Welcome to Part 1 of my blog post series on finding simplicity! In my mission to start simplifying my life, in everything from my career to my wardrobe, I’m writing a new post each week on how I’ve started keeping it simple. This first week might be the hardest: Simplifying my closet.
Less is more. Less is more. Repeat this to yourself, and you just might be able to get through the emotional experience of purging your closet.
Well, it kind of worked for me, anyways. Which was nothing short of miraculous, considering the circumstances: I’m a total pack rat with too much sentimental attachment to my clothes. But this was precisely the reason that I wanted to start with cutting down on my closet. That, and also the basic fact that I’m just literally tired of having all this stuff. There is such a thing as too much stuff, and if you’re feeling what I’m feeling, I think you’re ready for a good old wardrobe overhaul.
We’re going to be shooting for what some call the Capsule Wardrobe. Various lifestyle bloggers have managed to cut their closets down to 40, even twelve pieces. A capsule wardrobe is basically a closet with your favorite versatile pieces that you mix and match. Sounds easy enough, right? Except not, because it totally sucks getting rid of clothes.
Or does it?
Here are the benefits of reducing your wardrobe:
- You use less time choosing what to wear and more time on things that matter, like actually spending time with your friends instead of being late because you couldn’t decide on a damn outfit
- It gets easier to define your style and what’s important
- You can invest in quality pieces that you absolutely love
- Selling or donating clothes you don’t need is awesome for you, the community, and the environment. Everyone wins.
Okayy, so that’s all fine and good, but what about the actual hard part of reducing your wardrobe? Here’s where I step in with my real experience and real advice on making those tough cuts.
Creating your capsule wardrobe
Step 1: Grab a laundry basket and start filling it with the first round of cuts.
These will be the easy things to get rid of: Tops that are out of style, old t-shirts, underwear you never wear, sweaters that you like in theory but actually hate.
Step 2: Count the number of items you have in your closet. Then decide on a goal.
My number was unspeakably high when I started this experiment, and decided I’d try to get it down to 50. That was ambitious of me, but you have to shoot for the moon, right?
They say the magic number is 37, but I currently go to college in Missouri and that number just is not fair with the number of coats and jackets I need. So I made a compromise and decided that coats don’t count, since this is really about my outfits and not what I’m throwing on over them. Choose whatever goal works best for you, but remember: Less is more. Less is more. Rinse. Repeat.
Step 3: Choose wisely.
Here comes the hard part. This time, start with the things you love: Your absolute favorites that you are obsessed with and would grab in a fire (note: do not grab clothes in a fire). These should be a combination of versatile, tried-and-true basics that you can always count on (your favorite jeans, a plain white tee, the LBD) and the more fun, fancy pieces you can’t live without. My list looked a little like this:
- Black leather jacket
- DKNY Denim jacket
- My favorite flannel
- Plain black Topshop t-shirt
- Blush & black lace camisoles
- Black dress
- Dark skinny jeans
- Distressed jeans
- Cable-knit sweater
- Fur vest
- Vintage pink bomber jacket
- Urban Outfitters jumpsuit
- Striped culotte Loft pants
- Graphic concert tees
- Floral kimono
- Metallic workout jacket (Victoria Sport, my latest obsession)
- My entire cardigan collection
You’ll be surprised at how fast you decide what your favorite things are and what you can live without.
Once you’ve zeroed in on what you are obsessed with, it’s time to tackle the things you’re less obsessed with.
Step 4: Make the deeper cuts.
Alright, we’ve had our fun pretending this whole minimalism thing will be a breeze. But then we look at that old Charlotte Russe top and think, “But what’s the harm in keeping this crop top?” I hear you. I am with you. I, too, think it is unjust to ditch the going-out tops. But going-out tops are trendy, and you can always invest in two trendier tops to replace the five you threw out.
Are you keeping that cashmere sweater because it was expensive and you keep telling yourself you like it but you haven’t worn it once in the past three years? Pitch it. Do you still have that dress from high school that you share fond memories with, but you don’t seem to be making more memories with it? Time to let someone else love it.
BTW, the more you get rid of/sell, the more money and space you have for sushi. Just saying.
Keep cutting down. Figure out what’s most versatile, that you wear most often without thinking about it. Think about the classics versus the so-yesterday-trends. And remember: LESS. IS. MORE.
Step 5: Enjoy your newfound freedom.
Even if your experiment seems like a complete failure and you’ve only managed to get rid of three things, I consider this blog post a success because I got you to reduce your wardrobe! Well, you got yourself to. I just gave you the moral support.
For more expertise on building a capsule wardrobe, Unfancy has the ultimate guide with beautiful resources and pictures.