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 Post subject: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 12:45 pm 
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I'm curious to find out if anyone else is working on this, and if so I would love to find out what your strategies are. Also, I would love to hear from people who have already done this and how it worked out for you. I would love it if some folks would post pictures.

I have too many clothes. It's awful! I can barely fit my entire wardrobe in my decently sized closet and dresser, and yet I can never seem find anything I want to wear. Ultimate first world problem. So this morning after searching through my dirty clothes hamper and picking out the same basic blue chambray shirt I wear all the time I decided it's time to implement Operation: Doug, and reduce my wardrobe significantly before I move next month (less to move!) and to transition my wardrobe into the summer. I think by the end of it I would like to own no more than 30 pieces of clothing.

I'm going to start with a massive clean out, pick a wardrobe color palette, and then go shopping to fill in the gaps. I definitely need a pair of denim shorts that actually fit and some cardigans that do not have holes in them. I'm actually embarrassed to admit I don't know where to shop to find nice quality clothing (please don't take away my fashion degree). And I sew, so I plan on still making clothing, but using more neutrally colored fabrics for my projects.

It feels like an overwhelming project, but I'm also excited by the possibilities. There's freedom in limitation!

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 12:56 pm 
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I would love to be able to do this. But money is an issue. Otherwise I would buy everything from Ruche that comes in my size! Everything!!

Make sure you have the staples I guess and then fill in with whatever you find appealing.
Little Black dress
Dress pants in black, grey, navy, tan, and brown
Leggings
Tights
Cardigans
Jeans
Dresses casual and fun and at least 1 formal and one maxi
Novelty tees
Shorts and skirts if they float your boat

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 1:45 pm 
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I'm definitely trying to figure out what the right staples for my wadrobe are! I think it varies from person to person depending on their job/lifestyle/personal style. I have an awesome job that I plan to be at for a very long time, and the dress environment is very casual. I sort of realize that I really have no need for the nice pair of black pants or blazer I own and the only reason I hold on to them is that I might need them "someday". I feel like all of the "wardrobe basics" lists I find don't really appeal to me. I don't really need a trench coat, dress pants, or a turtleneck. They're not my style at all.

I think my staples are: Jeans, button down shirts, dresses, skirts, and cardigans.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 2:13 pm 
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I'm trying to do the same thing!

My current work environment doesn't require dressing up, but I have some nice "dress clothes" (two suits and some business pants/shirts) that I don't want to get rid of because they're NICE and were expensive, and I don't plan to stay at this job forever, but I kind of hate storing them.

How do you guys convince yourselves to get rid of things that you LIKE but you basically never wear? I have some super cute dresses and skirts and stuff that I know are adorable and even look pretty dang cute on me, but I never ever ever wear them, so what is the freaking point, y'know? I just need to persuade myself to let them go away to the wilds of Goodwill or Out of the Closet and let them recirculate through the population to more loving owners. But I am so convinced that as soon as I let them go, I'll wish I had them.

How do you stop feeling that way?!

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 2:41 pm 
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I'm obsessed with these projects, but doing it all at once can be $$$! Every 2- 3 months I go through everything that was "in season" to wear since the last time I cleaned out the closet and throw everything I didn't wear in "to sell" "to give away" and "to trash" piles. When I started the process, I went through and got rid of everything that didn't fit, had inappropriate holes, or hadn't been worn at any time I could remember. Then, I narrowed down my collection of vintage by fit and wearability and sold off more than half. I also saved all the money from selling stuff to buy new jeans (<3 my Imogene + Willie Elizabeth jeans!!!!) and some less casual pants and shirts.

I'm not really into picking a single color scheme, because I love playing dress up. But, I did determine that what I really "need" is something like this (not including athletic wear). I can't go any smaller and keep from compulsively shopping, and I still have like 9,000 sweaters.

Jeans-- 1 black, 1 blue, 1 for getting dirty
Pants-- 1 slouchy black, 1 skinny black, 1 novelty (these are currently a super exaggerated vintage pair of navy trousers)
Skirts-- 2 casual + short, 2 skinny + knee-length, 2 maxi and dressy, 1 maxi and casual
Dresses-- 2 black cocktail / business, 3 maxi (range of fanciness), 3 pull on jersey type things short to long, 3 novelty
Shorts-- N/A to my life
Shirts-- 1 chambray, 3 long sleeve button up (1 white, 2 patterns), 2 short sleeve / waist-length blouses, selection of tanks, jersey t's, and 3/4 sleeve boatnecks
Sweaters-- 3 pullovers (at least 1 oversize), 3 cardis (black, grey, novelty)


** After a year of editing, my closet still overflows. I'm just not a Parisian girl in trousers and a white blouse!

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 2:48 pm 
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DarthCupcake wrote:
How do you stop feeling that way?!

