Introducing a new post concept: the Level Up mini-challenges. As I experiment in various growth categories, I have decided to share some of these with you, have they been useful to me. Please let me know if you like this series and if it's of any use to you. Below, a short presentation of the post concept, and the first mini-challenge: a simple way to test wardrobe turnover.
- Level Up Mini-Challenges
This article presents the theory that we humans can have one of two basic mindsets: either a static, or a growth based view of the world. Basically, we either see ourselves with a fixed set of skills & weaknesses, or as evolving "material" that can correct flaws and improve skills over time. I believe in the second, "growth-based" mindset, but I also think it takes active efforts to evolve in the direction we'd like - experimenting, learning from mistakes, trying new things.
In these mini-challenge posts, I'll present some of my own experimentations and learnings, hoping you will find it interesting. As I mentioned before, I have decided to divide things in 4 major level up areas, and each mini-challenge will correspond to one of these:
- Physical growth: Everything related to our body - image and self esteem, health & fitness, style & looks, self confidence & harmony between body and mind...
- Mental/spiritual growth: Everything related to growing our mental skills and spiritual awareness - cultural discoveries, learning skills and acquiring knowledge of the world in general or specific areas, developing mindfulness, gratitude...
- Social growth: Everything related to connecting with other human beings - developing and nurturing friendships and family ties, joining clubs, associations, activities, developing a relationship with a significant other and creating our own family...
- Creative growth: Everything related to creating new things - learning creative skills, come up with ideas, develop personal projects, whatever the area (arts, science, sports...) It can be a part of mental/spiritual growth but I think creating something is a key element of a balanced individual and deserves its own level up area.
Each mini-challenge I will present should concern one of these 4 areas, some may be quite general, others may be very specific. I already have a list of experiments/challenges I'd like to share with you, here is the first one, style-based.
- Today's Mini-Challenge - Physical Growth: The Turnover of Wardrobes
Even though I mentioned I didn't feel like writing style posts anymore now that I balanced mine, I'd still like to share a few wardrobe based mini-challenges with you. First, because there is always room for improvement, and second, because I may have new ideas now that the "style searching" part is over.
I have to confess, this particular mini-challenge hasn't been premeditated at all. It just results from a certain home maintenance related laziness on my part these past few weeks, for which Bioware and their fantastic Mass Effect trilogy of video games is to blame. Some good old "I'm an airship commander and I explore the galaxy" fantasy I guess.
Point is, these past three weeks, I haven't ironed my clean clothes, and have kept living on clean, not-yet-worn items instead. That's wardrobe turnover for you. Without further ado, here is the mini-challenge if you'd like to improve your own wardrobe turn-over and take a little ironing break in the process.
- 1. After laundry day, instead of ironing and putting away the clean clothes back to your closet, put them aside. You can iron them if you want (not everybody prefers to play video games rather than attending their home obligations) - but the point is to store them away from sight instead of within the rest of your seasonal clothes.
- 2. The week after, pick outfits from what's left in your closet, until the next laundry. If there are certain items you own too few of to keep them away, make a note of it and reintegrate them.
- 3. Repeat: put the clean clothes away from sight, and only use whatever's left in your closet, until you can't put together outfits anymore without using what you recently washed (or until you get tired of that shit)
Challenge conclusions - Using this turnover challenge to improve your wardrobe:
On the global wardrobe sizeHow many laundries did it last before you had to reintegrate your recently cleaned stuff in? It can give you an idea about your own ideal wardrobe number, and whether you currently have too many or too few.
For example, I had to reintroduce underwear, socks and sportswear items right from the first laundry, but after 3 weeks, I still have enough pants, tops, dresses and knits to make a few more weeks of outfits without using my cleaned pile - which surprised me as I thought my wardrobe was smaller than that. I have put off clothing purchases altogether for now as a result.
On personal styleRemoving the recently cleaned items from your closet means you remove the ones you wear most, at some point. It removes neutrals, basics and favourites, the cornerstones of your wardrobe. Take a look at that pile of "most recently worn" items - they seem to have been the ones you turned to first. What do they have in common in terms of colour, fit, style? It can help figuring out some personal details.
For example, the first things to make the pile for me were neutral skinnies (black, dark blue) and warm coloured tops (brown, terracotta, khaki green...). I already know I'm more of a warm colours person, but I may have found it out that way if I hadn't noticed it yet.
On wardrobe versatilityWhen you remove some items from your closet, you can see much more clearly if what's left can mix and match easily or not. Once your neutrals and favourites are out, can the rest of your wardrobe still produce nice outfits? If not, why? It is a problem of colour cohesion, or fit, or a lack of balance between item types (e.g. too many tops and not enough matching bottoms?) It can help refine future to-buy lists.
For example, I noticed that I wear a lot of cardigans in winter - a good way to keep wearing short sleeved draped tops that don't go well under jumpers and are too light without another layer under the coat. But most of my cardigans are very colourful - which becomes problematic once both the neutrals AND matching color tops are in the laundry. I'd need more neutral cardigans to create cohesion within the rest of my closet (black and anthracite grey, probably).
On Wardrobe editingAfter a few laundries, when there isn't much left in your closet and you are running out of outfit ideas, what is left? These are the items you wear least, and can't find outfits for easily. Why? This can be a good way to put them aside, understand why they don't work, and assess if you should find new inspirations to mix and match them, or alter them, or set them free.
For example, I realized sports made my shoulders broader and some of my most fitted tops have gone too small - including my beloved Comme des Garçons striped top and the basic white shirt from Hugo Boss. It had to be the most expensive items of my wardrobe, didn't it? I take it as a sign to just stop buying expensive clothes.
On Finding New Ideas from your own closetFinally, here is one of the main benefits I found in that mini-challenge, as a person with an already well-defined style. It made me wear items, and combinations of items, I've never even thought about before. I mean, even when your style is clear and your wardobe well curated, when in the middle of daily routine you tend to turn to the same items, and the same combinations, no? After 2 laundries put aside, I had to mix and match items that, not only I wear less regularly, but wear even more rarely together.
I was surprised at how many new outfits I have put together during this third week of rebellious killing-aliens-instead-of-ironing-clothes phase. It made me rediscover entire parts of my wardrobe, and diminished drastically any longing for new clothes, for now. I guess I should be thanking Bioware and its galaxy-saving, machine-killing, cross species romancing trilogy.
What do you think about this mini-challenge? Have you ever, for similar or different reasons, discovered new outfits and given a fresh pulse to your wardrobe? Are you going to attempt this challenge too? I'd like to know your take on this...