Toward the end of a season, I’ve been finding it helpful to take note of what has been working and what hasn’t in my ten-item-wardrobe, as well as what I have found myself wishing I had. Recording these things before the season’s end ensures that nothing is forgotten and I can then more effectively plan my shopping list and budget for the next fall/winter season.

I’ve stuck with my original plan for my ten-item-wardrobe this season and have been grateful, once again, to find it to be enough; enough for warmth, enough to feel presentable. Still, clothes that are working hard wear out and each new season brings change. I’m grateful for that, too. Above are all of the items I have already purged from this season’s wardrobe. The four wool sweaters will all be going to my mom’s wool stash. She actively hunts for wool sweaters at the thrift store, for felting projects. This is a craft I would love to learn, but as it is not a priority right now and storage space is tight, I’m sending them along to her. The grey wool sweater was wearing thin in the armpits, after fourteen years of ownership, and there are a couple of notes on the others, below. My dark grey marled Everlane crew sweatshirt was worn heavily and has big holes at both wrists. The Everlane navy Ryan long-sleeve tee has several small holes in it, as well. Both of these were washed and worn countless times over the last two years. Though they have holes in them, I’m still sending them to Goodwill, as I’ve read that they now participate in recycling programs, which turn worn clothing into insulation and other products.

Now, a few more items of note.

Things I’m Avoiding Next Winter
  • Black cashmere. I noted in my Fall/Winter Ten-Item Wardrobe 2016 post that I had purchased my two black sweaters the year before and that I had already found them to be problematic, but I was going to try to get a bit more use out of them. I wore them to bed, more than anywhere else. The fuzz that showed up on the black made me feel messy and it took more effort than it was worth to try to get it off.
  • Pure Merino wool. The cognac sweater pictured in my Fall/Winter post was my favorite for awhile. However, after a number of washes, I started to wonder if I had been eating too much of that homemade bread I’ve been making. I washed it the same way I’ve been washing cashmere sweaters for years (in a laundry bag, in the machine, with cold water). However, it proved to have a much quicker shrink-rate. Merino wool feels nice and substantial, but it isn’t practical for my budget for me to pay to have sweaters dry-cleaned every week (and, in my experience, the mothering life requires all clothes to be regularly laundered) and I know I’m not likely to take the time to hand-wash sweaters at this point in my life. Therefore, in future hunts for sweaters, my plan is to either try cashmere again (my husband has a cashmere sweater that he has worn and washed in the washing machine, for at least nine years, that still fits), in a different color and a size up, or to look for sweaters that are composed of a wool/natural fiber blend, which may be more resistant to shrinking than pure animal fiber. Or, cotton. It was a rather sad year for sweaters; thankfully, I didn’t spend any money on any of these this season.
Things I’ve Craved This Fall/Winter, to Consider for Next Fall/Winter
  • A nice chambray shirt. I mentioned before that I wore my pale blue chambray to pieces (it’s still languishing in my craft bin, I’m afraid, waiting for me to be inspired to try my hand at pretty mending). I would love to find another affordable one (hunting the second-hand stores!) or save up for an ethically-made one, as I know it is something I would wear a lot. A soft chambray is so comfortable and versatile and can be handy for layering, for light warmth. I’ll be weighing my options, but I have been eyeing Tradlands shirts for a long while.
  • A really cozy, oversized cardigan. For fall/winter 2016, I didn’t have any button-up or zip-up layers that I could throw over a t-shirt—just my pullover sweaters and sweatshirts, none of which really worked gracefully for layering.
  • A wintry dress. For femininity. I haven’t owned a dress for at least three years (a summer skirt, yes, but not a dress), due to nursing. All of the dresses I had when my first daughter was born, nearly six years ago, were not nursing friendly and, after realizing I seldom used them, I sold them on consignment (I’m glad I did—I was nursing or pregnant for nearly six years straight! And I think they were all a bit short, which I know I wouldn’t be comfortable in for chasing my girls around.). Also, mountain winters are cold and windy. Yet, I’ve been missing that feminine element in my fall/winter wardrobe. It would be nice to have at least one dress.
  •  A few more presentable, long-sleeved tee shirts. A long-sleeved tee is endlessly useful. The three I still have are all two or three years old and wearing thin, from so much use; now, I never reach for them when I’m leaving the house. I’ve been craving that super-soft, new-t-shirt feel and a few more easy, grab-and-go tops that I feel presentable in.
  • Another shoe option, or two. I still want high-tops. :) And oxfords (if you’re in the market for some new, ethically-made footwear, Nisolo has a give $25/ get $25 program). I love the look of these chukka boots, too. Still, three pairs of shoes are enough to get by just fine.
Most-Loved Item for the Duration of Fall/Winter 2016
  • Everlane Silk Long-Sleeve Tee in Black. This shirt always makes me feel elegant and put together and I love the feel of the lightweight, fluid fabric. I’ve been really happy with the value that this purchase has contributed to my ten-item-wardrobe this season. Also, I’ve found silk to be fairly easy to care for. My two-year-old has wiped various things on it and it’s come clean in the wash. As with sweaters, I simply put it in a laundry bag and wash it on cold, pre-treating stains with Shout free. I then hang it to dry. Sometimes I wear it a little rumpled or I steam it, if I want a neater look. (If you sign up for an Everlane account and make a purchase through this Everlane link, I will receive a credit for the referral. Thank you for supporting Cedar & Bloom.)

I love taking stock and planning ahead, because it gives me a solid perspective for making future buying decisions. I’ve been learning that every season there is a new takeaway and little adjustments in thinking to be made, but overall, since starting the ten-item-wardrobe, my purchases have been working hard for me and making sense for my lifestyle.

What has been your favorite wardrobe item this season? If you’ve been working with a small wardrobe, have you found it to be enough? I would love to hear in the comments below!

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Natasha Palmer
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I’ve always liked having one nice fall/winter dress that I can wear with leggings and boots for church or date nights. :) it can be hard to feel feminine chasing toddlers all day in my sweater pants! I’m thinking for summer I’ll make more of an effort to wear comfortable dresses at home, so I’m keeping my eye out at the thrift stores for some good ones :) lovely post!

Natasha Palmer
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I meant to say sweat pants.. :)

Susan
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The lovely photo is a nice tribute to your departed sweaters. Pretty lighting. I haven’t curated a small wardrobe yet as you have, but since I spend a lot of time living out of suitcase, I can still relate. The challenge is always saving enough money to buy the quality stuff that would be truly useful and beautiful. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration.

Amelia
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Great article! I bought a light blue chambray shirt 5 years ago and it’s my most worn shirt! I highly recommend one. I was thrifting at Buffalo Exchange Consignment and found the softest, grey chambray shirt that was quite long. I regret to say I didn’t buy it and have been thinking about it lots since then! Maybe I’ll find something similar one day.

I also found Steve Madden oxfords at a thrift store and I adore them. I didn’t care they were second-hand and I liked them so much I wore them to my wedding!

I’m curious now about the Everlane silk shirt.

Thanks for sharing!

Brett Amber
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I’ve been culling my wardrobe for a few years now and I’m inspired by your 10 item capsule! I just discovered the brand Pyne & Smith, a dressmaker in California. They have a cold weather dress that I’ve been drooling over for a few months now. If you haven’t heard of them they’re definitely worth checking out!

Celia (Litterless.co)
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Celia (Litterless.co)

I have the same Everlane sweatshirt and reach for it often! You’ve inspired me to pair it in new ways.

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