“What am I going to wear?”
Are you spending too much time and energy trying to answer that question? It’s easy to accumulate a wardrobe of clothes that you don’t love. You buy something because it’s trendy for a moment. Someone gifts you a top that perhaps isn’t quite your style. And of course, the biggest trap, it was on sale. Eventually you’re faced with a cluttered closet and a daily struggle. Every morning is spent sifting through the clothes you don’t like or that don’t fit – trying to decide what to wear. Ready to make a change?
There’s a reason minimalism is everywhere right now. Simplifying your life, paring down on stuff (including your clothes) and focusing on the things that matter can lead to a more fulfilling and less stressful life. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you sell all your belongings and join the tiny house movement. But there’s a reason Barack Obama wore the same suit every day – decision fatigue. We only have so much mental energy every day – and if you spend too much of it thinking about your wardrobe – you don’t have any left for the more important stuff.
So the closet is a great place to start if you’re ready to simplify your life. Here are our tips for simplifying your wardrobe. Getting dressed is about to get a lot easier.
1. Purge the closet
Obviously the first step is cleaning out your closet. It’s time to get rid of all the things you don’t wear and don’t love. And be brutal. As you consider an item, ask yourself these questions:
- Does it fit?
- Have I worn it in the past year?
- If I saw this at the store today, would I want to buy it?
- Does it make me feel confident when I wear it?
If you answer “no” to any of these questions, get rid of it. Don’t attach emotion to clothing – trust us, you won’t miss that threadbare cardigan from college. Donate the things that don’t make the cut – there are people out there who need your clothing more than you do.
2. Take a Look at What’s Left
Now it’s time to see what you have to work with. At this point you might realized there are only a few tops and a few bottoms that you actually wear. That’s okay! Let go of the idea that your self-worth depends on an overflowing closet. But of course, you might need to buy a few items to ensure you have at least a week’s worth of outfits.
3. Define Your Style
Before you go shopping, figure out exactly what your style is. We often shop when we’re stressed or sad for a quick pick-me-up, this leads to unintentional purchases and a mishmash of styles in our closet. Now that you have your wardrobe narrowed down to the things you actually love – what do they look like? Is there a common color scheme, brands your rely on, are they mostly casual or more formal? Take note of the fit, style, and colors that really work for you time and time again.
4. Buy Quality not Quantity
As you go about rebuilding a smaller and simplified wardrobe – focus on quality, not quantity. Yes it’s easy to go buy a that two for $9 tshirt special at Target, but are you still going to love those t-shirts after several washes? Chances are, like most cheap clothing – they’ll lose their shape, stop fitting right, and they’ll hang in your closet unworn. As you shop, buy things that are high quality and have lasting value. Buy things that won’t be out of style in a few months (we’re looking at you, cold-shoulder tops). You may spend a little more on more expensive clothes, but you’ll save money in the long run by not needing to replace it in a couple months down the road.
5. Consider the Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear. The idea was created by Caroline Rector of Unfancy. Her capsule structure involves wearing only 37 pieces for 3 months, and no shopping until the 3 months are over. At which point you can rotate the capsule for the next season and buy a few items. She even kept a capsule planner to find out her true style, plan her capsule pieces, and keep track of her shopping budget. While the whole capsule experiment might not be practical for you, you can focus on the heart of what it means – as Rector puts it, “a smaller closet, intentional purchases, less shopping, and more joy.”