Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Because clothes are just fun! And I’m realising that a pared-down closet–that contains only pieces you love–is incredibly liberating and empowering.
Keep in mind these goals of a simple wardrobe (and add a few of your own). With a simple wardrobe, you can:
- Enjoy everything you wear, everyday.
- Have an easier time picking an outfit in the morning.
- Feel refreshed instead of burdened or overwhelmed when you open your closet.
I’m not going to prescribe a magic number of outfits you should keep (although if you want that, this post might help), but shoot for this: Your total wardrobe (closet and dresser) should comfortably fit all of your clothes at once, both summer and winter items.
That way, if you choose to store off-season items (as I do), you’ll have lots of extra breathing space in your drawers and closet, and if you keep them all together, you can do so without having to stuff and crunch.
The Fun Part
Open your closet and pull out only the things that you love, love, love. Pretend like you’re packing for a trip. When you’re going on vacation, you only bring the items that you love and that are the most versatile, right?
When I went on a trip to Mexico with my husband earlier this summer, I only packed items that I thought were pretty and made me look the best. Why not wear those things all the time? Why not ONLY wear cute, comfortable vacation things?
The Hard Part
Next, pull out your standby pieces that you wear often, but that don’t excite you much. Why are you keeping them? When I looked at my wardrobe with an extra-critical eye, I discovered lots of clothes that were uncomfortable or unflattering. I had been keeping them for the same recurring reasons:
- Because they had sentimental value
Example: A (faded and old) T-shirt with good memories of high school summer camp.
- Because they were classics that every closet “must have”
Example: A (tight and scratchy) black turtleneck.
- Because they still fit
Example: Lots of (stained or wrong-color) summer tops.
- Because I was used to wearing them
Example: The long-sleeved (pilled and worn) brown sweater that I pulled out of the box each fall.
- Because I had other items that served the same purpose
Example: The (duplicate to another pair) cozy, faded jeans to be lazy in or go for a hard hike.
Try on everything. Compare each item with the items in your “love” pile. The “love” pile is your new standard, and you’ll start to see that a lot of your old standby items just don’t match up.
This skirt? Nope. Scratches.
This blouse? Too small.
These pants? Look…weird.
That summer top? Not cute enough.
This picture shows the summer items that didn’t make the cut.
After being ruthless with the standby pieces, pull out the items you don’t wear often and decide why you don’t wear them. Either they don’t look good on you, or you haven’t given creative thought to make them work for you. I re-discovered a cardigan that I bought in Chile which will work great for fall, but that I’d forgotten about!
The Liberating Part
Time to get that excess out of your life! This is when you are truly simplifying. Because if those cast-offs stay in a box by your door for a month, they’re still cramping your style. Sell or donate your items, but let them go–and start enjoying the benefits of a simpler, more peaceful wardrobe!
Another Fun Part
After stripping down your wardrobe, you may find that you need to fill in a few gaps. Work from the bottom tier of stores first. I visited consignment and thrift stores to purchase well-fitting pants, shorts, and a belt in like-new condition. Next, I checked Kohl’s but didn’t find anything that met my new standards. I’ll visit Target and a few department stores while I save up my money to buy more specialty pieces online.
While you save up money to put the finishing touches on your wardrobe, try out new combinations with what you have! I decided to wear my favourite skirts on weekdays, not just dates. I also started pairing long-sleeved button-up shirts with shorts, cuffing the sleeves just below my elbows.
I’m also classing up my wardrobe by keeping everything on well-made wooden hangers. Just adds a bit of quality!
A Few Notes for Guys
For my guy readers, I would suggest simplifying your clothes, too. Stuffed dresser drawers tend to spit clothes out onto the floor all too easily. My husband says that men tend to wear their clothes until their clothes are worn out. In this case, you may just need to do a quick purge of all your ratty, worn-thin items and buy a few new replacements. Another thing: guys often have an overdose of T-shirts, so that would be a good area to thin out.
Do you want lots more simple living ideas? Check out my brand new book! Your Simple Home Handbook is a 100+ page guide to decluttering your home and simplifying your stuff. Work through 30 different areas of your home–at your own pace–and enjoy the benefits of a space that breathes! Click here to learn about my book!