemaker I have no use for fancy dresses, or clothes one would wear to a job interview. Even for church, those clothes are not suitable since most people dress fairly casually. I wanted to keep those clothes “just in case” but I decided to donate them since it it not likely that I will actually wear them.
So far I have filled and donate three large garbage bags full of clothes, and I am still going through my clothes. I sorted through everything and was happy with what was left over, but then I waited a few weeks and went through it all again, only to find MORE to donate. I had set aside some clothes that I was unsure about, so rather than regret donating them later, I hung on to them for a bit to see how I really felt. They all ended up being donated. I have not counted the number of clothes in my closet again, but I know I have much less than I started with.
If you have a lot of clothes but truly wear and enjoy them all, great. If you have so few clothes that you could carry them all in a backpack, great.
On this blog we do not compare ourselves to others. We don’t point fingers and judge. We share ideas and tricks that have worked for us, in hopes that we can help you reach a peaceful, happy, and God-pleasing place in your life.
If you feel like you probably have more clothes than you need, I hope this encourages you to look through them and see what you have that can be used to bless someone else. And if you feel like the small amount of clothing you own is working for you, then I hope you will be patient with those of us who are slowly on their way to a more simplified wardrobe!
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