If you're seriously not sure you could get rid of it I would hang up all "aspirational" clothing (things you like and think you'll miss, but never wear) in one section of your closet. Write the date on a piece of paper and put that in your closet too. If you haven't worn any of it within a month (weather permitting), get rid of it.

And you know, sometimes I hold onto stuff because I think it's so cute and awesome, and then I wear it and I just think "why the hell did I ever want to keep this?".

One issue I have is not wanting to get rid of the stuff I've made. I have some things that I've sewn or knit that just don't fit, or they're not my style anymore, but I don't want to get rid of it because I made it, damit! Maybe I'll put that stuff it in a vacuum sealed bag in storage so at least it's not hanging in my closet anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 2:58 pm 
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I love these kinds of projects. Some friends and I just had our second annual huge and wonderfully productive naked lady party. A group of about 15 of us got together and brought stuff from our overflowing closets. We all tried on a traded things-- I ended up with three new things, and gave away over thirty. Then we brought ten bags to a donation site. Before the party, I brought my stuff to Buffalo Exchange and walked away with $90 and still had a ton to trade! I sometimes have trouble/get anxious about getting rid of things, so the party helps make it festive and communal.

As for how to decide, I'm trying to be more ruthless. I also have a lot of "super cute but I don't wear" and a lot of "I made it so I should keep it" as well as "I got it on some cool adventure abroad." I got rid of some of all of these this go. I like seeing my super cute but I don't wear things go to good use on my friends. And I put in a tub in the basement things that really made me hesitate. I made a rule that I could only keep one plastic tub's worth to contemplate. My guess is that most of those will go to next year's naked lady party. I do keep a few random things for costumes, and even though I don't need them anymore, I kept one suit. I don't think there's anything wrong with keeping a few just-in-case pieces. The point is to reduce. We don't have to be perfect.

The thing I love is how good I feel getting rid of things. After the swap, I came home and immediately started thinking about things to purge next time!

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:08 pm 
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The thing that helps me when I start sorting through figuring out what to give away is that I have no memories ever ever of giving away something that I wished I hadn't. There's always more clothes, and if you truly love and use one piece of clothing it wouldn't have ended up in that "maybe" pile in the first place.

My problem is that I have a hard time parting with a large chunk of money for clothes, even when I know it makes sense to invest in something you use often. It's really hard for me to gauge what's reasonable and good quality. I'm just not good at fashion that way. And even when I do stumble on something I think is worth the high price tag, I'm not a good judge of how much use I'll get out of something.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:18 pm 
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I tend to pay more for things that I really like and that are fairly classic. This usually prevents me from accumulating too much. I do have a cami problem though. Two drawers full. actually, I'm developing a shirt problem too. I seem to be unable to pass a good sale on Ralph Lauren shirts, so I actually have more than I should right now after a few years of buying them. I rationalize this by not having to iron very often.

I get rid of anything I haven't worn in the past season. Like a summer tee that was neglected last summer? I'll donate that this year. The exceptions are things like dresses, suits, etc.

It helps that most of my clothes are black, so matching stuff isn't a big issue.

The bestvwaycto purge is to ruthlessly cull anything not perfect and box it up and stick it somewhere a pain in the asparagus to reach. If everything is there a year later, donate the box. If something is worth getting to, you know to keep it.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:20 pm 
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Nebraskalaska wrote:
One issue I have is not wanting to get rid of the stuff I've made. I have some things that I've sewn or knit that just don't fit, or they're not my style anymore, but I don't want to get rid of it because I made it, damit! Maybe I'll put that stuff it in a vacuum sealed bag in storage so at least it's not hanging in my closet anymore.

This, SO MUCH. I have a bunch of scarves and hats that I knit and don't wear, but I also don't want to get rid of them because of the effort and money that were involved. Maybe give them as gifts to friends or family? That way they stay "with" you but aren't clogging up your drawers.

I don't have very much nice stuff because my job is messy and destroys my clothes, but my general rule is that I have one or two professional outfits for conferences, job interviews, etc. (so like, a nice pair of pants, a conservative black skirt, and a few nice blouses--I figure, they're an investment and even if they get worn only a few times, it's better to have them than have to shop at the last minute for something), a few pretty dresses/skirts for weddings or dinner out, one heavy coat, one light coat, one rain coat, 3 weeks' worth of t-shirts (because I usually do laundry once/month, hahaha), ~5 cardigans or sweaters, 2-3 pairs of jeans.

