Every spring and fall I go through my closet to weed out and refresh. A few years ago my family and I had to move into a one bedroom apartment where I split my closet with my husband and 1 year old son at the time. I had to drastically purge most of my clothes and really simplify my wardrobe. At that time I was also starting this store online so I was doing quite a bit of research on what makes up a good wardrobe. I found a book, Lessons from Madame Chic : 20 stylish secrets I learned while living in Paris that described a 13 Piece Wardrobe (I wrote a blog on this and can be found here!). This helped me define and shape my current wardrobe.
Simplify your closet. Create and define your style through your iconic looks, create less stress and more joy when getting dressed, and have less laundry and closet overwhelm!
Define your Life
Choose 2-4 places/life situations you find yourself in most. Here are a few examples.
- Mom Life
- Work Life
- Weekend Life
- Adventuring Life
- Home Life
- Travel Life
This all helps to define your style.
There are many terms out there in the fashion world, bohemian, classic, professional, eccentric, preppy, the list goes on and on. What's important is that you define a label for yourself, maybe it doesn't exist in the list above? Maybe that's because it totally depends on where you are in your life, where you live, and what your life consists of. Do you work an office job five days a week, stay at home mom, work as a barista, or manage a restaurant? You won't fit into any typical style because you are unique. Your day-to-day routine is exclusive to you, and your style should reflect that.
Ask yourself the two to three most common places you are in a given week. Work, home, the gym? Coffee shops, the outdoors, behind a desk? Organize these by where you spend your time from greatest to least. This is where you start to give yourself your personal style label. For example, I describe my style as laid-back luxe because I live in Alaska, spend my time working from home and at my boutique, exploring the outdoors with my kids, and I enjoy luxurious textures like silks, cashmeres, or ultra-soft cottons. I also like to pair my clothing with fun jewelry. I have a mixture of clothing, mostly basics with novelty pieces woven in.
Get rid of items if:
- You haven't worn them in over a year and are not a novelty piece that you will wear sometime soon.
- They were a gift that you can't bring yourself to wear. (Wear it once, maybe it will grow on you, spend some time trying to style it, and if it just isn't you, discard.)
- It doesn't fit - OMG STOP!! How long have you been hanging onto that piece you can longer fit in? Is it three sizes too small, two sizes too big? If it doesn't fit now, and your body hasn't changed in the last 6 months, then why?! It doesn't do anything for you aside from making you feel less then.
- It no longer suits your lifestyle needs. Maybe you worked in an office and have now had a baby and stay home. If there's a chance you will return to an office job, keep half of it, otherwise let it go. Chances are, if/when you do return to work you may want updated items that fit your size and age.
- What items do you end up washing the most? Which pieces fall into heavy rotation?
- Which items do you end up wearing more than once a week?
Find these items and build your wardrobe around them! When you have less to choose from, you tend to make better choices! If you only posses clothing you truly love because of fit, color, texture, you'll wear it. If you have 15+ tops to choose from, it can often feel like you have nothing to wear! Which is crazy, but true! Think of this scenario like your would when you go to a restaurant. Typically, the better the restaurant the less pages on the menu, when you're overwhelmed with choices it can take forever to choose and cheapens the look! It is the same when you're getting dressed in the morning. If you closet is only filled with your favorite and most beautiful clothing, you're forced to wear it, and feel great in it!
Try and maintain!
Here's an example of a simplified wardrobe!
- 3-4 sweaters
- 2-3 cardigans/flannels/extra layering piece
- 2-3 tops to layer under cardigans or sweaters
- 3-4 pants
Fall/Spring - I find living in the Pacific Northwest that these seasons can be interchangeable. Meaning I find myself wearing a lot of light sweaters, jeans, boots, and outerwear throughout the year. So I can mix both my Winter wardrobe and Summer wardrobe because all of my pieces tend to work well together since I shop with versatility in mind.
- 3-4 fun tops
- 2 black tee
- 2 white tee
- 3-5 dresses/rompers/skirts
- 3-4 pants
- 2-3 shorts
Novelty Pieces - for all those special events and occasions.
- Which ones have you actually worn?
- Which ones flatter your body best?
- Which ones would you definitely wear again?
Get rid of the rest.
Now that you've (hopefully) got a decent pile of clothing that no longer suits your needs, it is time to re-home it all!
- Novelty pieces - SAVE THEM! Bring them to one of my shop's clothing swaps! Or sell on Poshmark.
- Good condition items - Bring them to a second hand shop. In Juneau, I like the Rose Consignment Shop in Auke Bay. You can also donate them to a Salvation Army or similar institution.
- Poor condition items - Re-purpose into face masks (Coronavirus!) for you, friends, family, repurpose into cleaning rags, or give away to someone in need.
In summary, care about what you wear. It not only shows who you are but has long lasting effects. If you buy in overabundance from discount stores, your closet will be stuffed to the max, but will these items fit and flatter you? Instead, pool your money for that one cashmere sweater that you'll want to wear a couple of times a week, or a great fitting pair of jeans that you'll get tons of mileage out of. Often times, the higher the quality, the more care will likely be taken to stop exploitation of 3rd world countries who manufacture and sew these inexpensive items. When you take care in your shopping methods, it not only reflects on your beautiful style, but has a cascading effect all the way down to where the fabric is made and how the dye to create such pieces is disposed of. An entirely different blog but an important one and an important consideration!
Cheers to your new wardrobe!