Winter wardrobe results: Or, what to remember next year

Winter wardrobe results: Or, what to do next year

The time I spent on my Winter wardrobe planning in November was so well spent, it turns out, and I’m eager to do it again for Spring. But first I want to make some notes about how the Winter plans worked out — as guidance for next year. For one thing, I find there’s always a genuine difference between what I think I’ll want to wear during a certain season (say, when fantasizing about Fall during the heat of Summer) and what I actually want to wear when I’m in that season. But also because I don’t want to lose track of the little bits of things I learned by paying attention this time around.

Mostly, my outfit plans worked out great. I did literally print them out and tape them up next to my closet, like a huge dork, but it saved me time on a number of mornings — being able to just glance at that, pick out what spoke to me at that moment, and throw it on. And it definitely kept me from unfortunate impulse purchases or cast-ons. But there were still too many mornings where I stood in front of the closet staring, because there were some flaws in the plan and/or my implementation of it.

– My best trick this winter was wearing my big black-and-blue wool plaid shirt or my denim shirt-jacket like a cardigan, basically — as a top layer. This was in part because I simply really like the look, and also because I’m coming up a little short on actual cardigans. The outfit I repeated the most often and felt the most comfortable in was the big plaid shirt over the dotted chambray Endless Summer tunic with blue jeans and boots.
– Related: I love my black-and-white flannel shirt more than I can say, and would wear it every single day if I could. I would really like to feel that strongly about everything in my closet.
My Bellows cardigan continues to be my most-worn garment, and I’m in real jeopardy of growing sick of it at this point, so it’s great that I’ll soon have my Channel cardigan to alternate with.
– I wore the short-sleeved black lopi sweater at least 1-2 times per week, far more than expected. It was the perfect thing for this mild winter.
– Shrinking my Amanda cardigan a bit did result in my wearing it a few times, and I think with solving some of the other problems (below) I’ll get even more wear out of it next year.

– Nearly all of the outfits incorporating the sleeveless black silk gauze top, which looked great on paper and I was and still am eager to wear, didn’t work in reality because the length of the front of that top (and the blue striped version) is awkward for layering. Between that and my linen tunic having gotten too shabby looking to wear in most circumstances, I have a shortage of underlayer tops to rely on. That dotted chambray tunic is pulling all the weight.
– All of the outfits incorporating the grey vest, which again I loved in theory and really want to wear, were not possible because I never got around to fixing the buttons.
– Likewise, the outfits with the sleeveless black turtleneck over a long-sleeved shirt depended on my blocking that out a bit larger, which I still haven’t done.
My black cropped cardigan is too cropped. It works great with the limited things it works with, but would be far more useful if a couple inches longer.

– Make/acquire a few longer underlayer tops
– Fix the buttons on the grey vest
– Block the sleeveless black turtleneck out bigger
– Lengthen the black cardigan

– I really like for my neck to be warm. The reason the black-and-blue wool shirt (and the b/w flannel shirt) got so much wear is I would turn up the collar and button the top couple of buttons (with a contrasting underlayer top peeking out down below) and I felt super cute and cozy. I also wore the big old grey H&M turtleneck several times, but it’s feeling really ratty at this stage in its long life. My instinct to knit myself a big cozy turtleneck sweater is spot on.
– As much as I love the grey wool men’s shirt and layering with it, it’s the standout example of a thing that happens to me every Winter. Which is, what I want after New Year’s is completely different from what I want during the Fall and holidays. I always have an urge to lighten up — the things that felt cozy a week or three earlier suddenly feel dour and depressing — once we’re headed downhill toward Spring. So I was heavily dependent on that shirt in the outfit lineup and in the last few weeks of the year, but then I was basically without it as an option as of mid-Jan or so. I need to anticipate and plan for that shift.
– The natural denim jeans have been a real difference maker in my overly blue-jean-dependent closet, but I would like to be generally less dependent on jeans next year.

The upside of the “didn’t work” list is that there are a lot of outfits in the lineup that I still want to wear and am not tired of, having not gotten to wear them! Plus I finished two excellent pullovers late in the season (the striped raglan and the colorwork yoke, up top) so I have all of that to look forward to next year.

For details on the garments above, see my winter closet inventory.


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18 thoughts on “Winter wardrobe results: Or, what to remember next year

  1. What a great idea to look back. You’re right that imagining how winter will feel, when it’s summer, is tricky. I’m curious what you need to fix about your buttons on the vest. I think we are all finding layers get used the most.

  2. What about scarves for the neck question? I need my neck covered to feel warm and have happily gone the scarf route for years.

  3. Your attention to detail and commitment to the process are inspiring. I always think I’m going to do a personal debrief with myself, but then I find myself sliding into the next season, hoping I remember come the next one. I also love your drawings.

  4. I find it so interesting to read your blog posts about your wardrobe. My winter work wardrobe consist of 2 navy skirts, a black skirt, a gray skirt, a reversible black and white skirt and two print navy skirts. I wear them with plain tops and fancy hand knit shawls and tights and hand knit socks each and every day. I don’t feel like it gets old because the shawls add a huge pop of color and texture (and I have an ever growing supply of those!) But if anyone is paying attention, they will definitely see a pattern in what days I wear the things. :-) I have some sweaters for really cold days, and I am learning that for work, I much prefer a cardigan (and so of course, I drool over your two new pullovers) and am trying to keep my focus on those when choosing sweater patterns. You are great at helping to keep me focused!

  5. my winter uniform has been jeans (with enough layers underneath in accordance with the weather) undershirt, sometimes a cashmere sweater, flannel shirt, knitted pullover, rinse and repeat. although I lost my beloved knitted bedford that I wore 2-3x a week :(

    fwiw my favorite underlayer has been my adventure tank in hemp jersey – so cozy!!

    I emailed you earlier about ordering a fashionary tonight, lol!!!

  6. It was fairly warm here this winter, so my t-necks and wool pants didnt get much wear. How fun will it be when it does get cold? Look, new colothes! Love the layering. It’s a must in New England. Yesterday was in the 20’s today it was 62. Hard to keep a steady wardrobe with those temps.

  7. What a fantastic idea Karen. I find myself just moving along into next season, without taking the time to analyze what worked and what didn’t! Thank you for sharing and for inspiring me to try it for the summer season…spring is already here :=) mari

  8. These wardrobe planning posts have been very helpful! I took a cue from you and made outfit “charts,” which helped me not wear the same three or four outfits over and over and over and over.

    What I learned, though, is that I still need color in winter. Black, charcoal, camel, olive, and navy are workhorses in my winter wardrobe, but they do start to make me feel dreary after a bit.

    So, the three garments I’m knitting this year are drenched in color: a deep teal more on the blue side, an equally rich garnet red, and a soft blush pink. If I have time, forest green is going in there (I’ve knitted about a third of this one, but set it aside while I wait for a slightly brighter green that will pair with it to arrive in the mail).

    Along with a dotted chambray button-front shirt…again, if I have time. There are grandchildren and nieces and nephews to knit and so for too, y’know!

  9. I’ve been doing a very similar seasonal wardrobe review for just over a year now and it’s such a helpful practice! Loved reading yours. Looking forward to reflecting back on winter, if only it would actually end soon…

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