If there's something I haven't worn in the past year, it gets donated. I try to figure out why I don't wear it (nothing that matches? not practical? the cut isn't right?) and if I can think of a reason, it's gone. I used to be a total pack rat and was afraid I'd regret donating anything, until I did and never regretted it at all. I had to get into the mindset that no piece of clothing is going to make or break my wardrobe.

I'm moving and am about due for another purge, although most of my stuff isn't even donate-able. I might just cut them up to be used in a rag rug project or as t-shirt yarn. As for replacements....I don't know where to shop either! I am still buying cheap-o clothes at target or thrift stores, but I want to transition to ethically-produced stuff at some point.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:41 pm 
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i am replying mostly just to make sure i never lose this thread.
moving soon means that i just donated a large portion of my wardrobe [most of it was 7+ years old and needed replacing anyway]. it is now clear to me that in the last year I've developed a uniform: pants I like, black cardigan, shirt, scarf. That's it. Anything else is just not appealing. Now that I know this I can add in a few more pieces, but the base will be just that. I can do that.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:45 pm 
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Fee wrote:
The thing that helps me when I start sorting through figuring out what to give away is that I have no memories ever ever of giving away something that I wished I hadn't. There's always more clothes, and if you truly love and use one piece of clothing it wouldn't have ended up in that "maybe" pile in the first place.

My problem is that I have a hard time parting with a large chunk of money for clothes, even when I know it makes sense to invest in something you use often. It's really hard for me to gauge what's reasonable and good quality. I'm just not good at fashion that way. And even when I do stumble on something I think is worth the high price tag, I'm not a good judge of how much use I'll get out of something.


I think I've given away maybe one piece of clothing in my entire life that I later regretted. And now I don't remember what it was, so it clearly wasn't that big of a deal.

It's hard to know what quality is these days because price is not necessarily indicative of quality, and vice versa. I've seen some pretty shoddy construction on designer clothing, and I've owned things from Target for years that are still in perfect condition. I would mostly avoid trendy "fast fashion" places such as Zara, Forever 21, and H&M when shopping. There are a lot of great moderately-priced designer clothing lines that you can find in local boutiques. It will cost a bit more than shopping at most mall stores, but you should be able to find places that aren't astronomically expensive. Since indie designers often only produce a maximum of four small collections a season the quality tends to be better. Plus you're supporting the designers, local business and all that.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:48 pm 
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I do not have enough clothes. A few years ago when I lost a lot of weight I donated a ton of clothes to Good Will. It was also around the same time I transitioned from retail to an office job. When I worked in Bridal I had to dress up every day and at the office I don't. But now I find myself in need of dress pants and blazers every once in a while and I don't have them because I thought I wouldn't need them anymore. Not only did I gain back about 30 pounds I progressed into a "professional" person who now has to attend business meetings and go to seminars. And well there is the occasional funeral or wedding to get dressed for. So I think if I had to do it again I would have saved some things!

Isn't the general rule of thumb that if you haven't worn it for a year you should get rid of it? Or, every time you buy something new you get rid of something old.

I don't know, I just wish someone would dress me and give me lots of money to buy lots of clothes!

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:57 pm 
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I've had to do this a bunch of times due to moving internationally. My first step is always to sort things into a "keep", "maybe keep" and "toss/donate" pile. You can go through your stuff pretty quickly that way, and it's OK if you end up with a pretty big "maybe" pile because you can whittle that down in the next session. My selection criteria are as follows:

-Does it fit properly? If the answer is no, toss without hesitation.
-Is it in good condition? Does it have holes, stains etc? Unless it's being used as a work shirt or smock, toss.
-Have I worn it within the last 12 months? If no, toss.
-Have I worn it OFTEN within the last 12 months? If yes keep, if no "maybe" pile or toss.
-Do I "need" this? (i.e. I used to pick up random costumes and crepe from thrift stores, and if you have limited storage space that should probably be the first stuff to go, fun as it ma be)
-Do I have duplicate or similar items to this? If so, group them together and pick out a couple that are in the best condition to keep.
-Does it have sentimental value? If yes, put it in the "maybe" pile, and once you see how many sentimental "maybes" you have you can pick and choose a few favorites.

What you actually need obviously depends on your lifestyle and what you're comfortable in, but generally speaking if your wardrobe is mostly casual or semi-casual I think something like 90% of your clothes should be stuff you wear on a regular basis (as in at least 3x per month when it's the right season for it), with that other 10% being a couple of nice dresses/suits/jackets/whatevers for special occasions, job interviews etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 8:38 pm 
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I turn all of my hangers backwards and then turn them the right way when I've worn the item hanging on it. I also organize my closet by item type (sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves, etc.). If a season goes by and I haven't worn an item (that would have been seasonally appropriate), it is time to get rid of it.

