This post originally appeared on my blog.
Oh, hey there pretty lady! The rest of this post is going on the assumption that, you are in fact, a lady. If you're a gent, this probably isn't relevant...since your closet is likely already super small. Unless you're my father, in which case you have literally a hundred t-shirts, most of which you got for free for doing various bike rides and volunteer events.
He could literally clothe a third-world country with the amount of t-shirts he has.
Your closet should work for you - no matter your size, shape, budget, or place in life. You should be able to throw open the doors of your wardrobe and immediately put something fabulous together...an outfit that makes you feel confident and pretty.
You know what I'm talking about.
Those pants that are eternally forgiving yet chic. The sweater that is one part cozy, one part classy. The dress that makes you feel like you could take on the world. It should be effortlessly easy for you to produce outfits that give you confidence.
Unfortunately, those items are often drowned in a sea of clothes that... A. We rarely wear B. Look terrible on us C. Make us feel terrible D. Don’t go with anything else we own D. All of the above
Which, if you ask me, makes absolutely no sense.
(Also? Those clothes could be being used by someone else who actually needs them)
So, how do you simplify your closet?
1. Define your style.
Pick out a handful of items from your closet that are your go-to favorites. What do they have in common? Look at your style Pinterest board (or create one!). What are common themes? What does your lifestyle require (ex: business clothes, work-out clothes, classy-mum clothes, etc.)? Keep your style in mind as you move towards a simple, hardworking wardrobe.
2. THE GREAT PURGE.
Wage war on your closet, woman! Take no prisoners. Toss/donate/sell any clothes that:
- Don't fit with your style
- Are stained/torn beyond repair
- You know you'll never get around to repairing
- You haven't worn in the last year
- Are poorly made/stretch out after it's been worn for seven minutes
- You don't feel confident in
- Are in a fabric or cut that you hate
- Don't fit well or flatter your shape
*a caveat: if you're in the process of losing weight, do keep clothes that will motivate you towards your goal. To a point. Be honest with yourself.
Bonus points! If you're married, ask your husband what he likes and what he doesn't. Right after we got married, I modeled everything in my wardrobe for Hans. He was honest, and I got rid of clothes as a result. Being attractive to my spouse is a blessing to him!
3. Investing in pieces vs. consuming clothes.
Once you have defined your style and slimmed down your closet, then you get to do the fun part - buying! YAY! Identify what essentials you need and what "gaps" in your closet you need to fill, make a list, and then invest in those pieces.
Now, unless you're rolling in dough...this will have to be done gradually. That's ok! It's far better to spend $60 on a fabulously well-made dress that you saved up for and that will last forever vs. a $20 clearance dress from Target that will wear out by next year. Stick to your plan and only spend money on clothes that fit you, your style, and that will last for a long time.
4. Shop Like A French Girl.
“If she can’t afford it, she won’t buy it. If it doesn’t fit (or make her feel good, or flaunt what she’s got), she won’t wear it. If she can’t find it, she won’t compromise. If she loves it, she won’t toss it. She reuses it, rethinks it, lets it age. When a French girl shops, it isn’t a solitary act of buying something new. It’s part of a lifelong process of editing her environment, making small but meaningful additions to her home, her closet, her life. When you shop like a French girl, you buy only one of anything – and make sure it’s the best quality you can afford.” from Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl
5. Do you have essentials?
A couple of great tees and tops, some well-fitting jeans/pants/skirts, a couple of dresses (particularly a LBD!), a few dressier tops and a versatile selection of jackets/cardigans? These are essentials that every wardrobe needs. Here's a fantastic article from the Tiny Twig on just this subject, and here's a video to give you some ideas...
When you're on your way to building a wardrobe that works for you, essentials are the best place to start, and the best place to invest money.
6. As you're simplifying your wardrobe, experiment!
Here's another fun part! Spend an hour or two in front of the mirror and experiment with your clothes. Try layering, putting different pieces together, scouring the internet for inspiration, etc. This will help you in the future when you're putting together outfits - you'll already know what works and what doesn't!
More Bonus Points: the next time you make a clothing purchase, evaluate whether or not the item will "earn it's keep" in your closet and serve you for years to come. If the answer is no, don't buy it!
PS - I used this from Miss Minimalist to jumpstart this post.
PPS - If you're looking for an in-depth exercise to start simplifying your wardrobe, follow the 31 Days to a No-Brainer Wardrobe Series from The Tiny Twig. It's a bit old (like, when you still needed an invitation to get on Pinterest) but the advice is ridiculously practical. Plus, Hayley is just an effervescently lovely woman.