This doesn't mean that I don't still have way too much clothes. And too small a closet.


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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 10:12 pm 
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I have a pretty small wardrobe, but I'd like to tighten it up so that it's all really versatile. I have a few things that don't mix well with the rest of my pieces.

I quite like the 333 Experiment. Here's a blog post about it from a minimalist blogger: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/declutter-the-closet/ It's basically 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months, I believe.

Once I'm done packing/moving/unpacking, I'm probably going to try it out. I want to pull everything out and figure out where I've got holes in my needs. I've already got a good idea of what items I don't have (a light non-winter jacket, some new bras so I can actually wear a couple things I've already got, etc), but I would like to document it for reference. That way I can pick up sale items that I can use instead of something that's cute and cheap, but unnecessary. At the moment though, the size of my wardrobe is pretty good. I normally pitch clothing as soon as I realize it doesn't fit properly or I rarely wear it. I have a few items I'm hanging onto while I get my shiitake together and find a way to repair them. (My sewing machine died!)

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 11:13 pm 
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I read this as "eating your wardrobe." I think I think about food too much. Maybe I should head back to the Kitchen.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:08 am 
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I have a huge thrift store problem. I thrift for entertainment on the weekends, and while I don't spend a lot of money on clothes, I end up with way too much stuff. I've outgrown my closet and literally have piles of stuff just sitting around in my bedroom. I keep telling myself it's time to get serious about donating things (the thrift store circle of life?), but it just seems like so much work!

I guess I need to raise my standards if I'm going to keep thrifting. No more buying stuff just because it's $1 and I might possibly wear it someday (half the time I don't).


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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:22 pm 
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I did it! Operation: Doug is in full force. Last night I went through my closet and kept approximately 20 items. I kept some stuff that's not in the best condition or I didn't necessarily love with the intention of replacing them when I have more cash. I got a little bit nervous when I woke up this morning and saw my almost-empty closet, but getting dressed was so easy! Everything was clean and hanging there and I didn't have to search through and overflowing hamper for my favorite shirts!

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Yay!! Good job! That is a great feeling. I managed to clean my bedroom over the weekend and hang my clothes up. And today when I was searching for something I couldn't find it dawned on me that maybe I hung it up, and I did. That is a grown up accomplishment for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 6:20 pm 
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I edit my wardrobe almost constantly: I was pregnant, then nursing, then pregnant AND nursing, and now I'm back to just nursing again. I'm too cheap to shell out for nursing dresses, so I've had to stick with skirts/tops (I hate pants, they never fit) and I pretty much only buy secondhand.

I really, REALLY miss wearing all the dresses I sewed myself 5 years ago or more. The hardest part is not knowing whether they'll still fit when I'm done nursing... if they don't I'll pass them on, but I'll be sad.

I recently did a purge and got rid of ALL the maternity stuff out of my closet except for a peasant top that is just awesome and also a lot of the other tops that I'm either just tired of or don't suit me. I'm planning to go shopping soon for some nice (still secondhand) clothes that are flattering and a wider variety of colours than black and brown, which always seem to be what I gravitate towards. I don't want to sew for myself again until I'm done nursing and my body has made whatever adjustments it still needs to make.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:37 pm 
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So, what does one do with the gorgeous Issey Miyake jacket bought in Tokyo at the peak of one's life, when it hasn't fit since one was a lean writer? Some people save their wedding dress, I don't have one but think I will save this jacket forever. God willing the kid grows up to have less boobage, I could pass it down to her.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:47 pm 
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torque wrote:
So, what does one do with the gorgeous Issey Miyake jacket bought in Tokyo at the peak of one's life, when it hasn't fit since one was a lean writer? Some people save their wedding dress, I don't have one but think I will save this jacket forever. God willing the kid grows up to have less boobage, I could pass it down to her.

I don't think there's anything wrong with keeping articles of clothing that have special meaning. I saved the dress I got courthouse married in (different from my wedding dress), some concert tees I never wear, and some things I've made. I just took them out of my closet so I don't have to consider them every time I get dressed. They're now in a box! I can pull them out when I'm feeling sentimental.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:50 pm 
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torque wrote:
So, what does one do with the gorgeous Issey Miyake jacket bought in Tokyo at the peak of one's life, when it hasn't fit since one was a lean writer? Some people save their wedding dress, I don't have one but think I will save this jacket forever. God willing the kid grows up to have less boobage, I could pass it down to her.


Take it out and pet it once in a while, while listening to the Pet Shop Boys.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing your Wardrobe
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:56 pm 
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that's pretty much our relationship right now. maybe a little joy division too.

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